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What I do have is sympathy for those in my community who are still finding love—and who can’t even talk about it without risking being targeted by transphobic elements on the far-right.
Transgender women—and transgender people generally—do not need any more reminders that society hates us.
What I wasn’t anticipating were the countless men hanging around the hotel lobby, covertly trying to find a bedtime companion.
They wanted us so badly that they found out which weekend the conference was in town and drove here—but they were still ashamed to flirt with us somewhere more public.
We have been together long enough that I barely remember what it feels like to go on a date.
So when it comes to the ridiculous panic around transgender dating—which typically revolves around cisgender men dating transgender women—I have no skin in the game.
Those haters act as if we’re complaining that no one wants us when what we’re really complaining about—more often than not—is that the people who do want us can’t seem to be chill about it.
The same survey that found that 27 percent of Americans wouldn’t be friends with a transgender person also found that four percent of Americans said that they had been on a date with a transgender person in the last year.
Unless there’s a small handful of transgender people who are cleaning up while everyone else stays home, it means that a great number of us are dating.
But of course Jones was willfully misunderstood on social media and—to make a long story short—Fox News host Tucker Carlson ended up devoting an entire segment of his show to the subject with the chyron: “Trans Activist: Men Should Find Us Attractive.”“Now we’re advancing toward mandatory transgender dating,” Carlson told warned his audience. One of the first things I realized was that men were attracted to women like me.
“For real.”Adding insult to injury, Carlson referred to transgender women not as “women” but as “other biological men who are transgender.”Jones was stunned by the fact that the conservative TV host would tell people that “[she] was going to force them to sleep with trans women”—and taken aback by the “thousands of commenters [who] helpfully informed [her] that [she] was too hideous to ever find someone to love.” Somehow her attempt to make a complex point to her 17,000 Twitter followers about transgender dating had given rise to a paranoid rant on a top-rated prime-time cable news show, culminating in Carlson worrying that dating sites could one day require men to date a certain number of transgender women for every cisgender woman they dated. “Mandatory transgender dating” would make a great ironic band name but it is not the political goal of the transgender rights movement. I went to a popular Southern transgender conference to gather information, connect with medical providers, and hopefully make a few friends.
Over a quarter of Americans on a recent survey said they wouldn’t even want to be friends with a transgender person—and only thirteen percent said they would be comfortable “engaging in a sexual act of any kind” with a transgender woman.
Media representation of transgender women has—until relatively recently—been almost uniformly negative, depicting us as serial killers, deceivers, and “men in dresses.” 2017 has now seen a record-high number of transgender people who have been killed—cruel violence that is often perpetrated by men who have had romantic relationships or sexual encounters with transgender women.
Our rarity also makes the internet a lifeline for us—just as it is for any other minority—allowing us to connect with each other across great distances and feel less alone.