As a member of a few Facebook Trans* groups, I see a lot of the same post over and over again, worded slightly differently of course. One of the most common topics is dating. Some people think they will never find love because “who would love a Trans* freak like me?”, others want to know how to meet someone who might be interested in dating Trans* people, and then there are the questions about when it’s appropriate to disclose their Trans* status to a potential partner. There are also questions I hear from non-trans people about dating as a Trans* person. I’d like to say that I have all the answers and if you follow my 4 simple steps, you too can find love! But that’s simply not true. No one has the answers, but as usual I have a lot of opinions…
I’ve been quite lucky in dating in regards to Trans* acceptance. Just after I came out as Trans* in 1999 I met a girl I was very much interested in. She made it clear that she felt the same but I was worried she would run the moment she found out I wanted to transition. I told her early on though; I didn’t want to get too attached just to be devastated later. To my surprise, she was not only accepting but very supportive. Over the next 10 years, we had a somewhat difficult relationship that ended rather abruptly, but it truly had nothing to do with my Trans* status. And while her and I had a lot of issues, I can say she is definitely an ally. After dealing with the end of that relationship, I had no idea how to go about dating. Half the people I knew had met their current partner through internet dating sites but where exactly would I fit in on your average dating site? The truth is, I didn’t. I tried, but it just didn’t feel right. I had two options, lie about being female, or lie about being male. Now, me being male isn’t actually a lie but I had not had any surgeries at all and physically I was not male by any means. I realize I might take some shit for what I just said, but I have my reasons for feeling this way. Let me explain before I get any hate mail. I am a man, I always have been and always will be. However, when an average, non-trans person is looking for a man to date, they are thinking about the physical aspects. They are looking for someone without breasts, who has a penis. And there is nothing wrong with that as long as it’s a dating preference and is not an issue of prejudice. There are people who have a sexual attraction that relies heavily on genitals and we really have no right to judge that. So if I say I am a man on a dating site, there is a decent chance one or both of us is going to be disappointed even after I had my chest surgery. I can’t say I am a woman either, I don’t identify as one, I don’t have breasts, and people are usually looking for certain things when they are attracted to females. A lot of Trans* people want to get upset when someone rejects them because of their genitals, but that’s not fair. Be offended if that person says you are not a “real” man/woman, be angry if they become hateful, throw a fit if slurs get tossed around but how can we flip out because someone has a preference for who they date? I have many friends that are extremely supportive of Trans* people but wouldn’t date me because they simply are not interested in vagina and I intend to keep mine. Perfectly fair in my opinion….So, for the most part, your typical dating sites (POF, OKCupid, match.com etc…) just don’t work well for Trans* people. But are there any Trans* dating sites? And if so, are they safe and worth the effort? These are questions I set out to answer when I was ready to date again. It turns out there are several Trans* dating sites. Most of them seem like a scam to me though. They claim to be “free” dating sites. You can sign up, create a profile, and all that great stuff but as soon as you want to send a message or read one you have received, you suddenly need to be a premium member. That just doesn’t work for me. I did find two sites that are (for the most part) actually free. Trans Passions is one of them (NOTE: Make sure to type passions and not passion!!!!! That final ‘s’ makes a world of difference and if you leave it off you will be at a porn site and I will not be held responsible for any content seen or damage done to your computer!) and the other is Transgender Date (again, if you mistype, I am not responsible for the outcome!) Now, are these sites effective and safe? Well, I think that really depends on a lot of things. The safety of these sites is probably equal to the safety of any other dating site, it’s up to you to judge the people you come in contact with and determine if they are safe to be interacting with. As for effectiveness, I met my current girlfriend on Trans Passions and we have been together 2 years (as of this past Sunday!! I think some Congratulations are in order folks!) I also made some friends and met a lot of people I had no interest in knowing, a few creepers, a few people who I just didn’t click with. The best thing about a Trans* specific dating site is that it removes the issue of when/if to disclose your Trans* status. Another plus is knowing that most of the people on the site that are not Trans* are looking for someone gender variant in some way and there is far less risk of that person being a bigoted jackass. Of course, the effectiveness will vary from person to person because lets face it, a lot has to do with personality and some people just suck. Which leads me to the next part of this post…
Those of you that feel like you are destined to be alone forever because you are Trans* need to get that shit out of your head right now! I am Trans*, and though I pass extremely well, I am very open about it. Since coming out as Trans*, I have been in two relationships. One for 10 years, and my current relationship that just hit the 2 year mark. I know an FTM that is engaged to a non-trans woman, I know one who just got married last year to a non trans-woman, another who is in a loving relationship with another FTM, and yet another who has been married several years and has a child with a non-trans woman. I also know MTFs that are in relationships with both Trans* and non-trans men and women. The problem finding love isn’t going to be your gender identity, it’s going to be your confidence and personality. I realize it might be harder in certain parts of the country (or world) to find accepting people, but it is most definitely possible. When I met my girlfriend, she lived in Utah, me in California. I’m not saying you should meet someone online and start packing your house up. I am simply saying that love and acceptance are out there if you are willing to look for it and be patient. All of that “woe is me, I am an unlovable freak” crap isn’t going to help you either. If you don’t feel like you are worth loving then you aren’t, but it has nothing to do with your gender or being Trans*. I know that sounds harsh but most people are not interested in dating someone who doesn’t see their own value at least partially. It’s ok to be a work in progress as long as you are doing the work and don’t expect a future partner to fix you. And don’t be a dick, nobody wants to date a dick.
