22 votes

New research shows a vast majority of cis people won't date trans people

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37 comments

  1. [3]
    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    EDIT: Hey y'all, can we offer some internet hugs and understanding to our trans friends here? They are facing news that says that the vast majority of people reject them romantically. Can we show...
    • Exemplary

    EDIT: Hey y'all, can we offer some internet hugs and understanding to our trans friends here? They are facing news that says that the vast majority of people reject them romantically. Can we show them that we understand how much that sucks? How much it hurts to read something like that about yourself? How much it hurts to have to live that reality? Even if you don't believe it comes from transphobia in the slightest, we can still acknowledge that this is really, REALLY shitty for them, right?

    I talked before about how Tildes can tend towards academic dissections, and I see a lot of that happening here. There are certainly valid academic discussions to be had on this topic, but I think it's important for us to counterbalance those with empathy, understanding, and a demonstration of care. This article is bitterly cold for our trans friends -- let's at least meet that with some warmth of our own.


    Growing up gay was profoundly lonely in a lot of ways, and one of the ways in which it hit was when I considered the numeric reality of dating. I was surrounded by straight people who all had immense difficulty dating despite having huge pools of people who could, at least, be theoretically interested. I remember thinking: if they can't make it work when their pool is nearly 50% of the population, how am I supposed to get anywhere with, what, 1-2%?

    It's easy to poke holes in the bad mathematical thinking I was using, but that didn't do anything to alleviate the lived experience of loneliness. My straight friends had potential partners everywhere and could meet them easily. Meanwhile, my options were, well, "the one" -- not a mythical soulmate but literally "the one" other out gay guy in the area. If we were incompatible, then, well, better luck next year, I guess?

    For the cis, straight people here: I encourage you to think about what it would be like to be trans and then get the news that 88% of people at large won't even consider you a theoretical match. It's the news that most people won't even open the door to someone like you. When you look around, all you see are closed doors, nearly everywhere. You see plenty of other people coming and going from them, with many people being eagerly invited in -- but not you. Never you. We can pick and prod at the math or the study or the intentions behind all of that, but I encourage you to just sit in that shitty, lonely feeling with all of those closed doors and consider what it would feel like. It sucks. Dating is hard enough anyway, and we all have our own stories of heartbreak and loneliness, but for queer people sometimes that heartbreak and loneliness isn't just situational but it's embedded into the architecture.

    If you had asked me, a cis gay guy, 10 years ago, whether I would date a trans man, then my answer would have been no. If you asked me now, my answer would be yes, and that's a genuine and honest "yes", not me denying my latent feelings in an attempt to be woke or politically correct. My own feelings have genuinely shifted in that time. I talk about it at length here if anyone's interested in the longer story, but suffice it to say that I'm someone who genuinely believes that sexuality is largely innate and immutable (I tried continually and unsuccessfully to be straight for over a decade, for example) but I cannot deny that I have experienced genuine mutability in my own sexuality with regards to trans people. I think my previous preference for cis people genuinely was a product of transphobia -- not a malicious intent on my own part but because I had internalized a lot of transphobic ideas about trans people and that affected the manner in which I understood, saw, and related to them and their bodies.

    30 votes
    1. [2]
      entangledamplitude
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I have nothing specific to add regarding the trans question, but I just want to point out that people anyways self-select into dating pools by preferences based on race, ethnicity, religion, etc...

      I have nothing specific to add regarding the trans question, but I just want to point out that people anyways self-select into dating pools by preferences based on race, ethnicity, religion, etc (apart from looks, habits, interests, intelligence, income/wealth, etc of course). Almost never does anyone have realistic access to 50% of the population (even within the relevant age bands), especially if one is in a minority population on any one of those axes. I sympathize with the pain you felt, but the comparison feels like a bit of a naive straw man. Dating is complicated for anyone who’s not aggressively normal — and almost everyone feels the pain. C’est la vie.

      12 votes
      1. kfwyre
        Link Parent
        Agreed, and I'm under no illusions that those numbers are accurate, but they felt that way at the time. Although, I will say that that the same effects that whittle down that 50% to a much smaller...

        Agreed, and I'm under no illusions that those numbers are accurate, but they felt that way at the time. Although, I will say that that the same effects that whittle down that 50% to a much smaller number also whittle down my 2% -- my theoretical maximum pool size will almost always be below a straight person's actual effective pool size.

        Dating is complicated for anyone who’s not aggressively normal — and almost everyone feels the pain.

        Also agreed! That's what I was trying to get at with my post: I think we can use our own experiences as a way of directly empathizing with trans people and the specific difficulties they can face with regards to dating. It would be wrong of me to dismiss straight people's difficulties with dating simply by saying "the numbers are in their favor", but we also have to offer the same courtesy to trans people and understand that many of those same difficulties have a sort of force multiplier behind them.

