He made jokes about me and how I “used to be a man,” criticized my writing and activism, and even — the grand offense — used my birth name during arguments. Having to constantly define and explain myself is both exhausting and unfair.
I feel like I have to share my entire life story early on — a situation in dating that we’re often told to avoid at the risk of being too overwhelming.
I’m surprised at how often I encounter people — typically cisgender men — who don’t understand what transgender means, even in a world where Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox make headlines.
Despite one pervasive misconception that transgender people transition for the approval or acceptance of future sexual partners, when I transitioned there was nothing about the forthcoming experience that assured me I would be seen as desirable. But when you’re trans, it’s hard in a completely different way.
I didn’t know if I’d ever have the chance to be loved. It’s all too easy to internalize the assumptions that we are rudimentary facsimiles of the people we actually want to be, or that we take on a lifestyle that’s all about mutilating our “God-given, natural” bodies.
He had just moved to Atlanta from Chicago and had this whole stereotypical macho thing about him.
We’d just met, so I can only imagine the infinite possibilities swirling in his head.
A little under a year from now, I'll be the same age as 25-year-old India Clarke, a recent victim of trans killings.
One of my biggest fears is becoming another murder statistic: someone for the media to posthumously misgender, leading the public to believe that I somehow deserved to have my life taken away.
I vowed as I left his place in the middle of the night that I would never put myself in that dangerous of a situation again.
And even though I now make sure people know my identity before I’m alone with a potential partner, there are still some aspects of this interaction that seem to show up in my dating life no matter how many precautions I take.
Though we had a ton of chemistry, he couldn’t understand the ways in which he constantly invalidated my identity.
And, to be clear, I don’t need constant validation of my womanhood, but I do need respect — which J wasn't prepared to give.
It’s not very personal, but it lessens the possibility of a more life-threatening situation. A few people — both men and women — have had a sense I was trans before I even told them.