A Normal Man’s Guide To Loving Transgender Women

Kevin Grieve On Unsplash blog
Photo: Kevin Grieve On Unsplash

I love transgender women. Because I am out and proud about this, I get emails and calls from all kinds of people (men, women, transgender women, trans men) asking all kinds of questions about their transamory.

Men have the most trouble finding reconciliation. They find transgender women beautiful, worthy of love and, frankly, irresistible. Even while realizing dating transgender women sometimes comes with extraordinary drama levels. Despite that, many of these men aren’t struggling with that. What’s difficult is reconciling their attraction with being a “normal” man.

I’m writing this story –– my story –– for those men. The following is universal. Yet it is uniquely helpful for men right now. I mean “normal” men.

I write “right now” because men face intense (self-inflicted) scrutiny. Scrutiny well deserved. This January, the American Psychological Association (APA), said traditional masculinity is sociologically harmful. “[It] stunts male’s “psychological development, constrain[s] their behavior, result[s] in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence[s] mental health and physical health”, they said.Traditional masculinity is what I call normal men.

Feminism suggests the APA’s findings originate in male awe, envy and ignorance. Feminists call this Womb Envy.  That’s a term coined by German psychoanalyst Karen Horney.  Normal men find awe in what they instinctively know: Every human enters life through a womb connected to a vagina. At least for now. Forgetting their part in life-creation, normal men feel insecure and envious. Their envy becomes all-consuming. Willful ignorance replaces envy, allowing the subordination of women. Normal men gain superiority this way.

The result: Masculine wholeness –– which recognizes the female in the male ––  gets lost.

This is what I’m seeing in the Gillette controversy. Men’s life experience is reflecting back to them their out-of-balance-ness. Like children, some men are reacting first, to Gillette’s spot-on ad, then thinking. Or not thinking at all.

What does this have to do with loving transgender women?

A lot.

It is this acting out first then thinking, or not thinking at all, that gets a lot of men in trouble. It also gets many transgender women killed. All, believe it or not, for the sake of love.

· · ·

I realized I was transamorous in my 30s. Before that, I saw “masculinity” and “femininity” as two parts of a whole being. Sometimes I felt more feminine than masculine back then. Even though I was having sex with girls.

Sometimes I would sneak into my mom’s closet. It was an endless sea of femininity. There, I would dress in my mom’s clothes. I used her lipstick and pranced before her full length mirror, with its ornate wooden frame and chipped paint. Her lingerie particularly intrigued me.

Often these sessions would end with masturbation.

That’s how I got busted.

mom blog
Mom when I was young (Photo: Gruber Family)

One day my mom called me to her room. How did she know it was me and not one of my brothers? Let’s just say it was mothers’ intuition. Otherwise I don’t know. In any case, my mom’s love trumped anything else in our little chat. She didn’t want me playing in her clothes, she said. But it was ok that I was exploring.

That could have gone a lot worse.

This was before “transgender” was a thing. I mean, it was a thing. Transgender people have always been around. But it wasn’t in the public eye as it is today with high-profile transgender models, actresses, politicians, Julia Serranos, Stef Sanjati’s.

Even it if was, I was too young to know what “transgender” was. Thinking about that time, and times today, I can imagine how it feels to be transgender. Not knowing you are transgender. Then discover the word “transgender” for the first time.

It must come with profound relief to know you’re not alone.

The same is true for men attracted to transgender women. They think they’re alone. But they are not.

When I discovered my transamory, “transamory” wasn’t a thing either. I didn’t know, for example Lou Reed had a long term relationship with a transgender woman. But I sure loved his song.

Nor did David Bowie’s gender-bending persona catch my eye.

So when I fell in love with the first transgender woman I ever saw, in a Yakuza bar in Osaka, Japan, I was blown away. Blown away by her beauty. Blown away by the circumstances. And blown away for how deep and instantaneous my attraction was.

I was in the Marines at the time. My girlfriend, who would become one of my few fiancés to never cross the threshold, took me to see her home town. She thought I’d get a kick visiting a Yakuza bar. I don’t think she knew how profound that kick would be. It kicked off what would culminate in everything I am today. That and how I tell my transamory story with recovering “normal” transamorous men looking for solace.

My ex-wife used to call me her “gay boy”. It’s true, my feminine side is well-developed. I don’t cross dress or anything like that. I do enjoy reveling in that part of me that is soft, kind, receptive and open. And yet, I do present male, although I consider myself gender neutral. I recognize the female in me as much as I do the male.

And here’s where love comes into the picture. And by that I’m referring to self-love.

Bimo Mentara Blog
Photo: Bima Mentara on Unsplash

Many of my fellow Marines weren’t as appreciative of my nature as my ex-wife was. Or my mom. It wasn’t constant, but Marines can be callous towards someone not embracing the macho, natural-born-killer persona believed to enshroud what it is to be a Marine. Of course, the occasional taunts ended once I became a Sergeant of Marines. Yet, the juxtaposition between my feminine side and my masculine side represented a crossroads back then. The path I took was embracing both. Choosing to be me, I said to hell with everyone else. After all, if I could take shit from Marines, I could take shit from anybody.

