I’ve been dating another trans girl for a little over 5 months now. It was practically love at first sight. We first met last summer at a local support group for trans feminine people – I was immediately fascinated by her but I was in a relationship at the time. After that ended, I was single again and we happened to hang out together with some friends one night after the trans support group got together for our usual Wednesday meetings. We ended up staying up to like 4am talking and connecting – I could feel serious chemistry between us. After she went home, I messaged her on FB saying that I felt like kissing her when we were saying goodbye but I chickened out at the last minute. To my surprise, she echoed similar sentiments.
We set up a date for the next night. We went to some little cash-only hipster bar next to a place called Steve’s Hotdogs. We were feeling each other totally. I was intoxicated by her presence. I don’t even remember what we talked about that night but I knew right away this was something special. She came home with me and spent the night. It was amazing. After I drove her home the next day we immediately made plans to hang out again later in the day. And the pattern repeated the next day. On the third night we were lying in bed after crazy good sex and whispering sweet nothings to each other. I could feel myself falling in love. It was intense. I knew she was feeling the same thing – I could see it in her eyes and in the way she was talking to me. She said “There’s something I want to tell you but I’m afraid of saying it…” I knew instantly what she wanted to say but I beat her to it: “I love you” I say. She returns the sentiment, saying “I love you” back. This was unusual for me. Usually it takes weeks or months for me to be capable of saying those three words and sincerely meaning it but with her it was like some supernatural force came over me causing me to fall deeply in love.
I didn’t want her to go home, ever – at the time she was living at her parents place. Sensing that she wasn’t comfortable with her living situation at home I impulsively asked her if she wanted to Uhaul it with me, to move in right away in classic lesbian fashion. She said yes. She couldn’t wait to move out. It was an admittedly crazy proposal. We barely knew each other. It was irrational, impulsive, rash, short-sighted, etc. But it worked. Five months later and I couldn’t be happier. The risk paid off. Big time. Turns out we are very compatible domestic partners.
I’m convinced that part of our success is the fact that we are both trans girls. When we first met she was actually boy crazy. Wasn’t even on her mind to consider the possibility that the love of her life would be another trans girl. But now that we’ve both experienced trans4trans love we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s amazing to be with someone who knows exactly what your own dysphoria feels like. To be with someone who you don’t have to feel weird about being so excited when someone gendered you correctly at the supermarket. Someone with whom you can share the small joys of transition and know that they understand perfectly what you mean. Someone who understands your identity in all its complexity because they’ve gone through the same evolution.
With her I can share my doubts about my own identity without worrying she will take me any less seriously as a woman. With her I can discuss my own internalized transmisognyny without risking her reinforcing my own internal shit. With her I can discuss my fears and hope and dreams relating to my transition without worrying that she will not understand me. With her I can obsesses about the smallest details of transitioning without worrying that I am being “obsessive” about gender. When I get misgendered I know she will empathize fully. With her I can be fully myself and at ease. If I don’t feel like sitting down to pee I can do so without my feeling I need to prove anything to her about my womanhood. In my past relationships I felt like I had to be more guarded about being maximally feminine. Now, I don’t have to feel self-conscious about my voice not being as feminine as my cis partner’s. I don’t have to worry about constantly effecting a higher pitch. I don’t have to feel self-conscious about the femininity of my body next to hers. I don’t need to “pass” better for her. She gets it on a deep molecular level.
Cis people will never truly get it. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not always black or white in terms of either being 100% cis or not. Gender is messy, fuzzy, and sometimes people can struggle with their gender and question their identity while still maintaining their connection with their assigned gender. These questioning cis people might have a little insight into what it’s like to have gender dysphoria but most cis people don’t struggle with their gender at all. For them the reality and firmness of their gender is simply an undeniable fact that they have totally accepted and internalized, as real as gravity and reinforced by 100% of their experiences growing up. I call the cis people who have never struggled with their gender “basic cis”. It’s the type of cis-ness that fuels the gender binary and cis supremacy. Basic cis people will never come close to understanding what it’s like to have gender dysphoria. They just can’t imagine what it’d be like to look in the mirror and not just be dissatisfied with your appearance but perceive the wrong gender.
