Transgender chat and dating
This happens almost every time a prominent transgender woman tries to have a nuanced public conversation about sex and dating.
Over the summer, transgender activist Zinnia Jones tweeted: “I don’t see a problem with telling straight guys who are exclusionary of trans women partners that they should try to work through that.” That’s a different sentiment than what Cox was expressing—and probably a more radical one—but Jones followed that tweet up with ten more, beginning by saying that “nobody has to be with anyone they don’t want.”Jones added that while there may be some “baseline rate” of people who have an “actual true preference” for a non-transgender partner, the fact that “incredible numbers of straight men” secretly date us suggests that “touching a trans woman’s body or genitals is probably way less of an issue than most people think it is.”Jones was not commanding anyone to sleep with transgender women, but she was suggesting that people could probably stand to examine their aversion to us as viable romantic options.
It was obvious to me even then that these were not gay men. If these lobby men wanted to have sex with other men, Atlanta had over a dozen gay bars at their disposal—and yet they were here in this hotel on the edge of the city.
But I never had the sort of experiences with men that transgender advocates like Laverne Cox or Janet Mock have written about because I was exclusively interested in women.
about the phenomenon of straight men who date transgender women but want to “keep us a secret,” calling those men “insecure as fuck” for fearing that society will perceive them as gay.
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.
I want to make something clear right off the bat: Not everyone needs to date a transgender person. In all seriousness, though, I have to put that disclaimer at the front of this essay because the online discourse machine has a nasty habit of misinterpreting transgender people who try to talk about the struggles of finding romance.
And that bad-faith twisting of our words needs to stop.
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.
But it doesn’t take long for some readers to react as if transgender women are trying to make it compulsory to date us.