Being Trans, Being Loved: Clashing Identities and the Limits of Love

In Arina Pismenny & Berit Brogaard (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Love. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 171-190 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

There is no specific trans perspective on romantic love. Trans people love and do not love, fall in love and fall out of love, just like everyone else. Trans people inhabit different sexual identities, different relationship types, and different kinds of loving. When it comes to falling in love as or with a trans person, however, things can get more complicated, as questions of gender and sexual identity emerge. In a study by Blair & Hoskin from 2018, 87.5% of the interviewed participants said they would not consider dating a trans person (Blair & Hoskin, 2018). Among those who were open to dating trans people, a pattern emerged: the subjects were disproportionately willing to date trans men but not trans women, even if this preference did not match their own sexual identity; for example, a woman who identifies as a lesbian may be open to dating a trans man but not a trans woman. This seems like a clash of sexual and gender identities: why are women who identify as lesbians willing to date men? This chapter aims to analyze this phenomenon: love between clashing sexual and gender identities – e.g., the love between a man, who identifies as being romantically interested in men, and a trans woman, – and thereby evaluates the limits of romantic love for trans people. Limits of love, in this chapter, are conceived of as normative restrictions on whom and how we love. By exploring cases of clashing sexual and gender identities in romantic love, this chapter analyzes how trans people’s opportunities for love are often limited.

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Gen Eickers
University of Education Ludwigsburg

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