Welcome to Transplaining, Mic correspondent Serena Daniari’s weekly advice column on gender identity. No topic — from dating to sex to the process of transitioning itself — is off-limits. Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and subscribe to Transplaining to receive weekly email alerts here.
“I’ve been talking to a girl I met on Tinder for two weeks, and she informed me she is a pre-op trans woman. I am a straight man. I am attracted to her, but I don’t know how to feel. Does this mean I’m still straight?”
Sometimes, we become bogged down by questions about our own identities when we meet new people. Figuring out your sexuality isn’t an overnight process; it takes time and patience. Does dating or being attracted to a trans woman mean you are gay? No. Trans women are women — and you are attracted to her as a woman; so naturally you are straight.
I reached out to transgender model and activist Taylor Lianne Chandler who urges you to not overthink the situation. “Like any Tinder romance, you could meet her and feel differently,” she says. “Either way she is a woman; you are simply a man who likes her. There is value in connecting with people you don’t previously have experience with. I applaud you for asking questions and wanting to be educated.”
I encourage you to view your sexuality from a framework that embraces nuance and new possibilities. If dating a trans woman isn’t for you, then it’s not for you. It’s pretty much as simple as that. If you are unsure if you want to continue dating her, you could decline any further interactions with her. Be gentle and kind in your conversation as trans women are often rejected in a rather brutal fashion.
Or you could continue engaging with her and see where your future interactions take you. Explain that it’s a new experience, but you’re open to seeing how things go without expectations or pressure. If you choose this route, save her the trouble of answering invasive questions by doing a quick Google search about trans women and our identities. If you realize down the road that dating a trans woman isn’t for you, this is absolutely a valid decision, but once again, be respectful and polite.
If you do decide to continue dating a trans woman, there will certainly be strangers and people you know who will call you gay and say you are less of a man. Be prepared and secure in your sexuality to deal with those comments. My advice is to forgo the labels and think about what you actually want for yourself.