Thoughts on the Cotton Ceiling TW: (All kinds of anger would result from this if I actually had followers)
Who’s up for some complicated queer theory discussion? I promise I’ll try to break down this highly muddled issue as simply as possible but damn, that is not going to be very easy. Ready? Go!
The Cotton Ceiling is a term referring to a specific struggle of trans*folk, generally transwomen, and even more generally lesbian transwomen, referring to how they perceive cis-gendered lesbian women seeing them as viable friends and allies but not viable sexual partners. Basically, the term defines how lesbian transwomen frequently feel cis lesbians do not want to have sex with them, specifically due to their genitalia, and perceive this as a subtle form of transmisogyny.
Now, while that might already get a little complex, here’s where things start to get really complicated. In relation to feminism, many feminists saw the attempt to overcome the cotton ceiling as a form of sexual coercion. Then all internet hell broke loose when the two communities started accusing each other of all kinds of shit, from transphobia to rape and generally not being very nice in discussions.
The cotton ceiling runs under some premises which become very complex. From an outside view, many activists (We’ll call them group A) attempting to overcome the cotton ceiling were accused of viewing sex as a right and warping the boundaries of consent. In response, critics of that view (Group B) began to point out that sexism isn’t seen from the patriarch’s perspective, it is experienced from the feminist’s, and that group A was shutting down the trans experience from the outside. More yelling ensued.
So, on to my own thoughts. I tend to find myself closer to the trans* community than feminism, mostly due to the fact that I am a slightly non-binary gay man. But in this case, I feel my thoughts are best addressed to advocates of the cotton ceiling theory:
1. If you genuinely feel someone is truly incapable of having sex with you solely and only because of your trans* status, you’d be right in the statement that this is a subtle form of transmisogyny. But you are dealing with at least one other person and people are complicated and difficult and weird, so you will probably never know the entirety of their motivation for not having sex with you even if they wrote you a 200 page manuscript on the topic, which would probably be a bit of a bummer to read anyways. For whatever reason, they choose to say no, and that is something that hurts, but it is also something you have to respect.
2. I promise you that there are many, many people in this world who will love you for exactly your beautiful self. More than you will know what to do with. Many of whom you will also want to say no to, and many more you probably should. I can also promise you that by continuing to live the best life you can and by sleeping with people you want to sleep with who want to sleep with you that, if a cotton ceiling really exists, it will surely be broken down in time, but there is no way that we can make someone love us in such a way that it is healthy for both partners. But believe me, you will undoubtedly find someone who loves you, and no amount of queer theory will ever matter when that happens.
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