Carmen Carrera sees a shift in the stigma against those who love transgender women.
In an exclusive interview with The Advocate, the model and RuPaul’s Drag Race alumnus — who was recently married to Adrian Torres on VH1’s Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn — discussed how influencers like I Am Cait’s Candis Cayne and Orange Is the New Black’s Laverne Cox have helped move the needle for both transamorous men and the women they love.
“I don’t know if it’s just the younger generation or because the transgender discussion has happened and has reached so many people, I feel like it’s not surprising anymore,” said Carrera.
“In my experience, I found a lot of guys are curious,” she added. “I think that maybe that’s because of Laverne Cox’s influence and Candis’ influence throughout the years. It’s definitely helped my generation.”
Recently, Cayne addressed the “obstacles” that can come with courtship, particularly when the other partner is a cisgender (nontrans) man.
“In my experience, most men are so afraid of being labeled something other than straight that they won't even go there — no matter how attracted to you they are,” Cayne stated in a recent blog post on E!.
“It takes a very strong man to hold up to societal pressures,” she added. “And unfortunately those men seem to be few and far between. I mean, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of men that date trans women, but not in the open and definitely not on camera!”
“Most men who are attracted to and date transgender women are probably stigmatized more than trans women are,” Cox said in a 2015 interview with SiriusXM.
“Gender is policed in such a way that it does not just affect transgender people,” Cox added. “It affects gay-identified men, straight-identified men. And straight-identified men [who are] deeply policed. As I date a lot of straight-identified men, I’ve seen them so deeply internalize these ideas very rigidly about what it means to be a man — to be a straight man.”
When asked if she considered herself a “possibility model” for transgender women, Carrera said “definitely… not only trans women, but just women that find themselves in a situation where they’re … with a nontraditional kind of guy.”
Carrera, whose partner identifies as pansexual, said she hopes their marriage can help “make it more possible I guess, or more normal, to date someone that’s like him, who maybe society might deem him as confused or bisexual or just gay or whatever, given his experience.”
“We’re just people trying to figure it out,” she said of her own relationship. “We love each other. And although we do have those categories I guess that some people want to put us in, it’s just about making it work.”
Carrera is an outspoken advocate for trans issues. In the past, she has made headlines for a campaign to become the first out transgender Victoria's Secret model, schooling Katie Couric for invasive interview questions, and speaking out against transphobic language like the T word.