Real Love: Can the Cis Ever Love Me?
In this month's love column, one columnist explores what it's like dating cis people as a trans woman
“Pretend to be my sister while I fuck you in the ass.”
It’s certainly a startling opening line, yet that is the greeting I received from a cis man on Grindr. Now, I know Grindr is hardly the place to look for love but the utterance is emblematic of the way cis people perceive me, a trans woman, as a potential partner.
Hooking up with cis people is like being a quirky side character to a protagonist’s grand narrative. Proximity to you means having a taste of an alternative lifestyle, and there is a certain thrill in that. But because you never live up to their fantasies you come across as broken and, because their perspective is the perspective, you feel that defectiveness as an unalterable reality. You disappoint them and, worst of all, you don’t watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. So, they will leave you.
I’m still in my twenties but I am resigned to the fact that I will probably never have a long-term partner. TERFs have manufactured the stereotype of the trans woman who is twisted by the bitter reality that nobody wants to fuck them. It’s not true. Lots of people want to fuck me; a few months ago a man offered me £200 for the privilege. Nevertheless, that stereotype makes it difficult to admit that there is a bitterness. It’s not due to the likelihood that I will never start a family; rather, it comes from the knowledge that there is an unbridgeable chasm of experience between myself and the cis people in my life.
Coming out as a trans woman in a misogynistic society does not mean you come across as a man in a dress. Instead, you come to realise that the world sees you as a thing. You don’t have that mysterious it, because it is all you are to them.
When society can only ever see me as a niche commodity, I find myself asking: “Can the cis ever love me?” For a cis person to do so requires more of them than they are often willing to provide. It’s not a demand for whatever 'support' means, but rather a massive decoding of the way we perceive value. We like to divorce the material kind from the more abstract or sentimental, yet in our lives the two are so often intertwined. It is why a cis person would be better off marrying another cis person than marrying something like me.