Transgender Date: A New Dating Site For Trans Folks




Transilient’s outreach coordinator, Sierra, recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Sky. He is an ally and started a dating site for transgender people and our allies. Read up and learn a little about Transgender Date!

Transilient: Tell us about the mission and vision of Transgender Date.

Jim: The site was started in 2007 with the goal of being a real dating site for transgender people to find love. During that time, pretty much the only sites out there were “NSFW” or “not safe for work” dating sites. These sites’ main intention was tricking guys into paying to meet trans women – in reality, these sites used fake profiles. Chasers were the intended target – that left nowhere for trans people to feel comfortable. Unfortunately, things aren't all that much different today. We are looking ultimately achieve one thing: to separate ourselves from the stigma that is attached to those trans dating sites. We want to be top of mind for all trans people who are looking to find love through online dating. We cannot keep chasers from joining, since we don't know who they are before signing up… but we do ban them as soon as they show themselves. We do not advertise in the places that most of the scam sites do. This is in an effort to attract as few chasers as possible. We don't allow nudity on the site. We send out welcome emails about respect and what to not do on the site. We don't use bots to send out fake messages. We have a concierge/moderator who answers questions that anyone may have in regards to proper standards.

Transilient: You spoke a little about the difficulty that trans people have when it comes to online dating. How could other online spaces (dating related or otherwise) be safer for trans and gender non-conforming people?

 

Jim: The biggest challenge will always be keeping trans members safe and feel comfortable. This usually means making sure you keep the chasers out who are only looking for trans members for sex to fulfill a fetish. The problem is there is no way to know who a chaser is until they show themselves. Dating sites and apps that are not worried about the safety of their members advertise on NSFW sites and use derogatory terms like tranny and shemale as that is what a lot of chasers search. We avoid advertising in any place that we think attract chasers. The major mainstream dating sites and apps have started trying to attract trans people by changing some of their policies. That being there are still many cases where trans members are discriminated against on those sites. We actually wrote an article about how these sites can do more harm than do by trying to be trans inclusive, which can be found here: https://transgenderdate.com/topics/dangers-for-transgenders-dating-sites/

Transilient: What has been the most rewarding part of creating and running this website? How has it grown and evolved over the years? How have you grown in relation to your work over the years?

 

Jim: The most rewarding part is every time we get a message or email from one of our members that tell us they have met the love of their life. We are actually happy when we lose members because they no longer need the site. The site went pretty much unchanged from 2007 until last year. Early last year it got a full makeover and it is bigger and better than ever now. There was some pushback when we made some features that were previously free VIP, but we did that to weed out the bad apples that weren't there to find love. That has proven to be a very good decision.

Transilient: What do you think are the biggest challenges when it comes to dating? Online dating? And then, same questions, but specifically for trans and gender non-conforming people?  

 

Jim: I am so far removed from the dating scene personally that I am not the best person to give a status of the current state of dating whether it be with cis people or trans people. I will give the challenges that trans people that we try to address when making the best site we can. Finding guys who are actually single and not "curious" or "experimenting". Way too many people, especially cis men, think having sex with a trans woman is easy because they were introduced to the concept of trans woman through porn. They are more interested in the fetish than the actual person. Those are the chasers that I mentioned before. Another problem is even if the people are generally interested in dating a trans person they may be afraid to be seen in public with them. This makes "traditional" dating very hard if someone is not willing to fully embrace being with a trans person. 






Jim Sky is a longtime web developer that noticed the need for a legitimate transgender dating site when one of his trans friends complained that there was nothing out there for people like her to find love. He decided to develop TransgenderDate to be a safe and enjoyable space to help transgender people find real relationships. Over the past decade he has continued to be a trans advocate by doing all he can to help the transgender community.

Chrystal: Ally + Transition Coach

By: Chrystal Bartlett

Today, Transgender Transition Coach works with youth and adults. In her free time, she enjoys reading, Scrabble and singing in a rock band.

Read More

Road Crew Highlight #4: Portland

Portland, Oregon

Highlights from our time in Portland, Oregon. We had an amazing BBQ get together where we interviewed and spent time with folks. We had some Voodoo Donuts and also visited Powells Bookstore (the worlds largest independent bookstore).

Bottineau, North Dakota

Bottineau, North Dakota

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed rang like a dense lucent gong

lids/stuck/together

for a moment I twirled on that bridge

between sinking reality and hallucination

 a flash where my brother wasn’t an addict/I knew how to ice skate /we read Langston Hughes on a lake/but the snowfall was drips of blood

we unfastened our jaws let it stroke our tongues

 I have opened my eyes again just like the first time

 

when

 

I was cut out of my mother’s womb umbilical cord necklace hung past my heart both poor and transgender

battered and hooked

 

a kindhearted existence,

covered me in a sweaty sheet of sorrow.