Me in the Marines blog
Me as a Marine circa 1982. (Photo: USMC)

In other words, I chose loving myself for all that I am. I chose that over caring what other people think about what I am. An aspect of what I am is a man who loves transgender women.

As I love myself, I love the blend that is the transgender female form. I love the struggle transgender women must go through. I love their strength. I love that they are sometimes reviled not only by men, women and society, but also by their parents sometimes. I love them because I know all these challenges make them who they are.

As my challenges made me who I am.

Today, I am no longer married to the woman who was my wife. Ours was a marriage of convenience. By that I mean, there was no better relationship for us than the one we had, which called us to become more of that which we each are are: more clear about what we want and more clear about our authenticity.

· · ·

I met my wife online. I hadn’t been successful dating transgender women. I had relationships, but the early ones reflected my own trans-attraction insecurities. My insecurity showed up in meeting transgender women who also were insecure. Insecurity is no foundation for healthy coupledom. It didn’t help that I dated in secret. In between cis-gender lovers.

Maybe that sounds familiar.

Bridget Perry Blog
My wife and I New Years 2012 (Photo by Kyle Layser)

Insecurity transamorous men feel initially shows up in many ways. One is fear of being seen in public with the woman they find attractive. It’s an early “trans-attraction” stage of transamory. It sounds dumb, but it’s real. And it’s a step older transamorous men go through more than younger ones these days. Some younger generation transamorous men reflect their generation. Their generation accepts gender fluidity, so they do too. So they don’t experience as much insecurity.

Pro-tip non-sequitur for transgender women: Ridiculing and shaming men for being in this stage prolongs it. Want men to be proud to be with you in public? Stop shaming them.

When I met my wife, I was not intending to marry. I was open to a non-traditional relationship. Anyone I found attractive and compatible would do. Yet I entertained preference for a transgender partner. I knew, however, my insecurity wasn’t going to match me with a transgender partner of my dreams.

Today, many of my clients are having to unpack decades of being married to cis-gender women, when they knew they were trans-attracted before they got married, but didn’t own their authenticity. In some ways, I was no exception.

My wife was determined to break her streak of meeting men who were not good for her. Like me, she realized she was her problem. Not the men she dated. So we were a perfect match.

Relationships are always like that. Perfect matches.

Our marriage was a training ground. In it we were helping prepare one another for partners we eventually will have. It was our agreement.

As we together grew into our individual security borne of authenticity, we accepted who each other was. Our marriage’s dissolution reflected that.

Trans attraction blog
Photo credit: The Transamorous Network

If you’re trans-attracted or transamorous, married or not, you can’t love the object of your affection until you first love yourself. Especially if you’re married. A lot of transamorous men are married to cis-gender women. There is nothing wrong in that.

Still, if you are married, your wife knows on some level that you are different. I assure you fights between you two have a lot to do with insecurity born of that awareness.

Hardness creates more struggle. So does insecurity. Extreme cases result in death. Almost half the murders of transgender women in 2017 happen in the context of intimate relationships gone awry, according to research I’ve done online. Seems to me the sooner you embrace who you are, the better you and everyone else will be. You’ll be one less transamorous man hiding in their shame. That can prevent a murder.

Ozan Safak in the shadows blog
It’s time more transamorous men embrace all of who they are. (Photo: Ozan Safak on Unsplash)

Men loving transgender women is normal.

Love between humans is the norm. So it is normal that a human would express love for another human. Both men and transgender women are human. So love between them is as normal as any other love.

But I would argue there is no such thing as a “normal” man.

There are all kinds of men. The Gillette controversy shows that. If you’re trying to be a normal man and think that’s ok, you’re not expressing your authenticity. You’re expressing insecurity. Your “abnormality” is the norm. Your “perversity” is the norm. Your “sin” is the norm. Abnormality, perversity and sin are words reflecting societal judgment.

Fuck that.

Your individuality is the norm. That means there’s no such thing as a normal or traditional man.

Transgender people are here to help all humanity to come to grips with the fact that to be human is to be different. There are a lot of normal men out there confronting their normalcy in light of their transamory. Some respond violently, with tragic consequences for both victim and perpetrator. Others call me, or send an email.

If you find transgender women attractive, you’re in good company. All men will find the attractive ones attractive. Until they discover that attractive woman is transgender. But that doesn’t negate their initial attraction. It only masks the attraction with shame expressed as revulsion. You’re still attracted to her.

If you find transgender women worth loving, but struggle with it, that’s ok. You don’t have to figure it all out now. You will in time. My experience is, the journey is worth it. For you, for your relationships and for the human race as a whole.

The journey is sweeter, though, after you accept what you are.

On your way, consider doing something now to sweeten life for LGBTQ people. You might meet your match in the process.

