Most people know the rule: for every cute “cat riding a swimming sloth” video, there are at least a dozen gross cis guys waiting around to send unsolicited dick pics.
When you’re a trans person, that ratio skyrockets while adding in an element of danger. Sure, you might be getting lots of “hey hottie, you look amazing” messages now, but if you assert basic etiquette and refuse to dive straight into sexting, you’re met with a bunch of transphobic messages. “Well you’re a fucking fag anyways”… uh, no she isn’t and by that transphobic logic, wouldn’t that make you gay since you were the one messaging first? Sit down, you clown.
By the age of 27, I should have been used to random messages from strangers. I mean, I was living and presenting as a woman for years before transitioning to life as a guy. Maybe I was just naive, if it’s naive to expect common decency from strangers online. Instead, I found myself being pummeled with all sorts of messages from “chasers” online. “Hey cutie, u trans? Show me your front hole.”
What are chasers?
There’s a version of a “trans chaser” for almost every minority in society. While most people might not be entirely familiar with “trans chasers”, it would be hard to find someone who hadn’t heard a weird weeaboo classmate talking about having “yellow fever” (urgh, just typing out that was gross) or the white girl who’s just “really into black guys… wink” (urgh, chop off my fingers now).
The basis is the same: people, usually cis het men, find themselves fantasizing about minority X. Imagine chasers being various types of Pokemon that no one wants to catch. Instead of going out and seeking them, they somehow find you. So really they’re more like demons. There’s no running from them either! It seems like every sticky corner of the internet is bulging, ready to pop from chaseritis.
In trans circles, those people who fetishize us are simply called “chasers” because the original word (“tranny chasers”) is just simply too demeaning to us. Unfortunately, we can stop using the word but it doesn’t stop chasers from existing. It’s not so easy. Is anything ever easy for trans people in 2021?
“But Zack,” you say, “aren’t trans people usually complaining about how no one wants to date them? Why are chasers such a bad thing?”
Oh sweet summer child. Chasers aren’t like… trans enthusiasts. They’re not running down the street during Pride, giving out pamphlets on trans rights and looking to make the world a safer place for trans people. They’re not concerned with workplace acceptance of pronouns, or society’s perception of gender, or easy access to medical care. Chasers don’t care about trans people! They only like how trans people make their genitals tingly.
Chasers see trans people, usually trans women, as lifesize palpable sex dolls to project their fantasies onto. They lust after the fantasy of trans people. They’ll hunt us down, screaming about how kinky and taboo it is to fuck trans people just on the basis of us being trans. “Wow, a woman with a dick and boobs? Best of both worlds!” Meanwhile, trans people are just out there trying to shop for groceries without someone being violent to us or take a piss without someone worrying we’ll assault them.
In my experience, chasers come in three varieties: the bold (“hey, do u have a cock”), the mild (“hey wow I love trans ppl”), and the sneaky. The sneaky is exactly what you think it is: he’s the guy who knows how to seek trans people out for casual hookups and knows his best chance at not fucking it up is to stay polite. You won’t know he’s a trans chaser until a couple of dates in, but there’s definitely going to be some red flags along the way.
What are some red flags?
Keeping yourself mentally and physically safe from chasers requires a keen eye. First, they won’t want to meet you in public places for dates. While this is a hint that someone is a chaser, it’s also a “dating while trans” security risk! Next, chasers will be dismissive about your regular life. When they ask you questions about your life, they’ll only ask questions that relate to you being trans. Expect a lot of one-word replies when it comes to talking about family dynamics, but edited novels on their “allyship” or how sexy they find you being trans is. Chasers will be overly pushy about using gendered terms for you to “affirm” your gender, like “princess” or “man” or “little boy”. Trans people can be so used to having people disregard our gender identity that we’ll be hypnotized by having people affirm it, even if they ultimately want to use us. Furthermore, unless you’ve both stepped into a kink relationship, being called “little boy/girl” is a huge red flag. I’ve heard it dozens of times as a trans man, and it really grosses me out. Like, buddy, I’m probably taller than you, I should be calling you “little boy”.
Can cis women also be chasers?
Historically, trans chasers have often been cis men who’ve sought out trans women to fulfill their sexual fantasies. But can trans chasers ever be women?
