In the third season of Transparent, Maura Pfefferman goes where the character has never gone before: the bedroom. Telling these stories is extremely important. A survey from Match. Just half of LGBT singles said they would date someone who is trans. Their answers are varied and wide-ranging, but they show a great deal in common: Dating cisgender men is a challenge, but cisgender women and other trans people are easier. The interviewees the Beast spoke with are searching for love but also validation—to feel wanted and desired. To read their responses, collected through phone interviews, is a reminder of the universal struggles and need for connection that make us human. Jen Richards, Los Angeles, Calif. When I was beginning to transition, the consensus online was that transition was a means of last resort because it inevitably entails losing your job, losing your family, losing your relationship, and having to start life over completely on your own and never dating again. The kind of dating communities I was a part of were just full of tragedies, where that was considered the norm. I saw no model for that. There were no trans people in the media. It never occurred to me that it was possible that someone would want to date a trans woman. I knew the moment I told him I was trans, that bubble was going to burst. So I like to live in that moment. I travel a lot. We had talked for a week. I really liked him a lot. After we started emailing one day, he looked up my email address and found links to me. I have no interest in that. It was one of the most affirming moments of my womanhood—being desired and pursued by a lesbian-identified woman. A lesbian who is a woman who loves other women, and there being a long tradition within lesbian community of exclusion of trans women…to have women who love women pursue me, it just means that much more. I had ended this four-year relationship. I was by myself. I had some really good friends I went to college with who were New Yorkers, so I had a really strong support group. I went almost entirely on a three-year span of not dating. It led to a situation where we were literally making out in the rain and coming to my apartment, and I had to do that last-minute disclosure thing. He was a gold star gay boy and got nervous and ran away. I became self-protective and just closed myself off. He went on a date and we were at Mercury Lounge, and my friend was performing. He does little things every human should do when they hear somebody say something negative or use derogatory terms about trans people—he will school people on that. But I also feel like my hair absorbs a lot of things, energy-wise. If I absorb something, I carry it with me and it feels almost like some kind of strength. It makes my gender non-conformity and my gender very visible. It makes me empowered to know that people can tell and that they can somehow sense my variance. To have someone tell me to cut it is to tell me to cut part of myself off. I take it very personally. It was very hard for him, having met me as my legal name, to adjust. He had fallen in love with the first person he met. For him to be forced to let go of that memory of me, the first person he met, it was difficult for him. He fell in love with me one time, and he expected me to stay the same. He would still call me by my birth name. He tried, but he eventually stopped calling me by name at all. He would grab me or touch me instead. It made me feel invisible. They often exhaust me. We focus on the men who date trans women, the women who date trans men, or the cis people who date trans people. The guys that I meet are straight, cisgender guys that are more looking for the taboo factor. I can never introduce you to my family or my friends. That will be the topic of conversation. I would be the focus of it. That began to change once I started testosterone. The person I first started dating three months into my physical transition was a woman. And then over the course of that relationship, I realized I was more attracted to men and less attracted to women. I came out in high school—I was 15. I kept dating women. There was this one woman I had been dating for a month. Things were moving really slow with us and we eventually stopped seeing each other. I realized that I just wanted to be friends with these women. Just not the same way I was before. In my experience, women were a lot more flexible in their sexuality. I dated straight women. I dated queer women. When it came to dating men, it was the opposite of easy. I found a lot more men had a lot more hang-ups around dating trans men than the cisgender women I had been seeing before. A lot of them had never met a trans men before. Many of them assumed what my anatomy was—that was really common. People were really confused as to what trans was. I went on OkCupid. This one guy hit me up. He was totally gorgeous. We went out to lunch on his lunch break. We had such great chemistry that he ended up staying two hours on the date and he wanted to stay longer. After the date, he texted me. He said he thought I was really cute. He said it was refreshing to go on a date someone like me. He asked if I would like to see him the next day. It seems like a little much. But I thought he seemed really cool and I wanted to hang out with him again. The next day we go out and we go out to this Thai restaurant. Afterward, I decided to take him out for a smoothie for dessert. We go to this place across the street. It was a big, cheesy smile. He became less talkative. I paid for the smoothie, and we started walking to his car. Is it the trans thing? I felt really shitty about it. But I try not to stay in those places when I get like that. What if their intention is to hurt me? At least wait until the second or third date. This is a huge fear for them—at least for straight men. It may not go anywhere, but they put in some effort. Hooking up is really hard. It creates a negative feedback loop. That hurts your confidence which leads to more negative reinforcement. But no one knows how to admit that. Everyone has all this shame about finding me beautiful in my heels with my leg hair. She did not like that I transitioned. She had been aware of my gender identity from when we started dating, 10 years prior to that. We talked about it throughout the entire course of our relationship. It became a serious problem. We would have arguments about it. Any time I showed signs of femininity, if I dressed up around the house or dressed up to go and meet friends, she refused to join me. Do I consider this person to be a woman the same way I consider myself to be a woman? I had no experience dating queer or trans people before that. We text every day, say I love you. She lives in California, so we see each other once every four to six weeks on average. In mid-July, we are going on a vacation. We are going to a lake house in Virginia. Her whole family is going to be there.