It’s an eerie phenomenon, like looking in a funhouse mirror, except the distorted mirror doesn’t just stretched your physical proportions to be grotesque but rather shifts them such that you look like the “opposite” sex. A typical funhouse mirror is like anorexia: being thin but perceiving yourself to be fat or vice versa. But gender dysphoria is more complicated than a simple shift in physical dimensions: it’s a shift in our fundamental metaphysical status as gendered beings. Gender dysphoria is like a snapchat filter on steroids applied to all the hundreds of little features that physically separate the sexes. It’s very difficult for basic cis people to understand this because they are so basic.
t4t usually refers to the craigslist section where trans people and crossdressers try to hook up with each other. But for me, “t4t” represents the queering of romance, an escape from cis-supremacy and the shackles of cis-heteropatriarchy. The way our bodies interact during sex defies easy categorization. Our bodies are not binary and neither is our love. t4t represents a departure from the limitations placed upon us by the old trans gatekeepers, who used to think that the only “successful” transition for a trans woman would involve her getting married to a cis straight man. Anything else was considered deviant and mentally disturbed, a sign of maladjustment to a woman’s place in society. But fuck that noise. t4t is beautiful. Trans lesbians are beautiful. Trans gays are beautiful. Trans guys with trans girls is beautiful. Trans girls with enbies is beauitful. Trans guys with enbies is beautiful. Enbies with enbies is beautiful.
Trans love is a way of showing the cis world that we don’t need them to define our worth.
13 responses to “Trans on Trans Love and Why Cis People Just Don’t Get It”
Congratulations and best wishes to you both
That is such a beautifully rendered piece, I instantly printed it out to keep, not bad for me considering I’m only on my 1st cup of coffee for the morning
All of my best to you and the woman you love. As a pansexual, I’m a firm believer in the notion that love transcends physicality. To say that the heart wants what it wants is deceptively understated, but it is true. ♥
Oh god. This was me. And I still miss her so dearly.
When this happened to me, I never saw it coming. We were just chums. Hanging out watching TV. And then we looked into one another’s eyes and she moved her mouth toward me . . .
It was the sweetest, deepest, most gentle and tender love-making I had ever experienced. We were finishing each other’s sentences. We were quite literally reading each other’s minds. I started to open my mouth to speak, but verbatim she said the sentence before I could, “I know this sounds perverse, but it was like making love to myself.” It was word-for-word what I was about to say. That was only one instance of mind reading.
We could talk about anything. I confessed things I hadn’t even told my therapist or any lover. Not even myself. and it was ok. There was nothing we couldn’t share. We could say anything . . . anything . . . anything.
We drove across the snow-covered desert afterward to her house in another state. I didn’t care how I would get back, if ever. She wanted me to move in with her.
It was like nothing I experienced before or since.
It was the purest love I ever had and was beyond description. No man and no woman before or since has ever touched the depths of my being like she did.
Don’t tell my Gf, as we are engaged, but I kinda always wanted to be with another trans girl. Anyhow, good on you.
Same for me at 65. In love with a 60 year old TranSystar. Two years ago it was a 25 year old Trans Girlfriend, then next year a 50 year old Trans Woman.
I had no preconceived idea which way I would go when I started my official transition in 2014. With my young friend I felt like I was living vicariously through her. She did not treat me very well and it turned out to be more from learning experience than anything else there was never any extended physical contact and truly only one or two kisses. I had another friend who I knew from group meetings we ended up becoming Buddy’s hung out all the time going to see bands dragging other sisters along to events. She was in love with somebody else online who after three tries had disappointed her by not coming to visit. So we looked at each other and decided well why don’t we try being with each other? We got sexual pretty quickly but it didn’t last and later I found out why. Because she was still in love with the other woman another trans woman. It took me 6 months to figure it out and when I did I walked away period we have since repaired our friendship and are still best friends and I’ve come to like her girlfriend also.
