Dating in Seattle, as a trans man, really all comes back to my hole.
I know this because I get around. I've been an active polyamorous slut for the better half of my adulthood. I came out when I was 20, first as a high femme, then as a butch/genderqueer person, and now as a guy who lives in a space I call ~fruity manhood~. Throughout all of this, I've dated folks of many, many genders. Cis, trans, non-binary, etcetera. Therefore! I've collected quite a lot of data on what dating in this Liberal™ city is all about.
And I have something to say:
Cis queer people have a problem with genitals.
Let me start with a story.
It's winter 2020. We are mid-pandemic, and I am one of the chosen queers attempting to find love by dating via FaceTime, masked walks, and intricate pre-makeout pod discussions. I sit on a bench with a cis, white, queer, femme woman at Volunteer Park. We'll call her Kate.
Kate and I spend most of our first date discussing which friends-of-friends we have in common, our takes on the bisexual season of Are You the One, and our favorite drag shows in Seattle. Kate tells me, on the second date, that she is a lesbian. I remind her that I am a trans man and ask her if her lesbianism includes trans men. She proceeds to tell me, “It does because trans men are inherently different from cis men.” I'm curious about this framework and don't want to assume what she means, so I ask her to expand. She explains that “cis men are inherently worse than trans men because of their bodies.”
From this, I can identify the framework with which it approaches gender and how my hole, unfortunately, comes into play.
There's a lot of alluding going on here. Kate put cis and trans men into two fundamentally different categories, categorizing them by an assumed difference in bodies. Thinking from my most empathetic self, I figure what she's saying is attempting to validate that I am really good, and not bad. That something in my body (read: hole) makes me good.
But what does that mean for people who are born with penises? That they are inherently bad?
Kate is engaging in something called bioessentialism, which is the practice of assigning meaning and worth to genitalia and sex assigned at birth. There's a lot to say about bioessentialism, but it essentially restricts folks down to their genitalia. It places significant meaning on something that does not inherently determine gender, politics, worth, and beyond. So, this line of thinking is highly restrictive for those of us with magical, multifaceted, and liberated junk.
Let's have another example, which is about how thinking like this can, regrettably, also come up with cis queer men.
Take my recent interactions with cis fags at the new Union bar.
I walk in. The door person lets me know that the last call for drinks is in 15 minutes. Massive TVs are playing Rihanna and Beyonce music videos. The lighting is moderately bright, and men of various genres of queerness fill the bar, taking tequila shots and laughing. I get “the look,” the up/down, the “I want to fuck you” from numerous cis fags as soon as we make eye contact. A couple of them hit on me. I am excited! I like getting hit on!
As soon as I go home, I hop on the apps (Grindr, Scruff) and see these same men. I message a few of them, as I've just seen them in public, and they've expressed explicit sexual interest in me. None of them respond to me. Why?
It's not because I am not attractive—they're attracted to me on the surface. It's because I am trans—something I blatantly list on my dating profile. So, these men are suddenly uninterested in me because of my ~perceived~ hole and ~perceived~ lack of a dick.
My final example hits close to home.
I met Tom at an art event that I helped organize. It was a trans-centered and trans-led event, and it was very gay.
Tom and I met at his art table, and I was immediately attracted to him. He was wearing pearls and made freaky zines. I invited him to go out with my friends and me to Pony after the event, and he accepted. We hung out a few times, and I unabashedly flirted with him. At some point, I stated outright that I wanted to sleep with him. He rejected me, which is totally fine, but I was curious about the nature of the rejection, so I asked him if he had dated or slept with a trans man before. He said no. I pushed further, with curiosity. He shared with me that he did not date trans men, because he “was not sure what to do with an extra hole and no dick.”
I appreciated his honesty and how he could articulate what distanced him from sleeping with trans men. He outlined in one statement something that I often come across: people tend to date and connect with what is easy, comfortable, and known. More often than not, trans bodies are seen as “complicated” and, ultimately, "unknown."
Hole or no hole, dick or no dick, it is time for us all to agree that it sucks to be reduced down to genitalia. More than just trans people are negatively impacted by this ~problem~ with genitals.
So, people who do not date trans people: expand your minds! Delve into an unexplored space of expansion!
My hole will thank you for it ;)