Real life- Real issues

Dating & Being Trans… Not As Easy As Swiping Left Or Right

     Dating for trans people is something most people will never understand.  As if transitioning isn’t hard enough on its own, can you imagine trying to put yourself out there to date being a transgender person? Lord. I could write an entire book about my dating experiences over the years.  Some of it would be comical, some romantic, and some of it downright terrifying.

     Dating is quite difficult for most trans people, and I think it will probably always be…. at least for the foreseeable future.  It’s just one of those things we have to accept.  However, with the invention of dating apps, it has definitely gotten easier.  Back when I was a young girl, the only way we could tell a potential suitor that we were trans was to flat out tell them.  That was unless they “clocked” you or someone “spilled your tea”.  “Clocking” is a term we use to refer to when a person realizes that you were born a different gender than the one you are presenting.  Someone “spilling your tea” is when another person takes it upon themselves to tell another person that you are transgender.  I’ve experienced both of these things over the course of my life…. neither are pleasant.  I experienced “clocking” primarily when i was early in my transition, not that it isn’t still possible now. I’m very blessed at this point in my life to enjoy what a lot of people in my community refer to as “passing privilege”.  “Passing” is what we call when you pass as the gender you are presenting and no one knows any different.  Passing is something I definitely do not take for granted… but it’s a double edged sword when it comes to dating.  

     Over the years, I’ve met many guys that were wonderful and amazing… and they showed great interest in me… however, they didn’t know that I was a trans woman.  That’s when the mind fuck begins on how and when to tell him.  If I’m going to be honest,  I waited entirely to long to tell some of them.  Others I just ghosted because I couldn’t bring myself to let that out. There were instances where I told a guy, and he would be completely calm and ok with the situation.  There were other situations where the guy flipped the fuck out and went crazy.  I’m very fortunate that I’ve never experienced violence from telling a man… unlike so many of my trans sisters.  I’ve definitely experienced extreme violence in my life, but not because of telling a man I was transgender.  The violence I’ve experienced is another blog for another day… but violence against trans people is a very real issue right now. It’s  especially a problem for trans women of color.  My point here is this…. if you are a transgender person, dating is like gambling with your life.

     Dating apps have enabled trans people to date in a slightly safer environment.  It is still a gamble with our life every single time…. but telling someone you are trans can now be done from the safely of your own phone.  There’s Bumble, Tinder, Hinge, OKCupid…. all allow you to be yourself and tell a potential date that you are trans.  Hinge even has “transgender female” and “transsexual female” among many other identifiers.  

     When I was on the dating sites, the opening line of my bio stated that I was a transgender woman.  I don’t feel like my life is at all defined by my being trans, but when it comes to dating, it’s best to be upfront about that right out of the gate.  It can be a huge time saver.  I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time, and I definitely didn’t want mine wasted.  I learned very quickly that I would meet a lot of assholes on these apps with my opening line.  At times I wouldn’t even get a Hi or Hello… the first question would be “So do you have a pussy or a dick?” Or another great opening question would be is “So you’re a dude?” Even though many of those guys would incorrectly use your instead of you’re… which I always gladly pointed out.  The way I responded to these messages was completely dependant on the mood I was in that second.  Some got ignored while others caught me on the wrong day and wished they would have just kept swiping by the time I was done with them.

     I did, however, meet a great deal of men on dating apps that were incredibly kind and awesome.  Those men are out there! There is a whole group of men out there who like trans women…. and these men tend to fall into one of two categories.  The ones who openly love and accept us… and the ones who want to date us on the down low and keep us a secret.  We call those guys “down low guys” because that’s exactly what they do… they want to keep your relationship a secret or on the down low…. meaning don’t let anyone else know.  I’ve found myself in this degrading situation on more than one occasion.  Once upon a time, I was spending a great deal of time with an ex professional football player who was kind of a big-to-do in Dallas (not a Dallas Cowboy).  He was sweet, gorgeous, and always an absolute gentleman.  I started to wonder though why he would always want me to come over to his house but would never want to go anywhere or do anything in public.  He even sent a friend of his away one time that unexpectedly showed up at the door… of course without introducing him to me.  I was very young and naive obviously.  It wasn’t until down the road that my suspicion was confirmed.    

     One evening I was entertaining at a very posh event in downtown Dallas, and he was in attendance.  Neither of us knew that the other one would be there.  When I saw him I was pleasantly surprised and started to walk over to him to say hello.  He didn’t just walk…. he ran in the other direction and left the event completely.  It really hurt my feelings.  I felt like a complete idiot and started having those horrible thoughts, like, of course a guy like that wouldn’t want a girl like me.  I felt used and stupid…it was such a low moment for me.  About an hour later, he texted me asking me if I wanted to come over.  Can you believe the nerve?  That was a pivotal moment in my life.  I realized right then and there that I would not allow a man to treat me like that. I told him to fuck all the way off and never saw him again, other than running into him in public.  That behavior is just not acceptable to me, and I never wanted to have any part of that or a man that acts like that again.

     There is a stigma that comes with dating trans women, and while it’s gotten better over the past few years, it is definitely still very much there.  This brings me to the other groups of men that love trans women…The men that proudly and openly date trans women.  The more this happens, the more the wall and the stigma that comes with dating us is broken down.  A man just recently committed suicide after being bullied and harassed about his relationship with his transgender girlfriend.  This is something that just shouldn’t be happening in this day and time.  I applaud the men that openly date and love us, but we as trans women have to do better on our part to not be the ones that talk down to these men who love us.  I’ll be the first to admit that I have been guilty of ostracizing some of these guys in the past and giving them a really hard time.  I did this usually out of jealously because some of them had been with every trans girl I knew.  It still wasn’t right and if any of you guys are reading this, and I haven’t had the opportunity  to tell you in person… I apologize for my actions.   Words like “chaser” and “panty sniffer” should have never come out of my mouth to refer to a man that loves trans women, and I encourage my fellow community to do better as well.  They do not deserve that type of treatment for liking what they like.  I finally realized that in a community as small as the trans community, that there is bound to be some crossover.  And to the gay men who this applies to, and even straight men as well… if a man likes trans women… stop saying he is gay…just stop that shit already.  You’re keeping that stigma there, and we just don’t need it.  While I love seeing trans love stories on TV like Papi and Angel on Pose, real life isn’t always like that…. but it can be.  To my trans brother and sisters… you are deserving of love.  You must believe that before you will be ready to accept the love of another person. To the people who love trans people, we know it’s not always an easy road but thank you for loving us.  

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5 Comments

  1. Nicely said! As a guy who dates transwomen and was even in a 3- year engagement you speak the truth !

  2. Hal Wiley says:

    Beautiful written essay, I am probably guilty of most of the things you wrote about, but now that I am well into being a senior I look back and regret being the way I was with some of the ladies I had the pleasure of knowing.

  3. What are your thoughts on how this applies to trans women that have had GRS?
    I feel like every time I see this topic addressed, and of course this is very personal to me as much as any trans woman, it implicitly indicates that to be considered a trans woman, you still need to have a penis.

  4. That was an awesome read. Thanks for sharing! I had no idea about some of this stuff.

  5. Marcy Sutton says:

    Thank you for sharing your perspective. That is how my daughter must have felt during her short journey in this life.
    I saw many obstacles when she lived with me until she was taken from me.
    I try really hard to continue as Ally to be her vessel and voice.

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