Short question, short answer. But if you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I can’t just give a short answer to anything. I think being single is an important thing to talk about, because relationships, while a primary concern of many people in general, are a particular concern to those in the trans community.
At this point in my life, I’m single by choice, and there are a few factors involved. Probably the most influential of those is my tendency to be a loner by nature. As I explain in this post that I wrote for Womanist Musings last year, lonerism is highly misunderstood, because we’re often seen as antisocial, maladjusted, or just plain stuck up.
I am none of these things, but I am probably a classic Myers-Briggs Introvert, someone who gets his or her energy and who rejuvenates by being alone. This is a personality trait that a lot of people don’t understand, and it can lead to others feeling rejected when the loner needs to be alone.
Another influence has been my pre-transition versus post-transition experience of the world. As a female, I was unsure of who I was or what I wanted, which makes sense when you are a person struggling with trans issues, because you aren’t who you are. But I had a tendency to live through my male partners, because my real goal was to be like them. And I needed that male energy, so I was not without a partner from the age of fifteen to the age of forty-two, when I started my transition.
After transition, I was amazed at how free I felt to discover my own preferences and to choose my own activities, movies, food, sleep time, and everything else. Of course, I could have done this at any time in my life, but I didn’t. And although it sounds selfish now, experiencing my life as a single person has been very beneficial to me. I had a lot of catching up to do with regard to getting to know myself, and I have really embraced this opportunity.
That said, I have had dates, I have had “physical interactions,” and I have met people who I was interested in, but in some cases, time and money (the lack of both) have prevented me from pursuing this. One thing I don’t want to do is call somebody up and say, “Would you like to go out? You would? Great. I’ll pick you up, we’ll swing through the McDonald’s drive-thru, get a few things off the dollar menu, then I’ll drop you back off at home.” So recently, the dating pool has become more of an overgrown swamp.
But I never say never, and I think that I will eventually start dating again, or even looking for a partner, and when that time comes, what better place to post a giant personal ad than on my own blog? Stay tuned.
While all this information was way more than what the question-writer wanted to know, the reason that I thought it was important to explain is that the real answer to this question, for me, is more complex than just a “yes.”
It can be discouraging to trans people to hear that other trans people are single, because the fear of never having a partner or never being loved again can loom large for members of our community. I think it’s important to point out that many trans people have wonderful, happy, long-term relationships. I do believe that, in some cases, being trans can make it more difficult to find dates and/or a relationship, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
We might get turned down because we’re trans, but non-trans people get turned down all the time, for a variety of reasons. Rejection says more about the person who does the rejecting than it does about the person who has been spurned.
If someone rejects you because you’re not pretty, smart, funny, or successful enough for them, that doesn’t mean that you’re not pretty, smart, funny, or successful. If someone rejects you because you’re trans, it means that that particular person is not attracted to trans people, not that trans people aren’t attractive.
It’s true that there are some trans people who will never have a relationship after transition, but there are many non-trans people who will never have a relationship either. Relationships are tenuous things, and you never really know how long they will last or how you will fare in them.
Given that, whether you’re trans or not, the best relationship you can have is with yourself. It sounds like something out of a pop psychology book (and it probably is), but that is the one thing that will stay rock solid, no matter what happens in other areas of your life. That’s the unmovable center that remains when everything else falls away, and it is just as important a relationship to cultivate as any other.
Readers – thoughts?