In 2011 the Cotton Ceiling concept exploded in a shitstorm on the interwebs. Much of what has been said is a gross misinterpretation of what it’s intended point and purpose was. I have been threatened with death, and even called a rapist. Here I briefly explain more about this concept. In a few weeks, a 90 minute interview with TransAdvocate mag will be published but in the meantime please read this and the original speech, which can be found on this blog.
In its long and hegemonic history, cisnormativity has conflated sex and gender so that “female” has been used interchangeably with “woman”. All women are female; all females are women. We now know this isn’t true, and there are two types of women: cis and trans. Both are equally “women”. Obvious but it must be said as many consider trans women to be lesser women (or not women at all).
And it is THIS misconception that the Cotton Ceiling is challenging, this systemic invalidation of trans identities that are a consequence of cisnormative ways of thinking. The Cotton Ceiling is NOT about “men” getting into women’s pants, it’s about women born male (i.e. trans women) being seen & accepted as women, equal to cis women. It is about calling out cis ppl of ALL sexual orientations (straight men, queer men, straight women, queer women, etc..) on their exclusion of trans ppl. It’s about gently encouraging a consideration of what shapes our “spheres of desire” as I call it (who is ‘fuckable’ or ‘lovable’).
While initially developed by myself specific to being a trans woman in queer women’s communities, the Cotton Ceiling concept can, and has, been used by all groups of trans men and women and by other groups who may be desexualized, fetishized, or otherwise seen as being thought of by dominant groups as “something I’m just not into”. This includes disabled, racialized, fat, muslim, or poz folks for starters. We all deserve to be loved and wanted and we all have the right to challenge those in power to consider WHY they exclude us.
Important, this isn’t about challenging a sexual orientatation, but to encourage consideration about what kinds of women or men we are attracted to and why. Choice must always be respected but we can encourage people to consider their choices.
I encourage us all to consider and reconsider who we love, who we fuck. We can all expand our spheres of desire and we can all smash through out own Cotton Ceilings. We could all do better at opening up our minds and our hearts.
Drew DeVeaux, October 2014
breaking boundries for trans women in the world of porn… wow… thank you so much