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Gianna Israel Gender Library

Men Who Love Transsexuals

This article is for you if you're a heterosexual or bisexual man seeking a relationship with a transsexual woman or are a guy looking for a girl with something extra. There are many reasons why a man might be attracted to a transsexual, much like there are numerous stereotypes that can undermine potential friendships and relationships. Read further to learn about the basics.

What's In a Name?

It helps to know exactly what you are looking for, because there are many types of transgender people. Generally a transsexual or new woman perceives herself as a female. After hormones and painful electrolysis, she may undergo a variety of surgeries. On the other hand, a crossdresser is a male who enjoys female attire, and might even be interested in dating a man once or twice. Yet, crossdressers generally are not interested in surgery or self-identifying as a woman. Gay males who crossdress for stage and playtime are also not interested in womanhood. Transgenderists are persons who like keeping parts of both gender and most accurately meet the description "best of both worlds."

All of that is a very narrow snapshot of transgender people who present as female, part or full-time. Go ahead and ask a potential partner about her goals and dreams. Ask how she identifies herself. And, share what you are looking for. Is it a dream date, a friendship or a relationship?

If you are seeking a 'she-male' it would be wise to know that is a sex industry term. Some transsexual women may feel disrespected if you use that term, especially if your lady isn't for hire. Also, not every transgender is interested in being the fantasy of a girl with something extra! If you are looking for that, say so up front so that there is no misunderstanding.

A general rule of thumb when it comes to pronouns, is to use the one which correctly matches a person's manner of dress and actions. Female dress = she, her, hers. Male dress = he, him, his. The same rule applies to name and title.

Do You Want Dinner or a Private Party?

Many transsexuals are looking for friendships and relationships. A few are looking to experiment. Others are looking to be all the slut they can be. Ask a woman what she is interested in, tell her about your needs, and see if there is compatibility. If there isn't mutual interest, ask if she knows someone or a place you can meet others.

A great many heterosexual men finally get around to exploring their curiosity about transsexuals after they are married to genetic women, have children, and even sometimes have prestigious careers. Occasionally some men try to relive an experience of having had a one-time encounter with a transsexual earlier in their lives.

Whatever your motivation, be honest. For any encounter or relationship to be successful this is necessary. Particularly if both people wish to have a good time, not feel guilty afterward, or build on something meaningful. If you can't be entirely honest, say so, or consider compensating a special girl for her undivided attentiveness to your needs.

Should You Pay For Surgery?

Every so often I hear of a transgender woman receiving a gift of surgery money without any strings attached. Giving without expectations is truly the least complicated approach, and it brings out the best in the donor and recipient.

Sometimes paying for transition-related expenses is not an alternative. What can be done to increase a friend or loved one's quality of life, is to increase that person's chances at success in the world. A variety of my clients have lived with their boyfriends or lovers while finishing an academic degree or moving forward on career goals. Surgery should never be a transsexuals only priority. Encourage your loved one to focus on a full life with balanced priorities.

Things May Change After Surgery.

During and after transition a new woman may want to explore different avenues in her life. She may have no interest in the transgender community for awhile, or later want to return for socialization. Although surgery is unlikely to change sexual orientation, many women want to try new sexual experiences, even if only once.

Occasionally, the post-surgical lack of that 'something extra' steals the spark which fired the fantasy for some men. In fact, many transsexuals after surgery (and even sometimes before) become ordinary women, and that may likely have been their goal all along. For all these potential changes, people in relationships should talk. Contingency or alternative plans should be discussed in case one or both person's needs change.

Notably, in the case of severe depression or medical illness, transsexual women occasionally become more androgynous or lose interest in femininity. People in relationships should be aware of the symptoms for major depression or illness, which can include major changes in sleep, eating, work habits, relationships, etc. If you believe your loved one is suffering from depression or illness, refer her to appropriate medical or mental health care.

Does Dating a Transsexual Make Me a Homosexual or Even a Transsexual?

The short answers to the above question is 'no.' Your sexual orientation is whatever you define it to be. Generally most men who date transsexuals do not define themselves as gay. The vast majority are also not perceived as gay by others, although sometimes bigoted people will try to push their opinion of who is gay on you. Dating a transsexual may mean that after discussing disclosure with your partner, either one or both of you may want to 'forewarn' your family and friends that your girlfriend is overcoming a medical problem. By and large, most good people seem perfectly willing to accept loving couples who are compatible. Interestingly, there are even couples where the male partner might not necessarily have chosen a transsexual woman, but love brought two people together for a successful relationship.

If you are a man that likes to crossdress, or secretly has girlish feelings, there is a possibility you may have repressed gender issues. Occasionally men will date transsexuals because their curiosity goes beyond attraction or they want to live vicariously through another's experiences. Whatever your situation, make certain to discuss this before entering into a relationship, because not every transsexual would be interested in dating another transgender person.

Can I Get AIDS From a Transsexual?

You can become HIV-infected or spread sexually transmitted diseases to others by having unprotected sex. Learn how to use condoms correctly. Consistently protect others and yourself each time you have sex. Remember that alcohol and substances lower your inhibitions.

You will want to bear in mind that in some urban areas transsexuals have a high rate of infection. The good news is early intervention and healthy, stress-reduced lifestyles are increasing the way we look at sexually transmitted diseases. Many HIV-positive individuals lead productive lives and have stable relationships.

Can a Relationship Last?

Yes, absolutely. Based on my review of clinical data from my counseling practice, approximately 75% of women, who have at least 3 years post-transition experience, are involved in relationships which they characterize as long-term and meaningful. Interestingly, the cause of breakups for most relationships is generally not the transsexualism. If your relationship begins to develop conflicts consider couples counseling. Relationships often are work, and it helps to get advice how to make things easier. What ever your intimacy and relationship goals, good luck!


GENDER ARTICLES. This educational column authored by Gianna E. Israel is regularly featured on the 3rd Monday of each month in Tg-Forum, the Internet's most up-to-date, weekly Transgender Magazine <http://www.tgforum.com/>. Several weeks later each article is forwarded to Usenet and AOL <Keyword TCF>. Each column has been written to inspire contemplation and dialogue. Columns may be reprinted in any medium insofar as each article, its introduction, and the author's contact information remains unaltered.

GIANNA E. ISRAEL provides nationwide telephone consultation, individual & relationship counseling, evaluations and referrals. She is principal author of the Transgender Care (Temple University / in press 1997). She also writes Transgender Tapestry's "Ask Gianna" column; is an AEGIS board member and HBIGDA member.She can be contacted at (415) 558-8058, at P.O. Box 424447 San Francisco, CA 94142, or via e-mail at Gianna@counselsuite.com.


Copyright © 2001 by Diane Wilson. All rights reserved.