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08 Feb

The problem with both of these social stereotypes for the “too good” and “too bad” trans woman is that they both infer that a trans woman is really a man, which creates an impossible balancing act for trans women.Dating as a trans woman (online or in person) often means an exhausting stream of inappropriate, fetishizing, dehumanizing, and sometimes violent messages asking about my genitals, people expecting praise for fetishizing me, and others assuming my identity is either not authentic or repulsive in some way.This gets even more complicated when trans women are trying to date straight cisgender men.These interactions (usually beginning online) can quickly lead to defensiveness as they backpedal to explain how they aren’t gay, usually including insults and slurs that dehumanize me for even daring to list myself as a woman.These men are interested in my femininity, even though they may be worried about being seen as gay just for hitting on a woman with a penis, or having sex with a girl who used to have one.

In this context it makes sense for trans women to wait when you know you’ll be excluded up front, but if you don’t disclose your trans identity instead, you are punished for not telling, possibly by death.

Huh…It’s almost as if trans people lose either way.

It’s just a really personal preference for me.”These people, and many others in the world, feel that it’s okay if trans people want to be out and live their life as a woman, a man, or a non-binary person, but ultimately, they say that they are just “not attracted” to any transgender people.

Before we talk about how that sentiment alone is transphobic, I want to be direct about the fear that trans people, especially trans women, face in the world of dating cisgender people.

It also says a lot that these are the first things I heard, much louder and more common than excitement, gratitude for my trust, and celebration of my trans identity.

And even more importantly, these barriers are not a problem for trans people because we have universally bad work ethic or because we aren’t worthy of love, these barriers exist because many cisgender people imagine us as a burden, a drain on resources, a political liability, something “weird” to tolerate, a challenge, confused, mentally-ill (which is ableist), sexual fetishists, and so many other frameworks that place the burden on trans people for navigating a world that doesn’t respect us, doesn’t validate us, doesn’t support our basic human rights to free expression, and doesn’t empower us to be in positions of leadership in society.