This article may ruffle feathers on either side of this debate, but please, hear me out.
I Get it … I’m Not Sure About Dating a Transguy Either
One of the arguments I keep running into against transgender people is that cisgender people don’t want to feel pressured into dating us. They feel backed into a corner, if they reject a transgender person, they are labeled transphobic. What I want cisgender people to know is that, no you don’t have to date a transgender person if you really don’t want to. No decent human being is going to want to date someone who feels forced or obligated to date them.
I’m a gay trans guy myself. I’m only attracted to male presenting people. That being said, I’m honestly not sure if I’d want to date another transguy. That’s not to say I am completely ruling it out, but it’s not something I’ll know until the opportunity presents itself.
The concern I see most often voiced online zeros in on sexual preferences, especially in the area of a potential partner’s genitalia.
It’s Not Just About Genital Preference
Most people are smart enough to know that there are many ways two people can enjoy each other sexually. I think when confronted with the possibility, a lot of people who reject the idea of dating trans people, are reacting to more than just genital preferences.
I meet a lot of cisgender people who are hesitant around me because they aren’t sure how to treat me. They get a lot of mixed signals from the media, and I can tell they want to do the right thing, but they are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. I speculate that plays a role into whether they’d date a trans person.
In my case, a big factor is age. I’m closing in on fifty now, and most out transguys are at least a decade or two younger than I am, if not more. Personally, I prefer my partners to be around my age or slightly older, and unfortunately not as many Gen-Xers have transitioned. It wasn’t a widely known option, and to transition later in life isn’t as easy, especially for those with partners and families.
What made it easier for me to transition was the loss of my late husband in 2016. I’ve been asked many times if I would have transitioned if he were still alive, and my honest answer is, I don’t know. He was bisexual, and I’d like to believe he would have loved and accepted me, regardless of my gender presentation, but I honestly don’t know. Being a widower has, in some ways, freed me to explore parts of myself that I kept buried for a long time.
Now that I have begun my transition, I know I’ve narrowed my potential dating pool significantly, and I’m fine with that. I get it, some gay guys would be very weirded out by the fact I don’t have a penis, nor am I having surgery to get one. Bi- and pansexual guys may be more open to the idea of dating someone like me, but there aren’t as many of them who are out in my generation.
Don’t Feel Obligated to Date Anyone You Don’t Want
This should go without saying, but no one should feel obligated to date someone for any reason. I know, binary trans people want to be viewed and treated as the gender they identify with. Because of this, some trans people feel that if someone is attracted to men, they should include transgender men within the circle of who they are attracted to.
However, I think we can all agree that attraction is complicated. If it were that simple, then every person attracted to men would be attracted to all men. Yet, we’re not, are we? Some of us prefer the big, muscular Arnold Schwarzenegger types. Others prefer the cute, twinkish Tom Holland types. Heck, I bet there are even some people out there that think Danny DeVito is adorable (Rhea Perlman obviously did).
My point is, just because I’m attracted to men, doesn’t mean I’m attracted to all men. We all have our preferences, and those preferences are complicated. I don’t find overly muscular men attractive, and yes that would make me avoid dating men like that. Does that make me bigoted against muscle builders? I have nothing against them. I’d happily be friends with a muscle builder. I just have no interest in having an intimate relationship with someone like that.
As another example, I’m also not attracted to people who reject science and reason. If I met someone that I was initially attracted to and got along with, I would not continue the relationship if I found out that they staunchly believed the Earth was flat. The argument, if two people get along well, then it shouldn’t matter if one is transgender, is specious at best.
We can’t go around policing people’s preferences when it comes to love and intimacy. Yes, of course, we all deserve to be treated with respect, or at the very least tolerance. However, no one should be pushed into dating a transgender person for any reason. Also, it doesn’t invalidate our gender identities if someone doesn’t want to date us.
There are Bigger Concerns
I know there are some more radical factions within every community, even within the transgender community. Some are quick to label someone transphobic for declaring that they’d never date a transgender person. However, I don’t think it’s always from a place of hatred or prejudice.
Besides that, I think our community has far more pressing issues to deal with, than whether someone is going to be open to dating a trans person, when given the chance. Violence against transgender people, especially transgender women of color, has been on the rise. Also, the current administration in the United States continues to roll back protections for our community, starting with the ban of transgender people from serving in the US military, to the recent brief from the Department of Justice to allow employment discrimination against transgender people.
We still have an uphill battle in terms of open acceptance of trans people within our society. Until that happens, I really think whether someone wants to date us is the least of our concerns.