This has been done to death by youtubers and probably some bloggers, but I wanted to respond to this with my own thoughts and experiences.
As many of you might or might not know, a person named Riley J.Dennis has put up a video on youtube, explaining why peoples dating preferences are discriminatory. Because we do choose our dating preferences, right? So, before we start I just want to say that I’m basing this on how most people around me date. Dating generally starts within the first few months of meeting (if not from the first day) a person and generally starts because two people wishes to see if they are a good match for one another or because they believe that they have found their one true love. Most of my answers does not involve the “what if they became like that AFTER you started dating” or “what if you’ve known each other for ten years” because generally that’s the exception to the rule. If that were the case, the probability of me dating or continue to date them would go up a lot.
Note that I’m not claiming to be an expert on human sexuality, I am mainly talking from experience from what I’ve seen around me and things I’ve read about it in class or on the internet. If I come off as a ‘know it all’ with the wrong facts, that is not my intent, and this is just on the spot response without research. Got papers to disprove stuff? Comment. All I’m saying here is that everyone are different, human sexuality is complex and people can’t normally change their sexual preferences, though they might discover they can be attracted to someone they didn’t think they would be attracted to earlier.
Let’s see what we have to deal with.
“Would you date someone who’s trans?”
In fact I would. Well, at least if I found someone who’s trans that I can relate to and have a good connection to and whom can understand my boundaries. I have quite a lot of boundaries and isn’t the easiest person to date, so finding partners even in the ‘cis’ population is a bit of a problem. I’m not much for dating though, so it’s not a problem as much as it’s a thing. If I meet someone that I can connect to whom wants to be more than friends who’s trans and whom will understand my boundaries, then yes, I’ll date them.
“Would you date someone who’s black?”
Once again, yes, as long as there’s a connection between us. While I haven’t dated a black person before, I have dated a Filipino. So out of race things does happen to me though it is more rare than within my own race as I rarely meet non-Swedish people outside of the internet. A question though. Would it still be discrimination if a black person refused to date white people? Or if a Japanese person refused most foreigners? Because just like white people sometimes want to stay within their own race, so does black and asian people.
“Would you date a fat person?”
Now we’re getting into interesting territory here. Would I date a fat person? Depends on why they’re fat, how fat and how it affects their lives, because if it affects their life and I’m supposed to date them it might affect my life. Just for the record, this is not something I’m pulling out of my ass, I myself have been overweight (not fat) which affected my life a lot, and my dad is obese, which doesn’t just affect his life but our whole family. He isn’t getting a job, he has back pain that makes it hard for him to walk, he has gotten diabetes, he not only takes six pills a day, but also shoves down 50 pain killers in a week! On top of that he can’t breath when he sleeps. Do I want to be in a relationship with someone who’s slowly dying right in front of me? NO! I am worried every freaking day that one day my dad will just not wake up. In my family it is normal to live until the age of 90, but my dad probably won’t last 30 more years. I am honestly surprised he has even made it this far. I do not want to go through this with the partner of my life nor would I put my partner through this fear.
It’s up to everyone how much they are willing to handle in a relationship. Can they date someone who’s slowly dying VISIBLY in front of them? Then go for it, I just don’t want that heartbreak in my life. Now if they’re fat and relatively healthy and is trying to go down in weight or at the very least not go up in weight and try to maintain some health even with their body weight, then I might think of it. But even if they are relatively healthy now even with their body weight, it can easily go haywire. Ten years ago I didn’t think my dad would get this bad, he looked fine despite his weight even though he had some pain in his legs and needed help breathing at night, then BAM, a couple of years ago it was just a deep fall.
“Would you date someone who’s disabled?”
Depends! Disabilities can be so many different things, and saying yes or no to a question that goes through the whole spectrum is impossible. It all depends on how the disability A) affects their life and how much help they need and B) How it affect their communication skills.
Let’s go through this one at a time.
A) If they can’t do much on their own, they need help to get around, they need help to eat, they need help to take showers, etc. Then no, I would probably not be in their life even if we got help from the government to take care of that person. I could be friends, yes, but I wouldn’t date them. If they became like that after we started dating, it could be a different matter and I might stay anyways because we already have a bond, but even then I think it would be very hard for me to stay because I have such a hard time just taking care of myself on a mental and physical level, so taking care of another person on a physical level would be hard and probably damaging for my mental health as I would neglect my own needs even more which would lead me into another depression pit. This is of course only speculations as I have never been in that situation, but I do know myself very well, and generally, if someone else needs me, I forget about myself completely, which tends to put me in a very dark place every time I get some time alone.
