Am I a transphobe?

Plus: A fetish shutterbug in an awkward position.

I'm 26, straight, and male. I consider myself a socially progressive person, have been a vocal supporter of LGBT issues since high school, and was president of my college Gay-Straight Alliance. Here's my issue: I fully support the trans community. I have numerous friends in varying states of transition and I'm 100 percent behind them. But in my own dating life, I wouldn't feel comfortable dating/having sex with a woman who had at one point in her life been a man. I realize I wouldn't be fucking a dude, but it's a mental hurdle I can't clear. All my LGBTQA friends — be they trans, gay, bi — call me a transphobe, because if I were truly on their side, if I truly "understood," then sex with a MTF straight woman would be no different than sex with a cisgender straight woman. Do I have the right to not feel comfortable with the idea (or reality) of having sex with these women and still consider myself a supporter of the trans community? Are my friends being unreasonable by judging me against their schema of appropriate sexuality? Or am I a hypocrite?

Fears Real Activism Undermined [by] Dick

"He's not transphobic — not in my book," says Kate Bornstein, author, performer, "advocate for teens, freaks, and other outlaws," and herself a trans woman. "One more thing he's not is straight. Sex-positive, supportive of trans folk, and heterosexual? Cool! He's a queer heterosexual — and some of my best friends are queer heterosexuals."

As for your specific issue — you're not attracted to trans women — Bornstein says that by itself isn't evidence of transphobia.

"A queer heterosexual is just as entitled to the fulfillment of their sex and gender desires as anyone else," says Bornstein. "Sometimes those desires depend on the nature of their lover's body. Well, trans people have bodies that are different than cis people's bodies. We're two (or more) mints in one — a physical blend that attracts a lot of people. FRAUD just doesn't happen to be one of them. The fact that he's sensitive to that blending of genders in our bodies does not make him transphobic."

What can you do about it?

"Go have good sex with cis women," says Bornstein. (Don't know what "cis" means in this context? See: tinyurl.com/cisdefine.)

Whatever else you do, FRAUD, Bornstein wants you to stop identifying as straight.

"He's part of our queer tribe," she says. "And who knows? One day, he might meet the right trans person."

And who knows? One day, your cranky LGBTQA friends might accept who you are just as you've accepted them. Make an effort to use "attracted to cis women" in place of "wouldn't feel comfortable dating" trans women, and you'll hasten that day's arrival.

Kate Bornstein's new memoir, A Queer and Pleasant Danger (Beacon Press), will be published in the spring. Follow her on Twitter @katebornstein. (Follow me @fakedansavage.)

I am a 29-year-old male with a fetish for snapping pictures of women's legs and feet in nylons. I look for women online who will allow me to pay them to take these pictures. I recently posted an ad and received a reply from a coworker. I find her very attractive and would like to photograph her legs and feet. How should I handle this?

Sent From My Mobile Device

Here's a relevant story from the files: Vanilla Gay pays a social call on Kinky Gay. KG informs VG that there's a Hot Dude tied up in his playroom. KG invites VG to view HD. KG is right: HD is hot. HD is also, as it turns out, one of VG's coworkers — one of VG's straight coworkers.

It was an unexpected twist of fate — HD didn't know that VG and KG were friends — that resulted in VG discovering something about HD that HD didn't choose to reveal to VG. While it's possible that HD wouldn't have cared that VG knew his secret, it was likelier that HD, if he knew VG knew his bi-for-bondage secret, would've felt embarrassed around his coworker — not to mention compromised during any routine workplace conflicts with VG.

I urged VG to keep his mouth shut.

In your case, SFMMD, while it's possible that your coworker doesn't care who knows that she does fetish modeling on the side for extra money and/or thrills, it's likelier that she would be embarrassed to learn that someone she knows professionally discovered what she's doing. There are plenty of other legs and feet to photograph. Keep your mouth shut.

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