14 February 2012

Partner Circle: Myths Busted!

Myth: Only straight, cis-gendered women date trans*men.

Bust: I am dating a trans*man and am proud to say that I am not a straight woman. I am queer as well as cis-gendered. My partner has dated gay and bisexual women, as well as other trans*men. This myth literally could not be farther from the truth.

Myth: If you are a cis-woman and you marry a trans*man, it should be considered gay or same-sex marriage.

Bust: Let us look at the facts here…a woman marries a man. In what realm of reality is this gay/same-sex marriage? First off, there is a reason the preferred nomenclature is trans*gendered and not transsexual – the issue in question is not sex, it is gender. Even though one of the parties in the pairing may happen to have a vagina (their physical sex) it does not mean their gender identity has to match. A cis-woman can marry a trans*man and, assuming his gender markers have been adjusted, it would be considered a heterosexual marriage under the confines of the state.

Myth: Anyone who dates or is friends with someone who is trans* is going to slip up on pronouns or call the person by their assigned name.

Bust: I have many cis-gendered (and some even *gasp* straight) friends that have met my partner and have not once slipped on a pronoun. None of them know his old name, so that is not even an issue. I do, and I have never even said it out loud because I know how uncomfortable it would make him to hear. Do not assume that just because someone is outside the ‘community’, they will not be open and accepting of you or your partner's gender identity.

Myth: Everyone who dates a trans*guy is submissive in bed, or a ‘bottom’.

Bust: There seems to be a rumor going around that trans*men are overly macho, thus making them aggressive and in turn, ‘tops’ in bed. While this may be true for some guys, this is not a trans* issue – being overly macho is an issue of that person being a tool, regardless of their gender identity. Being trans* does not make a man more machismo, nor does being on testosterone. Not to over share, but I am certainly not always a bottom and my boi is certainly not always a top. Who you are in bed is almost never a reflection of who you are in the outside world – remember, sometimes the freakiest partners are the ones you least suspect are going to be.

Myth: Only people already in the LGBTQQIAA community will date trans*men.

Bust: One does not have to be ‘involved’ or a ‘part of’ the community to be a supporter (hence one of the a’s for ‘ally’) and the same goes for those who choose to date trans*people. A cis-man can date a trans*man so long as there is love, respect, and communication involved – the same going for any pairing. People do not have to be a part of the same community to be together, just as they do not have to have the same religious affiliation.

Myth: The only reason a cis-woman would date a trans*man is so she can date a man without having to worry about getting pregnant – she is just using it as birth control.

Bust: Responsible, safe sex should be the norm for any relationship, regardless of gender identity or sexuality. Gay, cis-gendered men who have sex should always use a condom, provided it is outside of a committed, monogamous relationship, and the same goes for everyone. Once both partners are comfortable with the relationship, everyone is tested and clean, and there is a trust established, I do not see anything wrong with ditching the condoms and using alternate forms of birth control. As a cis-woman, dating trans*men has never been a fallback birth control method, and anyone who uses it as such has a pretty deplorable outlook on sex.

Myth: You just cannot get a date with a ‘real’ man.

Bust: Where did this concept of a ‘real man’ come from? What archaic rock did we crawl out under from and decide that some men are more ‘man’ than others? If all that makes a man is a flesh-dick, then you have a poor understanding of what it means to be a man. A real man, to me, is kind, loving, caring, compassionate, humble, sincere, and loyal – as a friend, lover, partner, what have you. A person that happens to have a penis and yet has none of these qualities, a person who uses other people for their own personal gain, a person who hits, abuses, assaults, uses women is not a man, and does not deserve to be labeled as such.
So…go ahead and try to tell me what a ‘real’ man is again, but this time, take a closer look at your definition. I can promise you, it will have changed.

Myth: The only reason you would want to be with a trans*man is as part of a fetish, or to fulfill some sexual fantasy.

Bust: Unfortunately, there are some people out there who are fetishists, and I know this is a very real fear that some trans*dudes have. If you are getting into a new relationship, and you fear this is the case with your newfound partner, please talk to them about it. You are a person, not the group you identify with. You are more than your sexuality or your gender identity, and anyone that uses you specifically for that reason and not because they truly care about you does not deserve to be with you.

Myth: If you are a cis-woman, and your partner transitions, you are automatically a straight couple.

Bust: I wish labels were as easy as people try to make them out to be, I really do. However, they are not. Even if I was with a cis-gendered male who identified as straight, I would still not say “Yeah, this is my heterosexual partner.” Chances are, if you are reading this you identify somewhere in the alphabet soup that defines our community. My partner is a trans*man, I am a queer woman, and we are in a relationship. That is all I need to know, that is all I care about. If someone looks at us an automatically assumes we are a straight couple, it would not bother me, nor would it bother me if they thought we were a lesbian couple. People are going to assume what they are going to assume. Let them. What they think does not define who you are, only you have that power.

I wish every single statement here had a cut and dry answer, but they just do not. Every myth comes from somewhere, and I am sure that those in the GFB community have been faced with issues such as these, especially if their partner is gender-nonconforming, trans*, or just butch. My only advice to get around this is simple: be you. Define yourself and your relationship as you see fit, and fuck what anyone else thinks.

Xx Emily

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