This can also go for mental disabilities which makes them neglect their own life, makes them suicidal or other very life changing things. Once again, I am already in a state where I oftentimes neglect myself, if I have someone who’s even worse than me around, I’ll be too worried about them to ever think of myself, which isn’t good when that leads to not eating, not sleeping, not showering etc. I need to have someone who can take care of themselves so I in first hand can take care of myself.
B) Do they have a disability that makes them unable to communicate properly? This can be anything between having a disability that makes it impossible for the person to actually speak properly and their muscles aren’t working enough for them to just write out what they want to say or use sign languages, to just not being able to communicate your feelings properly to the point where a relationship easily can get to a stand still. You probably noticed there is quite the large gap between the two. Does this mean I wouldn’t date a mute person? Nah, I could probably date a mute person as long as they can write and is willing to give me looots of time to learn sign language. A deaf person would also work. A deaf and mute person at the same time? That would be pretty hard and I would probably say no. So as long as there is an easy way for us to communicate I can be for it, but once you have to learn a whole different language just to understand each other I will not be ready for a relationship. Now if we had been friends for ten years and during that time I had learned how to communicate with this person, then the option of dating might come up, but if it’s just dating as in “let’s see if we fit together even though we have known each other for a few months or less” which dating oftentimes is, then no. If the other person is just generally bad at communicating their feelings, then we would just be a horrible match as I’m horrible at communicating my feelings. Two people with “Well, if she doesn’t bring it up, maybe I shouldn’t think about it.” syndrome is a bad mix. It leads to two paranoid freaks lying in their own corner hoping their partner will start talking first.
“I have met a surprising number of people who would say no to all or at least some of them. Their argument is that it’s just a preference and you can’t control who you are attracted to.”
Yeah Riley. That’s what we call preferences. Some people don’t want to swing it with a cancer patient because they don’t want to see their loved one die half a year after they start dating. Is that discrimination too? Some people don’t find black, white or asian people attractive, and sexual attraction is a big force when it comes to dating. Me as an asexual don’t really have that problem, so looks isn’t what generally makes me ‘turned off’ so to speak. For me it’s more about personality and how well we communicate with one another, but for people with a sexdrive and sexual attraction, it’s not just about the right personality, though sometimes people do find love in others without that. You don’t choose who you’ll be sexually attracted to Riley.
Am I discriminating against the world because I’m asexual and won’t give my genitals to anyone at all? No. Dating and sex (or not sex in my case) goes hand in hand, and while you can date someone without having sex with them (thus sexual attraction won’t be needed), that is not how most people roll. Most people want sex in their relationship while also enjoying the company on a non-sexual level.
“I think that most of the time this is brought up is in regard to race.”
Wait, what? No. Most often when this is brought up, it is when talking about sex. Sure, there are people who won’t date outside of their own race, but so what? Why would anyone want to date someone who doesn’t want to date their race anyways?
“I don’t want to date you, you’re asian. So disgusting.”
“Ah, your racism makes me so hard.”
Human sexuality is a complex thing and you won’t be attracted or want to date every human on earth. Usually you will want to date people who look healthy, because your body knows that they can give you good offspring, no matter if that’s what you think of or not. Then there will be other preferences that you can’t control, such as race. Sometimes people have race preferences, sometimes they don’t. Some people just don’t feel attracted to asians. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with growing up in a racist environment, sometimes it’s just how it becomes. Some people don’t date within their own race. I have a friend (white), whom has never dated a white person, and she has said at least once that she does have a preference for non-whites. It’s just her preference. Could she date a white person? Probably, but she might not go into a relationship with a white dude right after meeting him as she sometimes does with non-whites. Is that wrong? No. Her preference is her preference.
“Would you date a trans person? Think about it for a second. If you said no, then I’m sorry but that’s pretty discriminatory.”
1) A transperson, if doing a transition (which is the definition of a trans person), will not be able to give you biological children without spending a shit ton of money on alternative ways. This can be a dealbreaker for many who wishes to have biological kids the normal way or just don’t have the money for the alternative ways.
