A few months ago Tonic published an article. Researchers asked cis people if they would date trans people. The summary is unfortunate. Most wouldn’t. But they fantasize about having sex with transgender and genderqueer people. This love denied with a dash of privileged objectification is myopic, dangerous, and sad. Sad for the cisgender people who have no idea what they are missing.
In one of my TransParenting 101 Lessons (Lesson Xxx) I told a story:
One day my son and I were driving in the car. He asked me a question seemingly out of the blue. “Dad, would you ever date someone who’s trans?”
As soon as he asked the question, I knew what was underneath the question. Would you date someone like me? Is there hope for someone like me to be in a relationship? To be datable. I also knew the honest answer that was in me was not the one he needed to hear, but it was the truth. With some amount of shame I answered his question.
“No. No I would not date a transgender woman. And that is my smallness and I need to take a look at that and work past that. I’m sorry.”
He asked why I was sorry and I told him that if I say that trans men are men and trans women are women, then I need to enlarge that definition to include my romantic inclinations.
I realized at this point, I had no idea what quality dating could be for my son, but I wanted him to have it.
There is a difference between me and some of my peers that is critical. I knew my answer was wrong. I knew it was my limitation. Allies and parents love to say trans men are men and trans women are women and fluidity and life beyond the binary is wondrous. But when the topic of dating comes up, suddenly asterisks and caveats to those beliefs arise. There also comes the fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between sex and gender.
I will give the short version. Sex is the biological characteristics one is born with. Gender is the identity of someone. We have used these terms interchangeably and we have done so incorrectly. I am cis. This means that I am a cisgender male. In other words, my gender identity matches my genetic sex.
This has nothing to do with sexual orientation.
I have dated two women who were bisexual. They were LGBTQIA+ and I was still straight. Their orientation created room to have romantic and sexual feelings for all genders. My orientation prefers women.
I knew in my heart that a part of me did not see trans women as women. I also had to come to grips with the fact that left no room in my limited heart for fluid people. Being aware is the beginning of change. Change I did.
There was a woman who volunteered occasionally at one of the Parent/Teen support gatherings I used to go to. I found myself flirting with her virtually every time I saw her. She flirted back. It was fun. So far there is nothing unusual in this story, right? She is a transgender woman. I do not say that in the story because that is not how I define her or my son.
Not once in this column have you ever read me write, my FTM son. I do sometimes say he is trans. Not because of my perception of him. I state it because I have new readers who may not understand the core inspiration of this column.
I no longer saw a trans-woman. What I saw was a woman and my orientation leans towards romantic and sexual draw to women, not chromosomes or genitals. Flirting was easy to do because attraction was there. I have no idea if this woman had bottom surgery. Stopped mattering. All I saw was a cute smile and great sense of humor.
In that organic moment I had the realization that I grew. I had no idea how deep that rabbit hole would go.
Love Won the Heart
More than two years ago I fell for the person who would become my fiance’. G came into my world at the right time and right place. Pastor Pat (I used to be a Christian and a minister) would never have given G the time of day for many reasons. Gender fluidity is G’s gender identity. It does not matter. What matters is there is love and it is magnificent.
The Questions of Bits
The ignorant have asked me about my son’s genitals and my fiance’s genitals. My response is to ask them to describe, in detail, the genitalia of their child or spouse. The squirming and offense they take almost always makes my point. Almost. Sometimes they tell me it is different. Conversation usually gets heated at that point.
I wish I could say this were a problem of only MAGA hat wearing evangelicals. No. It is sometimes allies and even parents of transgender youth.
I Live For My Family
My family, and love, drives pretty much everything I do. I get up at 4:55 every morning to get ready for work to earn money for my family. G cannot work due to a disability and Dave is in college. I take photographs to sell them. I write this blog column in the hopes it gets enough hits to get some extra money. I plug for donations because in this current landscape, supporters are how writers get paid for our craft and our work.
It is beyond that. I engage on the front lines of society and in protests in the fight for a better world. Additionally, I challenge religious bigotry, political bigotry, and white cis het suburban culture.
I love them with everything I am and with all that I can be because Dave and G are the greatest gifts this man has ever had. They fulfill me, they enrich me, and they love me endlessly. I am better for having them in my life.
Let’s be honest. In Trump’s America, an ex preacher who suffers from GAD, ADHD, and PTSD with a trans kid and a hispanic gender fluid fiance with a disability ain’t got a prayer. There are better worlds, though. In Canada and many nations in Europe we are seeing acceptance and human dignity are far more important than free market capitalism and success.
We are here, we are family and we have love.
The Love Denied
The love denied by those who would never date (but would f****) my son, G and all my trans and genderqueer friends is not the loss of the loves of my life. It is the loss of those with hearts and minds smaller than their genitalia. My world is broader, more magnificent and more wondrous.
In Closing Part 1
I know some of my cis readers are reading this and getting angry. I was where you were. It was not until my son asked me that critical question that I had to face it. Love changed my heart, not my orientation. My orientation and gender identity are unchanged. Only my heart and mind are changed.
In Closing Part 2-True Love
I love The Princess Bride. When I think of the words true love, I think of that movie and the famous scene with Miracle Max having to confess that it is the most noble and just cause. It is my cause. Right now I get up at 5 every morning and come home at just before 7 every night. This leaves little time to write on current events. I’d like to just write about true love and celebrate the transgender and genderqueer friends and family with stories that will cause us all to fall in love. I hope that is okay.
Please Buy me a Cup of Coffee
Over the last month I have lost half of my Patreon support. It was a hit. The ones who left had their own financial concerns. They still read this and love me and my family. If true love is worth a cup of coffee, please click Buy Me A Coffee or go to https://www.buymeacoffee.com/patlgreen. This piece alone took 4 hours to hammer out and edit. I would love to publish 3-5 times a week again, but I cannot do it for free. If I am going to take time away from my family to this, it needs to benefit them. As I used to say when I was a cab driver. Every tip helps support my mother’s only son. Thank you!
Finally, A Video I Made
I made this montage to celebrate the love in my life and showcase some of my photography. I hope you enjoy it. It is set to Ritchie Sambora’s song “Every Road Leads Home to You”.