Can I Find Love If I'm Transgendered?

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Can I Find Love If I'm Transgendered?
Our transgendered heroine's search for true love after 30—and a sex change.

If you're a woman in your mid-thirties, the dating scene is challenging enough. You're conscious of feeling older, wrinkles become a reality, and you feel like your stock value as a potential wife has started to head south faster than the housing market. So in the past year, I decided it was high time I met a fabulous man.

In my good moments, I feel quite fabulous myself. I feel like an attractive, successful and snarky strawberry-blond who cooks like a dream and has a joie de vivre unlike most. I was open to meeting all sorts of men. I assumed I'd eventually find a like-minded guy who would appreciate me for me.

And I set out about it the way most anyone today would: I tried online dating. With the help of a writer-friend, I honed my profile and let the games begin. I was soon flooded with winks and emails. I became obsessed with my email, checking it the moment I woke up, before laying my head on the pillow, the minute I stepped in the door, before and after lunch. I knew it was bad when I found myself "dancing" in front of my computer having to pee so bad I could hardly stand it, yet still waiting for my email to download before I dashed off to la toilette.

And for my pains, in the past six months I've had the pleasure of dating a variety of escapees from the Island of Dating Misfits: the One-Trick-Pony Slovakian Surgeon who only spoke medicine, the Fresh-Out-of-Divorce-Court History Professor, the Narcissistic Airline Pilot who had me re-decorating his apartment on date two, the Cock Ring Guy (read: sailor with 4 piercings in one little penis), and the Deeply Spiritual Recovering Alcoholic who hasn't made it through the steps to allow him to "date" (so what's he doing on an online dating site?). My most recent annoyance, the Glamorous, Gorgeous & Wealthy Businessman, strung me along for two months, then declared us "friends." How To Translate Online Dating Profiles

I wish I could report to you all that, holding my head high, I summarily rejected each one of these yahoos. But to be completely and painfully honest, I gave each more than one chance. I cut guys more slack than most anyone I know. Most of my friends are confused about why I give each guy so much time to prove there's something worthy about him. What they don't understand is that I do this out of a hope that each of these men would do the same for me.

The truth is, I struggle with my own pain and shame that feels especially sharp in relation to dating, relationships, and sex. You see, my dears, I was born with the wrong parts—more specifically the wrong sexual parts. You've most likely heard it before: "I was born in the wrong body." Yep, that's right, I am a transsexual woman.

It's almost a bit mundane, the "born in the wrong body" mantra. In my opinion, this phrase has become overused. It certainly lacks the power to express how difficult it can be to live with this reality. While it's not quite as shocking or rare as it once was, I assure you that a very powerful stigma remains for those who are transgendered—the umbrella term for all those who do not conform to classic male/female gender roles. I use this term to include people, like me, who change their physical gender through sexual reassignment surgery. In short, I've always felt like a heterosexual woman. Before surgery, I was attracted to men. But, unfortunately, I also looked just like them.

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