A new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that an overwhelming majority of folks would not date a transgender person, but wish to date a person of the sex and corresponding gender they are attracted to. When the study is broken down further, a near majority of those who claimed they would date a trans person did so in relation to their biological sexual orientation, not in line with the gender the trans person believes themselves to be.
In other words, people generally only wish to date people who belong to the sex they want to date. This was not only shocking to Them.us, a pro-LGBTQ blog, but was chalked up as “discrimination” driven from “transphobia.”
The study asked some 958 participants — 951 cisgender (people who identify as the sex and gender they biologically are) and seven transgender people ranging from 18-81 years old — which gender they would consider dating: cis male, cis female, trans male, trans female, and/or genderqueer.
In total, only 12% of those surveyed said they’d date a trans male or trans female. When looking at those who identified as straight, only 1.8% of the females and 3.3% of the males said they’d date a trans person. The numbers were also low for those who did not identify as straight: only 11.5% of the males and 29% of the females were “trans-inclusive” in their dating preferences.
A closer look at those numbers and you can see a larger divide by attraction based on sex, not the ambiguous, progressive definition of gender. Them.us (surprisingly) reports:
Surprisingly, among the 127 participants open to dating a trans person, almost half selected a trans person of a gender incongruent with their stated sexual orientation. For example, 50% of the trans-inclusive straight women and 28% of the trans-inclusive gay men were willing to date a trans woman, even though one wouldn’t expect either straight women or gay men to be attracted to women. Similarly, 50% of trans-inclusive straight men and 69% of trans-inclusive lesbians said they’d date a trans man, even though both groups are presumably only attracted to women. And 33% of the trans-inclusive bisexual/queer participants said they would only date a trans person of one gender but not the other, even though one may expect this group to be attracted to multiple genders.
Them.us claims the survey findings “are undoubtedly due in part to cisnormativity, cissexism, and transphobia — all of which lead to lack of knowledge about transgender people and their bodies, discomfort with these unknowns, and fear of being discriminated against by proxy of one’s romantic partner.” The site also noted “an interesting pattern of discrimination against trans women in particular.”
This is, in short, crazy talk.
It makes perfect sense that folks would overwhelmingly wish to date people belonging to the sex they wish to date. Further, the general aversion to dating trans folks doesn’t necessarily reveal “transphobia,” but affirms the reality that sex and gender cannot be totally separated. It’s natural for a person attracted to men, for example, to wish to date a biological male who also identifies as a male. Again, this should not be chalked up to a fear of trans people.
Even Them.us tepidly concedes some of this reality. “It is also possible that at least some of the trans exclusion is due to the fact that for some people, sexual orientation might be not (just) about a partner’s gender identity, but attraction to specific body types and/or judgment of reproductive capabilities,” says the site.