Tell Me About It

How do I find love as a transgender individual in Ireland?

Tell Me About It: Being open about who and what I am in relationships past has been met with shaming and tears

PROBLEM: I am tall, and in countries where compliments are given freely, told I’m attractive. How, though, do I find love as a transgender individual in Ireland?

I’ve been told I could try just not being transgender, and I have tried, for very many years, ever since I was a child, but I’ve had all of the closet that I can stand.

Being open about who and what I am in relationships past has been met with shaming and tears.

The thought of pretending to be someone other than who I am in a relationship is unthinkable to me. I can’t imagine the thought of braving the world every day, only to return home to what should be my sanctuary and play another role.

Where and when would I ever get to be me? (“Nowhere and never,” I can hear them shout!). I feel as though I have a lot to offer in a relationship. I’m very kind, patient and romantic. I’d love some tips on how to find someone with whom I’d click completely.

I am lonely.

ADVICE: Finding love is a worthwhile search but I wonder if we spend too long trying to fit ourselves into what we think other people want. You say you are attractive, kind and patient and these qualities rank amongst the top most desirable traits in a partner so this makes you a desirable catch. The difficulty is that you have suffered years of non-acceptance and shame and the result has been to retreat and hide who you really are. The world we now live in claims to be diverse, open and accepting but, of course, this type of cultural change takes generations, and in the meantime, individuals continue to take the brunt of prejudice and ignorance.

Young people tend not to assume someone’s gender or sexuality but coming out as trans still requires courage and a sense of self that can take years to build. The demand to be fully accepted is not only a civil right but, in a relationship, it is at the very core of creating enduring love. Your thought of pretending to be someone other than who you are in order to find love is doomed to fail, for you at least, as you would subvert your very soul, and this would become insufferable after a time.

It is difficult to find the kind of person you might like to love as we put people into categories and these close off so much potential possibilities. The online world can offer you a huge range of partners, but it too tends to categorise people very quickly and you might find you are rejected if you are upfront about your gender and sexuality. The better option might be to choose meet-up groups or clubs (LGBTQ+, general, and trans) where you already share an interest with the participants and in this way attraction can grow naturally. Of course, this option takes effort, time and optimism and if you are feeling vulnerable to rejection, this might feel daunting.

For many trans people, loving your body and feeling it to be attractive and worthy of adoration can be a tough aim

Still, the very fact t you are willing to take the risk and meet interesting people will build your self-esteem and this is the main building block of attractiveness. When you find someone worthy of your love, and I’m assuming they will be kind, energetic and open, then this is when you should take the big step of reaching out to them. In order to get to this stage, you may have to investigate any poor relationship decisions you have made in the past so that you do not repeat patterns but rather choose someone really worth your time and attention.

For many trans people, loving your body and feeling it to be attractive and worthy of adoration can be a tough aim. Not feeling in the right body can mean that sex and pleasure are put off for many years while awaiting hormone treatment or/and surgery.

When this finally happens (it tends to be a very long road), it can take time to change the long-held negative attitude to one where your body is a beautiful thing deserving of attention and delight. It is never too late, or too early, to develop a caring and appreciative attitude to your own body, so start now and treat it to all kinds of joy: from wearing beautiful materials to spa treatments and massage. It will allow your body to trust that you will do your best for it and in turn it will guide you in the right direction in terms of a physical and emotional connection with someone you admire.

You deserve the absolute best in your life, so do not settle for anything less. Enduring love begins with you connecting with someone you find commendable and interesting, so focus on putting yourself in their way and let the rest unfold.