September 5, 2010

The transfan in popular culture

In my article on crossdreamers and the fascination for "shemales", crossdressers and transwomen, I looked into the psychology of what drives a transfan (also called a transsensual or a tranny chaser).

The phenomenon of men being attracted to transwomen is well known in popular culture.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

The most well known is probably Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side, which presents the transwoman as a part of the wild nightlife.

It was on his 1972 album Transformer and was produced by David Bowie, another artist that explored the ambiguity of gender.

The lyrics tell the story about journeys made to to New York City by some of the celebrities connected to Andy Warhol's New York studio, The Factory: trans actress Holly Woodlawn, trans actress Candy Darling, Joe Dallesandro, Jackie Curtis and Joe Campbell (referred to in the song by his nickname Sugar Plum Fairy).

Admittedly the lyrics focus more on the transwoman than the transfan:

Holly came from Miami, F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the USA
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She says, Hey babe
Take a walk on the wild side

The Kinks: Lola

Another well known song sees it all from the man's perspective. Whether he is a true transfan or not my be debated, but he certainly falls for Lola.

(There are some errors in the subtitles, but you will get the gist of it.)

In the book The Kinks: The Official Biography, Ray Davies says that he was inspired to write this song after the band manager Robert Wace had spent the night dancing with a "transvestite".

RuPaul's Tranny Chaser

As for modern lyrics looking at the fascination for the male to female, RuPaul is pretty explicit in the song Tranny Chaser. RuPaul is an American celebrity drag queen, actor and singer/songwriter.

I suspect RuPaul is androphilic, but she shows a clear understanding of the tranny chaser not being a gay man. She also underlines the idea that deep inside the tranny chaser identifies with the "tranny".

Every time you watch me... that don't make you gay
Do you wanna be me... that don't make you gay
Or do you wanna f@#& me... that don't make you gay
So the hunter got captured by the game
It ain't the first time a player got played
Won't be the last time you hear a t-girl say
You want it wet then you betta make it rain
What's the tee, girl? Tell me what's the tee?

(Yes, I know "tranny" is a derogatory term, but I guess RuPaul has earned the right to use it.)



  1. Interesting as always.

    There's a theory that "Lola" isn't so much about TGism or about a TG admirer as it is a gay coming of age story.A naive young lad;
    "I left home just a week before/I never ever kissed a woman before"
    and "I got down on my knees" has sex (implying fellatio w/him in the female role) with a "transvestite". Its like a Madame Butterfly story. Of course AGY theory would put a whole new twist on this. Sexuality is more complicated than usually imagined.

    I'm trans. I don't regard the term "tranny" to be offensive at all, I use it all the time.

  2. I was gonna say the same thing about "tranny". I've heard it used as an attempted put-down once or twice, but mostly it's just a normal word...


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