I've come across an unfortunate, but interesting, wrinkle in the world of trans romance lately. Though I've had good experiences dating cis people, both queer and non, I've observed a certain felt kinship/connection with other trans people and I thought I should explore it romantically.
I do meet other trans people fairly often, but as everyone knows, our community is a small one. Not to fear, though! Mine is the Internet-dating generation! Surely there must be some sites out there to facilitate awkward conversations over coffee between two trans people.
Turns out, not so much. There is no shortage of sites for people looking to date (or let's be honest here, fuck) a trans person, but none is tailored for trans people to find other trans people. Most of the sites out there cater to the large, and still growing, demand of cis men for trans women. Those that don't openly cater to that market are nonetheless quickly taken over by it anyway. Obviously there are far more cis men with a hankering for trans sex than there are trans people to supply it (or simply trans people period).
Asking various friends and acquaintances for site recommendations on Facebook and Fetlife, the only solutions offered were to go to one of the cis-male-dominated sites and just filter, filter, filter. So, there are others experiencing this problem as well.
We're all playing the game on the Away field.
Recently, trans male porn actor and educator Buck Angel has generated some buzz for his new BuckAngelDating.com, which is a site for people who are searching for a relationship (or let's be honest again, fuck) with a trans man. I'm not sure this is the advance Buck would like it to be.
Buck's site is really just the obverse of the dynamic I was originally bemoaning. So now there's a site where cis people who fetishize trans men can search for them, too. Run by a porn star no less (albeit a cool, trailblazing, writerly, educating-the-public one). Whoopee.
Trans objectification: Not just for women anymore!
What I see as the really sinister side of all this is not the fetishization and the reduction of humanity that comes with it (though, obviously, I'm not too crazy about that either), it's the fact that cis desire and demand is so stifling that it's preventing us trans people from being able to connect with each other. Cis male desire is, literally and figuratively, coming between us.
Picture the online trans dating scene as one big room. For every one trans person in that room there might be 50, even 100 or more, cis people. How do we find each other?
Any site that's set to cater to the trans-for-trans crowd will have a bitch of a time keeping out the cis population. The demand is too high and the supply is too low. A trans-for-trans site will be overrun, the same as the others.
These are the rippling auguries of objectification. It is not just personal. It can fracture potential relationships and disenfranchise an entire community.
Truly frightening to consider.