Author’s note: As you read this, please keep in mind that I am only one trans man. There are many of us who all have different experiences in the dating world. So if you don’t like what you read, well, remember—it’s just my experience, not everyone’s. If you do like what you read, well, follow me. Sometimes I write cool stuff.
Dating, for me as a trans man, has had far more challenges than simplicity.
I didn’t realize that I was trans until I was 30.
I’d dated a few guys, then came out as a lesbian at 26. I was with my first girlfriend for four and a half years, and she’s actually the one who brought it up to me—that I could be trans. I will always be thankful to her for guiding me in the direction of finding out who I really am. I’d known since I was four that I wasn’t like all the other girls around here; I just didn’t know the terminology or meaning of how to express it.
So fast forward to when I was 30 years old. I started doing research and seeking truth about who I was and trying to wrap my head around how that changed a lot of things about my life and the way that I’d be viewed in society. I didn’t dwell on it at the time because I was too busy trying to figure it all out.
I started therapy, started working on myself, and, eventually, started dating.
I dated a pansexual cisgender woman, a straight cisgender woman, and am now dating someone who just loves humans. Yep. That’s the extent of my dating. I have always felt like my being trans has complicated so many aspects of my relationship, though it might possibly be overexaggerated in my head.
Nonetheless, here’s what I’ve taken away from dating as a trans man:
Don’t misgender or deadname me. Now, accidents and slipups will happen. That’s allowed. But don’t purposefully be disrespectful. Which really is a good rule of thumb regardless of identity or orientation, but you’d be amazed how many people seem to have a really hard time with this.
Do ask the questions if you don’t know the answers. There’s nothing worse than dating someone who is uncomfortable asking you the personal questions. I’m the kind of person who dates to marry. I don’t see a point in wasting time with someone who I wouldn’t want to still be with 50 years from now. I’d rather my partner get answers from me instead of a Google search. A lot of trans people don’t like answering questions, but I figure what source is more reliable than someone who lives it?
Don’t out me to anyone. If they ask, then we should have a conversation as to how you’re going to handle that. But for the love of all that’s holy, please never ever ever say, “Yeah my boyfriend is trans!” Not your story to tell. So unless I’ve told you that I don’t care, just don’t. Not only is it disrespectful, but it could potentially put me in a really unsafe position. A lot of people still have a big problem with trans people, even if they’re cool with the LGB and Q part of the alphabet.
Do understand that for a lot of trans people, dysphoria is a thing. Don’t try to explain how you “get” anything I experience because I guarantee you, when it comes to that, you don’t. Believe me when I tell you how I feel regardless of whether you can wrap your head around it or not. Sometimes, the dysphoria’s bad enough to make me really really hate myself. So just meet me where I am and love me through it.
Don’t disrespect me to make someone else feel comfortable by allowing them to keep disrespecting my name and pronouns. If you’re going to respect someone else’s ignorance more than you respect my identity, you should probably just show yourself out. I don’t have time, patience, or desire to wait for you to respect who I am as a human being.
Do take a stand for my existence. If someone’s being sh*tty about my identity, as my partner, you’re expected to always have my back. Because I’d have yours about literally anything bad someone had to say about you. You don’t have to educate or defend why I am the way I am or why you’re choosing to be in a relationship with me, but you do have to have my back. Otherwise, why are we even dating?
I’m sure I could come up with more things, but, honestly, these are the major ones for me. And, yes, I’m only one trans guy, so not everyone’s going to agree with me, but these are a good start to making me feel like I can trust you.