This woman showed what dating is really like for transgender people

Dating is tough at the best of times, but can you imagine how much bloodier the battlefield of romance gets when you're a transgender person? It's already nearly impossible to find someone you find attractive and certify that they're a decent person and that they don't chew with their mouth open at dinner. Picture having to do all of this, plus try to ensure that this person accepts the fact that you were born a different gender.

Transgender people live in a different world to the rest of us; an exhausting world where they must constantly explain and define themselves, and even then run the risk of not being completely accepted. A 24-year-old transgender woman, going by the account name of "hatfulofmadness" posted a prime example of this on Reddit recently. According to her Reddit posts, Emma is an application security engineer who was born male, but is now living life as a woman and undergoing sex reassignment surgery in November to complete her transformation.

Choosing to take a dive into the turbulent world of online dating, the young woman decided to change her Tinder profile dating preferences from just women to both genders. In addition, she wrote an in-depth bio which detailed her hobbies and what exactly she was looking for in a relationship. Obviously thinking it best to be completely upfront about her status as a transgender person, she also wrote "Until November, I've got a d*ck. Use it before I lose it" and added telling emojis, making it clear for anyone who read it to deduce that she was in the midst of transitioning.

Tinder profile

Tinder profile Credit: Reddit

However, her decision to try her luck on the dating app took a turn for the worst when the men who she matched with began to ask inappropriate questions, making her incredibly uncomfortable. Rather than attempting to get to know her as a person, the men focused solely on her status as a transgender person, forgetting to ask anything else about her personality. The comments that came her way ranged from merely curious - "You actually have a dick? How does the entire process work?" - to the plain rude - "You've got a 'dick' till nov LOL".

However, the 24-year-old wasn't exactly going to take it lying down. In her replies, Emma made it clear that she expected to be treated like just like any other person, questioning what exactly there was to explain in her responses. In fact, one of her sassiest replies included a list that sarcastically detailed the process of changing gender: "Step 1: Get born with a dick. Step 2: Not get born with a vagina. Step 3: Not get bottom surgery yet."

Nonetheless, posting the interactions in an Imgur album entitled "What happens when you disclose your status on Tinder: An album", Emma caused controversy online. Many of those who read her responses insisted that the transgender woman was being unnecessarily snarky with her Tinder matches, who were just trying to find out more about her sex reassignment surgery.

Tinder conversation Credit: Reddit

 

Tinder conversation Credit: Reddit

Multiple Redditors expressed their disgust at her cagey responses, claiming that the men she spoke to were merely uneducated and not trying to be rude. One person wrote: "She set her profile to match with men. They didn't know it was an experiment. I would have been a little confused too and the two-girl emoji isn't as clear as a written statement. They weren't being disrespectful, just dense, but she just shot them down."

However, supporters of the transgender community were quick to defend her, stressing how difficult it is to date as a transgender person. One wrote: "For the people calling her a b*tch and an a**hole: Trans people generally don't want to talk about being trans. Putting stuff like 'I have a d*ck until November' as the first part of your description is a really really good way to get that conversation out of the way without actually having the conversation. When you put that there and the first thing people ask about is your d*ck, 99.99 per cent of the time she isn't gonna be happy."

Whatever your take on the situation, Emma's Tinder chats highlight the difficulty surrounding transgender dating. Hundreds of trans people have spoken out in the past about the limited options available to them in the dating world; for example, transgender writer Juno Dawson spoke out in the past about being fetishised and turned into a 24-hour sexual fantasy by men, writing about the multiple men who message her claiming to have "always dreamt about being with a trans girl".

Tinder conversation Credit: Reddit

Tinder conversation Credit: Reddit

Equally, transgender woman and writer Janelle Villapando showed the other side of the coin when she wrote about how a handsy make-out session in a car turned to disaster when she realised her date hadn't read her dating profile properly and did not know she used to be a man. After finding out, her date became incredibly aggressive, leaving her in fear of attack.

"He started yelling that I never told him," she wrote. "I responded saying it was all over my OkCupid profile, which it turns out he never read. He said, 'I’m bouncing; that’s f**ked up,' and jumped out of the car, spat on the ground, slammed the car door and walked away. I sat in the back seat of my car in complete shock. In that moment, I was mostly concerned about my safety. I stayed in my back seat for probably five minutes to make sure he was gone. When I got back into the front seat to drive home, I still felt uneasy. What if he’s still around? What if he’s going to try to hurt me?"

Her experience tragically highlights a recurrent fear that many transgender people have: the fear of being physically harmed, or even killed when they go out on a date. In a world where Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox make headlines, you'd think that this wouldn't be a common problem, but you'd be grossly incorrect. Last year the Trans Murder Monitoring Project and the Transgender Day of Remembrance organisers compiled lists of each murder of a trans and gender non-conforming person, revealing that there have been over 270 reported murders of trans and gender non-conforming people in the past year.

LGBTQ hand Credit: Getty

Furthermore, there have allegedly been a total of 2,609 reported cases in 71 countries worldwide between January 2008 (the year Transgender Day of Remembrance began) and September 2017. Shockingly, a number of these cases have seen transgender people dying at the hands of a lover. Take the case of 24-year-old trans woman Ty Underwood, who was murdered by her boyfriend, Texas College football player Carlton Ray Champion. The motive was said to be jealousy, but Underwood's inner circle believes that the murder was a hate crime.

Additionally, when the January 5 murder of Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien marked the first reported homicide of a transgender person this year, a Milwaukee-based national transgender advocacy group came up with some worrying figures. Loree Cook-Daniels, the policy and programme director at FORGE stated: “We don’t have complete data ... but based on what we do have, we think up to half of the murders of trans people are murders by either partners or dates.”

So at the end of the day, sure, perhaps Emma's responses on Tinder were a little out of line. Yet, in order to try and understand why a transgender person may be defensive when plunging into the world of online dating - or any dating at all - we must take a look at the world they are forced to live in. A world of fear, rejection and constant justification, where they never quite know where they stand. After all, they say romance is dead, but when the first thing people do is inquire about your genitals, you know for certain that it's dead, buried and never to be seen again.