Loving Trans Men: Why I Don’t Just Date ‘Real’ Men

TiffanyMott-Smith_AndrewGetmanBy Tiffany Mott-Smith

“If you date trans men, why don’t you just date, you know, a real man?” This question has definitely gotten me worked into a hold-my-purse, ready-to-scrap, tizzy a few times. But it pales in comparison to the declaration, “your partner is trans—you aren’t a lesbian.”

Like many high femme cisgender women who love babies, baking and jewelry, I was shoved into straight life based solely on my gender presentation and traditionally feminine interests regardless of whether or not I was satisfied sexually or spiritually.

Being declared a “femme lesbian” and “queer” by my first girlfriend and urban dictionary were both very happy surprises. A significantly less happy surprise came when I began dating someone coming out as trans and others declared I was no longer a lesbian. “You’re bisexual now,” or “No, you’re just hetero-flexible,” or even the occasional, “Are you sure you’re even queer?” I really love doing hard things (pun intended), but demanding your partner’s gender identity be respected and supported when that very act calls your identity into question is the kind of hard-to-do that sometimes feels impossible.

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