*Coming to terms with one’s sexuality is at times a long and exhausting process. It took me many years to completely accept myself, and try to venture into the dating world. Over time, I have ended up collecting stories and lessons learned from my dating life, which I will now be sharing every month for roughly the next year. All names will be changed to protect the privacy of everyone mentioned, as they deserve anonymity and respect- no matter how bad the stories may have ended. Instead of telling these stories in chronological order, I will be telling them by order of importance of their moral.*
Queer people have been hearing a few key phrases for decades now, that somehow still haven’t ceased to sound stereotypical and annoying every time they’re heard. These key phrases of course being “It’s just a phase.” “You don’t know what you are.” “You just haven’t found the right guy/girl, yet!” and “Oh, I could change your mind.” This is specifically going to be a reference to the last phrase, and the one time I never expected to hear it.
There is nothing that queer women, especially feminine queer women, hate hearing more than being told they’re not really gay or their minds can be changed based solely on the fact they’re perceived as conventionally attractive. As if somehow me wearing a skirt is an invitation for all the boys to try coming to the yard, when my milkshakes were not made for them. It’s frustrating as a woman in general to be constantly worn down by men who don’t know how to mind their business, eventually turning women into angry and guarded because we’re tired of being bothered and harassed when we just want to ride the bus or get something from the grocery store. Now, I’ve had too dang many conversations already with straight men who try to literally talk me into trying to be straight with them. At first, I would sarcastically give a comeback that would make them typically step back. Over time however, I got very sick of this treatment, and the last time I heard this nonsense I resisted a powerful urge to scream at the top of my lungs at him… However, this last case was a lot more confusing, since it was from someone in my own community.
On with the actual story, meet Eric. I met Eric on Tinder who at the time presented himself as “Erica”. We spoke briefly and somewhat flirty before I met Mx. Big, whom I eventually ended up in a relationship with and therefore cut off contact with anyone else I had been romantically talking to. Of these other people, included Eric. (As mentioned, these stories aren’t in chronological order. This is because a lot of the timelines of these stories intersect one another, and Eric is a good example of this.) After Big and I broke up and failed at trying to be friends, I returned to Tinder in hopes of trying to move on. This was when I resumed talking to “Erica” and we had set up a date to go to a dance club. I really wanted to go dancing, and felt like I had to prove to myself that I was still able to date and have a good time.
Of course, then I went to Mx. Big’s apartment to collect my things after we’d broken up. I went into more detail in my previous month’s article, but to quickly summarize: a lot of things happened that day unexpectedly that typically shouldn’t happen between ex’s. Big and I also hadn’t gotten back together though, and were in an odd relationship-limbo without knowing quite where to go next. I decided privately that since I was still single, I would still go on my date.
There were a few signs I should’ve accepted from the universe and possibly avoided this whole mess. First, he was incredibly reluctant to drive me to our agreed location for our date despite him asking me knowing I take the bus everywhere and the fact I was paying. Second, he decided thirty minutes before picking me up that he didn’t want to go to the dancing place anymore. Third, he was very late. Finally, seeing him in person after also doing the previous three things, I figured out very quickly “Erica” was not my type and that there definitely wouldn’t be a second date.
We ended up taking a walk and talking about our lives, and when he asked me what I was looking for, I was honest and told him that I didn’t want a relationship and honestly didn’t feel any kind of more-than-platonic connection with him. He agreed that he also didn’t feel a connection, and we agreed to talk as friends. Our friend-date was much more successful than the date-date. We had a decent amount of interests in common, and we were able to have conversations I don’t usually have with my other friends. Eventually, transgender people were mentioned in passing, and he made a point to cut me off.
“Oh! By the way, before I forget to tell you, I’m actually a FTM transguy. I prefer to go by Eric.”
Now, this was admittedly confusing for me since he’d presented himself for months on Tinder as a lesbian named Erica. So, I ask nicely,
“Okay cool, I’ll remember that. How long have you known?” I ask because I thought it must’ve been a recent revelation.
“Oh, I’ve known and been out for about a year now.”
Now, speaking as a lesbian who doesn’t seek out to date men, I was rather off put by this conversation happening this late in our “date”. I asked, genuinely curious why he put himself then as a butch lesbian with his birth name on his Tinder profile, to which he responds that it’s easier for him to meet queer women that way. Having had an admittedly complicated history of occasionally finding myself attached to people under the Trans umbrella, including Benjamin, Mx. Big, and a few others, I’d learned a few things about myself up to this point.
