This is an interview between a trans woman and her heterosexual male boyfriend.
Me: So tell me, sweetie, before you met me, how did you feel — as a straight, cisgender male — about the idea of dating a trans woman?
Boyfriend: Uh, well, honestly it wasn’t something I had put much thought into. I had seen attractive trans women in the news and the media and the internet, and I remember thinking “well she looks great!.” So I acknowledged the possibility of a sexual attraction, but I’d never honestly considered whether or not I could actually be in a romantic relationship with a trans woman before. It wasn’t like I had ruled it out, it was just something I hadn’t sat down and thought about. It was not something that was on my radar.
Me: What was your first thought when you and I met for the first time?
Boyfriend: My first thought was “wow, she looks great!” *laughs* I thought you were a little weird, but in a good way. And when I mean weird, I mean quirky and nerdy, stuff like that, and I thought those were very endearing qualities.
Me: To be fair, you’re quirky and weird too, and I definitely thought that when I first met you. What was your first thought when you found out I was trans?
Boyfriend: Well I found out you were trans before I met you. I looked through the profile and read it, saw the pictures. I thought we had a lot in common. Then I found out that you were trans because it was buried in the profile a little bit, and I was kinda like — Oh! That’s new.
Like I said, it was something I had never considered, and then I was thinking to myself, well should I still message her? Because I hadn’t really determined at that point whether or not I could actually be in a relationship with a trans woman. I said to myself, "well this is just a date, it’s not like we’re getting married or anything," and I decided what the hell, I’ll just go ahead and message her and see how it goes.
Me: Fair enough. When we started going out, were you afraid of other people’s reactions, and if so, how did people’s reactions confirm or deny your concerns?
Boyfriend: Yes, I was very afraid, actually. I remember the first time we went out in public at an IHOP, I believe it was. I remember being a little paranoid and wondering if people were looking at me. It was not so much whether or not I had a realistic fear; I think it was the setting being the area that we live. If I were in San Francisco, I probably wouldn’t have cared at all, or if I did, it would have only been a little. It was more that I had never been in a situation where I had to deal with stigma before.
Me: For clarification, you and I both live in the southern part of Georgia. So how did people’s reactions confirm or deny your concerns?
Boyfriend: It really denied the concerns, because I’ve never had anybody say anything to me, as far as strangers go. Now when friends found out about it, I got a lot of weird questions, like "how would you have sex?" And some of my friends were kinda surprised, but not completely surprised. And then my sexuality got called into question, like "are you really bi? Or gay?" Stuff like that.
And I’m kinda like you know I'm still me, I'm the same guy, nothing’s changed or been buried or hidden or anything like that. So yeah, a lot of questions, but thankfully I haven’t had any downright just sheer discrimination against me, but at the same time not everybody in the world knows, either. We’re a little selective in who we discuss it with.