The Trigger of Dating Apps in the South

I, like many other people my age, am no stranger to the world of dating apps. The cliché bios, dry interactions, and overly horny people...no matter the dating app, they all end up being the same because the people on them are the same.


Early on when I was first on the apps, the attention was exciting. Not all attention is good. Now when I am on them, it get depressing very fast and becomes a major source of anxiety.


In my experience, the datings apps are riddled with conservative, country boys holding up caught fish, showing off a dead buck, and posting a bunch of group photos. Seeing a confederate flag is a regular occurrence, along with the tagline about it being heritage.


As I see these profiles one after the next, I begin to tense up. After deciding for the 20th time whether a man looks "I'm just a country boy" conservative or "I hate niggers and think queers are sick" conservative, I realize that my breathing is shallow. Even writing this, I am getting anxious. I don't do this for hate or judgement, I do it purely for survival.


As a trans person, my interactions with guys on dating apps go one of three ways:


Nothing

In this interaction I may match with someone or send a message and nothing happens. I get no response, so I just keep it pushing. Also in this are the guys that immediately block me. Not sure of the reason. I could speculate, but that is not my place to tell.


Infatuation

Some guys are highly infatuated. Often times they don't even greet me they immediately just call me beautiful and become focused on that for a while. Then they usually will talk their way into trying to get nudes from me. "Can I see more of you?" "Snap?" "You're so beautiful, I want to see all of you." When I first started on these apps, I thought the these guys were serious, but after the second and third guy who is just wanting to get pics of me while they pleasure themselves, I learned not to trust what they say. Now when I call these guys out or refuse to send them any salacious photos, they lash out. That leads to the last and most fun interactions that I have with guys.


Transphobia

Some guys resort to transphobia and racism when I refuse to be a part of their fantasy. One guy, who previously had called me a bitch for having boundaries, claimed that I wasn't confident because I didn't show him pics of me like other women and that he only wanted a woman who would show him her body any time. However some guys will full on begin to misgender me and call me slurs because of my refusal to be an object. Then there are the guys who will match me on a dating site because they were "just swiping on everyone" (which sound so desperate and like a waste of time) then call me a fag for matching them. ORRRR they were actually interested in me and when I disclose my trans identity, they start to call me names. Like why are you mad at me because YOU found me attractive? I did nothing to you. You are just mad because you concepts of straightness and gender, which are both complete bullshit, are being challenged by your own desires?


We also can't forget the conservative guys that are homophobic and transphobic, but will make DL profiles on Grindr to get their socks off. I knew this was a thing previously, but since coming out as trans, my interaction with these men have only increased.


However, I do try to stay vigilant when it comes to speaking with guys or if I decide to meet one. I have to be honest with myself and my environment and know that I am highly likely to be a victim of assault. Maybe in another post I will go through some of my failsafes to ensure my safety.


Unfortunately for me, being in the South means that this is my reality. I have come to the understanding that finding love in Arkansas is very unlikely. I still sometimes get hope, but nothing ever comes through. I just hope that in the future when I am able to move to a more accepting environment that my experience dating won't be as toxic. Until then, I will have to go through my cycles of being active then inactive on dating apps because of the mostly negative interactions that I have with the men on them.


**I should note that part of this toxicity is partially due to the medium of dating apps.


~ Meghan