15 Shocking Realities Of Dating A Trans Person

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transgender dating
Love, Self

Pronouns mean a lot, even if they don’t make sense to you.

If you’ve been a longtime reader, then you might know that I consider myself agender — and that I’m actively working to try to make myself more androgynous and “pretty-boy-ish” in terms of my physique and appearance.

I’m actually pretty open about being genderless and do what I can to strike a more androgynous balance. It’s why I wear baggy shirts and why I wear pants 24/7. It’s why I am thrilled to have gotten sterilized, why I try to gain muscle mass at the gym, and why I want to get a chest reduction.

However, I still wear makeup, have long hair, and do my nails because I like those things. The only dress I ever want to wear is a wedding dress — and even that’s kind of a big “if.”

I’m also pansexual. I’ve dated men, women, non-binaries like myself, as well as a fair share of transpeople, too. This has led me to develop a lot of perspective on transgender dating and dating people of every gender out there.

RELATED: 5 Things You DON'T Know About Transgender People But Should

Most people will never date a transperson in their lifetime, but seem to think they are experts in it. Speaking as someone who considers themselves trans and has dated other people who are trans, I’m sick of hearing people’s assumptions.

I think it’s time I reveal a couple of really surprising things you might not realize about transgender dating as a cisgendered individual.

1. Not all transpeople get surgery and transition.

Surprise! I know, right? A lot of transpeople do not want to transition, either due to a lack of funding or because they are terrified of the potential side effects of going under the knife. Only 33 percent of all transpeople get any form of surgery.

2. A lot of us will look like regular girls and guys.

I’ll be honest here. You will not always be able to tell who’s dating a transperson and who isn’t. Some of us are very much in the closet, and only reveal our genders in places where we know we won’t be judged.

By day, your girlfriend may look like a 40-year-old male accountant. By night, she’ll have long black hair and beautiful brown eyes.

3. Pronouns mean a lot, even if they don’t make sense to you.

People don’t seem to understand how important pronouns are, unless they themselves have struggled with it. I’ll use myself as an example. I refer to myself as both a “she” and a “they,” because I am aware that I look like a girl and tend to be treated like one in society. I prefer genderless pronouns, though, because it takes away focus on the fact that my body does not match my mind.

Being called a girl emasculates me, and while I refer to my born gender a lot, I am not pleased about it. I don’t like being emasculated. It’s disempowering, you know?

4. There are various stages of transition, and if you choose to be with someone who makes that jump, you will have to learn their body — and re-learn it.

Transitioning is a seriously powerful thing that affects your body as well as your mind. A woman who is transitioning to a man will have body changes, and at times, what may have felt great before won’t feel great in three months.

This can lead to a lot of experimentation, and can also lead to moments where you learn who your lover is becoming in ways most never will. It’s a beautiful thing.

5. You will field a lot of questions about the mechanics in the bedroom — and it will get old, fast.

For some reason, a lot of people feel the need to ask what goes on behind closed doors and “if they have a penis.” This is not polite conversation, and I still have no idea how people think this is okay. Could you imagine if you asked people those kinds of questions? They’d hit the roof!

6. People will ask you why you can’t get a “real woman” or a “real man.”

Ugh. Yes, this has happened to me. I’ve also gotten the “I don’t understand how you can handle that.” I can’t even begin to explain how offensive this is. No, dating a transperson doesn’t mean that you are desperate; it means that person is hot and you like them.

7. There may be some teaching points if you were born the gender that they’re transitioning to, and you will love it.

Not going to lie, I really enjoyed this part of dating one of my exes. She was transitioning to female, and needed help with makeup. I loved helping her pick lipglosses and fix her hair. It was an amazing bonding experience.

RELATED: My Ex-Boyfriend Is Now My Ex-Girlfriend, And I Couldn't Love Her More

8. The places you can go will be limited, unless your partner is willing to stay “in the closet.”

This is another one of those things that people often don’t think about when they’re dating cisgendered people. There are a lot of places in America where transpeople go at their own risk.

Some restaurants won’t want you there — and they’ll make sure you know it. Going to certain regions, too, can be a danger simply because people can be so transphobic that you might end up watching your partner get beaten. Dating a transperson isn’t easy, primarily because folks outside the relationship make it so hard.

9. Some transpeople transition flawlessly and may be very hard to spot from a crowd of cisgendered people of their preferred gender.

Not all transpeople look the way people expect transpeople to appear. Some look way more natural as their chosen gender than they did when they were born a different gender.

10. You might be surprised to find out that your partner is trans.

Those who transition very well might wait a while to tell you that they were born a different gender, out of fear that you will dump them. With as much stigma as they face, can you really blame them for doing that?

11. Please don’t call us “trannies.”

It sounds so skeezy. It’s an outdated term that many transpeople find offensive. A better thought? Call them by the gender they see themselves as, because that’s the gender they actually are.

12. While you’re at it, please don’t focus on the fact that they are transgender.

A person is more than the equipment they were born with or work to obtain. People don’t seem to get this. Transpeople have awesome personalities, cool hobbies, and a lot more you should be focusing on aside from them being transgender.

13. The biggest shock to some people is that dating a transperson is a lot like dating anyone else.

You go out on dates. You kvetch. You kibitz. It still will require the same amount of respect and empathy that you would need in a cisgendered relationship.

If you think you can date a transgender person as a way to just get laid without showing respect, you’re in for a shocker. Transpeople will dump you just as quickly as cisgendered people will.

14. Gender and sex have nothing to do with one another.

Most woke people already know this, but I feel like it needs to be said again. Sex is the equipment that you’re born with. Gender is mental. Transgender people are individuals who were born in the wrong body and want to align their body with what they always identified with.

15. We’re really tired of being treated as “bargain bin” goods.

I’m genderless. I tell guys I’m trans, and I get scared they will leave. I’ve had guys straight up ask me if “they looked gay” by being with me, or asked if I “used to have a penis.” I’m tired of it and I’m sick of being told to “be more feminine” just to get a partner that wants to be with me.

To a point, I honestly think me being out of the closet is why I’m still single. But I’d rather be who I really am than deal with people who live a lie.

RELATED: 10 Out, Proud And Totally AWESOME Transgender Celebs

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a Jack-of-all-trades writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. When she's not writing, she's drinking red wine and chilling with some cool cats. You can follow her @bluntandwitty on Twitter.