It is important to approach dating trans people with the right level of sensitivity, assuming that the other partner is cis-gendered. Trans people are going to know about the issues that they face already, but a lot of cis people just don’t understand what it is like because they never experienced it for themselves. A basic understanding of trans issues is a prerequisite for dating trans people, or the cis people in question are going to be unintentionally insensitive.
Trans people are among the most underprivileged people on the planet. They receive a great deal of employment discrimination and social shaming. In the dating world, trans people are often treated as punchlines rather than people. People tell jokes about dating someone who turns out to be a member of the other sex. Trans people are almost always honest with their potential partners about the history of their genders, making this joke both transphobic and inaccurate. People who are dating a trans woman will almost always know that she was assigned the male gender at birth, because such women are almost always upfront about it.
Cis people who are dating trans people need to avoid making assumptions. Gender is very complicated, and people’s relationships to their genders are just as complicated. Cis people should not assume that they know everything there is to know about a potential trans date. They also need to be able to approach trans dating from the right perspective. Trans people pursuing trans dating, naturally, aren’t going to have most of these problems. They will be seeking out people with a shared situation, which is common in dating in general. Most of the conflicts in trans dating come from relationships between cis and trans people.
For instance, people who are attracted to gender bending are sometimes under the impression that they should specifically pursue trans dating. Trans women are women, however, and they will feel that being assigned the male gender at birth was a mistake. They don’t think of themselves as gender bending, and their potential cis partners shouldn’t feel that way either. Turning the bodies of trans people into objects of curiosity is just as much of a common problem, and it is just as much of a terrible mistake.
Cis people usually shouldn’t specifically set out to date a trans person for that reason. Dating a person who happens to be trans is very different from dating a person because he or she is trans. A cis person who is setting out to date someone who is trans is probably doing so for the wrong reasons, which is what he or she should always keep in mind in order to maintain the right perspective.
Dating a trans woman means that trans issues will be part of the lives of cis people in a much more immediate way. Cis people need to know that going in, or they will have a hard time making the psychological adjustment and preparing themselves. Otherwise, dating a trans person isn’t all that different from dating anyone else. However, transphobia is a force to be reckoned with today, which will affect any relationship like this.
Have you ever had that friend? You know, the one who couldn’t get over the fact they went out on a date with someone they didn’t know was transsexual until later. Or even the friend who’s mind is blown by the simple fact that they were even asked out on a date by someone who was transsexual. Then you have to have an unbelievably frustrating conversation with them that it shouldn’t and doesn’t matter if someone is transsexual. It always seems that though they consider themselves to be liberal people they always seem to say “I know it doesn’t matter but…..” But? But what? What’s the problem? It becomes a test of your patience when trying to not judge these friends BUT their mindsets are becoming archaic and it’s time to let go of that train of thought. So if you are in the dating scene be aware you one day you may unexpectedly get asked out or go on a date with someone who is transsexual so keep these things in mind:
Dating is Always a Little Scary for EVERYONE
The fear of rejection is typically in the back of most people’s minds when dating. Being turned away can hurt more than it should and YOU are no exception to that. Fear of rejection is typically the foundation of any possible insecurity when dating. It’s hard to not get nervous about saying or doing the wrong thing that can ruin a possible relationship and being transsexual isn’t anymore wrong than your natural hair color. If anything, you should respect and admire someone who is transsexual because that is actually a sign of bravery. So be aware that it could be YOU that will miss out on a chance for something better if you reject or can’t accept a person for being transsexual.
Fine, Let’s Be Shallow
How did you feel last time someone refused you over something physical? I know I certainly love it when someone won’t go on a date with me because they think I’m too heavy, oh wait no that really sucks actually. I’m more than my body aren’t I? I’ve heard people argue against this, believing that the physical part is not the issue when they shy away from dating a transsexual or even just someone who isn’t their preferred gender. But grow up. Because, let’s face it, this is a purely physical matter. People do love to say that it’s what’s on the inside that counts but the world has always struggled with actually applying that philosophy to dating; and until we actually can let’s at least try to be the least shallow as possible. Perhaps focus on the fact that there was an initial attraction between you before you knew they were were transsexual, so obviously something physically worked for you there so roll with it!
Sexuality is a Joke
“I’m not gay.” Doesn’t that statement sound like nails on a chalkboard? I cringe when people say they that as their reason to not go out with a transsexual. Guess what, they’re not either! Personally, I believe EVERYONE is actually bisexual and you just have to gauge which gender a person leans to. Most people have at least experienced some level of curiosity at the idea of being with someone that is not their typical gender preference. Some get experimental after a few drinks. And some people go for anything. But no matter how people have addressed their sexuality no one is all straight and no one is all gay.
In closing I’m going to state the painfully obvious: keep an open mind. I’m not trying to insult anyone’s intelligence by saying it, but it’s something that is far too easily forgotten by all. Keeping one really is essential when dating in the first place, and without one your progress will be slow.