Ti nder has been a constant in my life in recent years. As far as I know, I am typically read as a cisgender woman when I go about my day.
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Nay, worse! Much to my dismay, I am generally read as straight, too. I am non-binary.
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I was assigned male at birth. When disclosing that I am transgender on dating apps, I usually put forward a trans female identity. My absolute favourite has to be penis jokes, though!
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The reality is that, for the most part, men are fine sleeping with trans women. The more conventionally attractive, the happier they are. The easy answer, of course, would be to reassure them. How would being attracted to women make you gay?
Some women have penises. What if it were gay? Jonathan is attracted to a trans woman. However, Jonathan identifies as a straight man and believes that trans women are men. So he refuses to sleep with trans women. I suspect that more cases fall under the second scenario than under the first.
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Genitalia is a small part of the totality that constitutes sexual attraction and most people will be attracted to someone or not before they know which genitalia they have. Cisheteronormativity runs deep in our society, and people experience strong conscious and unconscious pressures to conform to those standards, which sheds doubts on the authenticity of swift changes in attraction.
This is also confirmed by my experience with dating apps. The more conventionally attractive I appeared, the less men seemed to care. Because I know plenty of guys who would really do some shit to you. His entire view of me had changed and there was no going back. I vowed as I left his place in the middle of the night that I would never put myself in that dangerous of a situation again.
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Despite one pervasive misconception that transgender people transition for the approval or acceptance of future sexual partners, when I transitioned there was nothing about the forthcoming experience that assured me I would be seen as desirable. I thought, Who will want you? Dating is hard for most people. Being a person of color that floats between the queer world and the straight world adds all the more pressure.
Despite the slowly turning tides, dealing with these potential partners is difficult because I often have to serve as both a therapist and a teacher.
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He was very much interested in me, but it took a few months for him to admit the full extent. He was pretty homophobic and transphobic when I originally met him, which he attributed to his upbringing. He was a black guy, of Jamaican descent, and he often explained that coming from a single-mother household put more pressure on him to be a certain kind of man. It all got to be too much for me. Having to constantly define and explain myself is both exhausting and unfair.
After a number of dates and situations not too unlike the interaction with the MMA fighter, I had to take a serious look at the risk involved with not disclosing my trans status. I found early disclosure necessary because we live in a world where trans panic is still justification for devaluing and even harming trans women. So far this year, at least 18 trans women have been killed in the U. Just a week or so later, Yazmin Vash Payne suffered a similar fate in an apparent stabbing by her live-in boyfriend.
A little under a year from now, I'll be the same age as year-old India Clarke , a recent victim of trans killings.
One of my biggest fears is becoming another murder statistic: In the wake of these tragedies, I try to to nix my own feelings of dread and shame as soon as I meet a person. Now I typically come out via text message or on my online profiles. Sometimes the response has been positive. A few people — both men and women — have had a sense I was trans before I even told them. Still other times, the response — particularly from cis men — has been overwhelmingly negative: Laverne Cox has discussed the stigma around men who love trans women.
When information that rapper Tyga was caught in a scandal with transgender model Mia Isabella , for instance, social media had a field day.
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Given his presence in the hypermasculine world of hip-hop, that moment highlighted the deep-rooted issues our society has with men being attracted to trans women. But in reality, people are attracted to a person before they even know what genitalia they have. By extension, cisgender straight men who are attracted to trans women are attracted to them because trans women are women.
Conditional passing privilege has typically played in my favor. Living up to conventional cisnormative beauty standards has given me more social access to potential partners than many other trans people have had. There are definitely guys who encounter me who express at least being open to talking to me further. Both queer and straight people who refuse to date trans people rely upon the argument that everyone is allowed to prefer certain sets of genitalia.
As a society, we should all urge each other to consider why these preferences exist, particularly with regard to trans people. Many trans women who have penises are not interested in acknowledging that body part during sex, and there are many ways to be respectful of that.