Although the transgender community has made significant strides in terms of visibility and acceptance in recent years, one thing remains the same —we still get surprised once we hear they have a happy and fulfilling romantic relationship.
Isn’t love harder to find for transgender individuals?
That’s the main question we’re trying to focus on using the latest statistics and research regarding transgender individuals.
So, let’s explore the current trends of transgender dating in 2023, including the statistics on transgender individuals’ experiences with romance and the potential difficulties they may face.
- 87.5% of individuals prefer to choose non-transgender men or women as their potential romantic partners.
- Only 12% of people consider transgender individuals as their potential romantic or sexual partners.
- There are no significant gender differences in having a trans partner. However, hetero men are somewhat more willing to consider both trans women and trans men as their dating partners, while hetero women only consider trans men as their potential partners.
- The majority of gay men, lesbian, and queer individuals also prefer to date cisgender individuals.
- Older people with higher education who are less religious are more likely to date transgender individuals.
- Groups of people who are most likely to date trans men are heterosexual women and gay men.
- Groups of people who are most likely to date trans women are heterosexual men and lesbians.
- The main factors that determine the choice to date transgenders are cultural norms, personal beliefs, social norms, and dating history.
- The main reasons why love is harder to find for transgender people are prejudices and stereotypes, a limited dating pool, stigma and discrimination, difficulty disclosing their identities, fear of rejection, a lack of support systems, and limited access to resources.
Are transgenders often excluded from the world of dating?
If someone asked you to imagine a hypothetical situation where you could choose your potential partner based on your gender, you would choose:
- A cisgender man (cisgender refers to individuals whose gender is the same as their biological sex).
- A cisgender woman
- A transgender man
- A transgender woman
- A non-binary individual
If you’re like average cisgender individuals, chances are that you’d choose to date either a cisgender man or a cisgender woman. Why?
Because as many as 87.5% of people prefer to choose cisgender individuals as their potential partners and immediately exclude transgender and non-binary people from their dating lists when asked the same question.
Yes, believe it or not, a recent study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships aimed to identify what kind of individuals are willing to consider trans people as their potential dating partners.
They asked the participants the same question and investigated their decision-making process, only to conclude that people rarely want to date transgender people.
As a matter of fact, only 12% of the 958 research participants stated they would consider dating trans individuals. Keep in mind that most of them were cisgender, and their ages varied from 18 to 81.
Even though the participants could select as many genders as they wanted, they still preferred to choose traditional gender roles and exclude transgenders from their romantic relationships.
What does it mean?
It means that if we quantify the extent of discrimination against trans people in the dating world, we will get the number 87.5%, which is huge.
Still, no one can deny that the transgender community has long faced discrimination and stigma, and this is especially true when it comes to dating.
Many transgender individuals report feeling excluded from the world of dating, both online and offline.
This can be due to overt transphobia as well as more subtle forms of discrimination, such as not being seen as a “real” man or woman.
But are there any gender differences when it comes to having a trans partner? Or who are those 12% of people who are still willing to date transgenders? Let’s find out.
Gender differences towards having a trans partner
When it comes to having a trans partner, people often wonder whether there’s any gender difference in acceptance or rejection of them as hypothetical partners.
For example, classical psychoanalytic theories prove that men who reject individuals with non-traditional gender identities as their romantic or sexual partners might be latent gays themselves.
Yes, however surprising it might seem, anti-gay bullying and discrimination can be explained by the fact that homophobes might be hidden from homosexuals.
But what about transgender partners?
Since there are not many studies conducted in these fields, I decided to ask people around me the same question, and it turned out that men were more likely than women to be open to dating transgender individuals.
There are several potential reasons for this difference.
Maybe they are more open to dating trans individuals because they feel a greater societal pressure to be heterosexual and, therefore, may be more willing to consider a trans partner to conform to this norm.
Or maybe men are more interested in dating trans individuals because they are attracted to the perceived “exotic” or “edgy” nature of such a relationship.
However, based on the 2018 study I’ve referred to above, there are no significant gender differences in having a trans partner.
In particular, the majority of both men and women avoid dating transgender individuals, regardless of their gender. Nevertheless, there are some interesting differences.
It turns out that a minority of hetero men are willing to consider both trans women and trans men as dating partners.
On the other hand, the minority of hetero women only consider trans men as their potential partners and don’t even think about dating trans women.
When it comes to gay men, the percentage of trans men as their potential sexual or romantic partner significantly increases. Besides, lesbians are almost equally willing to date either trans men or trans women.
Not surprisingly, more than half of queer people said they would date both transgender and non-transgender people.
