Dating as a Transgirl

Up until the past few months, I’ve had very little experience with dating. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in serious relationships lasting upwards of a year; I just never dated. My previous relationships always started with someone I was already friends with. So the last month has been a crash course on the whole courtship ritual.  Needless to say, it’s been intensely educational, even more so than it would be for most women in my situation. On top of dealing with the trans thing,This is also the first time I’ve ever gone out with men as well.

When I was a kid, I was of course taught about dating. Everyone in our culture receives training on what is expected out of dating through tv, movies, our peers, and of course parents. There are other parts of courtship that may be more instinctive, a man looking for a very physically attractive woman or a girl looking for a stable man to become a good father. We learn these things almost subconsciously growing up. The guy pays for dinner and holds open the door. The girl smiles and laughs a lot at everything the guy says. As we grow older we make our own judgements on what we want out of dating. Some girls get incredibly ticked off if someone tries to open the door for them while some guy could absolutely love when their partner holds open the door for them. Of course, this all works out fine, a person can learn  what they want over the course of years and eventually (hopefully!) find the right person for them.

For a transsexual person, however, things significantly more complicated. Most trans people, including myself, went through childhood and teenage years in hiding, perhaps aware consciously or subconsciously about our sex/gender incongruency, but never speaking about it. We learn everything we are expected to learn, even if it feels wrong. Once we find the strength to come out and finally transition, we have to learn how to do everything that our chosen gender typically learns throughout their life. On top of that, we have to “unlearn” a lot of the things we were taught growing up.

Dating a guy for the first time has been an incredibly interesting experience for this transgender woman. I can see the lessons I learned as a child in his actions. It makes me wonder if gay/lesbian couples of 2 cisgendered people have a similar, familiar sensation to dating.

On a more overt level, there is the concern that I have not gotten gender reassignment surgery, and will not likely be able to for a few years. This presents an immediate challenge when dating, as I identify entirely as female, despite genetalia. When I meet a woman who I consider dating, I not only need to find out if she is interested in women, but isn’t the sort of lesbian who only wants to be with genetic females. When dating a man, I have to make sure they are attracted to women, as I am not interested in dating a gay man despite their occasional interest in me, and I need to be very careful that they don’t find out I am transgender in a dangerous way, as far too many stories like that have terrible endings for trans people.

For me personally, I choose to be as upfront about it as I can. I clearly state on my profiles I am transgender, and I am quick to have that conversation if I meet someone elsewhere. What this means is, before I even meet a guy or a girl face to face, I often have to have an intimate conversation about my genitals, which is an incredibly awkward situation, but at least it is safe!

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  1. I am often baffled by the dating ritual and the things my mother taught me about men, were absolutely correct. ;\ Anyway, I formed my own ideas of how to treat a person I am dating or seeing based on how they view themselves and the world. So I would likely treat you very differently than I would treat Arial and both of you very differently than I would treat other transwomen or lesbians. I prefer to get to know the person enough to guess whether they like chivalry, a balance, or none? Also, I find that there are lots of rules that each gender put on dating that are sort of ridiculous for both sides. For instance, most men assume the woman wants dinner and a movie but in many cases I know that is not true. They also assume women are not sexual, which is a load of crap. Women talk way more dirty than men about sex! Women assume men just want to get laid and they use it to control them, this is a bad assumption since most men are prepared to NOT have sex the first few date.

    Speaking of sex and dating, I think that there are way too many restrictions on women that have sex for fun. The double standard is ridiculous and I think all woman, trans and not, need to take back their right to have enjoyable sex as often as they like! Also, I don’t understand why transwoman “avoid men with a trans fetish” – why would you avoid your admirers? That’s like a woman with blond hair avoiding men that like blonds….just plain silly if you ask me. I have an overall “transfetish” but I am trans, so that somehow makes it okay. So essentially most transwomen are avoiding these men cause they are NOT trans but they have fantasies about them….that’s not fair nor smart. Happily married transwomen are with men that have a transwoman fetish, just saying.

  2. I want to say thanks so much for the great comment Hollis!

    I agree completely with what you’re saying, every person has things they want from a relationship, and learning what those wants and needs are is part of getting close to someone. Chivalry, in my opinion, isn’t an insult against feminism, but carrying on a tradition of our culture, just as feminism is a part of our new cultural heritage. I find the misconceptions about the fact women want sex just as much as men rather humorous, though the root cause is far from funny.

    Its exactly as you say, Hollis. One of the things I was most shocked about after transition is that I know more about female anatomy down there than many cisgendered girls who have lived with those parts for year. Women are taught to be ashamed of how much sex they have while men are taught to flaunt that number. This train of thinking likely leads to the assumption men want sex more than women.

    I also agree, though it is a bit more controversial, with what you said about “tranny chasers” or people with a “transfetish.” They often suffer judgement not only from the overwhelming transphobic society at large, but from LGBT people themselves. This can be incredibly hard when all they want to do is be with someone who often could really use the company/self esteem boost. That being said, many of these people care only about the genetalia and not the person its attached to. The tranny chasers are often the type who would think of me as a man. Still, casting judgement on anyone sexually interested in transgender people is just another form of discrimination and the only real way to find out is to get to know the person.

  1. Defined By Genetalia « A Hope For More

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