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Auntie SparkNotes: Do I Like My Trans Crush for the Wrong Reasons?

Auntie SparkNotes: Do I Like My Trans Crush for the Wrong Reasons?

Kat Rosenfield

Dear Auntie,

Not to sound like a total cliché or anything, but I'm having a boy problem. This might not sound unusual, but I'm not the kind of girl who usually has "boy problems," because I like girls. Or at least, that's what I thought until recently.

You see, there's this guy I met recently who we'll call M. I've started getting to know him lately and I kinda have a huge crush on him. He's smart, funny, and one of the nicest people I've ever met. I don't know if he likes me or not, but I'm not really sure if I should pursue him in the first place. M is a trans guy, but his parents aren't accepting of him and so he's not allowed to look as masculine as he'd like to. Still, I know that he's a boy on the inside, and that's what makes this whole situation so confusing. Under normal circumstances, I'm only attracted to girls. And although I know that M isn't a girl, he still looks like one, and I'm worried that might have something to do with why I'm so attracted to him. Would I still be willing to date him if he was cis, or if he passed as a male? I've been asking myself this question for a while now, but I honestly don't know.

I try to think of him as just a regular guy, but I'm worried that the real reason I'm attracted to him is because (subconsciously) I still sort of see him as a girl. God, I can't help it. My feelings for him are real, but I'm confused about where they're coming from. I want to be with him, but I'm scared that it's for the wrong reasons. What should I do?

For starters? You should turn off your brain for a solid hour and go eat a sandwich or pet some dogs or something — because if one thing is clear from your letter, it's that you've already spent way too much time dwelling on this situation without accomplishing anything but to make yourself more confused. There's a point at which parsing your feelings stops revealing new information and starts being circular and unproductive, and darling, you are there. It's time to take a deep breath and a few steps back, okay?

And here is the reason why: the questions you're tormenting yourself with are not only unanswerable, but irrelevant. Would you still feel the same about M if he were cis, or passed as such? Who knows, and more importantly, who cares? You might as well ask yourself how you'd feel if he were an amputee or an alien or had a full-scale tattoo of Donald Trump's face on his butt. These things might affect your feelings, sure, but they'd also make M a fundamentally different person from the one he is now. It's how you feel about the person M is that matters — and right now, that's a person who identifies as male but who also registers visually and chemically (i.e. to your pheromone-sniffing lizard brain) as female.

So if M is attractive to you — if you're into him for both who he is as well as for the body he has — then good. What more could either of you ask for? Being accepted and loved without caveats is what good relationships are founded on, sexual orientation and gender identity nonwithstanding. We should all be so lucky. And as far as reasons for liking or pursuing someone, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better one than "I think you're wonderful just as you are." There's just no need to overthink it.

Of course, if you do end up dating M, you will obviously be taking a chance on him eventually transitioning — which may or may not happen, and may or may not be something your relationship can weather if it does. But if the worst came to pass, and your attraction to M waned as he began to look more masculine, that still wouldn't mean you were wrong to like or date him in the first place. Not everyone can take in stride a major transformation which permanently and significantly alters their partner's appearance (which is something couples can struggle with even in cases where there's no gender transition involved), and that's okay. Breakups happen for all kinds of reasons, including this one; it doesn't mean the relationship in question was a waste of time. And in any event, we're still talking about a far-off hypothetical scenario that might never come to pass - or if it does, might happen long after your relationship has ended for totally different reasons.

Which is why, assuming you're still interested in this guy, you should go ahead and ask him out (or at least crank up the flirting and see what kind of returns you get.) Your chances are as good as anyone's of having a successful romance that's enjoyable for as long as it lasts — which, as with any relationship, could be for a long time or a short time or somewhere in between. And as long as you're honest, kind, and conscientious about keeping the lines of communication open, no matter what happens, you can be confident that you're doing things right. Let us know how it goes!

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Topics: Life, Advice
Tags: auntie sparknotes, dating, crushes, advice, gender, trans guys

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About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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