Transmisogyny and Dating


[Description: This is a Grumpy Cat meme. Grumpy Cat is a cat who looks grumpy due to their lips. The text over the picture of Grumpy Cat say, “Happy birthday – now you’re one year closer to dying”.

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It’s my birthday and I’m feeling a year older and it’s bittersweet. On one hand, I’ve survived another year of life and it marks the fourth year I’ve been on hormones. It’s also one more year where my body is crying that its needs aren’t being met. And the older I get, the stronger the crying gets.

I just want to do the relationship thing. I want to be soppy and disgusting in public. I want to take up space and annoy cishets with public displays of affection. I want to do domestic shit like shopping or laundry as a couple/polycule. I want the physical and emotional intimacy. I want someone that I can depend on. I want someone who can mesh into my household and make it feel even more like the patchwork family we are. I want all the things that I read about in fan fiction and live vicariously through.

Is that too much to ask for? I’ve been single for over a decade without much dating experience. I see cishets married and procreating at my age. This makes me feel ancient and like I’m running out of time.

This is a topic I definitely talk about a lot because it’s very important to me and I’m frustrated. I’m also not the only person who suffers from perpetual singleness. In fact, I’ve been hearing it a lot from folks in my friends network. For years. Because I’m apparently the best person to come to relationship advice even though I don’t have much relationship experience.

People are single for a lot of different reasons, but it hurts a lot more when it’s because of our identities. I’m focusing more on transmisogyny here, but most of what I say applies to other identities which often intersect with the folks who feel the most undesirable/left out with some changes depending on the population.

I know a lot of really amazing, awesome people, particularly trans/fat/BIPOC/disabled women, who’re perpetually single. In part, the issue they/we face is discrimination. Be it ableism, fatphobia, transmisogyny, racism, ageism, or more than one of the above. The people we develop feelings for end up with someone who conforms to desirability norms (skinny, white, cis) better than they do. And this happens even if the object of our affections is from a similar or other marginalized identity. e.g. trans men who are “pansexual” but are attracted to everyone BUT trans women. The normate body is seen as the epitome of desirability, even by our own people.

So here’s my message to everyone: think critically about who you’re attracted to and make part of your life. Discrimination is alive and well in our dating worlds. For those who are on my Facebook, you may have seen screenshots of messages I’ve received on Grindr. This is discrimination. This is bigotry. Sending hateful messages to someone you don’t even know because they’re a trans woman, because they’re fat, because they’re other identities is discrimination.

The number of folks who aren’t willing to date trans women is discrimination. Even when they talk about transmisogyny and invite a token trans woman to the groups, they aren’t dating a trans woman.

I know far too many trans women who’ve been single for many years with no prospects on the horizon. I know trans women who’ve given up on dating because cis women still treat them like men even post-op.  I know trans women who date each other because no one else will. I know trans women who go stealth and go with straight men because they’re pushed to the margins of the queer community.

For me, I’m just chronically jealous. While I’m happy to see friends in healthy long-term relationships, I’m at the same time incredibly jealous of how easily that happens and taken-for-granted it is for some of them. They have what I need. It feels like dangling tantalizing food in front of a starving person just outside of their reach.

When I see trans women in healthy romantic relationships, I rejoice. Finally! There is hope for me in this cruel world. It feels like it’s so rare for us to be beloved by another human. While I’m acknowledge that this fixation on romantic relationships downplays the importance of platonic relationships, I need to stress the erasure of trans women as potential life partners for those who are into romance.  A lot of trans women have friends and community, but they just can’t find romance.

So dear reader, I’d like to ask you:

When was the last time you saw a celebrity openly date a trans woman?

When was the last time you saw a community leader in the queer community married to a trans woman?

When was the last time you’ve seen a trans woman in a happy, healthy relationship where she doesn’t die horrifically in the media?

When was the last time you read a fic where a trans woman ends up in a domestic relationship with someone and they have kids?

When did you last hear of a cis queer woman say that they have certain genital preferences (but then be unwilling to look at post-op trans women?)

When was the last time you saw a friend of yours date a trans woman?

If you’re into feminine-ish people, when did you last date a trans woman? Especially if you’ve dated a number of people in your life.


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