By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist—
It’s February, and once again Valentine’s Day is upon us. It’s a day of presenting your sweetie with traditional gifts of jewelry, flowers and chocolate as signs of your love. For many it is a wonderful day, but for others it can be rather sad. If you’re not with someone and you see what others may have on this day, it may be hard not to feel sad and to just want this day to be over.
A few years ago I wrote about whether it was time yet for “the transgender valentine.” Since then, I am certain that there are transgender valentines, but I don’t think that there are as many as there could be. The trans valentines that I do see are usually those who are in love with another transperson. They may define their relationship as a lesbian relationship or a gay relationship, but they are also in a trans relationship.
It’s my belief that in a trans/trans relationship, there seem to be fewer questions and more understanding than in a trans/non-trans relationship. Don’t get me wrong: there are successful trans/non-trans relationships, but I’m pretty sure that they take a little more work to keep the relationship going. It seems to be much easier for two transpeople to relate to each other. [pullquote]Many men are fine being with a transwoman miles away from their friends and family, but many are not going to have you meet their friends, nor will they bring you home to meet their parents. [/pullquote]
I know many transwomen who would really love to be in a relationship with a non-trans female. Some desire a lesbian, some desire a straight woman. I’ve seen success with both, but the success percentage appears to be low for either relationship. It is getting better as time goes on, but I believe that these relationships are still a long way off from being commonplace, and I can’t say exactly what can be done to make it better. The only thing I can suggest is that transwomen might consider pairing up with other transwomen.
For the transwomen who want to be with men, I can speak with some experience. I have been on dating sites since 2008 and can honestly tell you that there are many non-trans men who would love to be with a transwoman. The caveat is that many of them don’t want to be seen with a transwoman. Many men are fine being with a transwoman miles away from their friends and family, but many are not going to have you meet their friends, nor will they bring you home to meet their parents. There are some men who are okay with these meetings, but sadly, many are not.
A better situation is for transwomen to pair up with transmen. I have seen this work out successfully several times. Again, there seem to be fewer questions and more understanding between two transpeople, and meeting friends and family is often not a big deal at all.
Now, let’s look at the guys. Transmen who prefer non-trans women may have some successful relationships. Some have continued relationships that were once lesbian relationships and now have made it work through the transman’s gender change. Still, many of these relationships don’t make it. Some transmen have relationships with straight women, but I haven’t seen many of these. The transmen who pair up with transwomen seem to have the most success.
Transmen who prefer non-trans men may have a tough time. I can’t say that I know any transmen who have successfully paired up with a non-trans man, gay or straight, but I do know of several transmen who have successfully paired up with other transmen.
Yes, the trans/trans relationships seem to work out more frequently than the trans/non-trans ones, but love is a funny thing. Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t. The world is changing and is more accepting, but it’s still not easy finding a relationship that works no matter who you are, trans or not. I hope that this coming Valentine’s Day is kind to you and if it isn’t, please treat yourself well that day.
*Deja Nicole Greenlaw is a local transwoman who has three grown children and works at 3M. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.