A Writer’s Guide to Dating a Trans Woman
Since writing Trans Women and the Cishet Men Who Love Us, I’ve received many messages from trans-attractive cisgender heterosexual (cishet) men expressing their genuine interest and desire to date a trans woman, but simply lacking the knowledge. how. I don’t mean the guys who just see us as fetishes, but the men who actually want to date us romantically. They exist! Many of the messages I’ve received express that when they start talking to a trans woman, they feel like they’re being vilified and called a “stalker.” I felt they felt damned if they did and damned if they didn’t. Which seemed quite ironic to me, having been on the other side of their romantic pursuits in the past. Dating often left me with a feeling of frustration, until I met my current partner (who is a cigar man) a year ago.
I’d like to see nothing but fulfilling and genuine relationships for my fellow trans women, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to gather some thoughts to help bridge the gap between cis men and their desired trans partners. Honestly, based on my past experiences in the dating world and conversations with my trans sisters and my partner and other trans-attractive men, I can’t help but feel that there are some basic missteps that men tend to make. when pursuing a transgender partner.
First, I should note that no two trans women are alike. Our lives and experiences with gender and sexuality are very nuanced and unique to each of us. However, I feel that there are some general dos and don’ts that (to me) seem obvious. While I’d love to sit here and say it’s as simple as “treating her like any other woman,” I know firsthand that it’s not. Trans women have lived through experiences that cisgender women will never experience, nor do they even think about being at the intersection of daily prejudice and discrimination. These subtle (and not so subtle) differences lead to very different life experiences that must be respected and acknowledged when looking for a transgender partner.
Be genuinely interested
I think the first rule of thumb is the most important. When a cishet man “slips into our DMs”, if you will, you should understand that our first goal is to determine if you like us or if you simply have a sexual fetish that you want to explore. I will also mention that there is no shortage of men chasing us and most come from sexual/fetishized places. A cishet man must remain respectful if he wants to stand out from the “chasers”.
Now the difference between a trans-attractor and a stalker is most important. A stalker is someone who seeks out trans women exclusively for sexual reasons. They are tied to our anatomy and are usually fairly easy to recognize. They usually get through both messages before asking anything about your genitalia. If a conversation turns sexual too quickly, it is immediately marked as stalking and we move on to the next DM. Don’t be that guy, you’re creepy and I’ve never met a single trans woman who cared.
To stand out among these guys, you have to be interested in us as people. Now I don’t mean “pretend to care”, I mean genuinely care. Instead of asking us about our genitalia, why don’t you start a conversation. It’s not rocket science and can be as simple as “what’s your favorite color?” or “what do you do for work?” Or we can literally say that he wants to get to know us as people. Be genuinely curious and you’ll be surprised what type of relationship develops because I’ve yet to meet a trans woman who isn’t completely interesting or incredibly self-aware.
Don’t get hung up on our anatomy or surgeries
Ultimately, the trans woman’s relationship with her body is unique. As I mentioned earlier, no two are the same, and we all experience gender dysphoria to varying degrees and for different reasons. What causes us dysphoria is not universal.
For example, some of us use certain words to refer to our anatomy, while others prefer certain parts of their bodies not to be touched or acknowledged. When appropriate, it is important that you speak to your partner before contacting or contacting us. The key words here are “if appropriate”.
Surgery is another matter. The occasional “did you cut it” question is not uncommon. Yes, it’s outrageous, but it’s true. The reality is that it is never appropriate to ask a trans person about surgeries they have had or will have. Surgeries are incredibly personal, and if the basis of being with a trans woman depends on whether or not you’ve had sex reassignment surgery, you really need to think about whether you’re the right guy for us. I’ll tell you right away, probably not. Ask yourself; would you ask a cisgender woman if her vagina was functional or if her breasts were done when you met her? I do not think so.
As I write this I am thinking about how my partner handles my relationship with surgeries and I have to say he does it perfectly. For example, to be honest, I haven’t had sex reassignment surgery and I’m not ashamed to talk about it. I don’t necessarily care at the moment, but my partner knows and expressed that ha there is something I ultimately decide to do in the future, I have the right to do. Ultimately, we have bodily autonomy and the right to make those choices or change our minds. Although I can’t say that I would never do it, the decision to have the surgery does not depend on my partner’s acceptance.
