Transgenders and Dating – Tips for Both Sides of this Coin
Two girls named Tiffany grew up thousands of miles apart, geographically and socio-economically. They both married. Neither was happy. One Tiffany realized she was a lesbian, told her family, and got divorced. The other Tiffany did the same. Ultimately, they met, dated, and fell in love. The second Tiffany changed her name to Dade because she was clearly the “butch” in the relationship. Over time, Dade realized that she was really a male in a female body. It was time to admit she was transgender and become the man she always knew she was. The rest of their story is here, in an issue of Glamour Magazine. It’s worth the read.
Transgenders are the most misunderstood and maligned members of the LGBTQ+ community. Because here’s the thing: a transgender female (MTF) may also identify as straight or lesbian; the same goes for a transgender male (FTM) – straight or gay. And both may identify as bisexual, polyamorous, etc. To outsiders, it’s confusing.
So, imagine how confusing it must be to date, on both sides of the equation.
Here are some dating tips that both sides can chew on. “If the shoe fits…” and so on.
Know Before You Go
Whether you are beginning a dating relationship with a trans or you are a trans about to get into one, heed this rule.
A trans is a person, first and foremost, not a sexual identity. And every person is unique in their values, their interests, their goals, and more. If you are beginning to date a transexual, treat it like dating any other person. If you are a transexual, treat the dating as you would if you were any other identity. You are both getting to know one another as individual people. If you can’t get over the hurdle, don’t even begin to think about dating.
Keep the Conversation Focused on Normal “Date” Things
Think about your dating history. Whether you are a hetero male or female having a date with a trans, or you are a trans who used to be lesbian, gay, or anything else, you have both had “regular” dates before. What was the conversation like on those dates? You probably talked about jobs/careers, education, families, interests, hobbies, etc. If the transgender “thing” is the elephant in the room, the date will not go well.
And it is okay to address that “elephant” if both of you are comfortable. It doesn’t mean that you have to ask questions about whether the trans person has a dick or a vagina, and it doesn’t mean that you as a trans have to speak about your hormonal treatments or surgeries. But it can mean that both of you can talk about your dating histories, your experiences (or lack of) with this “new” type of dating, and how you want to keep these types of discussions going as you keep getting to know each other. There’s plenty of time for more intimate conversations (between the sheets or not).
Let’s Get Physical
So, here’s the thing about all of this. When any couple begins dating, there will be touching, kissing, and, if both are ready, sex. How you approach this will rely on honest communication. If you are dating a trans, where are they in their transition? If you are a trans, be honest about where you are in this mix. You both need to know what to expect in bed and be willing to honor one another’s needs. You would do this with anyone you have affection for – this shouldn’t be different.
When and How to Tell
This is for all you transgenders. You have met someone at a social gathering or a club and you are attracted. No matter what your preference is – hetero, lesbian, gay, etc. – you realize that you are about to get into a dating relationship. The question becomes, when and how do you reveal that you are trans? Even if you have completed your transition and are totally the male or female you have always been, at some point have to come clean. There should be no secrets over the long run. Think about how you will do this and when will be the right time as dating progresses.
Speaking of Secrets
If you are someone who is dating a trans, listen up. Are you afraid to let close friends and family members know who your new squeeze is? Do you just want to keep the whole trans thing a secret? Then you need to look at your motives. Yes, society, in general, has marginalized transgenders. If you do the same, your relationship is going nowhere. You don’t have to announce it to the world, but if you cannot even tell those close to you, the relationship is going nowhere.
Backhanded Compliments are a Big No-No
If you are dating a trans, don’t you EVER give a compliment like, “You look really great for a trans woman (or man). What does this tell them? That they are somehow “fake.” And if you are a trans who receives such a compliment, call it out, but do so calmly. If you’re interested in continuing the dating relationship, honesty rules.
Objectifying is a Real Issue
Lots of trans are concerned that they are the objects of dating exploration or experimentation, based on past experiences. They may be overly cautious. If you are starting to date a trans, make certain they understand that they are not an object or a fetish for you. If you are a trans with this reservation, make sure you speak up. Watch the behaviors of your date, and you’ll be able to see where this is going.
Be Prepared for Physical Changes
If a trans you are dating is in the process of transition, their body will change. And as a trans person in this situation, you already know this. Both partners in this dating relationship need to be prepared in advance and be able to talk about each change as it happens. If the dating is “right” for both of you, this won’t be a problem.
Don’t Use Jargon that is Derogatory
Using the terms “tranny” and such is demeaning. If you are just beginning to date a trans, do the research, ditch the typical jargon, and start talking with your date as you would any other date. You can check out the Taimi dating app and read some of the discussions and blog posts that relate to transgenders. And you can even match up with transgenders and have chat sessions. Just ditch the typical language and terms that you find on porn sites or videos. That whole scene is disrespectful.
If you are dating a trans and you make it known, you can expect to be judged by some in your circle. This is based on ignorance. You can attempt to educate them, but you may not be successful.
Think You’re Ready?
Whether you are a trans ready for new dating or someone who has become attracted to a trans, you have to be ready for the challenges ahead. These tips should help.