“I have to tell you something, ” I said. He looked at me, eyes narrowing. We’d just met, so I can only imagine the infinite possibilities swirling in his head. He had just moved to Atlanta from Chicago and had this whole stereotypical macho thing about him. He was an amateur MMA fighter, came from the hood — apparently a former gang member, as I learned later. It wasn’t that he necessarily made me feel threatened, but I knew the statistics. I knew about girls like me. We’re the ones who guys love in the dark.
The Transgender Dating Dilemma BuzzFeed
We’re the dirty little secrets who get calls only after hours. No matter how beautiful, intelligent, or successful, we are the ones who have to settle for being nothing more than receptacles for men’s desires and insecurities. I imagined the worst, but I said it anyway. “I’m a transgender woman. ” I emphasized the woman part.
That didn’t stop the intense expression of confusion that spread across his face. “So you’re a man? ” he asked. “Do you know how lucky you are that I’m not, like, crazy? Because I know plenty of guys who would really do some shit to you.
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”“No, I’m a woman, a transgender woman, ” I answered, trying to make him understand. But I knew it didn’t matter what I said. His entire view of me had changed and there was no going back. I vowed as I left his place in the middle of the night that I would never put myself in that dangerous of a situation again. And even though I now make sure people know my identity before I’m alone with a potential partner, there are still some aspects of this interaction that seem to show up in my dating life no matter how many precautions I take.
Despite one pervasive misconception that transgender people transition for the approval or acceptance of future sexual partners, when I transitioned there was nothing about the forthcoming experience that assured me I would be seen as desirable. I didn’t know if I’d ever have the chance to be loved. I thought, Who will want you? Dating is hard for most people. But when you’re trans, it’s hard in a completely different way.
It’s all too easy to internalize the assumptions that we are rudimentary facsimiles of the people we actually want to be, or that we take on a lifestyle that’s all about mutilating our “God-given, natural” bodies. Being a person of color that floats between the queer world and the straight world adds all the more pressure. I constantly have to juggle other people’s hangups around gender, sexuality, and race simultaneously. I’m surprised at how often I encounter people — typically cisgender men — who don’t understand what transgender means, even in a world where Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox make headlines. Despite the slowly turning tides, dealing with these potential partners is difficult because I often have to serve as both a therapist and a teacher.
Like with this one guy — we’ll call him J. He was very much interested in me, but it took a few months for him to admit the full extent.