Trans Admirers vs. Trans Fetishists

Dear Jamie,

I met a TS woman on a transgender dating site and thought everything was going great—good chemistry, lots of things in common—but things went south when I mentioned that my ex-girlfriends and past hookups have also been trans women.

She asked if I date cis women, and I said I do but have always been especially attracted to trans women. Lori got really upset and said her trans identity is not a fetish! Since I met her through a site for transgender women to date men who love them, I don’t really understand. Where did I go wrong? Help!” – Justin

Hi Justin! Trans admirers go through a lot of flak, first from their own insecurities coming to terms with their unique attractions, then from society where straight and gay people accuse them of not being able to accept that they are gay, which they are not. Then they often experience resistance or confusion from the transgender women they love, because those women don’t want to feel like their bodies are fetishes or that they are different from other women.

Just as some men are especially attracted to Japanese women, or Scottish redheads, or plus-size bodacious gals, some are attracted to transgender women. There are lots of men who enjoy dating all sorts of women. And then there’s my friend Don who I’ve known since grade eight—every girl he’s ever dated has been extra curvy, medium height, tanned, with shoulder-length straight blonde hair. I never stood a chance!

Being attracted to a certain type of woman is nothing to be ashamed of, and there’s nothing wrong with being the object of that attraction. Still, you have to keep in mind that t-girls go through so much shit that trusting even family and allies can be a foolish game.

Lots of men who love t-girls are only into using them behind the scenes for sex, but they would never date them in public or introduce them to their buddies. This is why you guys are sometimes called “chasers” which has a negative implication. I love the term “trans admirers” but some men only admire in secret because they lust after trans women but don’t consider them candidates for life, love, family, friendship, and relationships. These guys do objectify trans women as fetishes, and it can be painful for the women.

There’s no easy answer to your predicament. Just keep dating and always be kind even if one of your dates goes off on you. You don’t know how hard it is to walk in her shoes, and I’m not just talking about balancing in high-heeled pumps. My advice is just to grin and bear it. If someone is really mean or abusive about it, walk away but maintain your compassion. Talk about your feelings if it seems you might get through.

Looking for an easy way to show that you are open to a relationship, whether friendship or love, with trans women, and are not embarrassed or relegating them to sex object only? You don’t want to say all that before your first date, so show it instead.

“Would you like to meet for sushi or drinks or a show at such and such? My sister and her husband and a lot of people from my work hang out there and say it’s fantastic.”

Without getting heavy handed, you’re showing her that you have zero qualms about running into people from your everyday life. These are simple privileges that most of us take for granted, but trans women don’t.

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