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After a number of dates and situations not too unlike the interaction with the MMA fighter, I had to take a serious look at the risk involved with not disclosing my trans status.I found early disclosure necessary because we live in a world where trans panic is still justification for devaluing and even harming trans women.It’s not very personal, but it lessens the possibility of a more life-threatening situation. A few people — both men and women — have had a sense I was trans before I even told them.Other times, potential partners seemed to feel pity for me and quietly congratulated themselves for deigning to date me; I’ve had to check the value I’ve placed on cis people who dared to consider me worthy of their attraction.Being a person of color that floats between the queer world and the straight world adds all the more pressure.I constantly have to juggle other people’s hangups around gender, sexuality, and race simultaneously.
Though I don’t necessarily agree that they are more stigmatized than the actual trans women they’re involved with, I do know that they deal with their own specific struggle.
When information that rapper Tyga was caught in a scandal with transgender model Mia Isabella, for instance, social media had a field day.
Given his presence in the hypermasculine world of hip-hop, that moment highlighted the deep-rooted issues our society has with men being attracted to trans women.
He made jokes about me and how I “used to be a man,” criticized my writing and activism, and even — the grand offense — used my birth name during arguments. Having to constantly define and explain myself is both exhausting and unfair.
I feel like I have to share my entire life story early on — a situation in dating that we’re often told to avoid at the risk of being too overwhelming.