Can you imagine a trans partner?

  • Posted on March 1, 2014 at 8:46 am
  • If you’re gender queer and move in circles where others like you find relationships natural, go celebrate!
  • If you’re a bit older, trans* and don’t have others to find intimate relationships with, you go celibate.

I feel a need to discuss why this is, without a long diatribe, and without tying myself in knots (which is easy). Is it simple after all? If you are cis-gay or cis-lesbian (OK, so you just hate labels!, I simply mean not trans*) – then you can seek out places where lesbian and gay people find each other for relationships. But that’s where the T in LGBT parts company. As a result of being trans*, maybe you are lesbian or gay in your found gender. But unlike cis-lesbian and cis-gay people, you don’t need other trans* people to express your sexuality. Trans* is not a sexuality, but rather can give rise to fluidity and change.

And that, as far as I see it, is where the problems start. Not that you aren’t lesbian or gay or bi or even hetero, but that society in general doesn’t actually really believe your gender. Therefore your sexuality, not being based on cis-binary definition, is also in doubt. You may have everything going for you as a genuine, nice, kind, loving person, but What are you, really?

Your decision on what I am really, has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with you.

What do I mean by this? If you can accept me as a woman, and only as that, then it is easier to accept that I am hetero, lesbian or bi. Not a bed of roses, maybe, but at least we know where we stand. A lesbian woman will feel safe, as would a hetero man. A hetero woman or a gay man will say no, on the basis that they can’t imagine contravening their sexuality. Or perhaps it is just that attraction could never happen.

If you knew or remember me presenting as a man, it seems we are all at sea. Somewhere in your mind I am not really a woman, though certainly not really a man either, just something indeterminate with infectious potential to make you lose your bearings. That means I cannot be lesbian, I cannot be gay, I cannot be hetero, and therefore you cannot imagine what a relationship might mean. To preserve your doubt about what I am really, I have to be none of the above. It’s almost like Schrödinger’s cat; I am OK so long as you don’t try to really find out! Losing your doubt about my gender can hit your sense of sexual identity hard, if it isn’ what you originally thought. And then you might think of me as the only woman you could physically love, but a friend might as a consequence think you are lesbian, or suddenly not (perhaps even betraying the cause), just because you have gotten close to me and they doubt my gender!

So what do you do with a trans person, who might possibly seem attractive enough to get close to, or intimate with?

First off, you must accept that another’s gender is not your decision, or up to your definition.

Second, you must decide whether your capacity for love of another human being is defined by your idea of what sexuality is.

Third, decide whether a person’s social gender history actually changes you, or whether it only changes your preconceptions.

Fourth, decide whether you know yourself well enough to stand up to what other people think and say.

Only then are you on firm enough ground to entrust yourself and gain a trans partner’s trust, because the voice in you and the voices of others will otherwise go on asking: what are they, really; what are you, really? Most of us never have to be bothered enough to even think of these questions, so being faced with a trans* potential partner is a demand you may prefer to sidestep.

What you think I am affects your definition of yourself.

If you think I make you a lesbian, or gay, and that matters to you, please understand that it is the result of your beliefs about cis-binary sexuality, not because I might harm or damage your reputation or self-esteem. I probably only want to love you …

Summary

It is confusing. What I am getting at is that loving relationships for trans* people are hard to find because people have a fear that some kind of indeterminacy about our gender affects their sense of their own sexuality. It is an extra demand. Only people who can get over that, and find a security about themselves, will realise that loving us is no different from loving anyone they might get to like.

Meantime I feel in utter limbo, because in my generation, finding a new love seems impossible; the doubt: ‘what do I think you really are’ is always present. Just another aspect of what it feels like to be transsexual. I hope it helps.

 

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1 Comment on Can you imagine a trans partner?

  1. Skyangel says:

    Hi Andie :) I read this post of yours just a couple of hours after you posted it but it was too busy at that point to sit down and write down the thoughts that went through my mind while reading it. This question you raise though has been one that’s been on my mind ever since you announced that you were going to go ahead with the transition and it’s such an interesting point to discuss that I’ve even been trying to find answers from other directions.
    I know I’ve mentioned before about my feeling that what trans people are fighting with is peoples natural instincts and social conformity. Nature does it’s best to enforces in every living creature a desire to mate, and that naturally means we are all hardwired from birth to recognise our gender opposite and be attracted enough to them to want intimacy and also produce offspring. I’m often fascinated at how well this system works too. Many of us can regard a particular woman as being beautiful or even one of ‘the most beautiful’ and yet her own dog or cat would give her no more thought other than she is the one who loves and feeds them, so what we see and fantasise about such women is mostly mental to begin with and then chemical when the closeness becomes more physical.
    So for t-girls of all sorts I see both through male and lesbian eyes that the image of a woman who looks like a man (regardless of whether she is truly male or female) still throws us as far as being attracted goes. The beauty of being human though is that we are creatures of reason who know personality counts for so much more than looks do but the real hurdle I see here is that even a very male looking woman still has a female body and until t-girls reach final transition then theirs naturally more conflicts to be dealt with mentally for the partner.
    Having said all that though it does seem to me that their are attractions as wide and varied across the spectrum. I’m always amazed at the hundreds of categories in porn sites that cater for every possible taste and combination which is a clear sign that what may not appeal to the majority still always seems to appeal to a few. This is pure sexual pleasure though and not proper relationship material until you find two people who get on really well and share a mutual interest sexually which suits them both. I have a very macho male friend who has also been quite a womaniser in his time yet recently confessed about a year ago to being attracted to trans-women who were halfway transitioned. I had to admit to being quite stunned at this revelation from such a macho guy but it was also really nice to know that his attitude was at least accepting even if nothing else.
    This brings me to my last point here which is how t-girls view other t-girls. The natural urge of all seems to be a desire to be loved by, accepted by, and treated like a woman by other women for many as the common trend seems to be for t-girls to identify as lesbian. But if t-girls feel so strongly that they are misunderstood and rejected from the confusion cis-women feel towards them, then should they not be able to accept and desire each other in the same way as any lesbian would? I’ve read one or two cases where t-girls coupled up and formed a very normal relationship as lesbian partners and were not only totally in harmony with understanding each others needs but also able to comfort and care for each other through transition. I don’t know if there are dating sites for t-girls only or even mixes within normal dating sites. I’ve looked at the local ‘women for women’ site advertised in our own local paper and not seen any trans people of either gender advertised which seems quite wrong
    as evidence on the internet shows that they are quite abundant.

    I’m currently trying to research any successful relationships though where a t-girl has either been accepted by a cis-gender partner. I know there are wives who have adapted and accepted a transitioned husband but normally it becomes a sister type relationship which to me doesn’t really feel totally perfect unless both are no longer interested in sex.

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