Source: Blair & Hoskin (2018)
Who is willing to date trans individuals?
As I pointed out, only 12% of the general population considers transgender individuals as their hypothetical romantic or sexual partners.
But who is this 12%? Are they males? Females? Heterosexuals? Homosexuals?
Are there any differences in the characteristics of people who are willing to date transgender individuals?
Well, it turns out that there are some noteworthy differences.
Even though people who reported that they would consider dating a transgender individual didn’t differ in race or ethnicity, there were some interesting differences in age, education, and religion.
In fact, the majority of people who reported willingness to date transgender individuals were older, had higher education, and were less religious. On the other hand, religious and less educated people were even less likely to consider trans individuals as their romantic partners.
One possible explanation is that older individuals, those with higher levels of education, and those who are less religious may be more open-minded and accepting of transgender individuals.
Considering that, based on studies, education increases acceptance of homosexuality, it’s not surprising that individuals with higher education are more likely to date transgenders as well.
Indeed, education can reduce prejudices against LGBT people, while religion might be promoting transphobic attitudes.
People who accepted transgender people as romantic partners have probably had more exposure to diverse communities and may be more familiar with gender identity issues.
They may be more comfortable with and accepting of a transgender partner.
On the other hand, younger individuals, who have lower levels of education and are more religious, may be less likely to consider transgender individuals as potential romantic partners.
They may be more traditional in their views and less comfortable with relationships that fall outside of traditional gender norms.
Who is more willing to date a trans man?
Now let’s focus on the differences between people who are likely to date trans men and trans women.
The researchers divided their responses into congruent, incongruent, and exclusionary answers:
- Congruent — the selection of trans men, trans women, or both was in line with their gender identities (e.g., hetero man’s willingness to date a trans woman).
- Incongruent — the selection wasn’t in line with their gender identities (e.g., a hetero man choosing to date a trans man).
- Exclusionary — not indicating a willingness to date any type of trans individual.
Source: Blair & Hoskin (2018)
It turns out that heterosexual women and gay men are the most likely to date transgender men.
Besides, a few heterosexual men reported that they would date trans men. This might be explained by the “latent homosexuality” fact that I mentioned above. Surprisingly, some lesbians also stated willingness to date trans men.
In particular, 50% of trans-inclusive heterosexual men and 69% of lesbian women expressed willingness to date a trans man, even though they should be attracted to women.
Who is more willing to date a trans woman?
When it comes to the characteristics of people who are willing to date a trans woman, the results are somewhat the same as with trans men.
Particularly, heterosexual men and lesbian women are the most likely to date trans women. The reason is that they generally consider women as their primary love and sexual interests.
However, a small number of heterosexual women and gay men also reported the likelihood of considering dating a trans woman.
To be more precise, 50% of trans-inclusive straight women who were open to dating a trans person were willing to date 28% of trans-inclusive gay men who considered trans women as their potential partners.
4 factors that affect the choice to date transgenders
After learning that as many as 87.5% of people simply excluded transgender people from their potential dating partners, you’re probably wondering why they did so.
What can affect the choice to choose trans people as romantic or sexual partners?
By understanding the 4 possible factors, we can gain insight into the complex and nuanced ways in which people make decisions about relationships and love.
1) Cultural norms
You won’t be surprised if I told you that culture is the most important factor that can affect the choice to date, transgender people.
Because some cultures may be more accepting of trans individuals and relationships with trans people, while others may be less accepting.
In most collectivist countries, cultural norms simply leave transgender people out of all types of romantic relationships in mainstream society.
Not surprisingly, not conforming to traditional cultural norms and being willing to go against the traditions of your own culture is associated with disadvantages such as being excluded from the community or being recognized as a non-conformist.
Since belonging to a group is a basic human need, no one wants to be excluded. That’s how cultural norms make people refuse to date transgender people.
They might not even recognize it but cultural norms can shape an individual’s personal beliefs and attitudes towards trans people, which can in turn influence their decision to date trans individuals.
Considering this, people’s experiences and feelings about dating trans individuals will be shaped by their unique cultural backgrounds and personal beliefs.
2) Personal beliefs
Individuals’ beliefs about gender, sexuality, and relationships can also influence their willingness to date a transgender person.
Someone who has strong beliefs about traditional gender roles or who is opposed to non-traditional relationships may be less likely to consider dating a transgender individual.
Let’s discuss a hypothetical scenario to understand how personal beliefs can affect the choice to date a transgender.
Imagine that Sarah is a cisgender woman who has always been attracted to and dated cisgender men. She has never really considered dating a transgender person before, but she meets a transgender man named Jake at a party and is immediately drawn to him.
