So the news is not new (end of 2012) but I just came across this article, and I found it pretty demonstrative of the attitude of the general public towards trans people (and that dating sites for LGBTs are not even run by people who understand LGBTs). Original article can be found here (it’s in French, the story happened in France).
The author, Julianne, describes her experience on Mytilene, a French dating site for lesbians. Julianne is a transgender woman who likes women. Therefore she is a lesbian. Yes, for those who don’t understand, she is a woman who likes other women. She just happens to be trans, which makes her a special type of woman, but nonetheless SHE IS A WOMAN. So she signs up on Mytilene, completes her profile (where she states looking for friends and a possible soulmate, meeting people with sense of conversation and humour… and she states clearly at the end that she is a pre op trans woman), pays the 25 euros subscription, and waits for her profile to get reviewed by the moderators. The next day, she gets the following email from Mytilene (that I translate from the French):
We are informing you that we are unable to keep your profile on our site because the type of relationship you are looking for is not what our members are looking for.
We invite you to discover Ulla, a dating site for adults and libertine encounters, which will answer your needs better.
When Julianne called the customer support, upset but none the less polite, she was told that her profile got denied because she was in fact pre op. And the person on the phone was unable to do anything to help her.
Trans equals libertine
I am not trans myself, but still shocked. That’s the worst answer that Mytilene could give to Julianne for cancelling her account: you are trans, so we recommend you go to a libertine dating site instead. Some will say that this is not a big deal, she got bounced from a dating site, it’s not worse than being bounced from a club (and I remember stories like this in the Philippines, where ladyboys get denied access to clubs and bars for the sole reason that they are ladyboys). It’s not like getting refused a job. But still. For me, this is a very good demonstration of how the uneducated general public sees transgenderism. People see it like a sexual deviance, a vice, like it is a choice to become transgender and that transgender have for sole ambition to be promiscuous (the way people think of trans in the West) or selling their body(a common misconception that people have of ladyboys in Asia).
VERY GENERALISING AND VERY DISCRIMINATORY! Imagine the same thing said of the Afro American people (or any other community) and you’ll get sued by 10 anti-racist organisations in no time.
Dating sites for LGBTs are run by people who don’t understand LGBTs
The second point that’s made clear in this article, is that Mytilene (and from experience, I extend to most of the dating sites for lesbians, gays, bisexuals or trans) are not even run by LGBT people, nor people who understand LGBTs. If you’re used to online dating sites for trans, you know what I’m talking about. 99% of them are run by people who don’t understand anything about transgender people, usually companies who already own a dating site for general public and want to extend their business to another segment. So they make a copy of their generic dating site, replace “female” by “transsexual”, put a naughty photo on the homepage (remember, they know nothing about transgender people, so they stick to the stigma: transsexual = sex, and this will attract men anyways), and voilà.
This is the landscape of online dating for trans women, and the reason why we decided to open My Transgender Date. To finally offer a quality decent dating site for transsexuals, and by trans. And help fighting the stigmas that transgender people still continue to suffer, online and offline.
And if the Mytilene moderator who refused the profile of Julianne is in fact an LGBT, then this is highlighting how the community shows discrimination to its own members sometimes. This is sad, and this is another debate.