11 Replies to “A Normal Man’s Guide To Loving Transgender Women”

  1. Mr. Perry,
    The Corps? Far out (sorry this has nothing to do with topic at hand). I did my 2 tours in the Nam. My first tour I was a regular dog face in infantry. I was also Gung Ho for the war. My second tour I did Long Range Patrol. We were in the Central Highlands around Pleiku. MACV back in Saigon. “Don’t worry. Area is secure” . My best friend we went through it all. Boot,Jungle Training @ Fort Polk,infantry and LRRP. At any rate,we were on patrol. We had 2 Yards with us. They were from that area. One of them told our Lt.,”somethings not right here”. Fuckin a right ! Couple minutes later,we walked right into an ambush. Brett (my best friend) was on point. One of the finest snipers the PAVN could throw us,dropped Brett. Right when snipers rifle went off,I was looking at him. Saw a small piece of his skull fly off to the left and he dropped. To this day,I still carry that baggage. He had a wife and 10 month old son at home. I had no one. That’s why that baggage remains with me. We were about a third of the way through our second tour. That’s when I removed my “rose colored glasses”. First thing that stuck out. We were fighting a “used war”. Whole thing was a BS joke. Okay,blah,blah,blah. I yammer on. I’m sorry. Let me ask you a question. Is it just me,or do y’all get fucked as bad as it looks. Think about it. With exception of WW2,you’ll seem to have the military “powers that be”,coming right at yall,with their pants down. They seem to single out you Bulldogs. I know I saw yall get the shit jobs in the Nam. Look at Korea. Yall got hung fighting Chairman Mao’s people’s army from Red China,in Temps that went from zero to the teens. Y’all got handed the shit end of the stick more than once in WW2. Hell. Even when we’re not at war,y’all still get fucked. That fateful Sunday morning back in ’84. That terrorist ran his suicide mission right into the BLT,in Beirut. Can’t recall how many Marines were murdered ( call it what you want,I still say it was murder). How do y’all still go singing the praises of the USMC. I mean y’all get fucked,on a daily basis. Since you went down this road like me,years ago,you understand your brother Marines (at the same time you can probably explain to me,why Marines have a fetish for death. Well you remember movie,”Full Metal Jacket”. R Lee Ermey was the asshole DI. He’s walking in front of his Marine recruits giving them the ,”God Speech” “God loves Marines. God has a hardon for Marines,because we kill everything we see”). Let me ask you this. Have you ever run across any of your former or present Marine brothers,that are in same boat as you,but don’t know who talk to about it ,(no. I’m not gonna say VA. They only make matters worse. I went one time to get help with my guilt,dealing with Brett’s death. What a joke. I left with more questions. I got a private counselor. At any rate I ask you this,because if any of your brother Marines are in your scenario,they might want someone to talk to about it,yet they are afraid. I ask you this,cause you seem like a person that would fit the bill perfectly. I’m sure they could talk to you,cause you’re a Marine. You went down this road in the Corps and had to figure out,where you fit in at. I’m sure you dont want your fellow Marines to have to go through alone,when you could be of a big help to them. Try and help them navigate through the Corps and find a peaceful existence in the Corps. At any rate. Sorry I was yammering away. Thank you for your service. May God keep you and your beautiful wife safe. Later. Tim

  2. Hi Perry,

    This was an outstanding read, I myself have been transamory for as long as I can remember having sexual attraction to anyone, right now I’m 36 years old and after a failed marriage with a cisgender woman, I came to accept who I am and right now I’m dating a transgender woman from Southeast Asia.

    My marriage was very similar to yours, a perfect match and we both had our issues, she was abused when a child and I have felt ashamed for my transamory since a young age and it took me a long time to accept it.

    Writings like yours are much needed, keep up the great work.


    1. Hey there Philip,
      Thanks for the compliment. Yes, sounds like we had similar marriages. It’s cool my marriage helped clarify for me what I really wanted. So in that sense, it was a great marriage. As much as it offered a lot of challenges, too, it was a positive experience in other ways as well. That said, I’ll not marry another cis woman.

      Sounds like you’ve gained clarity through your marriage too.

      I’m glad the article gave you inspiration. It’s the reason I write about my experiences and those of my clients: to inspire transgender women, trans-attracted and transamorous people to live their authentic lives in all aspects, not just in love. Sounds like that’s what you’re now doing. Congrats!


      1. She looks attractive. But this has nothing to do with my question.
        I was curious about how marriage is with both trans and cis women. I know this can’t be generalized because each person is different. But I have never been at that level in a relationship with a woman, so I don’t know what that implies in terms of responsabilities and how life is experienced.
        My experiences involve relationships of at most 2 years. And this they have not reached ever that point of maturity that marriage implies.

        1. You’re right, it’s not something that can be generalized. Now I see why you were asking. We interviewed a cis-trans couple that has been married for well over seven years, on our YouTube Channel. They tell about their relationship experience. You can watch it on our YouTube channel. Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/j5kzD7B1LmI

  3. i can except nearly all of your interesting column. but i would not contradict one paragraph. There are numerous , stories , sites ,with lots of crap , & the reason is ignorance. Lots of trans , Gay ,or how ever they come over/ appear, but in my world , if for what ever attracts , for that spark , but your so right , Questions , to me they are perverted , prats , most just wanting ,sexual favours, as for what ever reason. . But love your self, respect, honesty , my jest !” you dont put a flake , in your cone ,if you hate chocolate “

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