The Dangers of False Inclusivity On Transgender Dating Sites

As society evolves, acceptance spreads. People whose lives were once relegated to the shadows are allowed to step into the spotlight. One group that seems to have taken the stage by storm in recent years is the transgender community. From heart wrenching films to riotous reality stars, trans people are known and loved across all forms of media. As trans visibility increases businesses realize that including trans people is great for their bottom line. While they try to make changes to seem inclusive, they often don’t go far enough and it can cause harm. Online dating sites and apps can be an example of this.

I’ve been out as trans for 6 years, and in that time, I’ve tried numerous dating sites, each one more frustrating than the last. Signing up on Match, for instance, opens with the form, “I am a: ___ seeking  a ___,”  with only “man”  or “woman”  as options. Not only are non-binary individuals (those who do not identify strictly as a man or as a woman, but rather something in between or entirely separate) not included, but one doesn’t even have to option to search for both men and women. Nevermind being transgender, Match doesn’t even recognize that people can be bisexual.

Unfortunately, this is a trend that goes far beyond just the oldest of the sites. OKCupid, one of the rising stars of the online dating world, manages an impressive attempt at inclusivity. They allow members to mark themselves as trans or cis (a term that simply meant “not trans” ), agender, nonbinary, pangender, gender nonconforming, and a myriad of other identities. Their list of sexualities is nearly as long, and both lists give you the option to select more than one; identities, after all, are fluid, and sometimes more than one label applies.

Even with these changes they still have problems. Despite the long list of genders available, for instance, nonbinary people are still forced to choose whether they show up in the algorithm as a man or a woman. Deciding whether they want to be included in searches for men or searches for women effectively upends the attempt at nonbinary inclusion. They even have pages which allow you to search for shemales as you can see here. PlentyOfFish has a similar search for shemales as well as seen here. These pages then show up in Google for terms like shemale singles and interested in shemales. This is where the hard can be done.

When inclusion fails, danger lurks. For cisgender people, a date gone bad usually means hiding in the bathroom or faking a family emergency, not a knife to the gut. For transgender people, the likelihood of death by dating is much lower. For example the stabbing of trans woman Tenia Williams after meeting a man on Plenty Of Fish.

I have had my own experiences. In 2015, I met with a man who I’d met online. He seemed nice, easy going, just the right level of nerdy. We’d been discussing Star Trek episodes and favorite superheroes for over two weeks, so when he asked me to meet him for dinner, I had no problems agreeing.
I showed up to the local pub wearing a green tie and my binder. I’d been open about being transgender; the site itself didn’t allow me to label myself but a woman or a man, so I’d chosen the former but noted my gender no less than three times in my profile. Yet when I returned from the bathrooms, my date was staring at me in confusion, and asked me if I’d gotten mixed up. I’d gone in the men’s bathroom. I reminded him that I’m trans. Told him that it had been written on my profile more than once. He’d only skimmed my profile, preferring to get to know people in chat. Disgusted, he left me with a few choice insults and a seventy dollar check I’d expected to be splitting. I got off easy. For many of my trans kin, the night ends so much worse, the price of putting themselves out there being charged in blood rather than money.

On trans forums and queer websites, the headlines scroll across weekly. Trans people are killed, beaten, drugged and raped by their dates. Dates that started with a giggle, a joke, and a swipe to the right on a website whose very language and algorithms breed discrimination. Trying to find love is hard enough, but trying to find love using non trans dating sites and apps that put a limit on a person’s identity can end up being deadly. Even within trans dating sites there are many bad apples. Many advertise with derogatory trans terms which appeal to chasers. There are very few that have trans safety in mind. Most are run purely as businesses with the intent of fleecing guys out of money with mostly fake profiles. TransgenderDate has more verified trans members than any other dating site. They do not allow the NSFW pics and overtones that plague so many other trans dating sites. No site can guarantee that chasers won’t join. TransgenderDate is heavily moderated to make sure that at the first sign of danger those members are banned. If you are trans and looking for real love give TransgenderDate a try.

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