Some years ago, I wrote a blog post about transgender dating equality. I’d like to say that I got a lot of positive responses on it — but unfortunately I did not. A lot of cisgender people who consider themselves strong allies of the trans community seemed to draw the line when it came to supporting dating equality for trans-folk. So this Valentines day, I would like to bring the issue up again – and maybe issue some clarifications — possibly address some of the explanations I was given over the years of why so many are so hesitant to support such a thing.
One reason, which I believe I mentioned before is the “People like what they like” excuse. However, Dating Equality isn’t about trying to change that – or trying to compel someone to date someone they just aren’t into. No. It’s about combating the societal memes that exacerbate the situation. If there’s something which some guys find undesirable about a woman, that’s just how it is. However, her friends, if they really are friends (and not phonies) should at least try to help her in her difficult quest to find love — without limiting her only to guys who fetishize something that she sees as a very-peripheral aspect of her identity.
Another thing is I was told – regarding my statement on how unjust the societal expectation of immediate-disclosure of trans-status is — some people (especially guys) told me — guys want to know up-front what they’re getting into. Well – with regards to that – I understand that guys may want to know that up-front — but it doesn’t mean they are entitled to. There’s lots of things that people want that they are not entitled to – and this is one more such thing.
Any woman who dates is advised not to air her dirty laundry on the first date – but on the first date, to bring most attention to the things she wants to be wanted for — and only on the second and third date to bring the things she wants to be wanted in spite of. That’s good advice — and a trans-woman’s right to put it into practice aught to trump any guy’s desire to be warned-off of all trans-women.
But some then ask in response — why does she want it to be something she wants to be wanted in spite of rather than for? Shouldn’t she have more pride in who she is? Well – my answer to that is (a) it’s her decision to make (and nobody else’s) whether she wants to be wanted for her trans-ness or despite it and (b) it is down-right khutzpa to use the pride argument to bolster a societal expectation who’s actual purpose of existing is to warn people away from a trans-woman.
But what I still don’t understand, coming close to two years later, is why don’t trans-folk discuss this yet as a social-justice issue? Is the issue not that important for anyone other than myself? Maybe — but from how much it gets discussed in the “how do I navigate my life around this difficult issue” department, I find it unlikely that nobody else truly cares about it. I’m not saying we should stop discussing this issue in the “how do I navigate my life around this issue department” – but seriously — it is time to also start discussing it in the social-justice department as well.