My opinion is yes. As a trans man, I’ve had experiences where lesbian women have pursued sexual relationships with me on the basis that I was a trans man. In their words, these women were into pussy first and foremost. So, why is that a problem?
To begin, queer women who are “only into vaginas” are reducing the diverse and complex gender experiences that vary from person to person to just… genitals. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but trans people are more than our genitals! Some of us are fine with our randomly assigned body parts, but a huge amount of us aren’t. A lot of trans men and nonbinary folks are repulsed by that particular facet of their anatomy, so being touched there gives them the heebie-jeebies. It makes me feel pretty uncomfortable when someone’s attraction hierarchy puts pussy at the top when it’s not something I feel wonderful about for my own body. It makes me think of someone who chooses a favorite restaurant by how nice their bathrooms are. Uh… that’s not really my priority, so it’s safe to say we’re not compatible for dinner dates. It’s hard to put into words, but there’s something that sets off my own dysphoria when a queer cis woman says she’s only into dating women and trans men. There are exceptions to the rule, and I tend to hover around other folks who identify as “queer” first and foremost. However, in my experience, there as some women who will often make sweeping assumptions about how different trans men are from cis men as though trans men were just Men Minus Badness. They’ll say that trans men are just “more sensitive” to women’s issues or less likely to be toxic.
Trans men can’t be toxic? Uh… are you not familiar with Buck Angel? Sadly, there are plenty of trans men who are steeped in toxic masculinity, and especially though who have issues with their own internalized transphobia. Trans men might be extremely repulsed by menstruation, especially as it’s something that’s been thrust on their own bodies. It can be just another way that trans men are excluded from being considered “men”, by a binary and cisnormative society.
Some women will also praise trans men as some kind of Casanova sex gods, Olympic gold medalists in cunnilingus. Now, as much as I want to prop up trans men, having a vagina doesn’t mean the person attached to it will know how to navigate someone else’s! We’re all unique in how we enjoy being touched. Different strokes for different folks, right Cis women also hold more power over trans people in our current society. There’s a hierarchy that places trans people, especially trans people of color, at the bottom. It’s hard to ignore those facts, even though the most intense and dangerous chasers tend to be cis men.
Can I still hook up with a trans chaser?
Look, sometimes you get a call from the wild and it isn’t the bad leftovers you had the night before. Sometimes you wake up, and you’re just like, “fuck? Fuck… fuck!”. Pickings are slim, and every cute person you come across is already happily boning someone else. The poly people are poly-saturated, the freaky board game people are too busy playing Risk to take any, and there are no fun queer sex parties being planned. It happens. You’ve been marooned on a deserted island far from eligible cuties, and you’re thirsty.
So, if you want to stumble onto Grindr for a quick hookup with a chaser? Eh, that’s up to you. I’m not out here to kink shame anyone for wanting to be slammed like a luchador, even if the other person is a chaser. In my humble opinion, there’s no harm in two (or more) consenting adults hooking up on the basis of fulfilling each other’s fantasies. This guy might be looking into fulfilling a fetish for himself, but you might be as well.
However, I don’t think it’s completely without risk either!
First, there’s your personal safety. You might have taken all the precautions to ensure your safety, but are you caring for your emotional wellbeing?
If the chaser starts making you feel terrible and says things that flare up your dysphoria, are you emotionally healthy enough to disregard those comments?
Or are you comfortable telling this chaser to shut the fuck up and leave if you don’t feel comfortable?
Personally, I’m not comfortable hooking up with chasers but I won’t pretend it’s a simple issue. Sometimes you just want to be desired, and the allure of being placed on a flimsy pedestal by a chaser can be so tempting.
Just take care of yourself first, because when it comes down to it, this chaser will be ready to disregard you the moment it’s no longer sexy for them. Remember that you’re hooking up with a person who might not give a shit at all about your inherent rights in society, or the rights of your trans family and friends.
What would you say to your best friend, if they were trans and thirsty and considering a chaser?
Hey, if you assess all the risks and rewards, and decide to bone a chaser? Take this opportunity to make a donation to your local trans advocacy group. They’re a fundamental part of trans communities everywhere, and without them, we’d still be in the stone ages.
Heck, maybe you can guilt-trip the chaser to make regular donations too.