Dating and Transphobia

“Is it transphobic to not date a trans person?”

I’m actually surprised it took this long for this question to come up. It’s common enough, but also far more complicated than people tend to think. So much depends on why you won’t date a trans person. I’m gonna use the gay male angle for this because that’s what I know, but the answers are all pretty much the same.

There’s the “but I’m gay!” response. Yeah, that one’s transphobic. Why? Because it says that trans men are really women. It once again reduces us to what may or may not be in our pants. Guess what? Trans men are men. Dating us doesn’t make you any less gay, it just makes you less of a douche.

Also in here is the “I don’t go for twat” excuse. I’m always torn on whether or not this one’s transphobic by itself because, y’know what? I don’t really like it either. I have no issues sucking a trans guy’s dick, but the second he expects me to go slightly further south I get kind of nauseous. It’s all…wet and squishy and I swear to god the last time I tried it almost ate my finger. Thing is, not all trans guys are into that anyway. *Assuming we are is a more subtle way of putting us back into the “woman” box. So while the lack of desire to fuck a vagina isn’t necessarily transphobic, the jump from that to turning down all trans guys everywhere is.

After those two we start getting into more subtle distinctions. It’s pretty common for early/pre-T guys to be turned down because they don’t pass. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you if that’s transphobic or not. I tend to lean toward no because you can’t help who you’re visually attracted to. I like my guys pretty and twinkish so I don’t really notice, but if you’re into bears then a pre-T guy isn’t gonna do it for you and I can understand that.

There’s also the issue of identity. Being seen as half of a straight couple can be disturbing, any trans guy who’s experienced dysphoria over that should understand. Cis guys can have the same issue. Even if they don’t see us as women the issue of the general public doing so is sometimes a dealbreaker. It’s related to the early/pre-T issue in that most guys pass this phase after being on T for a while, but with a slightly different reason. Sure, it’s showing cis-privilege, but I’m still far more accepting of this one than most others. After all, I get how irritating it is for the world to see you as someone you’re not. Why would I try to subject someone else to it?

What it comes down to is treating us like individuals rather than some monolithic entity. Turning down all trans guys? Transphobic, even if you don’t mean to be. Turning down specific trans guys for specific reasons? Not transphobic. There are some fine lines that can be hard to figure out, but for the most part if you’d date Kaiden even though you don’t like Jayden you’re probably good.

*Not trying to say that guys who like front penetration aren’t guys or anything, it’s just the underlying sentiment people who use that excuse tend to have.

23 Replies to “Dating and Transphobia”

  1. My take on it:
    Turning a trans guy down because you’re not attracted is your prerogative – whether it’s because he doesn’t pass or because he just isn’t your type or for any other reason. If he hasn’t told you he’s trans and you’re already not interested, it’s not transphobic as long as you don’t do it in a transphobic way (for instance, “no thanks, I’m not into girls” when said to a trans guy who’s trying to pass is bad).

    Turning a trans guy down, even though he’s cute, because you’re really into dick is your prerogative (and trust me, even if we call what we have a dick, we all know there’s a difference between what we can get and what most guys are born with).

    Turning a trans guy down, even though he’s cute, because while you don’t care too much about dick you’re totally freaked out by the presence of a vagina in your bed is your prerogative provided that you know that the guy in question is actually in possession of a vagina for you to be squicked by. Some aren’t. It’s transphobic to jump from “I’m trans” to “ewww pussy!” Same goes for breasts.

    Turning a trans guy down because you aren’t sexually compatible (both bottoms, both tops, he wants you to fuck his vagina and you aren’t interested, you’re kinky and he’s too vanilla, whatever) is your prerogative as it is with any other guy. Of course, sometimes it’s more fun to try and work these things out… 🙂

    Turning a trans guy down and then calling him a girl is transphobic.

    Turning a guy down because he’s trans and then suggesting he should go date other trans guys is transphobic (and a double standard).

    Turning a guy down because you think you can’t be sexually compatible with a trans guy, without even bothering to ask him his preferences, is transphobic.

    I think I break with you, NA, on your last couple points. I do think that turning a partner down because of what other people might think is bigoted – is it not racist to refuse to date a black person you’re attracted to because you’re afraid off how others would see you?

    But I do think there are legitimate reasons why some guys would write pretty much all trans guys off. Some guys are really really into dick. Me, for instance. Until there’s a way for us to get dicks that feel the same, get hard the same, cum the same as cis guys’ equipment, I’m likely not going to be sleeping with any other trans guys. The odds are about the same as the chances of a foot fetishist getting it on with an amputee.

