Rocko Gieselman looked like any other undergraduate at the University of Vermont but perhaps a little prettier, with pale freckles dancing across porcelain skin and bright blue eyes amplifying a broad smile. Black bra straps poked out from a faded black tank top emblazoned with the logo of the indie band Rubblebucket; a silver necklace with an anchor dangled over ample décolletage.
Gieselman, a 21-year-old senior majoring in gender studies, was chatting cheerfully from a futon, legs tucked sideways, knees forward. In the tidy, poster-filled apartment that Gieselman shares with a roommate near campus, we were discussing the dating landscape. Gieselman, who came out in seventh grade, blushed and smiled shyly: “My partner was born female, feels female. The partners I’m attracted to are usually feminine people.”