Ah, love. What an amazing, freeing feeling, except when it’s not. The entire process of falling in love – finding someone, dating, staying in a relationship – can be dangerous to different groups of people, notably transgender individuals.
Dating can be scary when 30-50% of transgender individuals face domestic violence at some point in their life. This is higher than the 28-33% in the general population. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the problems with being transgender and trying to date.
So you’re a young, attractive trans person about to create a dating profile. You wonder if you should add the fact that you’re transgender to your profile. If you choose not to, you’ll have to tell the date later. This could work out well and they accept you, or it could get them to call you a liar for “hiding” it. If you do put it on your profile, it could make you lose a lot of matches. It could cause some people to match with you simply because you are trans, as they have a strange attraction to trans people. It could cause your profile to be mass-reported and removed. It could even attract someone that looks for trans people just to hurt them or kill them, thus putting yourself in danger.
So you match with someone, if you’re lucky enough to – 87.5% of cis people refuse to date trans people. Furthermore, 98.2% of straight women and 96.7% of straight men refuse to date trans people. If you didn’t already tell the person you matched with that you are trans, you are faced with figuring out the right time to tell them. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that they will react negatively. And once they do know, you’ll be faced with all sorts of questions. Intrusive questions about what surgeries you have gotten or will get, questions for them to test how much of a “real” guy or girl you are… Questions that make you feel less than desirable.
Now say you get to dating and end up with a nice ally and you have a good relationship. You’re not in danger, but the hardships aren’t over. Let’s say you’re a trans guy, and you’re dating a pansexual cis guy. But he’s only dated women in the past, and he isn’t interested in dating cis men. So you wonder, does this person really see me as a guy at all? Another issue is when the dysphoria gets really bad and self-hatred peaks. You’ll wonder, “how could anyone love me?” and push away the people that do. This affects me personally, and puts a strain on my relationship.
Dating and getting into relationships as a trans person is mentally taxing, and at times, dangerous. It is another of the unexpected difficulties trans people face that others might take for granted. But dating is not all terrible, it can definitely be something gender-affirming. Even though there are many hardships related to getting into and being in a relationship as a trans person, I see it as totally worth it – nothing compares to the euphoria I feel when my boyfriend calls me his boyfriend.