 

Wedged on the border

 

a Chinese restaurant that offers a “Sheriff’s Special”

 

if you light a match under a running water faucet you get a glass of fire

 

the only mechanic in town “misses the force”


population: 2,211

Like a rag past it’s time I absorbed:

This Week’s Pipe Bombs Show the Dangers of Political Incitement How the Media Normalizes Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric Trump Administration Erasing Transgender Identity

This hotel mattress is a tightrope hovering above fatality

and a made-up home, one hand holding firm my other calling you in; come celebrate with me!

day-to-day has tried to kill me and has miscarried.

*Hello Basil here. I am the founder and Executive Director of Transilient. We travel the country interviewing trans and non binary people about things outside of their physical and social transitions. Our car broke down in Bottineau, ND two days ago. This only happened a day or two after the Trump admin released the memo surrounding transgender identity. We’ve been stuck in the middle of nowhere waiting on a repair. I woke up from a nap and I don't usually write "political" poems because lives aren't really political. I hardly feel as though the President deserves to be mentioned in my work but I wrote this.

ALSO this is Bottineau :

Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 5.59.24 PM.png

Basil is a man of transgender experience, writer, photographer, intersectional activist and Southerner. He is the founder and Executive Director at Transilient. He has been published in numerous publications in print and online. He majored in Creative Writing at The New School with a concentration in poetry.

Road Crew Highlight #3: Seattle

Seattle, Washington

Enjoy our highlights from Seattle. All three of us finally came together; Basil, Beck, and James who make up the Transilient 2018 Tour road crew. We met for the first time in person and all instantly became close to one another. Some other random points; Seattle has some amazing Thai food. Capital hill is really cool, lots of cute shops and restaurants RAINBOWS EVERYWHERE.

Also, fall merch pre-order via Transfigureprintco is NOW AVALIABLE THROUGH HALLOWEEN. (10/31/18) If you order now, you’ll get $5 off the normal price. The pre-order link will is available below.

https://transfigureprintco.patternbyetsy.com/listing/636742110/transilient-merch-preorder

Road Crew Highlight #2: Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City, Utah

Highlights from our short stay in Salt Lake City. A very beautiful city surrounding tons of mountains. We had lots of good food; gluten-free tacos and stew and some pretty good Pizza! We also had a ton of great folks come out to be interviewed. There’s a lot of great work going on in Salt Lake City ya’ll!

Also, fall merch pre-order via Transfigureprintco is NOW AVALIABLE THROUGH HALLOWEEN. (10/31/18) If you order now, you’ll get $5 off the normal price. The pre-order link will is available below.

https://transfigureprintco.patternbyetsy.com/listing/636742110/transilient-merch-preorder

LGBTQ+ History Month Highlight: Susan Stryker

BECK BENNEDETTA


Image: Susan Stryker a white trans woman with long brown wavy hair and glasses speaking into a microphone and holding her finger in the air as she speaks to the audience.

Image: Susan Stryker a white trans woman with long brown wavy hair and glasses speaking into a microphone and holding her finger in the air as she speaks to the audience.

Susan Stryker is a professor of LGBT and gender studies, author, documentarian and historian whose book Transgender History has focused on preserving the legacies of transgender people in the so-called United States. The book opens with a history of Magnus Hirschfield, the infamous German sexologist and physician and one of the first people to study the experiences and medical needs of transgender people during the early 1900’s. However, during the Nazi occupation of WWII most of the groundbreaking studies of Hirschfield and his colleagues were burned in a massive book burning and erased from our history.

Susan Stryker’s work as a transgender historian is helping rebuild the wealth of knowledge of/from our trans ancestors. Her remarkable books and essays on our collective pasts are a brutal punch in the jaw to the nazis who couldn’t (and will never) erase us. By recording the legacy of transgender people in the United States and beyond, Susan Stryker further humanizes transgender experience, showing people that trans folks have always been here from times where we described by Hirschfield as transvestites, when folks referred to themselves as transsexuals and cross-dressers, to today where we now have a wealth of vocabulary to explain infinitely possible gendered and nongendered identities.

Image: Book cover of “Transgender History” by Susan Stryker. The cover is full of colorful illustrations of transgender people.

Image: Book cover of “Transgender History” by Susan Stryker. The cover is full of colorful illustrations of transgender people.

During this LGBTQ+ history month I’d like to thank and honor Susan Stryker, a transgender hero to the likes of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. In a society which glorifies the histories written by cisgender men, Susan Stryker is the radical wrench thrown into the cis-dominant cogs of recorded history. Her work on the past will forever mold the future.

*This is not taking into account the myriad of cultures outside of the colonized West who have had dynamic and complex systems of gender for centuries before and after the rise of European colonialism and the colonialist gender binary.


[Beck Bennedetta is a nonbinary organizer who grew up throughout the south and currently considers Asheville, North Carolina home. Their heart burns for queer southern resilience and community. They help organize a yearly queer arts and diy music festival, Pansy Fest, with the Pansy Collective. When they’re not organizing, they enjoy painting, learning to play new instruments, and spending time among the flowers. They have a BA in sociology and gender studies, a passion for disability justice, and a penchant for fizzy water drinks.]