To take the point even further, my partner stated that if I ever stopped HRT and “detransitioned,” it would not affect his commitment to our relationship. Not that I’m necessarily wandering off, but it’s nice to know that his feelings for me are based on a genuine interest in me. In doing so, my partner allowed me to continue to explore myself without worrying about how it might affect my relationship. Amazing, right? Note. The greatest gift you can give us as a partner is to give a trans woman space to develop and develop her relationship with her gender and her body.
Think about your own gender and sexuality
This is a big one. You’d be surprised how many times we get messages from men asking if their attraction to us is going to make them gay, and while I can understand a trans attractive man having a lot of questions about sexuality, the truth is, we’re not the therapists . . The reality is that some of the men who chase us are gay and just couldn’t accept it, and others are straight (another thing that trans women often have to realize). The bottom line is that no one can tell if you’re straight or gay. Trans women are the epitome of strength, and many men feel comfortable dumping their sexuality questions and concerns on us. As trans women, you have to recognize that we as individuals have worked hard to accept our own sexuality and gender, and you are not exempt from doing the same work. Don’t cheat the process, know your own identity thoroughly before chasing us, and do the work by reflecting your own experiences and desires.
Don’t hide from us
If you can’t introduce us to your friends or family because we’re trans, don’t stalk us. Period. There is nothing more attractive than the cowardice that comes with secretly dating a trans woman. Yes, social pressure is tough. I’m afraid of what people think, what they say – believe me, I understand. But you have to understand that trans women show a tremendous amount of strength every day by simply being ourselves. Every single day that we wake up, we go against what society expects or considers to be “normal”. So you can imagine how big a stand it is when the person who is persecuting us only does this behind closed doors, because he gives in to society’s prejudices.
On the other hand, there is nothing sexier than a man who is proud of his trans partner and does so out loud. My partner thinks I’m the coolest thing since sliced bread and he couldn’t be more proud of who I am and what I’ve had to overcome to get here. His willingness to embrace every part of me literally makes my heart race, so hot. You won’t find a trans woman who disagrees with that.
At the same time, it is important to remember that revealing your partner’s transgender status can only happen with consent. This means that while we may not desire to be secretly dated, no one else has the business or right to share such a personal part of our identity. Some transwomen would prefer to exist in stealth, while others see their transgenderism as a vital part of their identity and existence. This distinction, and how to move forward with moments of disclosure, is another thing to discuss with your partner beforehand.
Have insight into the challenges of the trance experience
Every day we wake up to a different, often transphobic, news cycle with headlines that probe our reality or question our sanity, especially in our current political climate. Let’s not forget the general, everyday harassment or discrimination that we can experience at any moment.
I’m not saying you have to keep up with every single thing that’s going on with the trans community, but you have to be aware of what’s going on with the community in general to some extent. If you want to partner with a trans person, you need to be prepared to help carry the burden that, unfortunately, often comes with living as a trans person in today’s world. As a queer man, you are innately more privileged in society than a trans woman, and that must be recognized and respected if you want to find a good partner. And the ways to appear are quite simple, but it requires cishet men. Whether it’s a conversation with a trans person or a conversation with friends or family, one way to do this is to simply speak up when you see or hear something transphobic. It’s also important to listen to your banner on days when things feel especially difficult. Whether it’s bullying, the bad side of gender dysphoria, or a slew of transphobic news stories, we just want to feel like someone is on our side.
While every trans woman is unique and there are no universal “rules” for dating, I believe these five essentials are important to consider and practice when pursuing a relationship. At the end of the day, and for the most part, trans women are not that different from cisgender women. However, the nuances of our existence present unique challenges that I believe most cis men are simply unaware of. Respecting the nuances, while being aware and sensitive to them, makes the relationship more whole and real for each of us. My dream is for more cishet men to feel more attracted to us and eventually love us out loud and proud, because being a part of a trans woman’s journey is truly a unique gift that many never get. the luxury of experience.