Claire-Renee Kohner Planet journalist and Bustle author is going where few trans people dare. Claire, a pansexual trans woman is currently on dating apps, legitimately looking for love with varied approaches and writing about her exposé. It’s an extremely worthwhile venture given how many trans people are murdered while looking for love in all the wrong places.
Not every transgender person who has been murdered is actually looking for a relationship or even have that as a factor in the violence. But given how hard it is for a trans person to date in ways that popular culture considers normal, that being gender conformative, sometimes the wrong places have been all we have.
Are dating apps anymore productive than a midnight stroll along a dimly lit street? Well, first it depends obviously on what you are looking for. Many trans people, myself included, have come to equate giving someone momentary sexual gratification with love, which, of course, is not the same. The reasons for this misunderstanding of human nature generally can be found in our historical exclusion from dating in gender binary spaces.
Claire wrote about her App experiences on Bustle and HuffPost live video describing her experiences and has graciously shared this with Planet Transgender.
“Dating online really isn’t designed for people who are transgender’ said Claire, “and the ones that are out there generally like to fetishize us or are trolling sites for chasers; this means we are relegated to free sites like OKCupid, Meetme, Tinder or Zoosk. Zoosk, the number one dating site, is basically a binary site and Tinder, which is basically a hook up site, has banned accounts under what they call “trans fraud,” or trans people not disclosing their trans status in their profiles. This leaves you with OKCupid, the only site that offers gender variant identities other than male and female.”
“Overall, the online dating giants like eHarmony and Match.Com are missing the boat by catering only to the binary. I get that this is their business model, but allowing the LGBTQ+ community to join and find a match based on personality characteristics rather than a photo that you swipe left or right on will allow us to find better matches and long-term relationships.”
“Out of the 300 or so message I received the first week my profile went live, there were only a few viable men that caught my interest. Most of them just sent a single word message saying, “Hi.” It would nice if someone would have read my profile and started a conversation about a common interest, but that rarely happened.”
“I think some of the most off-putting messages were the one that used words like, ‘hon,’ ‘sweetie,’ ‘dear,’ or other terms of endearment within the first or second contact. Prior to transition, I would have never referred to anyone I didn’t know with those terms, but as a woman, I know that this is what men do and we are expected to accept it as a compliment.”
“After the show, some of us continued the conversation on twitter and one panelist asked me if I thought it “might be different if you/I targeted queer-minded folks who had a better understanding of gender/sexuality?” The short answer is yes, but what if you are like me and you like to date straight? Where and how does a queer site come into play in that situation?”
“Granted I’m Pansexual and it’s hearts not parts for me and I guess if you cast a wide enough net, your chances of success are still pretty thin as a person who is transgender because men start questioning their sexual orientation if they find out you are transgender.”
“I was asked after the show if I thought there was transphobia or trans misogyny involved in peoples decision not to date a trans person and honestly, I won’t cry transphobia when it comes to peoples preferences in the people they seek out to date, mate or relationship. We all have our preferences and if I don’t fall into yours, then that’s personal choice and quite frankly…your loss.”
“After several days of chatting with someone online, they would ask me out and I would then “out” myself. The end result they either blocked me, told me that I wasn’t part of their lifestyle, or in about a third of the responses, they asked, “Do you have boy parts or girl parts.” So I stopped outing myself and just went on the dates. If they asked me out again, then we had a conversation, but I never allowed the date to touch or hug me prior to the “announcement.” I didn’t want that instant look of regret or sudden panic attack.”
“I did go on this one date and I made sure it was in a well-lit coffee shop after work when it was busy. At the end of the date, he asked me out again and that’s when I came out to him. He said he had no idea and wasn’t sure if going on a date with him was honest of me, in other words, he thought I trapped him. I thought he was going to punch me, which is why I planned a public meeting.”