        8 votes
  2. [13]
    teaearlgraycold
    Link
    There’s definitely some element of trans discrimination here, but there’s also plenty of immutable reasons for people to not consider trans partners. Of the people that want to have children,...

    There’s definitely some element of trans discrimination here, but there’s also plenty of immutable reasons for people to not consider trans partners. Of the people that want to have children, almost all of them want to have biological children with their partner. Hormone supplements, surgery, or a matching biological sex can make that hard or impossible. Those that identified as gay or lesbian were far more likely to consider trans partners. Probably because they’re already breaking the cishet mold themselves, and also because biological children will always be difficult for them.

    Beyond that people need to accept that dating is largely about aesthetics for a lot of people. Some trans people are lucky in that regard, others don’t so successfully fight their body’s original plan. I think a study on who won’t be friends with or work with trans people would be far more interesting for gauging society’s transphobia.

    24 votes
    1. [3]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      I think there are a lot of opportunities to improve the methodology of the study that was run here. I do not think the goal is to gauge transphobia as a whole, but rather to understand one slice...

      I think there are a lot of opportunities to improve the methodology of the study that was run here. I do not think the goal is to gauge transphobia as a whole, but rather to understand one slice of it. Dating is an integral part of most people's lives and happiness and knowing that transgender people suffer from increased discrimination in this field is important. It can help us to understand how sexism and social norms act to reinforce discrimination (conscious or subconscious). The authors in the article were right to note masculine patterns of dating among homosexuals and the discrimination of feminine counterparts in the discussion section, for example.

      I also think this highlights some of the weirdness between separating out sex from sexual identity and instead substituting gender. For many people the calculus of what is 'date-able' and what isn't is a complicated endeavor and involves many characteristics. In the same vein, the cold calculation or response to a survey question is very different from asking the question after someone had the chance to interact with someone they were attracted to, but unaware they were trans.

      One final issue which I think the article fails to touch on, and isn't addressed in the discussion of the journal:

      Participants in the current study were part of a larger online survey assessing responses to hypothetical scenarios in which friends or family members provided disapproval for their romantic relationship.

      To me this reads as an interesting priming problem. If we're already thinking about disapproval, we may be less willing to answer in ways which are true to our nature. We are primed to remove, rather than include, based on context.


      Despite all the issues with this journal article I do believe it's an important piece of information to begin these discussions on transgender individuals and how willing people are to date and have them in their lives. While the numbers look pretty bleak right now, I'm somewhat optimistic as LGB acceptance was in a similar place a decade ago.

      11 votes
      1. TemulentTeatotaler
        Link Parent
        I'd be interested in seeing an inversion of the question "who would you consider dating" to "who wouldn't you consider dating". The difference between things like organ donation rates in opt-in...

        To me this reads as an interesting priming problem. ... We are primed to remove, rather than include, based on context.

        I'd be interested in seeing an inversion of the question "who would you consider dating" to "who wouldn't you consider dating".

        The difference between things like organ donation rates in opt-in vs. opt-out countries seems to suggest a very different mentality of the sort you mentioned:

        A total of 2400 studies were screened and six studies were included. Four studies reported opt-out consent increases DDR by 21-76% over 5-14 years. These studies compared 13-25 opt-out countries versus 9-23 opt-in countries. Three studies reported opt-out consent increases DTR by 38-83% over 11-13 years.

        9 votes
      2. vektor
        Link Parent
        As a possible other interesting question, adding to what TemulentTeatotaler said: Instead of asking "assuming pressure to the contrary, would you date a trans person", it's also quite interesting...

        As a possible other interesting question, adding to what TemulentTeatotaler said: Instead of asking "assuming pressure to the contrary, would you date a trans person", it's also quite interesting to ask "would you view it negatively if your (friend/child/...) dated a trans person", i.e. would you be likely to exert such pressure. Because I'd actually commend the ..."courage" (quotes because it shouldn't really take courage) of a peer to date a trans person. In myself, well, I don't even know. I've never had to think about it, so I could be quite susceptible to framing (much in the way you mentioned). What I want to say is that I assume the fraction who are "NIMBY" about this but generally supportive is larger than the "YIMBY" group. Therefore, the supposed pressure from their methodology might not even be as strong.

        4 votes
    2. [8]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [8]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. AugustusFerdinand
          Link Parent
          And this is something that seems to be completely ignored in the article as well. Clue #1 - Bisexual/queer/nonbinary, a group that are generally open to any genitalia, are most open to having a...

          I hate to be vulgar here but it feels like we're willfully missing the biggest likely cause: Genital preferences/aesthetics. There are numerous attractive transgendered people out there, passable or otherwise, but the obvious/outward aesthetics aren't the only factor when it comes to dating. CIS straight people are usually attracted to the genital presentation of the opposite sex, and presumably hope to eventually partake in sexual activity as a result of "dating".

