Honestly, I think if you’d told me that dating apps would get easier once I came out as transgender, I wouldn’t have believed you. Heck, I doubt I would believe you if you told me now. But it’s true. In what I shall only refer to as The Dark Beforetimes, I had multiple Tinder attempts (with little success), but in the brief short spurts on it I had as a trans woman, I found that both matches and dates came much easier. I even went on a nice socially-distanced picnic during COVID. That’s not even mentioning that there were several dates set for “once coronavirus is over” – if you can remember back to that far-too-optimistic April, followed by the still-holding-out-hope May, and an I-think-it’s-starting-to-sink-in June.
I mean, sure, there were more than a small number of people who unmatched me once they “discovered” I was trans – like it was some hidden and archaic secret they had to excavate that wasn’t on my Tinder profile three times by the end of it – and there were some who quickly switched from “looking for dates” to “just looking for friends” upon that eureka-moment, but I’m hardly bothered. Preferences are preferences.
The genuinely less-enjoyable side to dating apps came when I – as some of the more prominent trans women I follow on social media do and have done – chose to dip into Grindr, an app that generally markets itself to gay men but really caters to all, with an impressive amount of freedom when it comes to selecting gender and pronoun options. None of this, however, distracts from the fact it is the single most cursed app in the entire world.
I’m sure anyone who has used it will know the horror of not just finding out that it sorts its distances for potential dates in metres as opposed to kilometres, but of having a moment where a chat is losing your interest, and seeing them getting closer and closer – first 200m away, then 190m, then 170m, then 140 – followed by a sigh of relief when it starts jumping back up to 200m again, and you and the friends that were meant to be studying can all stop obsessing over numbers on your screen and go back to doing uni work.
This, however, does not account for the people themselves. Sure there’s dick-pics and early-on solicitations that you show someone nudes from basically the first message, but that’s par for the course. The general experience. You’re reading this article for the Transgender Special.
Highlights of opening messages may be “can you shit on my dick” and “£300 if you come to Wyndham for the weekend”, but we can’t forget the more exotic “so how trans are you?” the “have you got tits and a pussy?”, the “had the surgery?” and the “no, seriously, how trans are you?”
A personal favourite, is when someone – in what I’m sure they assumed was a woke-zinger that would shoot straight to my poor, transexual soul – said that they had messaged me because they were “interested in exploring the middle ground between man and woman”.
Be still, my beating heart.
These I can laugh off, ignore, brush away, add to a collection of images that includes a DM from a polite young man asking if I will fuck his girlfriend while he watches and tell him he’s nothing but a worthless cuckold. I treasure these memories, really. But one type of interaction that I loath, that never fails to ruin a trawl, is one that I have experienced with varying frequency on varying apps. It is crossdressers, or “sissys” – men who get aroused by wearing makeup, or woman’s clothes, or “being treated like a woman” (although what that treatment amounts to is often rather crass and misogynistic) – who message me as if we’re the same, them and I, that there is some shared understanding and camaraderie between us. This is not the case.
If your pecker puffs up when packaged in panties, that’s none of my concern, good for you, but that’s not why I transitioned, and there’s nothing fetishistic about my identity or the way I live my life. Questions of “oh, you’re going for a walk? Are you doing it dressed up?” from horny men really aggravate me, because I’m not “dressed up”, sir, I’m wearing the clothes I wear every day because I am a woman and these are my fucking clothes. Honestly, if you’re not even completely sure what a trans woman is, why are you trying to sleep with one? And trust me, these men are trying. Very trying.
I’m not a fetish, and you’re not getting laid.