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T elling my mother at the age of 30 that I was a woman was the hardest thing I have ever done. Harder than living through a divorce as ; harder than being mugged for a Buffy VHS boxset outside Virgin Megastore in Bradford; harder than being a queer teenager in rural Yorkshire; harder than being a teacher in an Ofsted-failing school; harder than getting my first novel published; harder than being unceremoniously dumped by the love of my life.
Yes, even harder than telling Mum I was a gay man more than 10 years earlier. The ideal scenario would have been soft-focused. We are not that kind of family. We are northern. Coming out as a gay man was a slow process for me. It was cowardly, but I let her work it out for herself, gradually distancing myself until it was down to her to reel me back in. She wanted to know what our plans for the evening were.
Since that day, our relationship had been stronger than ever.
Fast-forwarding toit seemed sad that I would now jeopardise everything we had worked so hard for. Yes, we have our Ellens and Caitlyns and Eltons, but they all have their mothers and I have mine. As far as she was concerned, she had one son and one daughter. We talk about the weather and Strictly Come Dancing. Her face fell, presumably because she thought I had become HIV-positive. I began. My voice wobbled. With a world-weary sigh, Mum told me how she remembered the younger me pleading for dolls and dresses in the aisles of shops.
She had worried in silence, trying as best she could to shield such behaviour from my father. When we agreed I was gay, her queries had been resolved. I had thought so, too. Nevertheless, she wants me married off. My past boyfriends included Mikey, who gave me a panic attack while trying to be romantic; Owen, whose text messages I went through to discover he had cheated on me; Johnny, my very own Mr Big, who led me on a merry dance for the best part of five years; and Liam, who broke my heart.
My love life is something that continues to bewilder even my friends. L ast year, I embarked on a slightly sordid affair with a Premier League footballer. We met on Grindr — on which you can filter your searches to only trans women and their admirers — and hooked up a few times. He explained that he had first discovered his attraction to trans women through a fellow player, who regularly bought the services of a trans mistress to dominate him. They had once had a threesome, which he had found particularly arousing.
Unfortunately, his team-mate was territorial and told his friend to chip off and find his own. This man had specific fetishes. He had a thing for hair. Not my hair; his own. He wanted me to tie him to the bed and threaten to shave off his hair with a set of electric clippers. I obliged in this complex setup a couple of times he was really hotbefore realising this was a terrifying glimpse of my new sexual reality.
He offered to pay me to continue the arrangement, but I was done. When I made the decision to plough ahead with my transition, I did so fully aware that it might be the death blow to my love life. I wrongly thought that neither gay nor straight men would be interested in a trans woman. But I thought it would be better to be single for ever as Juno, than to be a gay man for a moment longer. Things started simply enough. Inhaving decided to start my medical transition, I moved back to Brighton after four years in London.
I had been back only a matter of weeks when I started talking to Toby online. He worked for a bank, liked rock music and tattoos, and was bisexual. Toby was lovely. There I was, thinking my love life was doomed, and along comes a new boyfriend. I was confused about what he would find attractive in me, though. When we first met, I was firmly in the androgyny camp, but changing quickly. We parted ways amicably.
He went off around the world to do some travelling and, for me, the real fun began. After the fling with Mr Footballer, I decided to Tinder. The joy of Tinder is that it pairs you with a suitor only if you are mutually interested, and I was clear in my profile about my trans status. I figured that if a Dawson women seeking dating was repulsed by my existence, he could simply swipe me left and into oblivion. There have been hundreds.
More than I would have dared to hope for. It turns out that a lot of men are, at the very least, curious about trans women. However, these men — almost all of them — have been less than gentlemanly in their communications. I went on a couple of dates with men whose only experiences of trans women was porn or sex workers. One guy, seemingly having his epiphany, pointed out that our date was nicer because I actually wanted to be there, showing a stunning insight into how sex work, well, works. I started a casual thing with a handsome, young PE teacher, but it quickly became depressingly predictable.
He would drive over, we would have a bottle of wine or dinner and we would get it on. Then he would freak out, grab his pants and sprint for the door. What was in it for me? I have a theory about fetishes. There is a total lack of interest in what pleasure I might get out of the arrangement. I think this is down to porn culture, a generation of young men who have always had access to high-quality streaming pornography, and never had access to decent sex education at school.
Teenage boys are learning that sex is, primarily, an activity in which they will gain pleasure and dominance, and that their female partners will be delighted to receive it. Unsurprisingly, most of the guys matching with me on Tinder are aged 18 to Older guys are, shall we say, less experimental. The most telling, and discouraging, part is that my new Tinder friends seem most to want a good rogering. I would argue that if they want a willy, they would be better off sleeping with a man.
It taps into some murky themes of fragile masculinity, homophobia and repressed desire. What woman has the time? I am not a fetish, I am not a prostitute, I am definitely not your mummy. I want the same things as everyone else: scintillating conversation; dinner dates; sex; someone to moan at about Southern Rail ; Netflix and chill ed wine. Casual sex for women, I would argue, is generally less casual than it is for men. Women like sex every bit as much as men. When two guys randomly hook up on Grindryou can get away with the most perfunctory, basic pre-sex prep: putting on a pair of pants to answer the door and checking your bits are passably clean.
No one is going to think any less of men for having hairy legs, bum, armpits or back. Many cis girlfriends assure me no man is going to walk away from sex because of slightly prickly legs or a mismatched bra and pants, but just having to think about these things is often enough to dissuade me from entering into a random hook-up. It is more about feeling desirable. If I feel desirable, it is intrinsically a turn-on. Now, I am on a mixture of oestrogen the same meds you might be taking for HRT and testosterone blockers actually a medication for prostate cancer.
Both interact to affect my sex drive. Libido in both men and women is partially driven by testosterone, and mine has recently taken a nosedive. It is just a less pressing desire. At the time of writing, I have just had Dawson women seeking dating wonderful first date with a hunky, tall Australian. Obviously, it is much too early to say if it will go anywhere, but he was another man who falls into the category of men who simply fancy who they fancy.
He thinks I am smoking hot he told me soso that is a promising start. As James, I had little interest in getting married. Now, though, as Juno — now that I can be a bride — I am quite into the idea. I want to wear a big dress, walk down the aisle and take those vows in front of my friends and family. If nothing else, I have had to suffer their weddings and I would like to reap my revenge. But I am in no rush. I once said that I would rather be single for ever than be in a bad relationship, and that still stands true.
Would coming out as transgender be the death blow to my love life? Juno Dawson. Fri 19 May Maybe we could get a drink. Reuse this content.Dawson women seeking dating
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