Colleen, who asked that we not use her real name, is a 30-year-old transgender woman who has been dating online since she was a teenager.
She's in a monogamous relationship now, but before she fell in love she had an OKCupid profile that identified her as a straight woman.
In both profiles he makes it clear that he is “a trans guy” and that people should “only message me if you’re cool with that.” Part of the need for this complicated negotiation is that OKCupid doesn’t allow users to identify as “transgender”—just “male” or “female.” The site has been in the news this week after cofounder Christian Rudder announced that developers secretly changed some people's compatibility ratings and removed profile photos to learn more about behavior on the site.
While some have criticized OKCupid for showing people false or manipulated content as an experiment, the site's failure to accommodate transgender users may be a larger and more long-standing ethical dilemma.
You might be (rightly) thinking, "What about queer women?
" We only mapped apps for gay dudes (and straight/mixed orientation apps in a separate map) because the market for apps specifically targeting lesbians is much less developed and couldn't be compared across borders in the same way.
After La Mon transitioned from female to male, he didn’t change his gender to “male” on his OKCupid profile; instead, he started a second profile where he identified as “male.” He kept the female profile active because he thinks that some women who typically date other women might also be interested in dating transgender men.Sleidi said that she is "very gay," and some of her transgender friends are uncomfortable using OKCupid.From the beginning, she knew it was important to allow people to identify as queer and transgender in their profiles.Most people who meet Colleen don’t know she’s transgender.Typically, she discloses after she's gotten to know someone. This has the potential to make online dating more thorough and more fruitful, but safety and acceptance for trans people who date online may take more than an algorithm.