So lets say you have found someone you are into, they seem to reciprocate those feelings but they have no clue you are Trans*. Do you tell them? And if so, when? There is no right answer here… None at all. Only you can decide what’s right for your situation. If you have had all the surgeries available, and you pass 100% then maybe you can get away with never divulging any part of it. I don’t know, it’s your life, your “secret”, and your choice. For me personally, I have always been upfront right away and if I ever find myself dating again (hopefully that day never comes…) I would continue to do so. I don’t want to get something started and have it all fall apart over my identity as a Trans* person. I also don’t want to be in love, and spend my life keeping such a secret from the person I am supposed to trust the most in life. I find it better for everyone involved to say “Hey, I am Trans*, I was born with the wrong bits and pieces, I’ve taken steps to fix that and regardless of my body, I am a man. If that’s cool with you, then we can see where this goes but if it’s not, lets’ not waste any more of each others time.” That’s honestly what I would recommend to anyone who asked me what to do but again, it comes down to each person and how they want to handle it. I don’t think there is a wrong way to go about it. Just think it through and make sure you can live with whatever decision you make.
Ok Trans* folks, I am done with you for now. Non-trans people, listen up! This is for you and the ridiculous questions you ask us! Ok, they aren’t all ridiculous questions but I won’t be going over those….
Let me list the absurdities I have been asked, or heard others being asked.
- Aren’t you afraid you’ll never find love?
- What about kids? Don’t you want to have a family?
- Why would she date only Trans* guys? I don’t understand the appeal.
- How do you even have sex if you haven’t had bottom surgery?
- If you don’t tell someone up front that you’re Trans*, aren’t you lying to them?
- Why would anyone date a Trans* person when they could date a real man/woman?
The list goes on and on and on, but I am limiting it to the realm of dating for this particular post.
Look guys, I am all for asking questions and learning. but these are some seriously messed up questions! Lets break each one down and maybe I can stop even just one person from asking a Trans* person these questions.
“Aren’t you afraid you’ll never find love?”
Seriously?! Why don’t you just tell us we are freaks and don’t deserve love because no normal person would ever date us!!! That’s pretty much what this question says. It’s you saying you don’t think we can find love, that we are somehow damaged and unwanted. If you say this to a Trans* person, I hope they punch you in the throat. And I am typically non-violent. Don’t do it. Just don’t. Trans* people have enough self-doubt running through their minds already, we don’t need you adding to it.
“What about kids? Don’t you want to have a family?”
First of all. It’s not really your business if I do or don’t want kids. Secondly, Not everyone feels the need to have kids and raise a family. Thirdly, there is absolutely no reason a Trans* person cannot have kids. Before I had my hysterectomy, I had the option to not have it if I thought I might want to bare children, I was also told about the option of having my eggs frozen for future use (a very costly option but an option still). Trans* people can procreate before they eliminate the ability to do so, they can have sperm/eggs saved, they can adopt, their partner may be able to have children through artificial insemination. There are so many options I can’t even list them all here. I never wanted to be pregnant, I was never concerned with having my own biological progeny, and I wasn’t even sure I wanted kids at all…I’m still on the fence actually. But being Trans* does not limit my ability to be a parent. Now, all of that is assuming that when you asked that question, you were referring to the ability to produce children and/or find a suitable mate. It’s possible that you were implying that as a Trans* person, I SHOULDN’T have kids because there is something fundamentally wrong with the idea of Trans* parents raising children. If that’s your implication, then I am far more worried about you raising kids, than myself. My ability to raise a child has absolutely nothing to do with my gender identity. In fact, with all the counseling we typically have to go through to transition, we are probably more mentally stable than you! Dick!
“Why would she date only Trans* guys? I don’t understand the appeal.”
I had someone ask me this. I was left nearly speechless! First of all, the person in question only dates Trans* guys because that is her sexual preference and none of your damn business! You don’t get to judge why a person is attracted to a certain type of person. And if you don’t understand the appeal then don’t date a Trans* person, but you damn sure don’t get to imply there is something wrong with those people who do date Trans* people. This is a completely unnecessary question. I don’t know why a person dates one type of person exclusively any more than you do. Stating that you don’t get the appeal is basically saying that because you don’t find it attractive, no one else should. Dick!
“How do you even have sex if you haven’t had bottom surgery?”
Is this even a real question or are you just a perv that wants to know how I get down? I have sex the same way every other Trans* person does. However the hell I want! Just because I do not have a penis does not mean I am unable to fuck. There are several appendages and orifices on the human body and they can be combined in any number of ways to provide pleasure. If you are a non-trans straight person, don’t pretend like you have never committed a sexual act that was lacking either a penis or vagina (or both!). I am more than happy to explain what surgeries I have and have not had, I will tell you all about my transition, and everything related if you ask me respectfully but asking how I have sex is just plain asinine. You have an imagination, you know what human bodies look like and what they do. My sex acts are not your business. Unless we are getting naked together, or you are my friend and we are talking about our likes and dislikes. Don’t ask this shit. Dick.
“If you don’t tell someone up front that you’re Trans*, aren’t you lying to them?”
How exactly is it a lie? I am a man. If I tell you I am a man, that’s not a lie. There are things in everyone’s past that they don’t want to talk about right away, if ever. If you don’t tell someone you were raped and exclude that incident in the number of sexual partners you have had, are you lying to them? No, you are not. That’s some private, sensitive shit and you get to decide when and if you talk about it. End of Story.
“Why would anyone date a Trans* person when they could date a real man/woman?”
If you don’t get kicked in the junk for asking this, then you are extremely lucky. I am a real man. MTFs are real women. Our bodies do not define our genders. Don’t be a bigot. Dick.
So there you have it. Trans* dating summed up from the perspective of an opinionated Transman.