I went on a first date yesterday, and nothing happened. No, wait, that's wrong, I went on a first date yesterday, and what normally happens, didn't.
Let me elaborate.
I sleep with people on first dates. I've done it more times than I'd like to admit, and even though there is nothing inherently wrong with this, I still feel shame, and judgement about saying what I'm saying.
Let me elaborate some more.
As a woman, I know how society views us when we say we sleep with people early on in the relationship. As a trans woman, I know that view becomes worse, as it plays into the stereotype of trans women being predatory, promiscuous and easy. I know this because I am a trans woman, and have, at various stages in my life, been called all these things.
Of course these stereotypes are not limited to trans women, but rather all women who sleep with people on first dates. However, the level of judgement, and by association, the level of disgust from other people seems to become almost irrational in its strength of feeling when you put the word trans in front of the word woman.
These stereotypes, these preconceptions seep into our world, and become the first thoughts we have when we talk about these things. I have these thoughts,and that's where the shame and feeling of judgement comes from.
It gets more complicated as well.
As a trans woman, a large part of why I sleep with people early on is because I need to feel wanted, I need to feel attractive, I need to feel normal, because for me, most of the time those things are off limits, especially when it comes to dating.
I've lost count of the number of times I've told someone I'm transgender, only for them to turn round and say "I don't do trans".
I've lost count of the number of times people have said how striking I am, only to then immediately block me when I let them know about who I am.
Normal isn't something that comes easily when the rest of the world is telling you that you're anything but.
On the rare times people are okay then I sleep with them. I really go for it, jumping right in at the deep end, not caring that I can't actually swim yet. I think it'll be okay, that maybe this time, if I start to go under that the other person will help me, will save me.
Of course it doesn't work like that. I think that's a given really, as what really happens is I sleep with someone and they get scared off by my frantic intensity as I struggle to grab hold of them.
Or I sleep with someone, and they don't even try to be near enough to save me. They say I was an experiment, or that I'm not feminine enough, or that now they think about it maybe they "don't do trans."
I know what I have to do. I know that the real problem here is as much to do with me as them. I know that I can blame society, and that society is to blame. I also know though that society isn't going to change overnight, or potentially even in my lifetime.
I do know though that I can change. I know that, in actuality, if I learnt to swim, then maybe I could dive into whichever end of the pool I like, and it would be fine.
I know that if I learn to want myself, to see myself as beautiful, to accept that normal is relative, and from within, then maybe I can sleep with people whenever it feels right to.
I went on a first date yesterday, and nothing happened.
I think, for the first time, that I'm okay with that.