I used to believe I was unlovable because I am transsexual. And I thought it was not me but them.
Before my sex change, I feared that the surgery would somehow go wrong and the result would repel men. I went ahead because the corrosive effect of being in a male body pushed me beyond caring whether I ended up alone for life.
It was that bad.
I knew from dating before surgery that there are men who are attracted to transgender women with male genitalia. It never felt right to me, but so it was.
After my body changed, would anyone be interested in me anymore?
Falling in love for the first time, from within the right body, helped me believe that I could be desirable as a woman. We met about a year after my operation, and he gave me a birthday present when my female body turned 1 year old.
The next time the impossible happened, about two years later, I had given up faith that I could be the object of a man's affection. The first time was either a fluke or an illusion or, better yet, proof that I was doomed to fail at relationships.
Until one weekend in Mexico, when a cycling partner and I tumbled head over heels in love.
Everything was bananas for a while, until it wasn't.
Alone again, I blamed my solitude on being transgender rather than face reality: It was not them but me.
Meanwhile, my denial turned dating into an exercise in predicting the time of rejection. I told my rejecters not to worry, because I understood. After all, I was transgender, and there were any number of "regular" women out there. Those women were deserving; they were born the right way and could make babies.
I was crumbs.
Misery adores company, so I sought out men to make my prophecy self-fulfilling.
I began to find them everywhere, and they would oblige my insecurity. Maybe rejecting a transsexual person bolstered their sense of masculinity?
Life went on this way until I decided to call out the prejudice as I saw it.
"I'm not prejudiced!" they would proclaim.
"You prejudged me based on how I was born. Isn't that the definition of prejudice?" I'd respond.
I do not know if they ever really heard me.
As much as acknowledging this reality sucks, it would be just as crazy to overlook the few men I've met who are comfortable enough in their manhood to date a transgender person. They exist. I fell in love with two of them. There must be more.
I know there must be -- because, for example, there was that amazing Thanksgiving weekend when, on Friday, after dance class, being transgender came up in a conversation with a new friend, and he said that he had just had a date with a transgender person for the first time and was excited.
Then, on Saturday, I had sushi with a guy and mentioned being transgender, to which he responded, "Oh, my mother's cousin was too," and then proceeded to light up and tell me stories of his cousin's gender transition in Japan back in the 1960s, and he sent me a text later about how encouraging my personal story was.
Then, on Sunday, one of my Hasidic friends from the Russian-Turkish Baths on East 10th Street said he'd been interested in me ever since I talked about the subject four years ago.
All of which made me think, "Well, shit, that's a real fucking Thanksgiving if there ever was one.
"So, you know, I am going to think about those guys now, and I'm going to believe there's more of them out there in the world, and I should write a blog post about how fucking incredible they are, because I'm sick and tired of all those douchebags and jerks I've been wasting my time on.
"I've had enough, they're just not worth considering anymore. I'm done with letting them make me feel I am a second-class human being, goddamn done with it. I'm going to keep my chin up and look forward."
After all, I can only meet the gaze of love by lifting my eyes.