So a while ago I wrote an article on dating straight women as a trans man and have been thinking, there’s a few things I’d really like to add to this.
I still 100% stand by everything I wrote and it’s really great to hear that so many people found it a helpful read. This “guide” is obviously not for everyone and every individual needs to navigate this space in their own authentic way. I certainly do not profess to have all the answers and can only speak from my personal experience.
As I talk about in the previous article, I don’t identify as being trans the way a lot of trans people do, I just am. And this means I do navigate my being trans differently to many.
In all honesty, I really savour those first few dates, where I’m connecting with someone and to them I’m just like any other guy. But there is always that edge of not only knowing that you have to tell them soon, but the physical and emotional restraint that has to come with this. I do sometimes really wish that I could do that impulsive thing of just ripping each other’s clothes off on a second date, and it really does break my heart that some women do misinterpret me wanting (needing) to take things slow, as a lack of sexual chemistry, either thinking that I’m not attracted enough to them or that they’re wondering why they’re not feeling like ripping my clothes off.
On that later point I’d say I’ve become pretty adept at sending subtle “please don’t rip my clothes off” signals to women, which they’re not necessarily picking up on consciously, but do respond to unconsciously. Though not always… I did once have an experience with a woman I dated very briefly, where on the second date we somehow ended up in her bed and for her, there was only one way this was gonna go. I had to really put the brakes on very hard with a “wait, wait, there’s something I need to tell you…” After I did, her reaction was literally “meh” and she proceeded to continue to rip my clothes off, which was actually pretty awesome. I will always be eternally grateful to this woman for how completely non-plussed she was by me being trans, and it is a shame that for a variety of other reasons we couldn’t work out.
The other kind of restraint is the emotional kind. I do always feel like I’m walking this tightrope where I want to be able to let myself go enough to be in that moment and really let myself explore how I’m feeling about this person, but need to hold myself back enough, that if it turns out, me being trans is a deal breaker, that I don’t get destroyed.
I once had a woman say to me “you are just such an amazing guy and I love absolutely everything about you, but I do wish, both for you and for myself, that you weren’t trans.” As much as I understood her sentiment, as I’ll honestly admit, I wish this too, this person fundamentally missed the fact that I am the person I am BECAUSE I’m trans. It’s my life experience that has made me who I am. That is a person I am very happy and proud to be. Yeah, sure I wish I had a biological penis, but in all honesty, I don’t think I’d be anywhere close to the person that I am today had I had a privileged, white male, heteronormative upbringing. Today I can honestly say that 80% of what has been the direct result of me being trans is actually pretty positive and it only 20% blows. That 20% is in part made up of the occasional dating rejection. Of course, being trans is not the only reason I may get a rejection, but it’s the only one that really stings. I’m totally fine with a rejection based on, say, the fact that I don’t want to have kids, or pretty much ANY other reason.
“I am the person I am BECAUSE I’m trans. It’s my life experience that has made me who I am. That is a person I am very happy and proud to be.”
Thankfully in my experience a rejection has been the exception not the norm, but when it does happen I can’t help but have to do a post mortem on the situation.
So based on my last experience which I guess I’m still in the middle of processing, and in addition to what I say in my previous “Trans mans guide to dating straight women” here’s a few suggested don’ts.
Timing is a pretty important factor in terms of how this “I’m trans” piece of information is received. I already talk about this in my previous article, but in addition to that, I would highly suggest NOT telling them when you’re in the middle of making out. Do it in a park or over dinner, ideally with no alcohol involved. But not while you’re horizontal on a sofa, because you’re feeling pressure to take things further.
It’s been my experience in the past that as much as women generally WANT to instantly be fine with this piece of information, that’s just not how it works and it takes absorbtion and processing time and gentle navigation. If given this time and if there’s genuinely already a connection there, my experience has been that they will be open to exploring things further.
And secondly, as well as honoring their feelings and response to the situation, whatever that may be, honor yourself! Immediately after telling someone your biggest vulnerability*, you’re gonna feel naked as hell (and not in a good way) and that is absolutely not the time to take things any further. In other words DEFINITELY keep your pants on when you’re feeling at your utmost naked, scared and vulnerable.
*I’m speaking for myself here, and I acknowledge that there are plenty of trans men out there reading this that are thinking “what the hell is he talking about??” (If that is you, I truly envy you.)
Anyway, I knew that night last week, after I told her, that things had flipped for her very suddenly and that was confirmed yesterday. She really did try to be super sensitive in letting me down, but it still stung like hell.
But thankfully I have had enough positive experiences by now to know that this is not the way it’ll always go and hence I know I’ll bounce.
I can also honestly say that even though being trans has been a factor in relationships not getting off the ground, it has NEVER been a factor in a breakup.
So I guess I also just want to say to everyone else, that yes, having a person reject you due to being trans really, really blows, but being trans is also an important part of what makes you, you. Let that make you a stronger, more insightful, thoughtful and resilient person and don’t let a rejection stop you from letting the people you care about see you… really see you… as hard and scary as that sometimes is. Stay open. I promise, with the right person, it’ll be totally worthwhile.