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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 …


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.