Recently I have read articles attacking men who – it is claimed – have turned transwomen into “fetish objects.” These are men who – it is darkly suggested – have improper desires for transwomen, and whose erotic attachment to our transgender bodies “dishonors” us. This is bullshit.

To begin with, as we can all agree if we recall the years Hillary Clinton spent in the White House, there is much honor to be earned by a woman who “stands by her man.”

Going on, it is well-known in our LGBT community that those rare men who are sexually attracted to transwomen are sometimes referred to as “tranny chasers.” This vile slur, we know, was invented several decades ago, at a time when we transwomen were – also – often branded with the T-word. It was not a term that reflected any sympathetic appreciation of our place in this world.

And the other half of this term – the “chaser” part – was likewise intended to serve as an insult. If I say of a man I know that he is a “skirt chaser,” no one would think I am praising his character or behavior.

I am angry! I feel I must defend myself! Here is a group of men who find me (that is, “transwomen” generally) to be sexually attractive, and who want to spend time with me. They have what seems to be a naturally-occurring erotic fascination for a person (such as me) born into the body of a person of the opposite sex. Nevertheless, I see certain people – even some who imagine themselves to be allies of ours – who seek to shame and vilify those men. I won’t stand for it!

I cannot be “who I am” freely and openly in society if those men who find me most enticing are smeared and slandered with the word “fetish.” (Or, for that matter, smeared or slandered in any other way, even if that slander has its source in some sort of “gender-based militancy” – whether on behalf of women, or others.)

Until recently, we transwomen were ourselves considered to be no more than another exotic variety of “fetish,” and it took the professional integrity of Dr. Harry Benjamin – and the bravery of women like Christine Jorgensen – to begin to wipe away that vile insult.

Why would anyone think that I – or any other transgender woman who has ever cared for a man like this – would be willing to sit back and do nothing while those men who love us are similarly attacked?

No! I cannot come out into the light of day alone. I must speak up and demand that those men who desire me are also allowed to live their truth. Now, I will admit that not every man I have met has behaved…entirely appropriately… or in a “mature manner.” No. They do not. Often, they lack those social skills which we hope (I cannot honestly say “expect”) to find in a polite and well-mannered boyfriend.

Remember: There is a special name for members of the opposite sex who are lacking in the desirable social graces, and who focus entirely too much upon the sex act, itself, and who do not value us for “who we are” and all we have to offer. The technical term for such persons is: “men.”

Are they often undependable, self-centered and flaky? Yes. But also, aren’t they really just the usual sort of man you meet? A person possessed of many fine qualities, and who only needs those little touches that only a female hand can bestow to bring out the kindly and protective aspects of his character?

So I don’t want to hear the term “tranny chasers” any more, and I don’t want to read any more “Gender Warrior” screeds that condemn those men with words that – until recently – were used to condemn transwomen. Those men do not have a “fetish.” They have “natural erotic attractions,” and there’s nothing wrong with that.

And although the “erotic fascination” which they have is somewhat rare, I am happy to report that it is not so rare that we transwomen are forced to live a life which is altogether lonely… or celibate.