          And this is something that seems to be completely ignored in the article as well.

          Bisexual/queer/nonbinary participants (these were all combined into one group) were most open to having a trans partner

          Clue #1 - Bisexual/queer/nonbinary, a group that are generally open to any genitalia, are most open to having a trans partner.

          For example, 50% of the trans-inclusive straight women and 28% of the trans-inclusive gay men were willing to date a trans woman, even though one wouldn’t expect either straight women or gay men to be attracted to women.

          Clue #2 - Trans-inclusive straight women and gay men prefer a partner most likely to have a penis.

          Similarly, 50% of trans-inclusive straight men and 69% of trans-inclusive lesbians said they’d date a trans man, even though both groups are presumably only attracted to women.

          Clue #3 - Trans-inclusive straight men and lesbians prefer a partner most likely to have a vagina.

          38% of trans-inclusive lesbians said they wouldn’t date a trans woman

          Clue #4 - Trans-inclusive lesbians don't want a partner that is likely to have a penis.

          The high rates of trans exclusion from potential dating pools are undoubtedly due in part to cisnormativity, cissexism, and transphobia — all of which lead to lack of knowledge about transgender people and their bodies, discomfort with these unknowns, and fear of being discriminated against by proxy of one’s romantic partner. It is also possible that at least some of the trans exclusion is due to the fact that for some people, sexual orientation might be not (just) about a partner’s gender identity, but attraction to specific body types and/or judgment of reproductive capabilities.

          The article even attempts to end by calling it transphobia and completely ignoring genitalia, instead relying almost exclusively on gender or looks.


          Dating, for nearly everyone, involves sex.
          Sex involves genitalia.
          Most people have a preference for specific genitalia.
          Having a preference for specific genitalia is not transphobic.

          25 votes
        2. [6]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. [2]
            Comment deleted by author
            Link Parent
            1. ifa
              Link Parent
              I wouldn't say that it isn't particularly true unless you have explicit proof. Nowadays the results are very much on par with a cis vagina, with the exception of and opening at the end of it. To...

              I wouldn't say that it isn't particularly true unless you have explicit proof. Nowadays the results are very much on par with a cis vagina, with the exception of and opening at the end of it. To the point that most results will be indistinguishable to a gynecologist until they see the end.

              7 votes
          2. [4]
            AugustusFerdinand
            Link Parent
            While the surgery exists, actual rate of it being performed is paltry. 2021 Gallup poll says there are a touch over 2M trans people in the US, only 11k gender confirmation surgeries took place in...

            While the surgery exists, actual rate of it being performed is paltry. 2021 Gallup poll says there are a touch over 2M trans people in the US, only 11k gender confirmation surgeries took place in 2019.

            9 votes
            1. [3]
              mftrhu
              Link Parent
              That's interesting. The US are famous world-wide for their cheap, accessible healthcare, with such a surfeit of surgeons specialized in SRS that they spend most of their time twiddling their...
              • Exemplary

              That's interesting. The US are famous world-wide for their cheap, accessible healthcare, with such a surfeit of surgeons specialized in SRS that they spend most of their time twiddling their thumbs, now that COVID put a damper on medical tourism.

              Or it would be, if not for the fact that your statistic is misleading for multiple reasons, some of them being

              • the high cost of healthcare in the US, which, coupled with poor labour laws, makes saving up for surgery - that some insurances still consider unnecessary - a somewhat shaky proposition;
              • the high cost - both monetary and moral - of SRS, driving people to do medical tourism in countries where (1) it's cheaper despite (2) being performed by highly experienced surgeons;
              • the waiting times for surgery itself, which, between requiring multiple doctors to sign off on it and the waiting lists for the surgeons, can delay it by years;
              • the fact that the "2M trans people in the US only" is an estimate which will, perforce, include people such as minors, the closeted, and those who have yet to realize they are trans - who necessarily can't or won't be pursuing surgery, which not all people want because:
                • they might think they don't experience enough dysphoria to go through it;
                • they might have been scared off by all the horror stories that cis people, sitting around their campfire, like to tell each other;
                • might actually like their OEM genitals;
              • the fact that "only 11k people per year, out of 2M, even get it" sounds impressively low - paltry - only if not considering the fact that surgery is permanent.

              I'd say that 0.55% of a - mostly undiagnosed, impoverished - population, getting, each year, a medical procedure costing them a year of pay and requiring multiple months of recovery, is a fairly sizable number.

