"What's It Like Dating a Trans Man?"
How to Answer This Question
So, dating a trans man always comes with a slew of questions like, "How do you have sex?" "What parts does he have?" "So, you're technically dating a girl?" and so on. The most asked question I get, hands down, is "What is it like dating a trans man?" This is where I begin to struggle. You see, that is like asking me what it is like dating women or dating men; I can't attest to what it is like dating an entire population of people! My answer usually consists of some form of, "I can't tell you what it is like dating trans people, but I can tell you what it is like dating Jesse, and the ups and downs we have had because of him being transgender." The thing is, my transgender partner experiences things that no other transgender person may experience. Dating Jesse has opened my eyes to so many experiences, some including what transgender people experience, and some being totally outside the realm of transgender issues and problems.
My boyfriend loves Pokémon, Marvel, and DC (he keeps going back and forth between the two, so who truly knows), Legos (he creates his own minifigures), cooking, and writing poetry against social injustices.
My boyfriend came out a few months before we started dating, so I have been with him through his entire transition. I witnessed his first testosterone injection, I was there in the hospital for 8 hours for his double mastectomy, and again for 13 hours for his hysterectomy. I was there when he received the birth certificate that displayed his true name, erasing the facade of who he was before. I could recite the exact dates, but he's requested some privacy.
My boyfriend has been diagnosed with PTSD, Clinical Depression, and Bipolar Disorder stemming from childhood trauma and an unfortunate gene pool. If anything, and I mean anything, were to put our relationship to the test, it would be this. No one asks about this. No one asks why he has scars in the form of tallies for every time he chose life. No one asks why the light leaves his eyes every once in a while. No one asks the important questions. No, I am asked day in and day out what it is like to date someone who has genitalia that may be ambiguous. I am asked how I handle it, how I deal with it, with the questions, with the uncertainty, with the hospital visits. How about how I deal with the fact that some days I have to ask him to stay alive? How some days on my drive to school I am begging a God I don't believe in to keep him on this Earth long enough for me to get to him. How about asking me why he is wearing a Flash tee-shirt for the third day in a row? Asking me how his first ever No Shave November is going, or asking me about his health?
I will never be able to answer the question, "What is it like dating a trans person?" but I can give some advice. I am not dating a trans person. I am dating a person who happens to be trans. Who he is as a person will forever come before how he experiences gender because that is just a sliver of our life. I experienced my first plane ride ever with him, he taught me how to drive, he has provided me with things I would have never been able to get on my own due to poverty and lack of privilege. Most of all, he has given me the ability to look past someone's gender, appearance, identifier, and see them for their likes, their dislikes, their personhood.
So, that's my long winded answer to a question that has no answer.