Transgender, Sexuality, Pleasures, Protections

Editor’s Note: Jennifer M. Barge, founder of TransHealth Coordinators, offers this contribution to our blog-based conversation about sexual freedom emanating this week from VenusPlusX and Creating Change in Minneapolis. Jennifer is a frequent guest speaker and produces health services access portals for municipalities, conferences, and at


I started doing a workshop a few years back called “Safer Sexual Practices and Pleasures for the Transgender Bodied Person.” The reason for these classes is both to educate about the risks of unsafe behavior and to encourage the ideas that pleasure can come in a safe form. Many times people confuse safe sex with no sex. As an advocate of safe sex, I am hear to tell you that there is no reason any person can not find pleasure in the flesh-while still being responsible with their actions.

As a trans-feminine person I know all to well that at times we in the transgender community can feel separated from our bodies. Some even feel “wrong” in the body, and so then when we factor in the idea of sex, we close down. If we do not like or accept our own bodies, how would any other person? So we continually live with the false shame, and deny ourselves.

The other side of that is that many of us are not able to live fully in the gender that we feel most comfortable in, and because of that, while in the “preferred gender,” we might step outside of our usual cautious behavior and allow some risky behavior to happen. My goal is not to condemn the action, but to enforce the idea that we should always remain in control and protect ourselves. It is not what you do, but how you do it.

As for sexual freedom, we should take advantage of the beauty of the flesh. Sex is not dirty. Man and religion has tainted the most natural and instinctive act by turning physical love into “SIN.” I see no sin when at the zoo and the turtles, monkeys and elephants are taking care of their primal need. So then why do we as humans allow others to take away what we find pleasure in?

The transgender persona has been a healing and sacred leader in many civilizations for thousands of years, so why feel shame? Our bodies, so wonderfully diverse and uniquely different, should not be looked down upon. Our exotic energy exuding sexual energy and delight should not be denied or dismissed by any person including ourselves.

To make love with a person who might only be there for just that moment is not a negative event. For in that moment the physical love, comfort and connection is just as great as making love to a partner you have had and experienced for years. Energy that is transferred from spirit into physical form in the act of giving and receiving pleasure is a great gift to share.

So we all as people should step out of the shadow of shame, regret and guilt and reclaim our natural, beautiful gift of the flesh! But do it responsibly with protection.

–Jennifer M. Barge, Director, TransHealth Coordinators