              10 votes
              1. [2]
                AugustusFerdinand
                Link Parent
                Not saying medical tourism doesn't happen, but without statistics it's just conjecture on how common it is for SRS. It's not cheap to have it done via medical tourism either, quick search comes up...
                1. Not saying medical tourism doesn't happen, but without statistics it's just conjecture on how common it is for SRS.
                2. It's not cheap to have it done via medical tourism either, quick search comes up with a 2015 article showing patients spending $30,000+ to travel to the "Global Gender-Change Destination" of Thailand for the surgery. Math in the 2019 link I posted works out to the SRS costing $24k in the US. I'm sure it'll go up from there for ancillaries, but still not some massive disparity between the two.
                3. The "2M trans people in the US" link states that is the number for adults only.

                Regardless, the statistics provided were in response to a string that went:

                "The study and article are ignoring genitals in an attempt to paint people as transphobic."
                "Gender confirmation surgery exists."
                "Yes, it exists, but it's so rare it is statistically insignificant to the discussion."

                2 votes
                1. mftrhu
                  Link Parent
                  Which, medical tourism being part of the equation which you used to determine whether SRS is "statistically significant to the discussion", makes your whole conclusion a conjecture. You don't know...

                  Not saying medical tourism doesn't happen, but without statistics it's just conjecture on how common it is for SRS.

                  Which, medical tourism being part of the equation which you used to determine whether SRS is "statistically significant to the discussion", makes your whole conclusion a conjecture. You don't know what the numerator is, because you don't have hard data about how many people get SRS outside the US; you don't know what the denominator is, because you don't have hard data about how many of those 2M trans adults you are likely to end up interacting with, in a dating context, that are not presenting as their AGAB.

                  "Yes, it exists, but it's so rare it is statistically insignificant to the discussion."

                  In the face of that - and of my last point on surgery numbers being cumulative - I am going to call this nonsense.

                  5 votes
        3. teaearlgraycold
          Link Parent
          Guessing you mean straight here, not cis? I never touched on that because for me it's either "I don't care about your genitals at all because I don't feel a connection with you" or "I like what...

          No amount of "familiarity" is going to change a CIS woman's attraction to penis or a CIS man's attraction to vagina into the opposite.

          Guessing you mean straight here, not cis?

          I never touched on that because for me it's either "I don't care about your genitals at all because I don't feel a connection with you" or "I like what you have because I like who you are".

          6 votes
    3. [2]
      psi
      Link Parent
      I understand your point in principle, but I'm personally not persuaded that 88% of respondents were unwilling to date someone solely for that reason. This point's also undermined by the fact that...

      Of the people that want to have children, almost all of them want to have biological children with their partner.

      I understand your point in principle, but I'm personally not persuaded that 88% of respondents were unwilling to date someone solely for that reason. This point's also undermined by the fact that gay/bisexual folk also seem unwilling to engage in a homosexual relation with a trans person, despite the fact that such a couple might actually be capable of having biological children together.

      Beyond that people need to accept that dating is largely about aesthetics for a lot of people. Some trans people are lucky in that regard, others don’t so successfully fight their body’s original plan.

      I don't find this argument very compelling, either. The study asked participants whether they'd be willing to date some hypothetical trans person, not date all hypothetical trans people. Nobody would interpret a respondent willing to date a cis-woman as meaning they'd date any cis-woman.

      I think a study on who won’t be friends with or work with trans people would be far more interesting for gauging society’s transphobia.

      I mean, perhaps, but that's also testing a completely different premise. Although this study might not seem particularly germane to you, a trans person certainly would find it germane to them.

      Here be dragons I don't want to derail the conversation (hence the spoilers tag), but consider if this study were about race instead. Clearly two separate studies asking
      1. Whether a respondent would be willing to be friends with a Black person, and
      2. Whether a respondent would be willing to date a Black person

      could both be gauges of prejudice. But if many respondents affirmed that former while rejecting the latter, I'd be suspicious of anyone claiming the former study absolved society of being racist.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. psi
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          More dragons! Honestly, I kinda just... completely forgot about genitals? Lack of sleep is a hell of a drug. I think, if we really wanted to, we would probe whether genital preference is some form...
          More dragons! Honestly, I kinda just... completely forgot about genitals? Lack of sleep is a hell of a drug. I think, if we really wanted to, we would probe whether genital preference is some form of unconscious prejudice, but I think that issue is orders of magnitude less pressing than others. So sure, I'm willing to accept that many people might have a genital preference without being intentionally transphobic.

          This isn't one of those things that can be cynically compared to race relations as a trump card.

          Right, I certainly don't mean to suggest we should just substitute trans <-> race without giving the matter some critical thought. There are ways they are similar (bigotry) and ways they are different (biology). However, I still find the comparison useful as a 0th order approximation. I'd rather start with the premise that they're alike (and then disentangle their differences) than start with the premise that they're incomparable.