    • My biggest reason for the last point is that trans is different from most anything else. At some point in time the majority of us will stop looking like women. A black person will never stop looking black (barring certain skin diseases and Michael Jackson).

      Beyond that, it’s not about bigotry. No one calls you slurs or kicks you out of restaurants for being straight. In reality being considered half of a gay straight (see, I can’t even purposely misgender people anymore) couple is a step up for most gay men. Refusing to be part of an interracial couple due to perception is about fear of bigotry. Refusing to date a trans guy who doesn’t pass due to perception is about personal identity.

      As for the penis thing…don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. I honestly didn’t think I could ever date another trans guy because, like you, I’m really into dick. (Yes, this almost exclusive top does enjoy cock…quite a bit, actually.) They’re fun and vaginas kind of freak me out. Some guys manage to minimise that though and I think writing us all off just because you *think* you’re too attached to dick is a bit hasty. It’s also an argument almost every gay man in the world has made…just before having his mind blown by a hot trans guy.

      • Well…I think it’s possible that my mind could change if and when I go through enough physical changes that I become comfortable with someone else interacting with my parts. Until then, nobody, cis or trans, is likely to blow my mind…I tend to be the one doing the blowing. Of minds and other things.

      • I agree that it only takes one really hot guy (meaning someone who is really your type). It was the same for me, when I met that trans guy, I didn’t give shit about his equipment, though I’m a dick fan too.
        For me it’s all about passing. I don’t think I could date a trans guy who doesn’t pass well, even if he had a 20 cm dick. I also have problems with guys who behave very much like women, or do the pseudo “macho” routine. I don’t like female dating dynamics, it totally squicks me. I’m not talking about effeminancy but something really “womanly”, like the lesbian u-haul for example or the emphasis on “love”.
        Some older gay guy said to me that the 2 or 3 trans men he met before didn’t behave like men. At the time I thought he was an idiot, but now I get what he meant. I think it’s an acceptable reason to not date a female behaving trans guy, if you happen to be into male-male dynamics very much.

        • THAT’S what I forgot. The dynamics issue. It’s something I rant about often to friends, but no one ever believes me.

        • I’m not sure I understand what you mean by acting womanly, or female-behaving. I mean, I get what you mean by the tendency for for former female people who dated women to have certain dynamics that they’re used to, like monogamy and u-hauling it. But, how does one know if they are effeminate or womanly? Is it the processing of emotions that female-assigned people tend to do?

          • I actually really hope SoF can explain this one because I know I fail miserably at it. There are just different ways that gay men interact vs straight couples vs lesbians. I like to people watch and there are a bunch of subtle things that differentiate even two pre-T trans guys with largely gay experiences from two lesbians. It’s annoying because I know it when I see it, but I can never come up with a good example.

          • Damn, I know it when I see it too *lol*
            I’ll try-
            I have mostly noticed it with guys who used to live as lesbians, because the womanly thing is very distinct and “pure” in the lesbian communities, even with butches. It’s just good old female socialisation taken to the extrem. Dumb example would be to talk about love when you mean sex. Or to behave in a very indirect way. Or go to the other extrem and behave like a cliche “man”: “ho, where is my little woman”
            I wouldn’t want to set up rules though, and I’m sure there are bunches of gay cis guys who are ok with womanly behaviour. I have met so many gay men who envy lesbians for their dating behaviour, because they are romantic souls, poor darlings *lol*

            The last resort would be to compare to Emmet Honeycut and ask: is it something Emmet would do? If no, it’s probably womanly.

          • I love your last resort example. It’s perfect because Emmett, while very effeminate, is not a woman and never even begins to behave like a woman. You’ll notice that he’s very romantic in his own way, but he’s also still a guy.

          • And I also wouldn’t want to say: don’t behave womanly! The initial text was just about reasons why some cis giys won’t date some trans guys and if that was transphobic or what.It’s all about personal taste and I would hate for trans guys to walk around thinking “am I too womanly?” (whatever that means).

          • I tend to think any time you start to get self conscious about a habit or mannerism that you like it’s time to ignore everyone — yes, even me — and do what makes you happy. I mean, I can disapprove of certain behaviours all I want, but as long as no one’s trying to force me to do them who really cares?

