Imagine you are looking for a (new) partner. You are using a website and creating a dating profile. Depending on the website, you might be asked to enter your gender and the gender of people you’d be interested in meeting. Imagine you have the following options: cisgender man, cisgender woman, trans woman, trans man, and non-binary. Which do you tick?
A study like this actually took place and was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. It was conducted among 1,000 participants, 88% of whom only checked off the first two options, excluding non-binary and trans people from their group of interest. This is life for trans people, including Toronto trans singles. Here are some tips for the open-minded minority on how to navigate the Toronto dating scene.
The pronouns you use do matter. If you’re not sure which ones someone uses, listen to how other people address them. Start with your own pronoun (I’m John and I use “he” and “him”) if you must ask which one they use. Apologize if you accidentally mis-gender them by using the wrong pronoun and don’t make a big deal about it to avoid further awkwardness.
“Coming out” as trans is different from coming out as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. If you’re LGB, coming out to other people is typically done so others learn who you really are. Trans people communicate who they really after transitioning. Coming out in the conventional sense becomes superfluous.
Never ask trans women or men about their “real name” as this can be a source of great anxiety. Any association with one’s given name can cause discomfort. Sometimes, it’s something they just want to forget. Use the name they use and respect it. Never use their birth name without their permission. Likewise, don’t share photos of them preceding their transition.
Trans people in Toronto continue to face prejudice and discrimination. For most members of the community, the question of how likely people are to date them after they “come out” or transition can be a very tough one, a source of perpetual worry. Relationships are a critical source of social support. While more trans people are living openly in Toronto than ever before, the fight for equal treatment is just beginning. If you want to know more, read these poignant stories about what being trans in the Canadian city is really like.