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Thursday, January 16, 2014

SL Letter of the Day: To Be Trans, Kinky, and Bi

Posted by 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?


Comments (27) RSS

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I did! That was a fun few years before we crashed and burned and divorced.
Posted by PanPaniscus on January 16, 2014 at 6:16 PM · Report this
"Anyone out there ever confessed their bisexuality to their "straight" partner and gotten a "Me too!" in response?"

Lamentably, no.
Posted by bassplayerguy on January 16, 2014 at 6:27 PM · Report this
The LW doesn't mention being on FetLife, but if you love pain play, it's a good networking site. It's not meant for dating, but it makes it easy to find out about local social events ("munches") where people get to know other people (and their friends), which can lead to dating.
Posted by EricaP on January 16, 2014 at 6:37 PM · Report this
My ex confessed his bisexuality to me (although he wasn't necessarily closeted, it was just something he kept private, if that makes sense - somewhere between out and proud and in the closet) and I came out to him (I was pretty closeted). Lamentably, although we considered threesomes, we broke up before I got to be in the middle of a man sandwich.
Posted by Shasa on January 16, 2014 at 6:39 PM · Report this
You know, Dan skipped over the first thing that came to my mind as a possible problem for the letter-writer. If he was previously presenting as a hot bi-girl to the world, just becoming a bi guy is going to massively change what he has to do to get laid or get kink play. Basically, the fact that straight guys were the vast majority of his possible partners before and are now mostly gone from his pool means that he has to adjust his expectations about how easy it is to find someone. Straight guys are (as a group) hornier and kinkier than straight women, who are now the largest possible partner group for the letter-writer. Plus, bi guys are considered less desirable overall in comparison to bi women, so his stock automatically took a downgrade there as well. Sure, the fact that he's trans is probably the factor that gives him the most trouble, but it's definitely not the only big factor.

What I would've told this guy is that he needs to make sure that he's the one hitting on people, and that he's not waiting to get hit on. If he presented as hot bi girl (which I imagine he did given his description of delightful slutting around being "so easy") before he transitioned, he probably is completely unused to having to do this.
Posted by alguna_rubia on January 16, 2014 at 6:40 PM · Report this
I am trans, bi, and kinky, but unlike the LW I am lucky to be in a great LTR with a guy who embraces and appreciates those parts of me. I've been out as bi since age 13, so I can't speak to the closeted thing. And, I can't really offer any useful advice for dating, since my dating strategy seems to be "become best friends and hope they have the same feelings"... which just happened to work out.

Dan, I am really glad you brought up the fact that it is NOT transphobic for some people not to be attracted to trans people. People have different preferences in their sex partners, and sometimes that includes a particular kind of genitals. That doesn't mean they don't really consider trans people to be their target gender (e.g., "real men" for FTMs or "real women" for MTFs) or that they dislike or fear trans people. It's a normal part of sexuality. That said, of course there are many people out there who ARE actually transphobic and have all sorts of mistaken beliefs and personal issues on top of whatever their personal preferences are. But we can't equate those people with those who just happen to like certain types of body parts.