          • I agree. Esp because there are womanly behaviours that are nice, there are cis guys who have womanly behaviour (brought with 5 sisters or something), and just because it’s natural that trans guys have some womanly behaviour form their education, myself included.
            Kian- “womanly behaviour” is a very unprecise term, I agree with you on that.

          • Well, I know for sure that Emmett would never shove his boobs in someone’s face. 🙂

            Oh, Emmett, he was my favorite too.

    • Turning down a trans guy because he talks and behaves like he is still in the lesbian scene is not transphobic.

      Especially the more political wing of the lesbian scene, influenced by radical lesbian separatism, left radical whatever, butch/femme/genderqueer/gender theory etc.

      I don’t think gays are very amused if you carry the whole lesbian ideological terminology etc. into their clubs and start discussing politics, gender theory and feminism there when they just want to hang out and have fun. Or complain about a gay party flyer being written in a not completely politically endorsing-and-mentioning-all-kinds-of-people way and trying to impose your terminology on them. (“Men only? But what about people in male bodies who identify as [insert term]?”) And explaining the terminology etc. in great length although nobody asked for details.

      It doesn’t help either if they have been through the whole testo and mastek thing and absolutely insist on being identified as “butch lesbian” or something like that though they’re into guys now. And the worst example I ever heard about was reported to me by a friend: a trans guy starting to discuss politics in a darkroom.

      I’ve never seen how such trans guys behave in gay male spaces, but I know their behavior, terminology etc. from a couple of FTM reunions. When they tell me they go to gay male clubs and bars, I have a hard time imagining that they blend in very well.

      • “I don’t think gays are very amused if you carry the whole lesbian ideological terminology etc. into their clubs and start discussing politics, gender theory and feminism there when they just want to hang out and have fun.”

        I don’t think *anyone* would be very amused if you started talking about politics they wern’t interested in when they just wanted to hang out and have fun. Having said that, I know many gay men who are very interested in discussing feminism and gender theory, including when they’re on a night out.

  2. I can understand where you are coming from with thd biracial couple thing, but I don`t think it applies to this particular situation. Not wanting to be seen with someone of a different race is racist, but not wanting to be seen as straight is not transphobic. The same thing could happen with a twink with Kleinfelters or something. It`s not fair to equate sexual orientation with racism. I HATE being seen as the woman of a straight couple, and while it sucks, I understand.

    • Good list, and good additions in the other posts as well.

      About the dating someone of a different race… I think it may be fear of bigotry or rejection if your family or friends are very racist or you live in a dangerous quarter. And this depends on the region, country etc., it’s probably much more of an issue in South Africa than in France. Of course, this comparison is not 100% applicable to dating a trans guy, but it can be compared to a trans guy who is “out and proud” about everywhere.

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  4. While not completely relevant (as it’s not in reference to gay males), is it transphobic for a lesbian (or rather, a female who doesn’t like dick) to be attracted to a FTM because they still have a vagina?

    • Depends on who you ask. Also depends on what ‘type’ of trans person the guy is. Me? I don’t want to be with anyone who’s attracted to me because of what’s down there. It’s something I’m not at all comfortable with. I dislike any time I’m put in a different category from cis guys, it undermines my identity.

      Other trans guys take a different view of things. There are guys who do consider themselves different from cis guys. There are guys who are perfectly comfortable with their vaginas. Hell, there are many trans guys who date lesbians. It’s a rather controversial subject that doesn’t have a clear answer. At least, it doesn’t have a clear answer if you’re trying to include everyone.

  5. yes, yes, yes to EVERYTHING notaiden has written. i swear, i feel like we are very similar in our identities and preferences (although i’m a top, i too am an effeminate gay trans boy who likes pretty twink boys who are trans or cis). my partner is an effeminate pansexual cis boy, and i have had top surgery but no t yet. when we go out together, i am read about fifty percent of the time as his boyfriend, which of course thrills me and him because that’s what I AM. the other fifty percent of the time is a horrorshow division between his girlfriend, his fag hag, or his queer girl pal. I hate all of these, and I can ALWAYS tell which one is in play by the way others treat us. There are times after this happens (for instance last night at a restaurant when the waiter said ‘and for the lady?’ and then gave the check to him) when I just need him to say my chosen name in conjunction with ‘he’ pronouns a million times and then say something like, ‘justin, i love it when you fuck me, i love to suck your cock’ or, ‘you’re my pretty boyfriend’ to ease my gender sadness.

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