          2 votes
  3. [16]
    jokeyrhyme
    Link
    This is a discussion that pops up occasionally in my circles (entirely cis, boo) Where I've landed is: it's not transphobic if you are looking for a partner to create biological children with, and...

    This is a discussion that pops up occasionally in my circles (entirely cis, boo)

    Where I've landed is:

    • it's not transphobic if you are looking for a partner to create biological children with, and you are upfront about this with your dates, because that way you're rejecting based upon biological-compatibility and procreative-fitness (e.g. anyone who already knows they can't sire/bear children with you)

    • dating for fun/sex is an entirely separate endeavour than looking to start a biological family, and in this situation it is definitely transphobic to reject a partner who matches your genital preference, if your rejection is honestly because they weren't born that way

    • if you are rejecting someone specifically because they do not match your genital preference, then I'm stumped here, I think much of this is likely unnecessary/harmful social constructs (e.g. caring more about what your friends think than whether you actually might like someone), so I think some of the time (maybe most of the time) this happens it might be transphobic, and sometimes maybe not

    • fixation on other people's genitals is increasingly weird to me, and individuals ought to dig deep and really think about why we personally feel the way we do and whether it's useful and healthy

    • fixation on biological children is increasingly weird to me, and individuals ought to dig deep and really think about why we personally feel the way we do and whether it's useful and healthy

    Anyhow, this is one of those things I'm still learning/thinking about, and definitely open to discussing or learning further

    10 votes
    1. [9]
      wycy
      Link Parent
      I profoundly reject the idea that there's anything transphobic about not wanting to date a trans person. Anyone can choose to date or not date someone for any reason at all, or even no reason, and...

      I profoundly reject the idea that there's anything transphobic about not wanting to date a trans person. Anyone can choose to date or not date someone for any reason at all, or even no reason, and that should be perfectly fine.

      There's a danger to this rhetoric that you must be willing to date trans people or else you're a transphobe. This idea is very much counter to the beliefs of the average person, and serves to push people to the right, ultimately undermining the entire cause.

      6 votes
      1. [8]
        Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        This is really ignoring the heart of the argument. You can choose to not date black people because you're not attracted to black skin, but if you're not willing to examine why you're not attracted...

        This is really ignoring the heart of the argument. You can choose to not date black people because you're not attracted to black skin, but if you're not willing to examine why you're not attracted to black skin, you're dismissing the effects that society can have on our preferences. The same applies here and @jokeyrhyme bothered to take the time to question their own assumptions. @kfwyre does the same in his fantastic post.

        8 votes
        1. [7]
          wycy
          Link Parent
          If there is an undercurrent of transphobia (or racism in your example), that is likely to play out problematically in other non-dating/non-relationship-related ways. The latter non-dating related...

          If there is an undercurrent of transphobia (or racism in your example), that is likely to play out problematically in other non-dating/non-relationship-related ways. The latter non-dating related issues that manifest are the ones that should be attacked, not dating preferences. Dating preferences should be 100% up to people individually. Attacking people on the dating preference front is guaranteed to be a rhetorically losing strategy.

          Should we attack women for preferring tall men? Is it fatphobic to prefer to date fit people?

          6 votes
          1. [3]
            Gaywallet
            Link Parent
            As I discussed elsewhere, it's entirely unfair to compare dating preferences on height or weight to those of transgender individuals. The two are not analogous. It's upsetting to have someone...

            As I discussed elsewhere, it's entirely unfair to compare dating preferences on height or weight to those of transgender individuals. The two are not analogous. It's upsetting to have someone enter the LGBT space and make these kinds of comparisons. I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but this reads as bad faith, given the context of who you are responding to and what has already been pointed out.

            9 votes
            1. [2]
              wycy
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              I hadn't thought of it this way since Tildes auto-subscribes everyone to everything (as far as I can tell), but you're right that I probably shouldn't be here. Unsubscribed so as to not end up in...

              It's upsetting to have someone enter the LGBT space

              I hadn't thought of it this way since Tildes auto-subscribes everyone to everything (as far as I can tell), but you're right that I probably shouldn't be here. Unsubscribed so as to not end up in future threads.

              You say the height/weight preferences aren't analogous, but you didn't make the case. You said "This isn't a study about arbitrary characteristics that one individual happens to have. This is a study about something immutable, something innate in a small portion of people and what kinds of struggles they face."--except that height is certainly also an innate, immutable characteristic, and for many people weight is very difficult to control too.

              I do hope this talking point doesn't get much further in the public discourse. I used to think "defund the police" was the worst political messaging I'd ever heard. If this "you're a transphobe if you won't date trans people" messaging catches on, this will be so many orders of magnitude worse. I can't think of a bigger rhetorical footgun.

