My goodness it’s been awhile. I’ve been so busy writing for others that as per usual I’ve neglected my own personal blog…and…I’m also fairly certain this preamble has graced the opening lines of pretty much every post I’ve ever written, but what can I say? I’m commitment-phobic.
So, as some of you may or may not know…I’m a bit of an astrology nerd. I won’t say I’m super-knowledgeable about it because I’m totally too lazy for that and it can get rather complicated what with trines and conjuncts and all that other stuff BUT I do know this is the Year of the Snake according to Chinese lore and my, can I tell you, it’s been spitting plenty of venom thus far! Even still, viper up-chuck and all, I’ve learned plenty about how I handle conflict and, as one of my film profs pointed out, when faced with conflict true character gets a chance to shine. Or, in my case…explode.
I feel like everything that had to happen up ’til now in my life has and for a good reason, as cliché and “un-proveable” as it is. My journey’s never been easy, I don’t think anyone’s is, but even when things seem bleaker than black and you feel like you’re just the WORST person alive…you’ve got to keep believing in something. Believing that you feel that way in order to identify patterns that have led you there and neutralize them, so that in the future, the path you walk down is a lot less jagged. And also believing in the good you’re doing for others, though neither of you may see it that way at the time. Granted, if I’m honest I must admit others’ feelings were the least of my worries during times of conflict (the whole self-preservation thing, I guess), but in retrospect, I’m sure every single interaction, exchange, glance even…just…rippled. And who knows how many different windows and doors were slammed open by all that. As my friend Anna told me, “The problem isn’t that there are problems in life…the problem is thinking there shouldn’t be any.” Once you stop expecting life to owe you some modicum of “the ideal,” you can instead focus on building it within your own life from the dust and rubble of past mis-steps (or what you perceive to be mis-steps, anyway).
That’s what the snake has shown me so far…without the poison, there can be no cure.
Why, indeed? First, let me preface this entry with a bit of minutiae concerning my motivation for writing this…I was just lolly-gagging about doing nothing when I decided, as I sometimes do, to check my WordPress dashboard. As I scanned the search terms my beloved audience used to find me over this past year or so, I saw that one of those search terms was ‘why date a transsexual?’ Now, I’d done a post when I first started this blog about why gay men don’t date transsexuals, mostly to educate those certain individuals out there who can’t seem to distinguish ‘m-to-f transgender’ from ‘flamboyantly effeminate gay man’ and explain why things are as they are. It must have been that entry which hooked in the querent who’d made that particular search. Either way, seeing that search term ignited something in my brain and I thought, “Hey! Why would you want to date a transsexual?” Especially with all the negative stigmas that exist towards us as a group. Upon careful reflection, though, I’ve found that there are actually a lot of good reasons why you should date a transsexual (or at least be open to the idea). This can certainly apply to many other people out there who are not transgendered or even female, and it might just be a list of sweeping generalities, but it’s my blog…so I don’t care. Without further ado…
1) Depth Of Perception: Trans-people tend to be gifted with amazing perceptive abilities that extend even beyond themselves and onto others. They tend to be able to see through all the muck and see the true, underlying substance of a person. This comes from the experience of having to establish our own identities firmly in spite of what society tells us is otherwise the case. Perceptive people usually make more attentive significant others as they can pick up on subtle cues that other prospective partners may miss.
2) True Appreciation: From my own experiences, I can say as a transwoman I sometimes feel like complete shit about myself. I think that’s the same for a lot of trans-people out there, if not all. In the back of our minds, we can’t really shake that feeling that we’ll never measure up to “the genuine article.” But what is “the genuine article?” What is the measure of a true man or a true woman or a true human being? True…being true to yourself, maybe? In that sense, we are the truest form of human. The most genuine. Still, there lies that inferiority complex which society is mostly to blame for. That being said, when we find love, we tend to really appreciate it because we know it’s such a rarity to find considering our situations.