2) How is the community where they live? How okay are their family with them dating a trans person? This isn’t such a big problem where I live, but I know in America parents have disowned their kids just for being trans, and I can imagine that someone dating a trans person could be under quite a lot of fire if they live in the wrong area. This can affect someones decision in who they’re dating a lot even if they don’t feel that it matters. You might say love before all, but many people value their family over someone they met just a few months ago, and even if you’ve already known each other for years upon years, choosing between your family and friends and the love of your life isn’t as easy as some people think it should be. Actually how easy do you think it should be? The family would obviously say ‘family first’, while a lover would say ‘love first’ and those not involved will probably pick a side depending on their own preference. There are no easy answers here.
3) Given, I think saying no completely to a trans person, at least if we count those who have fully transitioned, is a bit odd as some, if not most today, do get the right parts and do look the part and do act the part of the opposite sex to what they were born as. (And when I say act, I do not mean they’re pretending. But as someone with English as second language, sometimes I don’t know what words to use, and even though this sounds a bit weird even to me, of course I do know that they aren’t playing a role. It is who they are. Just wanted to make sure no one gets confused there.) But, it could be that some people think of this question as those who are in transition, not the ones who are done, which actually are a correct assumption in my opinion. Once you’re done transitioning you aren’t trans, you are the sex you have transitioned into. But even then I know that some people will go “Nope, not my thing.” and that’s FINE. If the words “I’m trans.” turns you off, that’s not your fault. You can’t help the way your brain is wired. Cause it IS all about how our brains are wired from birth plus the environment we grew up in.
“There was probably a time in my life when I said I wouldn’t date a transperson but since then I’ve thought criticly about it and changed my mind.”
Good for you. It’s good that your mind and your sexual organs can get pleasure from the t in lgbt, but that’s not the case for everyone. Some just never will be turned on when hearing the word trans. Heck, I don’t even get turned on by a penis or boobies. There’s nothing wrong with having biological or even social preferences. But maybe you think that “oh, you should date someone without being sexually attracted to them, either in a sexless relationship or have sex anyways.” The first one doesn’t fly with most people, as an asexual, I KNOW. The second one does fly with some people, not everyone have sex because of sexual attraction, some does it just for fun without caring who their partner is, or care but isn’t too picky about being attracted to them as long as they’re good looking. There are a ton of reasons why someone decides to have sex, and there are even more reasons for people not to have sex. Humans are complex beings, you can’t just say “date these people because preferences are stupid.” It doesn’t work like that.
“I could sit here and show you pictures of conventional attractive transpeople. There are definitely transpeople who you wouldn’t know were trans unless they told you.”
This is true, but once again, many people see trans as the people who are currently transitioning, and if you’re transitioning and aren’t done with your operations, your partner will notice once you do the thing. That will probably turn them off more than if you had told them to begin with! For those who are opposed to trans people even after the transitioning is over, I don’t understand why, but once again, human sexuality is complex and you CAN’T choose who you’re attracted to. Someone could be super attracted to a girl/guy in their class but once they find out that person has cancer and is most likely to die, that attraction can wear off super quickly. One word. That’s all it takes for the brain to go “oh… No… No no no no no no no.” This especially depends on for how long you’ve known the person. Met last week? Nope, it’s sad, but I don’t know this person enough to deal with it. Met them ten years ago. We already have a connection, so it’s probably fine, but then again there might be emotional reasons why I can’t. For a cancer patient it might be the trauma of possibly loosing someone and for a transperson it might be the possibility of being ostracized from your family. Now this might be an unfair comparison, but we all have things that we don’t want to loose or we can’t deal with. Some people can deal with any hardship no matter how big, while others crumble over the smallest third grade bully tactics. Not everyone can handle situations the same way.
“I think the main concern people have when dating a transperson is that they won’t have the genitals they expect, but I think people are more than their genitals, I think you can feel attraction for someone without knowing what’s between their legs.” (Note, sentence slightly altered by cutting out bit in middle, watch video for full quote.)
No one is arguing that you can feel attraction without knowing what’s between their legs. The problem comes when they figure out what’s between someone’s legs and their brain puts in the breaks. You don’t choose who you’re attracted to, your brain does unconscious decisions for you. You can be super attracted to someone and then things happens and your brain will start singing “F it all” while pretending there was nothing there to begin with.