Sarah is attracted to Jake and finds him to be intelligent, kind, and interesting, but she is unsure if she is ready to date a transgender person.
Sarah has always held the belief that a person’s gender should match the sex they were assigned at birth, and she is not sure if she is comfortable dating someone who is transgender.
She is worried about how a relationship with a transgender person might be perceived by others and is concerned about potential challenges and issues that may come up.
Despite her initial attraction to Jake, Sarah ultimately decides that she is not ready to date a transgender person and ends things before they can get serious.
That’s exactly how people refuse to date transgender individuals because of their personal beliefs and values.
3) Social norms
Not only cultural norms, but also social norms, can influence how willing people are to date transgender people. The reason is that social norms influence how people think and act in regard to relationships and personal values.
In simple words, a social norm is a behavior that is considered acceptable or expected within a particular society or group.
Social norms are the unwritten rules that govern the way people behave in certain situations and help to maintain order and predictability in society. According to research, social norms often determine our behavior.
What if you violate those social norms?
Well, violating social norms can often lead to social disapproval or even consequences, as people rely on these norms to understand how to behave and what to expect from others.
That’s why people prefer to conform to society instead of following their desires and dating transgender people, even if they are really attracted to them.
Considering this, it’s not surprising that they chose to exclude transgenders from their pool of potential romantic or sexual partners.
4) Dating history
Have you ever noticed how much your past relationships affect your current love life?
Perhaps not surprisingly, our past relationships can shape our future relationships. Let me explain how this works.
Experiences in past relationships can help us learn about ourselves, our values, and what we want in a partner. They can also reveal patterns of behavior that we may want to change or avoid in the future.
Past relationships can also impact how we approach trust and vulnerability in future relationships and can shape our expectations for future ones.
It is important to be aware of how our past relationships can influence our future ones and to take the time to reflect on our experiences and how they may be affecting our current and future relationships.
So guess what?
An individual’s past dating experiences can also influence their willingness to date a transgender person.
Someone who has had positive experiences with transgender individuals in the past may be more open to dating a transgender person again, while someone who has had negative experiences may be less likely to do so.
Someone’s past experiences with dating can also impact their comfort level when it comes to dating someone who is transgender.
If someone has never dated a transgender person before, they may feel uncertain about how to navigate the relationship.
On the other hand, if someone has had positive experiences with transgender individuals in the past, they may feel more confident and comfortable dating a transgender person.
7 reasons why love is harder to find for trans people
As you can see, finding love is harder for transgender people compared to cisgender individuals.
Of course, I’m not saying that non-transgender individuals can find love easily. No, finding love can be a challenge for anyone.
But for transgender individuals, the search for a loving and accepting partner can be especially difficult.
Here are 7 reasons why love may be harder to find for trans people.
1) Prejudices and stereotypes
Let’s start with the most obvious reason why transgender individuals struggle more to find love.
Well, it’s nothing new that transgender individuals often face discrimination and prejudice in many areas of life, including in the dating world.
For example, they may be rejected by potential partners based on misinformation or negative beliefs about trans people.
Some common ones include the belief that trans people are “confused” about their gender identity, that they are mentally ill, or that they are trying to “trick” others by presenting as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth.
Other prejudices and stereotypes include the belief that trans people are sexually promiscuous or perverted, or that they are not as “real” or “valid” as cisgender people.
These prejudices and stereotypes are often based on misinformation and a lack of understanding of the lived experiences of trans people.
Sadly, they can have serious consequences for trans individuals, including discrimination, exclusion, and violence.
This can make it harder for trans individuals to find someone who is open-minded and accepting of their identity.
Additionally, trans individuals may also face pressure to conform to certain gender roles and expectations, which can further complicate their search for love.
This can make it harder for them to find people who are open and accepting of their identity.
2) Limited dating pool
One more important reason why trans people can’t find love easily is that they have fewer opportunities to meet potential partners.
As a matter of fact, the transgender community is a small minority, which can make it difficult for trans people to find potential partners within their own community.
And you know what?
A limited dating pool can have a number of impacts on trans romantic relationships.
For one, it can make it harder for trans individuals to find someone with whom to form a connection in the first place.
This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, as they may feel like they have few options for finding a partner who understands and accepts their identity.
A limited dating pool can also lead to trans individuals settling for partners who are not fully accepting or supportive of their identity, which can create tension and difficulties in the relationship.
But also, difficulty finding love for trans people can be caused by the lack of safe and inclusive spaces for trans individuals to socialize and meet others.
