Love & the Trans Person: The Issues and the Realities

kate bornsteinDeja Nicole Greenlaw

By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist—

It’s February and Valentine’s Day is coming upon us. It’s a nice hallmark holiday that celebrates the love between special ones. There are gifts, dinner dates, and romance in the air! It can be a wonderful time for some folks, but for others it can be not so wonderful. If you do not have a special one in your life the day can leave you feeling sad and alone.

As one ages it seems that the likelihood of finding that special one decreases. Yes, it does happen, but if you just ask anyone who’s in the current dating scene, you just might get a negative answer to your question. After all, it’s not easy to find that special one. There may be factors stacked against you such as your age, looks and your gender. Being a trans person may also be a factor.

We all know that it’s not fair, but when you are trans you may be put into another dating category, apart from others of your gender. You may or may not be desired as dating material. Yes, there are some trans people who have found success in dating, but there are many other trans people who have not been as lucky. Although it seems absolutely unfair, the fact is that there are currently people who would never date a trans person. Never. These people might be perfectly happy to have a trans person as a friend, but to date a trans person might be a completely different story. Why is that so in these cases? What might be the issues that prevent someone from dating a trans person? In searching social media, talking with trans and cisgender people and learning from my own experiences, I can think of three possible scenarios why someone does not not want to date a trans person.

First, maybe the person is simply not attracted to someone who is trans. The thought of dating someone who began life as one gender but then started living as another gender may be too much for some to process. To these people, dating a trans person is not even a consideration.

Secondly, maybe the person has issues with the trans person’s genitals. There are many folks who are exclusively attracted to either female genitals or male genitals. If the trans person does not have the preferred genitals, the dating possibility ends right there.

Thirdly, maybe the person fears what society may think of them if they do date a trans person. The fear of them being ridiculed and labeled as queer, weird, not normal, etc. may be a huge issue for them to overcome. If they decide to stand with their trans partner, they may be ostracized by their friends and family who may not understand or accept the trans partner into their social and family circles. I have had first-hand experiences with this situation. I’ve dated several men who would only meet me in certain towns where no one knows them. Only one, actually, told a few of his friends about me, but the word got around quickly in his circles.

Most of his friends were not supportive at all. One of his friends asked him if he was still really seeing that “shim.”

It can be a tough situation. All my other dates never even breathed a word to their friends and family that they were dating me. It can be a sticky situation for someone to tell their friends that their date is a trans person. I found that most men whom I dated will just simply avoid telling their friends about me. I suspect that this happens in similar cases with others.

My conclusion is that if a trans person finds that special one who is not bothered by the trans person’s gender history, the trans person’s genitals, and their own fear of losing family and friends, then that special one really is indeed special! I do know for a fact that these special ones are around. Yes, there are folks who do date and partner with trans people, and they have no issues with doing so. They are usually few and far between, but I love it when I hear stories like theirs. Yes, sometimes love truly does find a way!

*Deja Nicole Greenlaw is a trans woman who has 3 grown children and is retired from 3M. She can be contacted at

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