Coming Out of Rural Areas (Remembering Matthew Shepard)

Sierra Debrow 


 In a journal entry, Greg Pierotti recalls what it was like to cross Wyoming state lines the first time after the murder of Matthew Shephard. The sign on the side of the road read “WYOMING – LIKE NO PLACE ON EARTH.” It stood out to him for grammatical reasons. It should have read “WYOMING – LIKE NO PLACE ELSE ON EARTH.” Pierotti was visiting the Cowboy State for what some might call a ‘business trip.’ He, and the rest of the Tectonic Theater Project, were in Wyoming to gage people’s reaction to the murder of Matthew Shepard.

Like no place on Earth. In the context of The Laramie Project, that assertion is terrifying. It is a declaration of difference. It is a statement that says that the beating, torture, and murder of a gay man is somehow unearthly or inhumane… and yet, that it could happen in Wyoming and nobody would bat an eye. It drives home the narrative that Wyoming is a place that removed from hatred and injustice… as long as it maintains the narrative that Wyoming is a beautiful, American place. But it also provides a sense of comfort. To say that such things could only happen in Wyoming means that there is a sense of safety for LGBTQ+ Americans – as long as they are willing to stay far away from the state. 

My experience, on the other hand, told me that such unsafe places lurked everywhere for people with identities similar to mine. There are places where it is okay to be gay, to be bisexual, to be transgender, and to be queer. There are places where it is safe. And then there are places where disclosing your identity could mean certain death. Knowing where there is danger, after all, is essential to self-preservation. This was just one of my takeaways from my first reading of The Laramie Project in 2011.

When I received a job offer in the middle of the Deep South, I was overjoyed. I was one of the first of my college friends to receive a job offer. I felt empowered, excited, and ecstatic. But then my mind would turn to Laramie, Wyoming, and the horrible crime that was committed in 1998. Matthew Shepard was murdered for being openly gay. What horrors would I, a nonbinary young person, be forced to face living and working in a similar cultural atmosphere? 

The decision to take the offer was an easy one. The decision to move to the Deep South, however, that was impossibly difficult. Once I made the move and explored my new city for a few months, I realized something about myself: I had allowed the reputation of the South, the stories of danger and oppression, to limit my view of a large swath of the country when, in truth, such danger was not a heavy factor in my lived experiences.  Just as the Tectonic Theater Project's troupe discovered that the people of Laramie, Wyoming were eager to change the reputation of their small town, I, too, met people on my journey who wanted nothing more than to change the narrative of the stereotypical Deep South as a narrow-minded, bigoted place.

It has been twenty years since Matthew Shepard’s murder. So many people are impatient to say that the time and place in which they currently live is nothing like Matthew’s last chilly, October night in Laramie, Wyoming. And in some ways, they are right. We now live in a world with marriage equality, with nonbinary gender markers available on birth certificates in a growing number of states, and where children's books teach about gender diversity and acceptance. But we also live in a country where LGBTQ+ people are increasingly likely to be victims of hate crimes and where many transgender people have faced workplace discrimination.

I want to live in a world where no such discrimination exists. I want to live in a world where places are not deemed unsafe for a group of people due to their sexual orientation, their gender identity, or any other part of who they are. Twenty years after Matthew Shepard was murdered, this feels more possible than ever, even if we do have plenty of work to do. Organizations like Transilient work to normalize the existence and stories of transgender and nonconforming people, giving voices to people who previously may not have been heard. We work to make the world a more accepting place for all identities with the hope that every place can become one without fear or danger for trans and gender non-conforming people. Twenty years after a tragedy, there needs to be a pathway to change and a pathway to light. Thankfully, Transilient is working to do just that.

Trans, nonbinary, and other LGB folks do a lot of work to claim their space in this world by coming out. What might actually begin making a difference is to hear allies, especially folks who live in areas deemed unsafe, to speak openly about being allies and why ally ship is an important facet of their identities and experiences. We should all come out as being people who won’t stand for anymore violence against the LGBT community regardless of who we are and where we live. 

On this National Coming Out Day, join Transilient in spreading that light by sharing your story with us today


[Sierra Debrow is a nonbinary young professional living in Jackson, Mississippi, and is Transilient’s research volunteer. Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, Sierra received a B.S. in Psychology from the College of Charleston in 2017. It was at the College of Charleston that they found a passion for Jewish Education, Disability Studies, and a passion for LGBTQ+ advocacy. Sierra is currently an Education Fellow at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life.]

Road Crew Highlights #1: Kansas City

Kansas City, Missouri

Highlights from our time in Kansas City, Missouri. This was our first stop and it was an amazing beginning to our fall 2018 tour. We interviewed a lot of great folks and had some tasty BBQ. Be on the look out the rest of tour to see highlights from all the places we go.

Also, fall march is coming soon via Transfigureprintco. The pre-order link will available shortly and we will keep ya’ll posted. https://transfigureprintco.patternbyetsy.com

8-1

During our week in Texas we've fallen in love with the community. Here's our response to SB3 and SB91 that has passed in Texas.

Read More