When you are trans and looking for some love, sex and dhokha to spice up your life, dating scenes for you are more likely a minefield, a level 5 Sudoku puzzle, a Konigsberg seven-bridge problem!
I am 25, single as single can be and still struggle to gather the courage and let that cute guy next door know I really really really really really really really like him! I usually just keep overthinking ‘What if that guy thinks of me as a gay male? Or far worse, bros me? Ugh…’. ‘Will he understand me? Like really understand me and respect my identity? Like how I want him to see and feel my body?’, and if the guy identifies as gay/bisexual or queer, ‘What if he DMs me one day – “T or B?” or ‘Can I suck your D?’, and I’m like I DON’T WANT YOU TO SEE MY BODY THAT WAY FELLA!’.
Dating has been tricky for me since school days. I always fell for either the class clown or the nerdy one or the gentleman, all cis all hetero, only to be ‘bhai’-zoned for good. By college, my attraction towards the boys had to be given a label, so I went ahead and adopted the term ‘gay’ and stuck to it for four years.
My very first sexual encounter however weirded me out straight up. It happened at a movie theatre. I was about 20, still discreet, and he was this 29-year-old bisexual male who claimed to be ‘versatile’. Back then, I thought versatile meant being like Da Vinci or something. Anyway, in the darkened hall, when he slid his hands down my pants and began to stroke my you-know-what, something didn’t feel right. It was as if I didn’t want to be aroused that way. I feigned pleasure for a few minutes before dashing off to a far, far land (better known as ghar)!
Blaming my own lack of sexual experience, I reassured myself that things would improve in time. I coached myself into becoming the ideal ‘gay male’, sought guidance from some queer blogs… and Pornhub. Put up a profile on Grindr figuring every gay man was on it. Checked the Right now’ and ‘Dating’ preferences. Bombarded everyone within 1 km of my radius with ‘Hi’s and ‘How are you?’s. If this is how gay men found partners, who was I to fuck with the system?
Men on Grindr usually liked their messages short and sweet. To my ten-line spiel that followed the pleasantries on how interesting I thought they were, they’d usually reply with a ‘Hmmm…’, quickly followed by ‘Place/ Location?’, ‘Send pics’ or ‘T or B?’. Even the men who entertained a longer conversation usually expected me to bed them in the first, max second encounter. I tried hard to feel included, made plans to meet up with random dudes and fuck each other till the cows come home… which of course rarely ended up happening.
The few sexual encounters turned out as absolute disappointments. I was ready to offer pleasure to any guy that wanted it but squirmed when the other person would touch me anywhere except the lips or palms. That is, any body part of mine that was more pronouncedly masculine.
I felt so alien in my own skin that I decided to abstain from sex altogether for a year and half. I used these months to understand myself and my desires more clearly. And last May, finally realizing I was trans, I changed my Grindr profile to reflect this beautiful discovery. I thought the messages would reduce but surprise surprise – I got like 5 times the messages! This validation was heartening initially. Sadly, I figured one in every five messages casually attached a dick pic or a snap or their hairy asshole, close-up, all unsolicited. Most of these men perhaps assumed my trans-identification meant I was the easy-peasy kind, basically a sex object. I deleted that app for good last December, carrying with me the lesson – Grindr isn’t the place for a trans person like me.
Looking for love is a lot more complicated now, yes, but I also believe that my self-worth as well as my expectations from relationships, be it physical or emotional, has shot up after my second coming out. I expect a lot better from men in general, and no longer let any man treat my body in a way that satisfies his needs at my expense. Being confused about my identity lead me to being desperate to please others and in the process damaged my self-esteem-besides the bad sex of course.
Today, sure of myself and my needs, I want to be involved in relationships that feel real and beautiful and any person who does not acknowledge and respect my trans femininity, be it by viewing me as ‘just a feminine gay male’ or a ‘cum dump’, is not worth chasing.
My dating scenes might be a minefield, a level 5 Sudoku puzzle, or a Konigsberg seven-bridge problem, but I’d rather let it remain that way than be untrue to my identity while looking to spice up my life.