An information resource for and about
trans* people in the Province of Alberta


Trans-attracted people are sometimes treated as controversial in the transgender community, since some of the earliest admirers to openly search for partners haven't exactly been very respectful or understanding. And to be honest, nobody likes to feel like they're being "fetishized." However, trans* attraction is a legitimate form of sexual attraction, and hopefully as awareness of this increases and there is more formation of understanding of and community for trans* admirers, this may change.

If wishing to interact in the trans* community, admirers should:

The key is respect (which to be fair, goes both ways, and isn't always easy for a trans* person to do if they've had bad experiences).

Renee Reyes has some excellent advice for dating trans* women, as does TSGirlfriend. These sites use the term "shemale," which most people consider to be perjorative, because it's an invention of the porn industry, and carries several offensive assumptions -- if you're uncertain about terminology, ask your date what she is comfortable with.

Admirers of transmen do exist, but there are fewer resources for them.

Trans* admirers are often confronted with their own sense of homophobia with regards to themselves, either afraid of possibly being gay / lesbian, or ashamed of being somewhat transgressive. Ultimately, the straight / gay language fails, because in the real world, people can be attracted to femininity as wel as a penis, or to masculinity as well as a vagina, even if not typically bisexual.

Much of the fear of being "gay" or having a different sexual orientatiobn is driven by a social construct.  The best approach is to listen to what your heart tells you, even if there isn't a perfect language for it.  The heart is usually pretty honest.  Hopefully, though, regardless of one's sexual orientation, one will still also learn to respect those who are differently attracted.

Unlike what is depicted in porn, transwomen are usually not "sex machines." Hormone-replacement therapy usually significantly reduces the libido and physical capabilities, as well as affecting changes in behavioural experience. An admirer should never assume that a transwoman is just looking for a sexual experience -- most transwomen are looking for more relationship than that, and are not interested in being treated like a sex toy. If you're mostly looking to experiment, it's usually better to stick to escorts. Be honest.

Trans* people sometimes experience discomfort with their body. Never assume, and communicate clearly.

Cardinal Rules of Dating

  1. A trans* person needs to be treated with respect.  This includes respecting them as the gender to which they identify, and maintaining the correct pronouns.  If you can't respect that, that's almost always a deal-breaker.
  2. Don’t make assumptions about them sexually or in terms of lifestyle and future plans.  Be clear about what you’re looking for, and if they're looking for something very different, trying to press forward into a relationship is going to make one or both of you very unhappy.
  3. Trans* people usually want the same things that cis* (non-trans*) people want – things like longer-term relationships, kindness, manners, courtesy, good humour, interesting conversation and similar interests.
  4. Trans* people sometimes live in “stealth,” meaning that they don’t really want the world to know that they’re trans*.  They are usually sensitive about having anything “out” them publicly (including loud conversation in public places), and would also rather be asked before you tell your friends.

The Internet is still the most common place to make contact, because trans* people tend to blend in and try to be relatively unrecognizable in everyday life. Approaching someone out of the blue and asking if they're trans can be a horrifying experience for them, for this reason.

It's considered impolite to ask someone if they've had surgery. If sex is a possibility, then it becomes relevant, but that is usually best left to them to tell you, when they're ready.

Trans-Attracted People
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