              Edit: Since the topic is now locked, in response to your reply "Can you please help me understand where you think someone is making this claim or advocating for this messaging?":

              it is definitely transphobic to reject a partner who matches your genital preference, if your rejection is honestly because they weren't born that way

              2 votes
              1. Gaywallet
                Link Parent
                I'm not going to bother going down the rabbit hole of rewording everything I said to be perfect. Yes, I used those words in my argument with someone else where we weren't talking about height and...

                I'm not going to bother going down the rabbit hole of rewording everything I said to be perfect. Yes, I used those words in my argument with someone else where we weren't talking about height and weight. However, I spent a lot of time talking about why being transgender is a unique experience and how transgender individuals get a lot more societal disdain, scorn, and bigotry than people who are arbitrarily too short for one person to date or too over/underweight. The only thing I've asked for is for you to stop trying to create an analogy between not dating due to trans and other characteristics. There's plenty of other people explaining why this isn't the correct thing to do, and how the data point of being transgender versus cisgender has some unique issues.

                If this "you're a transphobe if you won't date trans people" messaging catches on, this will be so many orders of magnitude worse.

                Can you please help me understand where you think someone is making this claim or advocating for this messaging?

                4 votes
          2. [3]
            mftrhu
            Link Parent
            The thing about "preferences" is that they are, well, preferences. I prefer pizza over pasta, which means that on average, being offered both at an equal rate, I'd eat one more than the other -...

            The thing about "preferences" is that they are, well, preferences. I prefer pizza over pasta, which means that on average, being offered both at an equal rate, I'd eat one more than the other - but not exclusively. That would be better named disdain, and were I offered a plate of pasta, only to decry it as an inferior meal? Were I to do so upon seeing pasta on the menu, when hearing about it, or just apropos of nothing? Hatred would be on the table.

            Should we attack women for preferring tall men? Is it fatphobic to prefer to date fit people?

            Do they refuse to date short men at all, maybe ranting about them being the inferior choice? That would be, at the very least, immature.

            Do those people refuse to date overweight people, possibly including "no fatties" in their dating profile bios? That would be pretty unequivocably fatphobic.

            Do they prefer dating people with a given set of defined characteristics, or do they refuse to date them tout-court, justifying their disdain by resorting to stereotypes? What else do they do when the discussion comes up?

            5 votes
            1. [2]
              wycy
              Link Parent
              This gets back to what I said about instead calling out the ancillary issues play out problematically in other non-dating/non-relationship-related ways. Yes, if someone calls trans people as...

              I prefer pizza over pasta, which means that on average, being offered both at an equal rate, I'd eat one more than the other - but not exclusively. That would be better named disdain, and were I offered a plate of pasta, only to decry it as an inferior meal?

              This gets back to what I said about instead calling out the ancillary issues play out problematically in other non-dating/non-relationship-related ways. Yes, if someone calls trans people as inferior, call that out. But there's really nothing wrong even if they will exclusively date cis people.

              Do they refuse to date short men at all, maybe ranting about them being the inferior choice? That would be, at the very least, immature.

              Again, refusing to date short men seems perfectly reasonable to me. Ranting about them being inferior, on the other hand, sounds like a dick move.

              Do those people refuse to date overweight people, possibly including "no fatties" in their dating profile bios? That would be pretty unequivocably fatphobic.

              Ditto above. To write "no fatties" is bad, but wanting to exclusively date fit people is fine. I have an obligation as a part of society to treat overweight people with the same respect I'd treat anyone else. I don't have an obligation to date them.

              2 votes
              1. mftrhu
                Link Parent
                That was never called into question, and I find it interesting how many people end up saying that - or, indeed, how they tend to equivocate "being called out" with "being coerced", possibly while...

                I don't have an obligation to date them.

                That was never called into question, and I find it interesting how many people end up saying that - or, indeed, how they tend to equivocate "being called out" with "being coerced", possibly while waffling about the difference between reasons that - for a confluence of coincidences! - merely look bigoted, and reasons that actually are bigoted.

                This gets back to what I said about instead calling out the ancillary issues play out problematically in other non-dating/non-relationship-related ways.

                No. Those issues show up, systematically - always following the pattern I sketched out for "shorties" and "fatties" - in any and all "conversations" about "the trans dating question". They deserve to be called out, and people don't deserve to hide behind "it's just my preference". If they don't want to be challenged, they can try to shut up and not let the whole world know about how they won't date a trans man, Sam-I-am!

                4 votes
    2. [5]
      AugustusFerdinand
      Link Parent
      These two points seem to be at odds with one another.
      • it is definitely transphobic to reject a partner who matches your genital preference, if your rejection is honestly because they weren't born that way

      • if you are rejecting someone specifically because they do not match your genital preference, [...] it might be transphobic,

      These two points seem to be at odds with one another.

