I'm Transgender And Single, And Odds Are I'm Going To Die That Way

I am not a curiosity to be experienced, nor someone to be pitied.
05/09/2017 03:58 pm ET Updated May 10, 2017
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Even before I was transgender, I was incompetent in the dating department. I can’t even say I was bad at being on a date, as that would imply I had actual dates. Whereas the normal man – because that’s what I was in the dating world – will have six sexual partners in a lifetime, says one UK study, I’ve had just three. I’ve had four serious relationships, half of what would be expected, according to the same study. I didn’t get married until I was 38, putting me in the bottom third age-wise of when people typically do so.

I’ve always felt a little odd, but after considering all of that, I’m not sure why. The odds certainly aren’t with me.

Maybe that’s why I gave up on the idea of ever dating again; it’s just easier. Sort of like knowing I’ll never own a Ferrari or have Angelina Jolie slip me her phone number. Some people call that negative. I call it being realistic.

Does this mean I want to spend the rest of my life single? No. Am I looking forward to sleeping solo in my king-sized bed for eternity? Absolutely not. Do I want to still pay for two passengers when I’m the only one in my cabin on a cruise ship? An emphatic no; I can still only eat for one at the buffet. (Although I do try to make up for it.)

The fact that love is involved doesn’t change anything. In fact it makes it worse – because I do want to care about someone, and have them care about me, too. I want what everybody else wants and what so many people have. Love is special, and perhaps Emily Dickinson put it best: “Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.”

(Of course, most of her friends and family passed away before her and she died pretty much alone. Maybe this is why I just keep it simple and listen to Michael Bolton: “Love is a wonderful thing” – and I leave it at that.)

What I don’t want, however, is someone to think I’m wonderful just because I’m transgender – or in spite of it. Being transgender is only one facet of my life. I was a father and a scholar before I decided to transition, and if you ask me to define myself, those two items still come first. I am not a curiosity to be experienced, nor someone to be pitied. There are so many reasons why relationships with transgender people end up on people’s bucket list – and I don’t want to be part of any of them.

Which is convenient, as most people don’t want any part of me.

This might sound brutal, but it’s true. Although there don’t seem to be any statistics for how many people as a whole are willing to date transgender people, less than one half of LGBTQ people say they would be willing to do so. I can’t imagine non-LGBTQ people feel any differently – and that’s being charitable.

People don’t want to hear that, however. “I’m sure there’s someone out there for you,” they say. “You never know,” they say. Well, no I don’t – but I can figure it out. And I have. (Well, two young friends of mine have. Student-scholars at Purdue and Stanford, after many years of not ratting them out to their parents when I was their babysitter, they’re finally paying me back.)

The reality is this:

  • 37 percent of LGBTQ couples in my home state of Oregon are married.
  • My odds of getting married again at age 50 are 63 percent.
  • 13.2 percent of the American population is women age 44 - 64.
  • Most people likely have to date four people seriously before marriage.
  • Less than half of LGBTQ people are willing to date transgender people.

Given all of that, my odds of finding a life-long relationship are .4 percent, roughly one in 250. Or, to put it another way: According to Forbes magazine, the average person has a better chance of marrying a millionaire (1 in 215) than I have of marrying anyone. I don’t see anyone I know hanging their hopes for happiness for a bed partner on meeting a benefactor.

To quote Bill Murray, We are who we are, “and that’s the fact, Jack” – or in this case Jane.

And yet.

Things happen all the time that defy the odds; I was once hit by a bus moving at 20 miles per hour. I should be dead and I’m still here. Returning to Forbes, it seems each person has a 1 in 220 chance of writing a bestseller, and I’ve actually done that. Perhaps happiness with someone is possible, too. For, as another wise – and “Dumber” – man once said: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance.”

That’s is why I plunked down $238 last year to join Match.com – and why I’m going out to dinner with someone Saturday night. No, Match.com didn’t pay me to write that. (Though I’d be happy to let them.)

It would seem no matter how odd things might be, they don’t have to mean an end.

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