(P.S., Kate Bornstein rules.)
Posted by PsychoLinguist on January 16, 2014 at 6:50 PM · Report this
Unfortunately FtMs aren't very desired in queer kink circles nowadays. Masculinity is an oppressive force in queer spaces and is femmes and genderqueer folks are circling the wagons. So unless you have a fancy gender, you really aren't a "catch" at all. You can go on a "dry streak" for 3 or 4 or more years, regardless of how much self-work you've done. Perhaps be grateful for the experiences you've already had and just work on not desiring/not wanting. It sounds like you had a good run. You can go to kink events as a voyeur or do volunteer work and commit yourself to service to the community. Try to find something else fulfilling to do and work on reducing desires.
Posted by Auggiedoggie on January 16, 2014 at 7:15 PM · Report this
I'd recommend getting to know a lot of people who identify as bisexual or pansexual if you are able to do so. While there will be straight women and gay men who will be attracted to you, and don't rule out those categories, of course, as well as other trans people, I'd think bisexuals are likely to be your easiest dating pool. I know they can be hard to find in some areas, but if you have a good way to find them, it would help. Personally, I've known so many people who have identified as bisexual, that I just find them really common, but I know that isn't most people's experiences. I'm not sure what it is about my social circle that makes identify as bi relatively common.
Posted by uncreative on January 16, 2014 at 7:20 PM · Report this
@5 makes a good point. I know plenty of 24ish year old cis straight (bi?) guys who haven't had a relationship in several years. I'll add to @5 that, for better or worse, attractive young women can get guys without even thinking about expanding the menu to include trans people.
Posted by wxPDX on January 16, 2014 at 7:21 PM · Report this
Trans/bi/kinky aside, simply going from female to male is going to severely limit your options. It's hard as a young guy to get laid. It's really really easy as a young woman to get laid. A kinky bi young woman is pretty much the jackpot to the vast majority of the male population, so it's even easier. Ditto w/ relationships. Add the extra stuff and up the ante. I think the author has gotten a LOT done in the past few years, which is fantastic and important. Trying to find people to date is going to be quite the learning curve, 2.5 years certainly isn't very long, and thinking about how long it takes teenage boys to get their act together to find a first gf might help. The author is just starting anew, and it takes time to find success when on a totally new playing field.
Posted by gnot on January 16, 2014 at 8:01 PM · Report this
What #5 said. Welcome to being a dude, U. Remember that unlike most of us, you asked for it!
Posted by waffle on January 16, 2014 at 8:16 PM · Report this
yelahneb 12
Bi and happily married to another bi for over 10 years now. Woohoo!
Posted by yelahneb on January 16, 2014 at 8:27 PM · Report this
Sachi 13
I’m trans. All I can say is, I found a wonderful partner, and she was worth the wait and the worries. It’ll happen for you, too. Hang in there!
Posted by Sachi on January 16, 2014 at 8:55 PM · Report this
Make sure you take plenty of time to enjoy yourself in other ways (books, hobbies, concerts & etc.) while you're waiting so the absence of intimacy doesn't through you off all the progress you've made by making you frustrated or bitter. I know it takes a bit of conscious effort for me, but it definitely helps. Good luck and Congratulations!
Posted by Really Now... on January 16, 2014 at 9:37 PM · Report this
@11: "Asked for it"? Yeah, I'm sure he was begging for the opportunity to undergo an expensive and emotionally draining transition and come out to a hostile world
Posted by dchari on January 16, 2014 at 9:44 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 16
This letter reminds me of the recent controversy that happened over the IML rule changes regarding gender and trans issues. If I remember right, earlier in the decade they allowed trans men to be allowed into the competition, but then there were feelings that trans men were getting sympathy votes and had an unfair leg up on the competition, and then there was a rule change this year to exclude trans men from the IML competition. But that was quickly and apologetically re-changed back to allowing trans men in the competitions due to the backlash calling for inclusion.

I think that trans men are accepted in the queer communities if you put yourself out there. Join the groups, participate in whatever fetish things are nearby. LW doesn't say whether he is in a city with a strong queer or fetish community. But if there is one, belong to it. And, yes, men are generally the seekers, and women are the sought. So, that means you have to put yourself out there in more specific places. Ask at the leather bars. Fet life it. Something more than an OK Cupid ad.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on January 16, 2014 at 10:33 PM · Report this
Another vote for Fet and expanding your circle beyond okcupid. Beyond that, be patient with yourself and the world. If, for the past 2.5 years you've been transitioning, getting over an asshole, extricating yourself from a toxic family, AND making supportive friends, you have done amazing things but have probably been focused inward (as you needed to be!). Look at this as a time to test your new wings in a variety of ways. If you keep doing that, eventually you'll find a match or at least someone to play with.
PS I'm a straight woman and I went 5 years without a relationship or sex because I was too shit-scared of getting trounced again. You're way ahead of the game if you've managed to sort through a lot of your emotional baggage at 24--truly, I commend you. Be proud of yourself and have fun.
Posted by jujubee80 on January 16, 2014 at 11:05 PM · Report this
chaseacross 18

Doubleplusgood comment. You win all the points.
Posted by chaseacross on January 17, 2014 at 12:11 AM · Report this
No one can get laid easier than a girl under 20, so U needs to drastically adjust his expectations. But the biggest expectation is his name--"Uncaught". In our society, like it or not, men are the ones who are expected to do the chasing, not be the ones caught.

I can see how trans men might be a hard sell among gay men for genitalia reasons, queer women for cultural reasons, and straight women for expecting said straight women to do the chasing. Straight women are spoiled when it comes to getting in relationships.

