Will Solitude Be Your Companion on Valentine’s Day?
By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw */TRT Columnist—
It’s February and that means Valentine’s Day is approaching. Valentine’s Day can be a wonderful day for couples expressing their love but how about those who are not in a relationship? It can be a tough day for those single folks. If you are a trans person it can be an even tougher day. I don’t know the percentage of unattached trans people as a whole, but I’m thinking that it’s most likely a higher percentage than that of cisgender people. Of course, there may be different statistics depending on age and other variables, but I would think that, as a whole, the percentage of trans single people is higher, especially that of older trans folk.
The younger trans generation may have a better chance of being coupled as younger people overall seem to be more accepting of trans people. I notice more of them dating and finding love with younger trans folk, both on social media and in the people I personally come in contact within my daily life. Of course, not every young trans person is part of a relationship, but I would think that the percentage is higher than that of older trans folk.
When one dates one tends to date someone near their own age. Unfortunately, many older folks are not quite as accepting of trans people as younger folks are. This leaves a smaller pool of older individuals willing to date trans people. To that, add the fact that the older trans people, especially those who transition later in life, may not look as feminine or as masculine as younger trans folks.
The older trans person has had years of the wrong hormones working in their bodies, some even decades of them. As a result, they might not look as feminine or as masculine as younger folks who have had HRT earlier in life and could’ve even been placed on hormone blockers to keep them from showing characteristics innate to their assigned sex at birth. All in all, I dislike bringing up the subject of ageism, but generally speaking, young people look more desirable as partners—in this binary society—than older people do. It’s a hard truth but a valid truth.
On the bright side, I have seen more trans people in relationships now than in the past 20 years. I see more cisgender/transgender people relationships these days, which warms my heart. More married couples comprised of one transgender partner are staying together these days and more new cisgender/transgender relationships are occurring more frequently now. Of course, there are always trans/trans relationships, perhaps as many as there were in the past 20 years, and that’s a good sign too. It is getting better for us, but I think that on the whole, too many trans people still suffer from not being able to find a partner.
I am one of the older trans people and I have had dates with cisgender men and even a summer romance one year with one cis man but everything was on the down low and most times my partners moved on to cis women rather than stayed with me. I have had conversations with my dates and I have heard their fears of being “found out,” that is, being seen with a trans woman by their family and friends. One of my dates once told me that he could never, ever, bring me to meet his parents because of his parents’ disapproval of him dating a trans woman. That was a tough statement for me to hear, but I realized he was telling the truth. The older generations are less accepting of trans people dating or coupling with their children or other members of their family. That’s an awful statement but it’s also true.
So, this Valentine’s Day I will treat it like any other day and just ignore the couples’ love theme. One bright spot is that the next day I can purchase leftover Valentine’s Day candy that didn’t sell for 40-50% off. LOL, that doesn’t take the sting out of the day but every little bit helps!
If you do have a significant other and you do celebrate Valentine’s Day please enjoy the day and enjoy your partner. If you don’t celebrate the day and you don’t have a partner, I feel your pain. Maybe someday you will have someone to call your own when the stigma of coupling with a trans person has subsided. Hopefully, someday soon it won’t be an issue at all.
*Deja Nicole Greenlaw is retired from 3M and has 3 children and two grandchildren. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.