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        jokeyrhyme
        Link Parent
        First point is about rejection based on whether someone was born not matching your genital preference even if they currently match your genital preference e.g. fixated on their genital history...

        First point is about rejection based on whether someone was born not matching your genital preference even if they currently match your genital preference e.g. fixated on their genital history

        Second point is about rejection based on whether they currently match your genital preference, purely about the present, e.g. fixated on their current genitals

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          AugustusFerdinand
          Link Parent
          So, to be sure I'm reading it correctly. Q1: If I wish my partner to have a penis, and the potential partner in question has a penis, but that partner identifies as trans, it is transphobic for me...

          So, to be sure I'm reading it correctly.

          Q1: If I wish my partner to have a penis, and the potential partner in question has a penis, but that partner identifies as trans, it is transphobic for me to reject them?

          Q2: If I wish my partner to have a penis, and the potential partner in question does not have a penis, but that partner identifies as trans, it is possibly transphobic for me to reject them?

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            jokeyrhyme
            Link Parent
            To clarify, I'm not saying I've come up with the galaxy-brain perfect understanding here, this is just where I'm at at the moment, thank you for litigating this with me to focus my thinking It may...

            To clarify, I'm not saying I've come up with the galaxy-brain perfect understanding here, this is just where I'm at at the moment, thank you for litigating this with me to focus my thinking

            It may help to focus on the reason here: if the rejection is based on someone identifying as transgender, and honestly not for any other reason, then that seems like transphobic behaviour to me

            5 votes
            1. AugustusFerdinand
              Link Parent
              Gotcha and completely agree. Thanks for the clarification.

              if the rejection is based on someone identifying as transgender, and honestly not for any other reason, then that seems like transphobic behaviour to me

              Gotcha and completely agree. Thanks for the clarification.

              1 vote
  4. [4]
    post_below
    (edited )
    Link
    The article author's interpretation of this study is silly. I didn't read the study itself so I'm not sure what the researchers concluded, maybe it was different. Trans people live with...

    The article author's interpretation of this study is silly. I didn't read the study itself so I'm not sure what the researchers concluded, maybe it was different.

    Trans people live with discrimination. There's no doubt of that.

    That survey respondents don't think they'd date trans people (under whatever context the questions are framed) has absolutely nothing to do with that.

    Really, nothing. People have a lot of preferences when it comes to dating. The more they've dated, and the more relationships they've had, the longer their list of what they want and don't want gets. A lot of the things on the list are arbitrary and personal and far more nitpicky than something as fundamental to a sexual relationship as biological equipment.

    This is the modern digital world. With dating apps. People are picky as hell.

    And also, when they meet someone they really connect with they'll throw most of their list out the window and never look back.

    But I bet the study didn't ask "if you met someone who you had an earth shattering connection with, who saw you in a way you weren't even sure it was possible to be seen, whose presence in your life made existence feel right in a way you had never experienced, but who later revealed that they were trans, would you still consider dating them?"

    That's not the question the study wanted to answer, and so the study had nothing to do with discrimination.

    9 votes
    1. [3]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      I get where you are coming from. Dating is... well, dating. It's complicated. We have preferences we can explain quite easily, such as physical characteristics of who we are looking to date,...

      I get where you are coming from. Dating is... well, dating. It's complicated. We have preferences we can explain quite easily, such as physical characteristics of who we are looking to date, emotional qualities, levels of development, age ranges, and so on. We also have preferences we struggle to explain with words - an air about them, a vibe, a connection, a spark. It becomes complicated to quantify all the reasons in which we choose to date, or not date someone. After all who hasn't read a story about two people being extremely good friends but never dating, until they do a decade later. Or maybe they don't, and one laments this on the internet anonymously because they need to get it off their chest.

      But I'm struggling with the context of your post. This isn't a study about arbitrary characteristics that one individual happens to have. This is a study about something immutable, something innate in a small portion of people and what kinds of struggles they face. The population, as a whole, did not get together and decide that only 12% of us would never be willing to date someone with brown hair or black skin.

      I can't speak for everyone else, but there's approximately a half dozen comments in here which talk about genitals. Perhaps I'm not the best person to be commenting upon this, but there seems to be extremely strong feelings about genitals. No one is in here talking about hair color or skin or other characteristics that humans can have. People are even talking about natural and surgically altered genitals with extreme conviction. I'm not entirely convinced that even an 'earth shattering connection' is enough to overcome this strong feeling about genital configuration. I can see it, perhaps, overcoming characteristics which appear to be a bit more trivial, but it strikes me as unfair to place people being trans and people having 'preferences' in the same bucket when the discussion is so heavily dominated in the way it has been. Even if we imagine a situation in which a large number of individuals did not care about genitals, there's other issues brought up which seem to be unfairly hoisted on trans individuals. There are plenty of infertile men and women in the world, why should child bearing ability be of more concern with those who are trans? What about how one's family, religion, or social structure might view someone who chooses to date a trans individual? What about the discrimination they are inviting into their life - directed both at them and their partner and how that might emotionally affect them? There are so many other ways in which someone being transgender does not fit into the same molds as other traits in which someone can be picky about and I don't think we can talk about the two in the same way.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        post_below
        Link Parent
        You seem to mostly be replying to other posts in the thread. I'm not sure you do get where I'm coming from... The conversation about discrimination of trans people, and the survey the OP article...