However, there is a group of people that U might be overlooking, that would be very easy for him to find someone to be with. Passable trans women are much in demand, but non-passable trans women and crossdressers generally have even more difficulty than U in finding partners. They also tend to be kinky, so pain play will be an option--he just needs to find one who is a switch (in my experience, very few tend to be 100% domme).
Posted by Marrena on January 17, 2014 at 5:00 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 20
Another vote for #5 winning the thread. There are some added wrinkles, but this is a typical "friendzone" story--trying to use female-coded dating strategies while male. It doesn't work; you'll need to learn the behaviors expected of men instead. There are several different ways to do that.
Posted by Eudaemonic on January 17, 2014 at 6:06 AM · Report this
Seattle is a great place to be yourself. Being trans is hard. It is even harder to find a partner, even in Seattle.
The expectations of males vs females is bullshit offered up by straight men. These are the same ones that claim there so's are shallow. You want to dress Barbie, fucking pay for it. Funny thing about assholes. Everyone has one and anyone can be one.
Many mtf trans have it easier then ftm. There are strip clubs in New Orleans that taunt anyone to figure them out. Any ftm porn?
It is great you have supportive friends. There are plenty of people looking for that special one; straight, bi, gay, trans, and asexual. It can take a lifetime.
Hookups are easy. Who the fuck would not want a dominatrix whom is masculine? It isn't all guys out there seeking the status quo.
Always be honest. You have excepted yourself. Your closest people have excepted you. You are a lucky guy. Get a cheap sleazy hook up for sex- like everyone else. That certain person may come along, I hope. But you aren't alone, there are many people out there searching for that one.

Posted by pussnboots on January 17, 2014 at 8:04 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 22
@21 Gay man here. And, with respect to men chasing women, I do believe Savage offered up something similar on the lovecast this week. Or maybe last. When he was admonishing a caller who was worried about her hookup's potential sex addiction because he was always posting in the casual encounters on CL, Dan said that the M4W is always fuller than the W4M sections because yadda yadda yadda. Simplified: men generally have to put themselves out there more.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on January 17, 2014 at 11:03 AM · Report this
Even though I have no reason to believe Uncaught is financially naive, I can't stress enough that "move to San Francisco" is a potentially disastrous piece of advice for queer and trans people who don't already have either a well-paying, secure job there or an extremely well-padded savings account.

A recent study found that up to 29% of SF's homeless population is LGBT - that's a devastating number of people, so many of whom moved there specifically because of the promise of greater acceptance of their sexuality, gender identity, HIV status, etc. Unfortunately, it's an extraordinarily expensive place to get a foothold, and an unforgiving one when you lose it.

Posted by penguindust on January 17, 2014 at 5:48 PM · Report this
persimmon 24
@7, I respectfully disagree. I run with some serious lesbians, and many of them are dating trans men or are transitioning into men themselves. In my experience, lesbian communities are exceptionally supportive of trans men--I think because so many trans men present as lesbians for so long, and the friendships run deep so they stick around long after the transition. There're definitely still some bigot lesbians out there, particularly against trans women, and if you read too much Tumblr it's apparently rampant, but it's not what I see in bars or in social circles. I suppose that's anecdotal evidence--for whatever that's worth--but I doubt we're going to have scientifically conducted studies to weigh this against.
Posted by persimmon on January 17, 2014 at 8:36 PM · Report this
#7 Are you serious? Telling someone to curb their desires and get used to being alone is just plain rude.
Posted by bodhirungus on January 17, 2014 at 8:39 PM · Report this
I see a lot of Fetlife recommendations. Maybe I just have crappy social skills but I haven't had a lot of luck with that place. I find people there to be really cliquish. The last time I attempted to say something there, I had my post deleted because I talking about people not thinking I'm attractive, which is apparently against the law or something, and somebody replied to me with a bunch of bullshit about how nobody will like me if I'm not confident. I couldn't tell if they were trying to insult me or advise me, so I tried responding to them in a message, (because my post was deleted and there was no other way I could respond), and they completely freaked out and said they have no interest in talking to me and they only consented to talking to me in public not private, acting like I'd raped them or something. On the positive side, I did manage to make one genuine, long term friend that I've even hung out with in real life, but we're not really sexually compatible.

Anyway, the whole BDSM thing freaks me out because everyone seems to be considered a potential rapist and there are all of these retarded social norms you're supposed to follow. For example, people keep saying you can't top unless you have bottomed, yet in the same breath say you should not do anything you are uncomfortable with. Fetlife markets itself as a non-dating site, but practically everyone there just wants to get laid, and the others want to form a club for cool people.
Posted by TheLastComment on January 17, 2014 at 9:44 PM · Report this
Anybody can start a FL group and the creators have a lot of power, so don't take it too seriously. OTOH, don't go in expecting that much either.

As the broader way of saying "look for ins to your local kink community", it's not a bad bit of advice for someone wanting to get their kink on.
Posted by ChiTodd on January 19, 2014 at 12:53 PM · Report this

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