3) Enduring Affection: Trans-people know how to set goals for themselves. The biggest goal being attaining some form of gender congruency (whether it entails surgical intervention or not). We know how to value the new developments of our transition (whether it’s a name change or your first bra) and using that as an impetus, continue our struggle….always. That kind of philosophy extends to how we treasure our relationships. When something is not the way it should be, we take the necessary steps to remedy the situation. That is the very foundation of our lives. We don’t give up, we endure, no matter what. In today’s society of, “He said such and such, who needs that? I’M DUMPING HIM!!” this can be something of a rarity. That said though, we’re not doormats either, if something’s making us feel less valued as a human being, we won’t settle, if fixing things doesn’t work, we’ll cut our losses and move on.
4) Embracing Of Femininity: This is nothing new. Many men I’ve dated have told me that the reason they favored transsexual women over their cisgendered peers was because many trans-women tend to carry themselves in a more conventionally “feminine” manner. Nowadays, a lot of girls just dress up in sweat pants or pajamas and think they look cute. Really enjoying the privileges society has bestowed upon them as natal females, such as wearing make-up or having long, done-up hair has become a chore for many of them. And I’m not saying that I always look like America’s Next Top Model, because I don’t, but I do always make some effort to display the femininity I haven’t always been so free to express. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but many men are attracted to femininity. Opposites attract and this is true here. With a trans-woman, you’ve got a partner who embraces and expresses her femininity in ways that many cisgendered women just don’t feel like doing. Not that that’s bad, per se, it’s just…different. ^_^
5) An Open Mind: As transgendered individuals, we have to have open minds. This is just something we need in order to understand the context of our unique situations. With an open mind, we’re more willing to hear what our partners have to say about a plethora of different subjects. We can freely see ourselves in their shoes because not so long ago, we were in their shoes. As trans-women, we know the demands society places on men and I think, because of that, we’re a little more lenient. We understand that there is duality in everything and truly two sides to every story which is helpful in developing an effective rapport and building communication.
6) Personal Test Of Character: It won’t be easy, champ! But, really, what in life is? Society is still at a point in its evolution where many people don’t think it “proper” to date a trans-person. Especially considering all the supposed “cons” (dating us is a reflection of your own masculinity and makes you gay, we can’t have kids, the current state of our bodies, etc, etc.). Still, if you have the courage to just cast it all to the wind and date who you want to date because of who they are and not what they are, you will be happier in the long run and also become more aware of your own amazing strength of character…because it’s not easy risking rejection to follow your heart…but we manage to somehow and so should you! ^_^
So if you’re one of those men out there teetering on the fence about a girl you like who just might happen to be trans, think less about the negatives and contemplate the positives. And most of all, just love who you love…don’t let society tangle you up in its bullshit…it’s never worth it…take it from me!
Hi there, so glad you’re here…on to my memoirs. I was alone, unemployed and going through a second puberty by way of transition and my ridiculous hormonal spikes and dips. Which led me to on-line dating. Now, as a trans-woman this is your safest bet to find someone. The internet grants a level of security that real-life encounters can’t. So…being a young and pretty trans-girl; silly, desiring attention and not knowing any better, I posted my pics on a dating website for trans-people. And of course, they were sexy. Not nudies by any means! But as I recall, in one picture (that my grandmother took) I was sprawled out across my bed wearing black vinyl pants with a red tube top and I thought I was just the bee’s knees. And men, visual creatures that they are with hardly any regard to what constitutes good/bad fashion, responded in kind. Before I knew it my date book was full and I was going out every other night with a new guy getting free meals and loads of attention. It was delightful. I was young, I was carefree and it was a way for me to distract myself. I wasn’t happy though. A lot of the men you meet who are interested in trans-women want us for one thing and one thing only, as is the case with biological women. Now, there are many men out there who are wonderful people intent on developing relationships that are full and all-encompassing, but there are twice as many who want you to act as their side-dish, dirty little secret, sugar baby or some lurid combination of all three. It’s embarrassing! No one wants to be treated like a freak, not worthy of simple little things most people take for granted in relationships, like meeting one another’s families. Mind you, I’m a very passable and very attractive transsexual woman (so I’ve been told anyway), but it still makes no difference, you can look like Megan Fox and still be treated as though you’re “less than” just because of what you are.
