“Are You Really a Woman?” and Other Problems in Transgender Dating

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Nov 21 | By Serenity | Views: 221 | Comments: 0
“Are You Really a Woman?” and Other Problems in Transgender Dating

Dating is difficult enough in our day and age. We have too many apps to choose from, too little time to read bios, too few chances for genuine personal interaction.


If you’re also trans, it’s like you’re playing the game on another difficulty setting entirely.


Sure, there are transgender dating sites, but even then you have to contend with prejudice and ignorance.


When you register for most apps, the platform provides binary options. You’re either male or female. Times are changing, fortunately, and established apps are starting to copy the many gender options provided by transgender dating apps.


Despite all this, you will inevitably run into users who remain oblivious. It’s like some people don’t even realize they are on a ts dating site. Once, a cis man messaged me and said he’s looking for an MTF transwoman. I had to explain that, as my profile states, I’ve had no surgeries and am nonbinary/genderqueer. His follow-up was even more telling, and immediately showed me that this user and I would not be getting on: “So do you have dinky?”


This is no rare occurrence. If you decide to be active in transgender dating, prepare to deal with your fair share of invasive and even hurtful questions. You would think that people who sign up for a transgender dating app would know where the line is.


Well, experience shows that you would think wrong.


“Are you really a woman?” is just one example. People immediately fixate on your genitals. If you are a post-op transwoman, this might be a source of empowerment. To be able to say, after years of struggle, that “Yes, I have a vagina”, is certainly a great moment for some.


However, not every transwoman chooses bottom surgery, if they even have access to this resource in the first place.


Being constantly reminded that there is a certain standard to meet, that so many people still view genitals as a criterion for whether or not they will date someone, gets tiring very quickly.



How to Cope with the Problems

Well, then how do we cope with these challenges we encounter on transgender dating apps?


For one, we need to remind ourselves that not everyone is as informed about the topic as we are. When in the past I reacted negatively and hurt after an invasive question, it caused confusion. Of course, I have the right to communicate when another person’s actions have caused me harm. Yet at the same time, situations like this offer unique moments to educate others.


I have experimented with various approaches, from cautious to confident. Think about which option appeals to you and fits your temperament. Are you more straight-forward, pun intended? Do you prefer euphemisms, or smaller, sincere steps when breaching the topic of transgender dating?


How you address the subject also depends on the situation. The longer you spend on ts dating sites, the more you learn to read others. The cis man asking about my hypothetical dinky, for instance, struck me as someone who appreciates directness. So I told him in clear terms about my identity. Others ask more cautiously, and I adapt my replies towards them.


Unless, of course, I feel too hurt or offended or uncomfortable to continue any sort of conversation. In this case, make use of the function to block users. It is there for you and your safety. Reporting them might also be an option.


What I have also found helpful is to have a list of resources and links, both in English and other languages you speak on ts dating sites. In that case, when you see the chance to educate someone about transgender dating, or that they are, in fact, on a dating site for transgender women, men, and other folks, but you lack the time and energy to engage… you can simply send a link to the information you want the other person to know.

I doubt that most of the people I sent these to actually bothered to read them. Yet that is not my concern – I can only ensure that I do whatever aligns with my principles and my goals.


Speaking of, a great place to nip many problems in the bud is your profile. If you are on a dating site for transgender women, men and people of other identities, chances are you can highlight certain aspects of your life that pertain to your gender.


Amongst hobbies and interests, consider how your photos and personal details come across to visitors of your profile. How do you pose? How are you dressed?


I found that the more classically feminine I dress, the more surprised people are when I talk to them about my trans* and nonbinary identity. Presenting in a more gender-neutral way and fashion instead draws attention from potential partners whose attitude towards gender roles is less conservative.


Which, yes, is problematic as well. We all want the ability to be ourselves on ts dating sites, that’s why we are looking to find transgender dating apps in the first place. Having to edit our self-expression always carries the risk that we lose ourselves in a performance that conflicts with our genuine selves.



Where to Go From Here

Where does this leave us with regard to the problems in transgender dating?


I, for one, have come to the realization that there is no ‘perfect solution’ to dating as a transgender person. Identity is a dynamic process, so it evolves just as much as the transgender dating apps on offer.


This means we all have to try different approaches, give new apps and ts dating sites a chance, see what people we encounter, and adjust our actions according to our experiences and feelings.


Online dating is never a quick fix, regardless of your gender. As long as we are honest with ourselves and respect our own boundaries and feelings, the problems we encounter along the way won’t deter us from finding love. Accept them, deal with them… and move forward.


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