One other little thing that happens in our first month together my 25 year old girlfriend from the year before decided that it was safe and came over and spent two interesting evenings with us in bed together period as soon as I stopped wanting her she was more interested then she was before period She has since had her operation and now has a new girlfriend herself who is transgender.
So after last year’s break up I did some serious therapy work and figured out why every relationship that I was ever in went South. Almost as soon as I was able to make that connection the floodgates opened and for once in my life I was being pursued. A totally new experience for me but I was ready. I went through four five individuals and settled on one. It turns out it was a match made in heaven. She is like a mirror for me. And the fact that she is nearly my age just five years younger means that we share tons of cultural references that the previous two girlfriends were unable to make. We also have struggled extremely hard with financial difficulties in our life that have somehow managed to windup on our feet finally in our sixties.
Long story short, in a little over 40 days she will be moving here from 600 miles,away. We decided to take eight months from last August to thoroughly vet each other during what we called our gestation. She had also experienced a rather toxic break up with a trans woman about the same time I did. Neither of us wanted to repeat the experience period so we started talking.
Turns out she is known that she was gay for a long time in only decided that she was transgender during the last 5 Years. She didn’t start transitioning until about 8 months after I did in 2014. Here’s the kicker. She has a wife of 30 years who supported her when she announced that she was gay about seven years ago. And she also supported her when she began to transition. But my girlfriend’s DNA is really good and the hormones did quite a job on her breasts. That’s what her wife decided that she really didn’t want to be a lesbian. But she was not going to leave because she loved my friend and they have two children. An older boy who is 21 and the younger one who is 12. They will be arriving at the end of the school year and we will be setting up our house with 3 Sisters and 2 Brothers living together. Over the last eight months we have all come to know each other very well and about Thanksgiving time they decided to adopt me. I can’t tell you how excited I am about the journey we are about to embark on. My new partner is a musician like I am creative writer and a comedian. We are both looking to make the last quarter of our life the Fulfillment the potential. promise & possibility we screwed up during our decision a design long March to authenticity.
Trans4Trans? Hell, yeah. And I have dozens of older Transfriends across the country in a similar situation.
Cora Treoir Duncan
Excellent piece. I am trans masculine, and my girlfriend is a trans woman, and I can absolutely agree with your pieces premise. No one understands those small struggles and triumphants like she does.
“But don’t get me wrong, it’s not always black or white in terms of either being 100% cis or not. Gender is messy, fuzzy, and sometimes people can struggle with their gender and question their identity while still maintaining their connection with their assigned gender. These questioning cis people might have a little insight into what it’s like to have gender dysphoria but most cis people don’t struggle with their gender at all. ”
Thank you for this! As an AFAB, female-aligned person who occupies a nebulous space between cis female and nonbinary, I often feel forgotten by the binary between cis and trans/nb.
I really enjoyed this essay.
Being in the throws of some pretty serious NRE with a queer woman, who may be trans masc.
Time will tell but she does not identify that way currently. I feel like the intensity that I share with my friend is because we both see each other as people and we both want to be seen for who we are. We definitely have travelled similar potholed roads which makes relating and opening up easier.
Meeting someone who has waded through the shit of life and has done everything they can do to survive..they understand love. That is rare.
You move past the superficial quickly because you just don’t see it and/or really even need it.
Whatever. Maybe the love drugs in my brain are making me ramble. I’m in a relationship with someone who just sees me. With no t before the w. And it is pretty fucking epic.
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You are gay. Not as in homosexual woman. Gay as in homosexual man. It shows in how quickly and absurdly you hook up with the other man, in your high libidos, in your pursuit of hedonism.
But because being a gay male isn’t as glamorous as being a “lesbian”, and because not transitioning wouldn’t satisfy your autogynephilia, you are now pretending to be a “queer lady”. You are neither a woman nor trans. Please saying you are one of us, faggot.