Although my sister once told me, “I would never date a guy without a penis” (it was okay — I didn’t want to date her, anyway), I think that an increasing number of straight-identified women are discovering that they would date a guy without a penis — and most of these women have never even thought about dating in terms of genitalia before.
A friend pointed me in the direction of this article in O! The Oprah Magazine about “falling in love with a transgender man.” The author, Allison Cooper, recounts her experience with, well, falling in love with a transgender man.
Before this happened, it likely never occurred to her whether or not she would date a guy without a penis (my sister is in a unique position to consider such things, even though her husband hopes that her dating days are long over). But the guy that she got hung up on turned out to be trans, so what is she going to do?
With the Internet, trans guys are becoming more visible — just like everyone is becoming more visible. They are not necessarily becoming visible as trans — they are just becoming visible as people. The guy (we don’t know his name) that Cooper writes about had his photo online as a music writer–not as a trans music writer. And she fell for him as a guy who wrote something in a music column — not as a trans guy who wrote something in a music column. She only found out about that later. And, not being my sister, it didn’t seem to matter to her that much.
In my experience, this hasn’t been a particularly unusual phenomenon. When I ran the trans man support group at the Gender Identity Center of Colorado, I met a lot of partners and wives who had always identified as straight women and who suddenly found themselves as the partner of a trans guy.
It doesn’t come without problems — and for a lot of the women I met, the question of sexual orientation seemed to be a far bigger issue than their man’s lack of the expected accoutrement. Another biggie was what family and friends would think when they found out — and Cooper’s essay recounts the difficulties that she had to deal with in this situation. But no penis? No big deal (and no pun intended).
I was a straight woman for many years, and I definitely liked penises–it must be a family trait. But I can also understand why it might not be an essential feature when making out a list of what’s desirable in a partner. For many women, it’s not required for sexual satisfaction, and it can actually become troublesome when it wants to go where no man has gone before — or for a while. It offers the risk of pregnancy, and often doesn’t want to take the responsibility for preventing it. And sometimes it stays up for hours — long past your bedtime and your comfort level.
But even so, a lot of straight trans guys I have met have worried about not being able to properly please their partner or potential partner. Cooper’s essay, which I’m not going to dissect here, should give them a sense of hope about the fact that, for many women, it just doesn’t matter.
That doesn’t mean that a trans guy won’t get rejected. But people — trans and non-trans — get rejected every day, for a variety of reasons. So it could be because you’re trans, or it could be because she doesn’t like your hairstyle or your clothes or your lousy pickup line.
Now that my sister’s been off the market for a while, at least you don’t have to worry about running into her and getting the brush-off. There are plenty of women out there who aren’t as interested in accessories as they are in decent conversation, shared interests, intelligence, and a good sense of humor.
Accessories can always be purchased. You just have to work on the lousy pickup line.