Published on October 18th, 2019
Discrimination continues to impact those in the transgender community, but much has changed in the past twenty years. Twenty years ago, few were able to openly and safely live as a transgender individual.
Those who did transition hid their prior lives and were forced to start over in their new identity. Emotional trauma resulted, not just for those who transitioned, but for their friends and family.
There are still many strides society needs to make toward inclusiveness, safety, and mental health for those who are transgender. However, it is healthy to take a look back. Looking back shows how far we have come but also emphasizes how far we still need to go.
Dating for the trans community is still fraught with challenges. There are routine reports of abuses, harassment, and objectification. The internet, though, is, at last, making it possible for trans people to connect with others seeking similar relationships.
Twenty years ago, dating for transgender individuals was limited to either hiding your birth gender or engaging in risky sexual encounters. There was no widespread sense of community, and many people felt disenfranchised and excluded from any normalcy in dating.
The options for transgender dating have improved, but statistics are still concerning. According to advocates, transgender phobia is still on the rise. Phobia surrounding marginalized people groups present a real danger. 2017 was the deadliest year on record for transgender people, with 29 deaths due to violence reported by The Human Rights Campaign.
It has only been over the last decade that things have begun to change in any meaningful way. The mainstream world is slowly developing recognition and acceptance of TS dating. As the above statistics confirm, society still has a long way to go in being inclusive and safe for all members of the LGBT community.
More and more transgender people are dating, living, working, and interacting in the mainstream community. With each person proud and brave enough to tell their story, tolerance, and education increase.
Dating Resources Are Slowly Becoming More Inclusive:
Dating sites are slowly catching up with the need for inclusion. One by one, the larger sites are starting to add the option to specify gender status, preference orientation, and to sort results accordingly.
Most trans people state that dating sites remain far more friendly and inclusive of LGBTQ people than trans friendly.
The internet has offered a haven for trans people to meet, discuss issues central to their lives, and form friendships and community. It remains difficult to translate this into real-world dating experience due to distance and safety concerns.
Trans people still feel obligated to disclose that they are transgender early in the dating process for fear of inappropriate reactions if they withhold the information. Unfortunately, revealing this early in the dating process often hinders potential partners from getting to know the trans person as a person.
Potential partners, too often, either close off communication because they are too uncomfortable with someone who is transgender, or they develop an unhealthy fetish with body changes. Both reactions close doors on potential dating relationships before two people can even begin to know each other.
To further complicate the situation, many people shy away from labeling themselves as transgender. They embrace their chosen gender as the absolute truth of who they are. Having to assign yourself a label for someone else’s comfort is taxing and emotionally damaging.
The internet has been an important tool in allowing those trans individuals to find and support each other. It has offered a wealth of easily accessible information to those who would have felt completely isolated and alone twenty years ago.
There remains a great deal of misunderstanding around trans issues. There remains a need to educate society about these issues and how to best support someone who is transitioning or has transitioned. These conversations need to be taking place in homes, schools, and communities.