It almost feels unnatural to discuss girls like us when it comes to falling or being in love or simply when it comes to any type of romantic intimacy. Janet Mock, Aaryn M. Lang, Precious Davis and Carmen Carrera all trans women of color who have found love and found love with men of color. Two of them married and a third, on her way to marriage within the next several months. These women disprove the theory that girls like us simply never find love. But what is it that sets these women apart from the rest of their sisters?
The romantic in me wants to believe there is still salvageable hope for trans women even in a world that seems so difficult for cis women as far as love. Many don’t know the identities of transgender women beyond the exploited images of pornography, or beyond the business transactions of risky sex work in motel rooms, dark alley ways or vacant street corners. While I’ve never been one of these girls my broken heart can relate is some ways. Imagining for a number of these girls this is the closest she feels she can get to a man (or partner) for a limited time she can feel wanted and seen and in addition do something to financially aids her survival as a marginalized woman. And when trans women are usually granted attention or validation it’s usually the white women, this comes as no surprise.
It does something to a woman’s dignity and soul when a new “scandal” about an A list celebrity breaks that he has been with a woman like you. It’s rather confusing how media pretends to care and hear our stories and uplift us while simultaneously shaming the men who are attracted to us and defining our interactions as “scandals”. I recognize even within my own life showing attraction or affection for the men who have my interest has also often turned into a scandal and a part of some dramatic scene. My affection for another is rarely seen as normal and received as such. This rejection and “sub class treatment” is most harmful to our own minds and self-esteem. It further eases women like me into this spiral of oppression and believing we indeed do deserve less or are foolish to aspire to more. It encourages girls like us to believe sex work is the only way to financial stability and the only way to get close to the men we desire.
Often I feel like something other than human, a bionic being like Christina Aguilera’s album. I like the idea of this bionic woman who is unscathed and untarnished. It’s easier to think of myself as something other than human because it’s often the way I’m treated. I’ve spent many of days wishing I had the anatomically incorrect genitalia of Barbie. In some regards I can release myself from the sexual admiration associated with the bodies of trans women and in other ways validates my desire to be this human hanger of couture gowns and sky high shoes.
If you have a penis or have ever in your life had a penis you are a man no more no less, this is what society tries to instill in us. But I don’t want to be bound by foolish conclusions of who I am based off of what you assume my boy to be. This is why I wish I a flat front like Barbie, to mind fuck the people around me and make myself exempt of their ridicule. I wish there was a way for me to convey the toll it takes on a woman to constantly be referred to as a man or a tranny or science project, to be clocked as a sex worker, to be rejected and denied affection from not only romantic interests but also family, to know that girls like her have suffered violence and even death because of their shared identity, to have her transition become the most important piece of her identity and for her life to forever be a teaching moment for the entire world. I just want to find love and one day be in love.
The thing about Janet, Aaryn, Precious and Carmen is these women are conventionally pretty, heteronormative trans women (Which being attracted to a trans woman simply because she is beautiful and or cis looking the same as being attracted to a person’s privilege, but that’s a story for another time) who represent a tiny fraction of trans girls who lucked out in finding love, not because they are trans but rather because love and companionship is something most of us as humans seek and rarely are lucky enough to find cis or trans. Then you throw in a trans identity and then you are battling education, and your partners personal security or insecurity with visibly loving you.
I am often commended for my resilience, but the question is what is my alternative? Unfortunately I am human and so I will never truly escape the feeling of wanting companionship, but after some time I have grown used to leaving people behind and moving forward gracefully. Leaving myself to silently ask: “Where do the good boys go to hide away” but I can’t help but to feel they are all the same, or maybe those good boys weren’t meant to happen for girls like me.
“Boys seem to like the girls who laugh at anything , the ones who get undressed before the second date, girls seem to like the boys who don’t appreciate all the money and time that it takes to be as flyyyyyy as a mother, got my both eyes out for Mr. Right, guessing I just don’ t know where to find ‘em but I hope they all come out tonight. Where do the good boys go to hide away hide away I’m a good good girl who needs a little company looking high and low someone let me know” (Daya)