This Saturday, RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Trinity Taylor posted a Twitter game called the Str8 Guy Challenge. Taylor urged his fans to show a sexy pic of himself in a bra and panties to their straight friends and family members. Though it might seem like a funny prank, the Str8 Guy Challenge plays into dangerous transphobic stereotypes.
On July 7, Taylor tweeted “Str8 guy challenge… I want u guys to show this pic to ur dads, brothers, uncles , cousins who are truly str8.. tweet me their response!!!” along with the above image. Taylor is absolutely gorgeous in the picture, and many responses were about how sexy the straight guys found him. (Of course, not everyone was fooled.)
Though this might seem like a funny joke to play on your straight friends, there’s a dark side. Things like Trinity Taylor’s Str8 Guy Challenge play into one of the deadliest transphobic stereotypes — the idea that trans women are trying to fool straight guys into having sex with them.
A common slur for trans women is “trap,” playing off this idea. (One Twitter response even called Taylor by that slur.) The idea behind the slur is that a trans woman can’t be a real woman, but instead, is a gay man trying to have sex with straight men.
Not only is this false, it can get trans women murdered. Last year, comedian Lil’ Duval appeared on the popular radio show The Breakfast Club and said if he found out he’d slept with a trans woman, he’d murder her. And that’s far from a joke — not only has there been an epidemic of trans women being murdered, but in 48 states, “trans panic” (where a murderer claims they were deceived by a person’s gender identity) is a valid legal defense.
Games like Trinity Taylor’s Str8 Guy Challenge merely play into this and help reinforce the idea that trans women are out to trick people. It’s not accurate, and if you think it’s funny, tell that to the friends and family of Gwen Araujo, who was beaten to death at a house party after her former sexual partners found out she was trans.