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Transgender People And Dating Issues

Disclaimer: What is written here is from the perspective of one trans woman and I do not speak for all of the trans community.

                    For some people dating is as simple as a swipe right on tinder; for others, it can be a complex process that involves vast amounts of communication and support. For transgender people, the process is a lot more complicated. There are numerous barriers that we face when it comes to dating just about anyone from personal safety to making sure that our partner(s) know what’s acceptable and unacceptable. This isn’t to say that all trans people face a mountain of barriers and potential issues when it comes to dating, but that there are a significant number of us that come across barriers before we enter, and during a relationship.

                    The number one barrier that trans people encounter is the issue of personal safety. Since transgender people are widely stigmatized in our society it can be hard to let a potential partner know that we are trans, especially in person. Coming out to anyone as trans is especially difficult because there’s always a toss-up with how this person is going to react, will they be accepting and open, unsure but willing to accept and learn, or be hateful and discriminatory towards us. Transgender people have been beaten, thrown out of their partner’s home, and murdered for coming out to their partners. Jennifer Laude was drowned in a toilet by a U.S. Marine, Joseph Scott Pemberton, in the Philippines after she came out to Joseph. Joseph felt that he was “raped” because Jennifer didn’t say that she was born with a penis. It was an act of bigotry and ignorance, one that put Joseph behind bars for 6 to 12 years for homicide, not murder, because it did not meet the “standards” for murder.

                                The sexual organs that we have plays a significant factor in how comfortable we are with other people and how comfortable we are with ourselves. There are those that treat us as fetishes, we are nothing more than exotic creatures to these people known as chasers: people who have sex and “chase” after trans people because they are trans. If a trans person feels they are safe with a partner, said partner is not a chaser, issues arise when it comes to sex life. Gender dysphoria is something that makes our sex life more difficult to the point where some abstain from sex entirely because of their genitals. (Gender dysphoria is the discomfort a person has with their body because their body doesn’t match their gender identity which can lead to anxiety, depression, and other health issues). Speaking from personal experience, sex terrifies me and I haven’t had sex because I have no idea how it would play out; would it be an amazing experience or would it be a disaster that leaves me crying in the corner of the room.

           

                    Gender dysphoria can come from any part of our bodies, shoulders, face structures, height, shoe size, finger length, voice, etc. It’s constant and it never really goes away like an itch that you can never scratch but significantly worse at times. If you ever date a transgender person, please be patient and understanding with them. Constant communication is something that is important in a relationship and that doubles with trans people. There are many personal barriers that we have to overcome in order to put ourselves out there for others and there are tons of stigma and hate that come from all directions. For myself, I’m always cautious of my surroundings, the people that I’m around and the people that I interact with, constantly making sure that where I am and who I’m with is safe. I have to deal with body issues from gender dysphoria and from pop culture media images of what a woman should look like. Even if you’re friends with a trans person, please be patient and try to understand their feelings because a good support system is something that we need in a world that hates us.

 

I'm a junior dual majoring in Women and Gender studies and Computer Science. I am a transgender woman hoping to pursue a career in activism, writing, and teaching the next generation about WGS.
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