So when I finally met a man who was willing to put all that aside and just focus on me as a person, I jumped on him, but he was gay (despite his assurances that he was bisexual) and also immensely confused about pretty much every facet of his life, so it didn’t work out. After that, I began dating again…which is really just like picking through the garbage, isn’t it? I dated a cage fighter, a naval officer, a cop, all sorts of stereotypically macho guys, all good looking, all nice enough…but all for whatever reason eventually cut off. In the case of the cage fighter, he wanted a f*ck buddy which he could talk to whenever the need arose, in the case of the naval officer…well, he just couldn’t kiss…plus he was an alcoholic and he broke my car’s air conditioner vents by playing with them too much, and in the case of the cop he wanted a penis attached to a pretty woman. Which is what a lot of “admirers” want. It dehumanizes us and reduces us to a single body part. Seriously, if you want to suck on something that bad, buy yourself a lollipop. So, after much searching I gave up. And when I wasn’t looking, someone wrote me out of the blue requesting we meet up for coffee because I seemed cool from what he read on my MySpace profile (I know, I’m old right?!) and after that we met up. He hadn’t known I was trans and as it turned out that’s exactly what he was into. So a friendship formed, which later blossomed into a relationship and here I am four years later still with the same guy. We have our ups and downs like any couple…but above all he sees me as an individual, not a commodity and if you admirers out there reading this ever want to make it with a transsexual of any substance, then that’s really what it all boils down to.
Well…here I was, it was December of I-don’t-remember-what-year-but-it-really-wasn’t-that-long-ago-srsly, and I had nothing to show for myself really. I had just turned 18 and I was a high school drop-out, a college drop-out and most recently a beauty-school drop-out. Being trans makes it very hard to commit to things I’ve noticed. I feel like the whole theme of our lives is transformation, and at the base of any transformation is change. A lot of the times what we don’t realize is that when we change, so do the people around us and our environments. What I mean by that is, when you start displaying your femininity, people change the way they act towards you…some are accepting and supportive and some are full of nothing but venom. We as transwomen, however, have a power many cisgender people lack the ability to express…we have the power to say, “No, I don’t want this…now, I’m going to do something to change it.” A lot of people in our society are too frightened to even think of changing their lives in such a drastic way, but not us. Though fear may be there at what lies after the change, courage is the ability to stare fear down and say, “Guess what? You can SUCK IT!!” Anyway, that’s why I think I had so much difficulty maintaining any stable career/education path…how could that aspect of my life be stable when within me, there was a storm brewing? The one unwavering thing I had was my family’s support…and a boyfriend, but he was far from unwavering.
I had met my very first serious boyfriend who we’ll call “K” on the internet which is how most of us in the tg community meet people nowadays. He was a gay guy, kind of not my usual type in that he had lots of piercings, dread locks and smoked pot ’til the cows came home. At that point I was still confused about myself, identifying as gay, but still questioning whether there might be some truth to that whole “transgender” diagnosis my aunt’s social worker friend had sprung on me. Anyway, our relationship was marked by instability and awkwardness. He wanted a man, and at the time I wasn’t sure I was even male, but as I found myself quitting yet another thing in my life I held on to whatever was around and he was, more or less. So I tried to be that man for him…but something about it just felt, off. Intimately things were completely ridiculous and his requests were just too much for me to handle. As a result, neither one of us were satisfied. I think part of the reason why I had my hair (which I loved so much) cut off, was to prove to K that I was a man and I could be there for him the way he wanted. But f*ck it, looking back…my hair treated me a lot better than he ever did and if I had it all to do over again, I’d say to myself, “No, the hair stays, he goes,” and save myself a lot of time and money.
Anyway, he broke up with me in February…yep, the day before Valentine’s Day after my present was bought and wrapped and everything. He told me, over the phone mind you, that I was too “femme,” and that if he wanted to date a “real woman” he would be dating a “real woman.” I felt my heart shatter…but I knew I’d get over it and honestly, I have to thank K for teaching me something about myself. I was a “real woman” and that’s why it wasn’t working between us, I just hadn’t realized the technicalities of it quite yet. A relationship between a gay man and a transsexual woman will not work because a tried-and-true gay man wants to be with another gay man. Gay men, by definition, like other men. We as transwomen were never men, we just have the bodies of men, which we try desperately to escape from. What they view as an arousing form, we view as a death trap, a prison. Right there is where the definite incongruity lies and why gay men don’t date transsexuals. Gay men don’t date women and we are women, honey…gay men prove it.