Ask Tré: Dating a Trans Person

By TRÉ STEPHENS

Would you ever date a trans masculine person?

— Anonymous

Hello to all of my readers inside and outside the Middlebury community. To me this question stood out for multiple reasons. One, this question is very personal and I have this platform to share my perspective on a variety of issues, so that’s what I’m going to do. Two, this question is what I would consider “bait,” meaning it’s set up in a way that if not answered the “correct” way would cause an uproar. A question like this, to say the least, has the capacity to be  controversial. Luckily, for whoever submitted this and my readers, I’m not scared to voice my opinion about anything, no matter how controversial an issue is. 

First of all, let’s unpack this question a bit. To ask would you ever date a trans masculine person is a bit much. It’s too specific and sounds like you’re fishing for a specific answer. Let’s start with, “Would you date a trans person?” I recently wrote a column about the use of labels in which I wrote the following: “Personally, I am the kind of person that really hates to use labels because then those labels become a way for people to assume things about me before getting to know me.” If you haven’t read the first Ask Tré, I encourage you to do so. Trans people are people. I also talked about the fact that I don’t like to be put in boxes, so to ask would you date a trans masculine person just seems to put me in one of those boxes. The idea this questions brings up — that the person I would date has to be masculine — is outdated and contributes to the toxic masc culture in the queer and trans community. 

Secondly, I myself am a non-binary person. Not to say that all nonbinary people are attracted to all people, but I have never held myself to dating within a specified group. Gender itself is a social construct created on the basis of assigned sex at birth (but that’s a lesson for another day). So yes I would date a trans person, but not because they are masculine or feminine. I wouldn’t date a trans person solely because they are trans. When I’m looking to date someone, I focus more on what they can contribute to a relationship mentally and emotionally — not just physically. We need to get out of this space where we judge everything and everyone based on physical attributes and how someone presents themselves. This is a lesson not just for Middlebury students or just the queer and trans community, but for all kinds of people. 

Finally, to whoever wrote this comment: I’m not sure what your intention was when writing this question. However, I think that you should stop focusing on who is masculine or feminine, who has the right body type, what labels fit your imaginary criteria because it only limits who you make yourself available to. This campus is repressive when it comes to deciding who gets to participate in relationships and hookup culture. Not to mention that most students are not being realistic when trying to approach potential suitors because everyone has a type. This goes beyond having a preference or being a product of the environment. Understand that your “preference” is problematic and as long as we continue to allow behavior like this, nothing will change. 

My advice: Get rid of the imaginary criteria checklist. Stop focusing on who fits what box. Try to have as many positive experiences with as many people as possible, because we are living on borrowed time.

As always, I look forward to my readers submitting questions to my column. If you don’t know, you can submit your own questions at the go link: go/asktre/. My goal is to produce one piece every week for the entire year, so keep the questions coming. 

Love, 

Tre Stephens

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