SL Letter of the Day: To Be Trans, Kinky, and Bi
by Dan Savage
on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 5:43 PM
I'm a 24-year-old bi trans guy, and a long-time reader. (I read through the entire online archives five years ago when working up the courage to dump a motherfucker already, for which I will always be grateful.) I'm comfortable with my sexuality and with my kinks, I have a nice body, people have told me I'm handsome. I'm respectful and considerate and GGG, and I have plenty of friends and make connections easily. The problem is, while I've found lots of people who want to be my friend, I haven't found anyone who wanted to fuck or date me in quite some time.
I've been in a few relationships and I was never single for long—until this 2.5 year single streak. I miss being in a relationship. I want to have sex again. I would give so much for some decent pain play. I just can't seem to make it happen. At first it was a purposeful break, following an awful relationship with a guy who made me feel crazy for expecting his promises to count for anything. I've done a lot of processing since then, and I've spent the past few years transitioning, working through past trauma (yay therapy!), distancing myself from my fucked up family, and generally establishing myself. I'm doing really well in every sphere except dating/sex.
It feels significant to me that I've done all of this work to become a well-adjusted, happy, interesting person and at the same time people have become less and less interested in anything non-platonic with me. It's hard to put myself out there knowing my gender will often be an issue, but I put myself out there, I meet new people, and I'm on OKCupid. My friends say I'm a catch. No luck.
What can I do? Two and a half years is a long time when you're in your twenties. I miss the delightful slutting around that was so easy pre-transition, and I feel like I'm going to be single for the rest of forever. I swear, I'm not far from winding up a born-again virgin by default. I would love your insight.
My response after the jump...
You don't need me to tell you that being trans can make a person's love life more complicated—the same goes for being bi, the same goes for being kinky. Irrational prejudices, surmountable preconceptions, and legitimate preferences can work against you in all three instances.
From the bottom up: pain play is a varsity-level kink, U, and even the GGGiest vanilla partner may have trouble going there. Some folks refuse to date bisexuals—which is why so many people wind up dating closeted bisexuals*—and some cis folks aren't attracted to trans folks. Is those cissies guilty of anti-trans bigotry? Not necessarily says Kate Bornstein:
[Cis people are] just as entitled to the fulfillment of their sex and gender desires as anyone else,” says Bornstein. “Sometimes those desires depend on the nature of their lover’s body. Well, trans people have bodies that are different than cis people’s bodies. We’re two (or more) mints in one—a physical blend that attracts a lot of people. FRAUD just doesn’t happen to be one of them. The fact that he’s sensitive to that blending of genders in our bodies does not make him transphobic.”
Okay—so you're trans, bi, and kinky. Does that mean you should give up on sex and relationships? Of course not. You just have to reconcile yourself to the fact that finding the right partner or partners is going to require more time and effort than it would if you were boring, boring, and boring. But it's worth it, right? Because you want to be with someone who wants to be with the well-adjusted, happy, interesting, baggage-and-fucked-up-family-free person you are now and not the unhappy, pre-transition, not-out-as-bi, too-nervous-to-act-on-your-kinks, terrorized-by-asshole-family-of-origin person that you used to be, right?
If you've put yourself out there where you live now without much luck, U, think about moving to a bigger, more diverse city. Pick a place that has large trans and kink communities—San Francisco or Seattle would be my recommendations—as you're likelier to meet people who are trans and single, cis and single and open to dating trans people, and kinky and into your kinks and your "physical blend," as Kate puts it. You'll also be likelier to meet people who aren't fazed by your sexual orientation or who share it.
Finally, U, the more open you are/can be about being trans, bi, and kinky, the better. Being completely open will repel a lot of people, it's true, but it will repel the right people, i.e. people who aren't kinky, aren't bi or bi-friendly, aren't trans or open to trans. And those people are wrong for you, U, so fuck 'em. The upside of openness is that it can and will attract the right person(s), i.e. people who are into you, your kinks, and your blend. Good luck.
* How often do two closeted bisexuals wind up dating each other? It has to happen, right? Anyone out there ever confessed their bisexuality to their "straight" partner and gotten a "Me too!" in response?