Are there any transgender dating sites out there that are both legit AND free? Let’s explore the options and see if we can discover the truth behind the claims.
On the surface it seems that there are so many trans dating sites that people should have no problem finding one that meets their needs. So I spent the week sifting through all the ‘best trans dating’ lists, only to discover yet again, that things aren’t always what they seem.
Good and bad news for finding trans dates
The good news is that there are indeed some legitimate dating sites out there for trans people and their admirers.
The bad news? There are a lot of false claims being made, and a lot of sites that fail to deliver a truly inclusive space, despite the efforts of their marketing teams. Many others simply don’t have the numbers to make it work, despite good intentions.
Free transgender dating sites? The lists are a lie
In my research I found many lists touting the ‘Best Free Transgender Dating Sites’, as I mentioned above. Sadly, these lists are totally bogus! I have to say, I knew they were too good to be true right away because many claim there are 10 or more such free sites. Thing is, I have been reviewing and writing about niche dating sites for nearly two decades so I knew right away that such claims were highly unlikely.
I checked out all of the dating sites, joining some of them in my attempt to find ‘the real thing’. Others I didn’t bother joining because they weren’t even free in the first place.
Suggested sites often include Match.com and Zoosk, saying they accept all genders. Well, the join forms only include 2 genders. A transwoman can of course join as a woman (because she is), but I think she will run into some problems with members who don’t read the find print on her profile. I also couldn’t find a straight answer when I searched to find out the policies regarding transgender members on these sites. So much confusion, so few answers. If you, dear reader, know anything about these sites and their stance then do tell in the comments.
Also on the best-of lists? Dating sites that do offer the trans designation for profiles, but they aren’t actually free. AdultFriendFinder.com is one of these such sites. I actually think Adult Friend Finder is one of the better sites for trans people and admirers, but the free membership does little more than allow you to see photos of other members. Forget trying to actually contact anyone. TSdating.com is another one of the sites suggested to people looking for a free trans site. Yes, a free profile is on offer, but try to actually make a date without an upgrade. Not gonna happen.
Where is my free TG dating site?
Well, aside from the free sites that aren’t really free, the rest of what I found was just too pathetic to mention. Transgender sites that appear to be legitimate and have the trans specific profiles, but upon closer inspection had some serious issues. Mainly, not enough members, and shady tactics to squeeze out profit.
Honestly, when a dating site is free they still have to make money somehow! Ideally it’s going to be done by serving ads, but in many cases sites will aggressively send you offers by email, or try to push you into any number of upgrades or micro-payment options.
So are any transgender dating sites actually free?
Yes, there are legit free dating sites that accept trans members. However, these are just general population sites that don’t actually cater to this community specifically, which isn’t necessarily a huge problem. (It’s starting to look like one has to take what they can get. But I guess this how it goes when trying to get something for nothing..)
In this space we have OkCupid. The good thing about them is they have all sorts of gender and sexuality designations to choose from so it’s easy to let others know how you identify, and to also search for the appropriate members.
Does it work? The feedback is mixed, but I found some seemingly honest perspectives from trans people on this question about Okcupid at Quora, and in this Huff Post story on the topic. Do note that OkCupid does offer a paid upgrade, but you can do quite a bit without paying.
If we’re going to talk dating sites, we might as well consider transgender dating apps as well. I looked into the biggie: Tinder! This is a tough one for me to assess. If I were trans myself, I would give it a whirl and tell you all the juicy details. Alas, I can only do my best to suss out what honest people have to say about their experience. You can get a taste from online articles like this one on Wussy, and if you want to know more about what these sites are like for trans people, read this tell-all at Flare.
The problem regarding Tinder that keeps coming up in my research, is that Tinder has a penchant for banning trans members! Apparently this happens after a bunch of angry straight dudes report such profiles, and Tinder just throws the trans women off the app. So it seems like another case where a company’s actions don’t reflect their words.
My final thought on Tinder is to just give it a try if you haven’t already, and delete it if you find it’s not working for you. That’s the beauty of free apps.
Is there really a transgender Tinder?
Speaking of apps, you might get a bit excited when you read about one called Transdr. Although this app claims to be the transgender Tinder, they unfortunately fall into the Too Good To Be True category, and certainly aren’t free. Initially I found a bunch of news stories touting how Transdr aims to create a safe space for transgender women to find dates, but I see that they later ran into some trouble for some marketing pages that used no-no words that can be hurtful to trans members, as reported by the NY Post and others.
Beyond the marketing flub, Transdr faces a catch-22 in a way, because they are trying to bring two groups of people on board: transwomen and tranny chasers. While one may initially think these two groups are a perfect match, the disparity between the real-life wants of transwomen, and the often fetishistic and unrealistic expectations of men who specifically seek out TS dates can create a bit of a conundrum. As this relates to Transdr is summed up nicely in this article at GayStarNews.
All this aside, you don’t have to take my word for it because the reviews on the app download pages will tell you everything. A ton of 5-star reviews from users that don’t have real names or leave any type of meaningful comment, and then a whole bunch of poor reviews from real users who claim the app is often crashing and has a ton of fake profiles and active bots. The legitimate feedback was honestly so bad that I can’t link to the app, but you can find it easily enough.
What about other paid sites then. Any good?
Don’t want to waste your time any further? If you really just want to join a community where trans people are welcome and easy to identify, you might want to consider a paid site after all. Because at this point you are probably wondering, “Paid or not, is there even a real transgender dating site in the first place?!”
Now if you’re going to pay, there are some sites that have lots of members, welcome trans people, and are thriving. However, it seems many of the sites may work out better for the guys looking to meet trans women, than for the trans people themselves. It depends on the what kind of relationship is desired. And that’s because the best trans sites are still the overtly sexual ones.
I mentioned AdultFriendFinder.com already, as they often top lists of sites for finding transgender lovers. There is actually good reason for this. Adult Friend Finder is probably the largest site in the world for people seeking hookups, no joke. They have been around practically since the dawn of the internet. (I kid, but barely.) What this means for you is that they are very well established and have a huge population of naughty members, globally. And transgender members are nothing new for them.. unlike the other sites that have only added the option to join as transgender in the last decade, AFF has been accepting these members all along and are pretty much the go-to place for guys looking to meet trans women.
You’ve probably also seen TSmeet.com, often mentioned here at I Love TS. The important thing to know about this site is that it uses the same database of members as Adult Friend Finder, and is pretty much the exact same site as AFF, except it features the trans members more prominently. TSdates.com is the same thing. In the dating industry, we call these whitelabels. Same site with a different brand and a few tweaks, usually to serve a niche audience, like you.
If you are wondering why there is no app for TSmeet or AFF, the answer comes back to the erotic nature of these sites. The iPhone app store and Google Play simply don’t tolerate how sexy these sites can get inside. Too naughty for an app? Uh huh. Too much nudity, too many graphic video feeds, too many no-holds-barred introduction videos and live cams. Too hot for an app!
Lovely readers, do any of you have experience with trans specific dating sites? What has worked for you, and what hasn’t? What’s YOUR favorite way to meet transgender lovers? Let’s chat about it in the comments!
Tell us what you think