        You seem to mostly be replying to other posts in the thread. I'm not sure you do get where I'm coming from... The conversation about discrimination of trans people, and the survey the OP article talks about, aren't the same conversation.

        The survey just doesn't establish discrimination. It doesn't mean what the author wants it to mean. And, the context being an attempt at science, you don't get to choose your own meaning.

        As far as the general concept of trans discrimination, I think there's lots of exporation to be done. A survey of knee jerk reaction dating questions doesn't get us there.

        I thought the word 'should' was interesting here:

        Even if we imagine a situation in which a large number of individuals did not care about genitals, there's other issues brought up which seem to be unfairly hoisted on trans individuals. There are plenty of infertile men and women in the world, why should child bearing ability be of more concern with those who are trans?

        Is it right or fair that people have so many criteria for what they want in a partner? Or that so many of the criteria are superficial? Should it be that way? Maybe not, but it's not going to change any time soon. Short men, women with small boobs, people who lack sufficient facial symmetry, people who don't have money, people who don't want kids, people with diseases and disorders, it's hard out there for a lot of demographics, depending on who they're attracted to.

        We could do a survey of dating preferences and say a whole host of different types of people are being discriminated against depending on what questions we chose to ask. We'd be just as wrong about our conclusion as this study is (or at least the non-paywalled article about the study).

        Dating is personal, no one has any business implying people's choices of partners are discrimination. People are absolutely entitled to gatekeep when it comes to their own sex life.

        6 votes
        1. Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          They are intrinsically linked to each other - one is influenced by the other. People internalize the values they see from society. Society may present trans people in an unfair light, which...

          The conversation about discrimination of trans people, and the survey the OP article talks about, aren't the same conversation.

          They are intrinsically linked to each other - one is influenced by the other. People internalize the values they see from society. Society may present trans people in an unfair light, which influences their unconscious decision on whether they would answer yes to the potential of dating a trans person. Society tells them that they shouldn't date them, that they would be disowned, that they would be scorned, that they would be rejected or thrown out by society.

          Simultaneously society shows us a certain kind of person in popular media. What's attractive? Check out sports illustrated swimsuit edition or the latest hunks cast for the next Marvel movie. Check out the runway, or TV or any other number of media outlets to get an idea.

          We're getting better with diversity and positive role models, but we aren't there yet.

          We could do a survey of dating preferences and say a whole host of different types of people are being discriminated against depending on what questions we chose to ask. We'd be just as wrong about our conclusion as this study is (or at least the non-paywalled article about the study).

          I don't think the author of the them.us article is claiming that 100% of what happens is discrimination. I know the paywalled article isn't. It's just a discussion on where we are and a recognition of the influences that go into how we got here. It's recognition that we internalize what society tells us is valuable or not, good or not, moral or not, will bring happiness or not. It's recognition that someone's transgender status cannot be compared to height, boob size, symmetry, money, fertility, or anything else you pointed out because the way transgender individuals are perceived by society and the way society tells others to perceive them is not the same.

          no one has any business implying people's choices of partners are discrimination

          No one is saying this! We're just pointing out that it's possible here and helping people to evaluate their own beliefs. As I've mentioned multiple times now, @kfwyre does a fantastic job of showing how this internalization can come into play and can affect us in ways that we often aren't even aware.

          6 votes
  5. jokeyrhyme
    Link
    I was commenting in the broader sense, e.g. sexism, "gender" reveal parties, gender roles, blue versus pink colours having specific associations, etc I understand that genital preferences for...

    fixation on other people's genitals is increasingly weird to me, and individuals ought to dig deep and really think about why we personally feel the way we do and whether it's useful and healthy

    I may have misunderstood what you were suggesting here? I'm not sure of another way to read it though.

    I was commenting in the broader sense, e.g. sexism, "gender" reveal parties, gender roles, blue versus pink colours having specific associations, etc

    I understand that genital preferences for sexual encounters are a thing, but in my life I am 99% of the time not actively engaging in a sexual encounter, so there's no need to fixate on other people's genitals and what it does or doesn't mean for 99% of my life :)

    Your genitals only matter to you personally, or to a medical professional, or to a sexual partner, and are not anybody's business outside of these specific situations

    1 vote