By Elise Pallagi

Kindred Cities, 2018

I want to be your lover

But I end up settling for paramour

I want to be swept off my feet

And feel wanted

Just a little bit more

But seldom do others do the asking


Dating is a different animal when you’re transgender

We hide our identities till our senses we surrender

Dating before you’re out is perpetually wrought

With the anxiety that if you are open about being you

That you will face rejection for living true


I never dated in high school

I was the dork hiding in the back questioning all the rules

Never had to courage to ask anyone out on a date

For my soul was consumed with confusion and self hate

Why would anyone date me, when taught by society to hate me?

The moment I showed a hint of it

Someone tried to rape me


Coercive male socialization leading to me becoming a target for victimization

Too much to swallow, let alone the notion of dating

For fear of being called a fake and thus I kept waiting


I don’t want to be your manic pixie dream girl

But it seems like that becomes my role in many a human’s world

There to provide emotional labour and safe advice for friends in need


The cis gays don’t want to date you

Because you’re too effeminate for them

And cis lesbians dismiss you as a creep

And call you a pretendbian

Straight men don’t see you as a woman

But as their Craigslist fantasy to exploit

Straight women are looking for men

So best to forget about them


Our dating pool is pretty small

If it even exists at all

I try and find queer love

As I speak to heaven above

But I end up some couple’s unicorn

Or a human subject of fetish porn

Not for love or luck

Just your cheap drunken fuck


Your manic pixie dream girl performing emotional labour to brighten your world

While my heart is drained empty

Nothing more than a paramour looking for real love