I’m a lesbian, and I’m just not attracted to men. Whether they be specifically cisgender men or transgender men is irrelevant, they’re men. I’m able to fall in love with Nonbinary and Genderfluid people. I am primarily attracted to women and I want to be with women. Now, I have no issues with Eric being a guy, but I have an issue with him waiting so long to bring it up since beforehand he’d tried to pursue me romantically without being completely honest with me. However, instead of voicing my concerns, I reminded myself that there may be extenuating circumstances and convinced myself to let it go.
Eric was a good friend to have. We were able to hang out a few more times, and enjoyed each other’s company. He helped me talk out some issues I’d had with Big until eventually Big and I went through a period of not talking, and I would help Eric with some of the girls he was seeing. He was also very supportive of me when I decided to stop dating for awhile and focus on myself instead. I felt relieved that for the first time in a long time, I was actually friends with a straight guy and that’s all he wanted from me. I also figured that it probably had something to do with him being a part of the LGBTQ+ community as well, so he got it. He understood being marginalized and stereotyped, and everything else that can come with not only other’s expectations of who we should be but also who we should be with. It was nice to just be friends.
Then, TG came back to town. TG will later get her own Queer Dating Story, but for now to give quick background: TG, or Tinder Girl, was a woman I went on one very epic date with after having my heart broken long before I met Eric or Big. Now, the reason TG and I didn’t go on a second date was because ten days after our first date she had went on a spiritual retreat in Colorado for a couple of months with no internet or cell service. So, TG finally contacted me when she got back to town, she reached out to me. She told me she’d be here for about a week before heading to another spiritual retreat in L.A. but wanted to see me while she was still in town. Despite still being on my dating hiatus, I agreed because I wanted to see her. Oddly the opposite of Eric, with TG it was supposed to be a friend-date but ended up a date-date. Anyway, the next morning TG and I decided to go to the Art Museum on a whim and I checked my phone with a few missed texts and calls from Eric.
I didn’t find this strange since up until then, we’d had consistent contact and I’d been very absent from my phone the day and night before. After letting him know I was fine, he’d asked if I was on a date. When I responded yes, but it wasn’t anything serious and I still didn’t have intentions of dating, he then sent me a text that ended up blowing up our dynamic.
“Any chance you’d let me take you on a date?”
I literally facepalmed after reading this text. It was as if he hadn’t read a single thing I’d said in my previous message. TG didn’t appreciate the sentiment either, since I was literally still with her physically at that time.
“But… you’re a dude. I’m a lesbian.” I explain calmly in return, hoping it’d be enough.
“Lol what? I mean technically I’m a female lol.” Was his response. There it was, in black and white. A straight man was trying to talk me into dating him, even after I’d said no. As if the fact that when he’d eventually successfully transition and appeared externally as every bit the man he is on the inside, and therefore I wouldn’t be attracted to him since I am attracted to women, was irrelevant. Heck, even if he never transitioned and remained at his same appearance, it wouldn’t change the fact that he is a man and I just don’t date men!
What specifically hurt and bothered me wasn’t just that he’d invalidated both of our identities, but that as my friend he made me feel like he was only my friend in the hopes that I’d changed my mind to date him. As if my companionship would only be valuable if there was a chance he could sleep with me. It wasn’t the same as “I could change your mind.”, but the sentiment was very much the same.
Later that night when I was alone again, I had a brief conversation with him where I let him down gently, to which he came across rather defensively, saying he wasn’t even interested in me it was just a passing idea and that I should get over myself, and then he stopped talking to me for three weeks. To a degree I felt bad for hurting his feelings, but at the same time I was still mad at him disrespecting mine and then being cold and borderline gaslighting me when I rejected his advances. He eventually reached out to me again and we talked one more time, where he said some things, (specifically fat-shaming things) that gave me a sure feeling that I just couldn’t be his friend anymore. So, I cut off contact and I haven’t looked back since.
The reason I’m writing about this is because there’s plenty of people who will tell queer people they need to change, even if those aren’t the words they use. They come from friends, family, and sometimes even other people in our own community. This kind of ignorance, no matter who it comes from, is wrong. As a queer man, it is okay if you aren’t attracted to women. As a queer woman, it is okay if you aren’t attracted to men. None of us owe anyone else anything, and never do. So, every time someone tries to “change your mind”, remind them that this isn’t a matter of changing anything because it isn’t something that can be changed. There’s also absolutely nothing wrong with that.