Note: for most of this post, we will shorten “transgender” to the commonly heard “trans”.
Dating in today’s world can be scary as it is. But for some people, especially in the LGBTQ+ community, it can be scarier. A lot of this fear for many people may come from the transgender community.
This fear is perfectly understandable. People do not understand the transgender community, especially being transgender in India, and so they are afraid. What if they mess up? How do they show respect? What does it mean to be trans? Who are transgender people?
There’s so many questions around being trans, it confuses everyone, even trans people themselves. But the reality is, there is almost a half a million, maybe even more, transgender people in India. So we need to learn more about them, about how to respect them, and how to not be afraid.
What it means to be transgender
The basic definition is simple: a person whose gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender identity is not sex— it is how a person feels inside, which gender (if any) they feel more comfortable identifying with.
This is a large umbrella, and can include many identities: male to female, female to male, nonbinary, agender, genderfluid, third gender, and more. We will not take the time to explain all of these identities, but please do your own research if you want to know more.
Some trans people may feel uncomfortable in their own bodies— what is known as dysphoria. This may lead them to pursue hormone treatment, sex reassignment surgeries, or other treatments. Some trans people are perfectly comfortable in their own bodies, and this does not make them any less trans. It just means that they are not comfortable with the gender identity that society says matches their body.
When it comes to dating preferences, trans people are just like all other people. Some of them are straight, some of them gay, bisexual, asexual, etc. Their gender identity often has no effect on their sexual orientation.
Similarly, there is no one “transgender lifestyle”. Every trans person will have a different experience. However, the one thing they all share is hardships. Being trans, especially in India, can carry a lot of prejudice and hatred, and trans people have to deal with that, no matter where or who they are.
The discovery of being transgender
Again, every trans person has a unique story. They may have known since they were a little kid, or they may not figure it out until they are an adult. Gender identity is a confusing thing, so every trans person comes to the realization at their own pace.
One thing you should never ask a trans person is “how they know” they’re trans. It’s the same as being gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc.: they just know. It is okay, however, to ask them when they figured it out. But, if they don’t want to tell you, they don’t have to.
Similarly, each trans person has their own coming out story. For trans people, coming out is a lot different than for other people in the LGBTQ+ community. When you come out as gay, you can usually continue to be the same person you’ve always been, just happier and more comfortable.
However, for trans people, there’s more involved. Most trans people make major changes to their life— they change their name, wear different clothes, use different pronouns, etc. This all helps them feel better and more comfortable to be their true selves.
Because of this added level of difficulty, many trans people may wait longer to come out. Especially for transgender people in India. However, one thing is the same: once someone does come out, they feel more comfortable and happier.
As always, the most important thing when coming out is being safe. Please, only come out when you feel safe to do so.
Learning to respect trans people
Finally, the topic of interest, especially for trans dating: how to not be afraid and respect trans people. Trans people, like all people, deserve respect. This is why As You Are believes in protecting our members, and is one of the best transgender dating apps in India. The easiest way to respect trans people is simple: talk to them! Ask them what pronouns they want you to use (he/she/they or others). Ask them what name they prefer to be called. Is it okay to call them your boyfriend/girlfriend? Do they prefer another term? What about sir/ma’am? How can you support them?
Asking these questions politely is the best way to ensure that you are respecting trans people. However, there are a few things you should always avoid doing:
- As we’ve said already, don’t ask them how they know they’re trans. The answer is simple: they just know.
- Never intentionally use a name or pronouns that they do not want you using. If you accidentally make a mistake, casually apologize and move on.
- Don’t use the phrase “a transgender”. It dehumanizes trans people. Instead, you can say “a transgender person”.
- Never push someone to come out. If they are out to you but not other people, that is how they feel safe. It is not your choice to make, so never try to push them to come out. And never, never, out them yourself.
There is one more thing to avoid, but it’s a bit more complicated. If someone is dating a trans person, do not say that it changes their sexuality!For example, if a gay man is dating a trans man (a man who used to be a woman, and may still have female body parts) do not say it makes him straight! In doing so, you are essentially saying that the trans man is not a real man. Dating a trans person may mean that your sexuality is not what you thought it was. But it does not have to mean that. Sexuality is a tricky spectrum, and it’s okay to question it. But never say that someone is not what they say they are just because they are dating a trans person.
Putting it all together
Hopefully, now you know a little bit more about the transgender community. Who is a transgender person? They’re a person, just like you. What is the transgender lifestyle? It differs for everyone. How can I respect trans people? Talk to them and avoid doing some of the things we mentioned.
Use this information to be more respectful and welcoming towards your trans friends, partners, and colleagues. And hopefully, if you’re dating and open to dating trans people, this helps you understand how you can do that without upsetting them.
We at AYA feel that there is a lot to learn about the Transgender Community. Please feel free to share your knowledge with us and we shall share the same with the members.
You can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.