Many trans people may also feel uncomfortable or unsafe in certain social settings, such as bars or clubs, due to the risk of discrimination or harassment.
Additionally, the availability of potential partners who are open and accepting of trans identities may be limited, particularly in areas where there is less acceptance and understanding of trans people.
All of these factors can make it harder for trans individuals to find a romantic partner.
3) Discrimination and stigma in society
Choosing to date a person who’s been excluded from mainstream society isn’t easy. This means that you would have to handle the pressure from your peers and be ready to save your relationships on most occasions.
For example, you may face backlash or criticism from friends or family members for choosing to date a trans person.
As a couple, you may also encounter societal stigma and discrimination, which can be difficult to navigate and manage.
These challenges can make it difficult for trans people to find partners who are willing to take on these additional responsibilities and support them in their journey.
Many people may also be misinformed or lack understanding about trans identities, which can make it harder for trans people to find partners who are knowledgeable and accepting of their identities.
This lack of understanding can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts within the relationship, as well as negative societal attitudes toward the relationship.
It can also create additional barriers for trans individuals seeking to form relationships, as they may encounter partners who are not fully informed or accepting of their identity.
4) Difficulty to disclose their identity
Based on the official statistics of the Pew Research Center, 1.6% of U.S. adults are transgender or nonbinary. However, chances are that this number is much higher. Why?
Because trans people often find it hard to disclose their identities and admit that their gender is different from their biological sex.
Disclosing one’s identity as a trans person can be a difficult and potentially risky decision, especially in situations where there may be a lack of acceptance or understanding.
This can be especially true when it comes to dating and forming romantic relationships.
Trans individuals may worry about being rejected or discriminated against if they disclose their identity to a potential partner, which can make it harder for them to find someone to connect with.
This fear of rejection or discrimination may also prevent trans individuals from being fully open and authentic with their partners, which can create tension and difficulties in the relationship.
5) Fear of rejection
Speaking of the fear of rejection, it can be a major barrier for transgender individuals who are looking for love.
The fear of being rejected by a potential partner because of their identity can be intimidating and may prevent some trans people from putting themselves out there.
The fear of being rejected by a potential partner can be especially acute for trans individuals, who may have already faced rejection and discrimination in other areas of their lives due to their gender identity.
This fear can be a powerful deterrent to forming relationships, as trans individuals may worry that they will be rejected or not accepted by a potential partner.
Therefore, it can prevent trans individuals from being fully open and authentic in their relationships, as they may be concerned about how their identity will be received.
6) Lack of support network
When it comes to the maintenance of relationships, support from family and friends means a lot.
On the other hand, a lack of support can be a significant factor that makes it harder for trans people to find love.
When trans individuals do not have a strong support network, they may feel isolated and alone, which can make it harder for them to find and connect with potential partners.
A supportive network of friends, family, and community members can provide emotional and practical support, as well as connections and opportunities to meet potential partners.
Without this support, trans individuals may have a harder time finding and maintaining romantic relationships.
The reason is that a supportive network can provide a sense of acceptance and belonging, which can be essential for the well-being and happiness of trans individuals.
7) Limited access to resources
Before I introduce the final reason why trans individuals find it hard to start romantic relationships, let me ask you a question.
What’s the easiest way to find a romantic partner these days?
If you’re like most people, chances are that you’ve used dating apps such as Tinder or Bumble at least once.
Based on Cloudward’s data, 19% of US adults who use the internet were currently using an online dating app, while 27% of participants have used an online dating app at least once in the past.
Dating apps have become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly among younger people, as they provide a convenient and easy way to connect with potential partners.
They can be particularly useful for individuals who may not have many opportunities to meet potential partners through other means, such as through work or social events.
What about transgender individuals?
Well, transgender individuals may have limited access to resources and support when it comes to dating, such as LGBTQ-friendly dating apps or support groups.
This can make it harder for them to connect with potential partners.
For example, trans individuals may face rejection or discrimination when using these apps, as some users may not be open to or accepting of trans identities.
What’s more, trans individuals may also face difficulties in representing their identity accurately and authentically on these platforms, as they may not have the option to select the gender identity that aligns with their own.
These challenges can make it harder for trans people to find and connect with potential partners through dating apps.
To sum up, the transgender dating statistics of 2023 suggest that love is actually harder to find for transgender individuals compared to cisgender people.
The reason is that the great majority (87.5%) of the general population prefers dating non-transgender individuals rather than trans men or women.
The willingness of only 12% of straight individuals to date trans people makes it hard for them to find love and build satisfying and long-lasting romantic or sexual relationships.
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