What It Feels Like To Date Online As a Transgender

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More and more people are turning to online dating and applications in finding love and romance. If you still have any doubts as to the increasing influence of online dating applications, then let the following statistics bring that reality closer to you:

  1. 40 percent of American adults often make a recourse to online dating applications
  2. Online dating apps are used more by men.
  3. The age of users greatly influences their desirability ratings and assessment.
  4. Over half of respondents on online dating sites provide inaccurate information, on purpose.
  5. 20 percent of current and committed relationships started online.
  6. A staggering 48 percent of breakups in online relationships end through email notifications.

While online dating platforms have been a hit for people who are straight and bisexual, the same cannot be said for the experiences of individuals with emerging sexual orientations, including Trans men and women. Dating sites like Tinder, Grindr and OkCupid have been slow to recognize the needs of their Trans users. Indeed, it was only in 2016 that Tinder gave users the options of specifying gender identities like “transgender,” “trans man,” “trans woman” and “gender queer.”

Although there are dating apps that cater to these unique sexual groups of people, their services leave much to be desired. Transdr, one of a few online apps dedicated to trans-individuals, exacerbates an already inflamed issue with the use of multiple derogatory terms in both advertisements for the app and on the app itself. Then there are graver concerns; even when transgenders can find a match, dating with people with fake profiles pose a severe security risk, especially with the upswing in transphobia. The Human Rights Campaign reveals that 2017 witnessed the death of 28 transgender people, the largest tally recorded thus far.

However, it seems that there are rays of hope for transgenders fighting for recognition and respect. The creators of @_personals_, an Instagram account focused on lesbian, queer, transgender, and non-binary people looking for romance through the instrumentality of an old-school classifieds approach, are looking to build an app via crowdfunding. Besides, OKCupid, a mainstream dating application, now offers the opportunity and a dedicated space for members of the LGBTQ community to state their orientations and preferences.

To better understand the challenges facing transgender people looking for love, we can achieve some perspective by talking to the individuals in the eye of the storm:

Christiana Rose, a 24-year-old YouTuber states her sexual orientation from the outset. That way, she can turn away guys who are not interested in her. One of her biggest irks occurs when guys immediately ask her what genitalia she has; Christiana considers this question inappropriate and disrespectful.

For Dawn Duke, a 22-year transgender woman, the online dating scene for people of her ilk, is full of disrespect and victimization. Questions like ‘Do you still have male parts,’ signals to her that there is still much work to be done in protecting her rights to love and romance.

Jackson Bird, the 28-year-old host of the podcast “Transmission” and the YouTube series “Queer Story,” who lives in New York City, finds that stating one is transgender helps to weed out people not comfortable with one’s sexual orientation. He, however, prefers meeting new people and forming relationships via mutual friends.

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