With time, years and years of time, you can sometimes get a deep attraction based on personality alone, and at that point anything else concerning the persons race, gender, disabilites etc, won’t matter much. But that takes a lot of time and you don’t do it willingly, it is something that happens with a friend who you would be with no matter if you started dating or not. When it comes to dating as most people refer to as dating, meaning a person you have a crush on and want to get to know better when you don’t know each other too well, that is mostly based on sexual attraction to begin with. Eventually as you get more things in common, notice your differences and all those things, you will either loose that sexual attraction and move on or you will become more in love, getting more and more romantic feelings for one another. That ‘love’ you have for someone you barely know, usually start off with mostly sexual feelings. At that point it is mostly about the genitals and a curiosity about the other person. The further into such relationship you get, the less the genitals will matter and the personality will become the main focus.
You’re saying that being attracted only to people with a certain genitalia feels like it’s reducing people to their genitalia, but that’s wrong. Just because you don’t want to DATE a person with a certain genitalia doesn’t mean they are nothing but that thing. You can be friends with someone with the genitalia you don’t date, right? That’s a form of love and can sometimes be deeper and oftentimes IS deeper than the feelings for someone you’re dating. At least when it comes to the first year together. Relationships doesn’t always last, but friends will be there for you every time you’re dumped or have an argument with your significant other. Why is those relationships you’ve built up since kindergarten so insignificant just because you won’t date them? They are just as valid as any others and those are relations that are in NO way dependent on genitalia. I will say this as many times as I need to, YOU DON’T CHOOSE WHO YOU’RE SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO, and oftentimes when people aren’t sexually attracted to others, they will just want to be friends, which is okay and doesn’t reduce people to their genitalia.
“We have implicit biases which we were raised with or which we developed over time and it can be hard to get rid of.”
1) Much of it is biological factors.
2)Yes to some extent our environment does shape us, but it doesn’t decide who we’re attracted to. You won’t stop being gay because you grew up in a community that hates gay people. You might repress your feelings, but that’s a whole different thing entirely. You can be sexually attracted to a trans person, but because of the community you live in you repress those feelings and stay away. This has nothing to do who we’re attracted to. Either you are attracted to someone or you’re not, then if you are you have to decide if you’re going to do something about it. If you live in a harsh environment that doesn’t approve of your choice, you are more likely to hide your feelings.
“Some queer people have built their sexual identities on repulsion’s of the opposite genders genitalia.” (Sentence has been altered to make it shorter. See video for full quote.)
Or, this is just a thought, they might just have a natural repulsion to the opposite genders genitalia. I am asexual and I don’t find any genitalia attractive in any way, shape or form, and I am slightly sex repulsed. I would never think about touching someone’s genitalia, EVER. Why make a big deal out of people not liking certain genitalia? What do you want them to do? Have sex even though they’re repulsed? Or refrain from sex completely because their partner’s genitalia repulses them? This doesn’t work in most healthy relationships. Most people needs both emotional and sexual attraction to a person for their relationship to work. There ARE exception to the rules, I myself had an open relationship with my last partner so she could get her sexual fix while we were romanticly involved, but that’s not for everyone.
“If you met someone who’s extremely attractive, has a great personality, but didn’t have the genitals that you wanted, you might be surprised to find that it isn’t a deal breaker.”
This depends on the person. Is sex a big thing for them in a relationship? Then it might very well be a deal breaker if they don’t want sex with someone with a specific genitalia. Some people will be able to stay away from sex, others can have sex without the sexual attraction or with the ‘wrong’ genitalia, but far from everyone can do that. Sex and romance are heavily intertwined in the human psyche. You can’t just delete that from the hardware.
“We know that sexual orientation are more innate than learned.”
…. So you do realize it has to do with biology? THEN WHAT THE FUCK WAS THIS VIDEO ABOUT??
“Gay conversion therapy has been proven not to work, but you can unlearn your own prejudices, it just takes time and conscious effort.”
Back the tape. You JUST said that sexual orientation has to do with biology and nature and that you can’t change a gay man from being gay even if you try, but you still think that you can learn to be attracted towards someone of a different race, someone who’s trans, someone who’s fat or someone who’s disabled because that only has to do with prejudices? Some can have to do with it, but i can also have to do with you just NOT being attracted to them. Attraction isn’t just about personality, it can also be about sexuality, and if the sex doesn’t match, some people just can’t be sexually attracted to others.
You say that a gay man can’t stop being gay, but you seem to have the expectation that someone should be able to learn to date someone with a genitalia they aren’t sexually attracted to because that person is trans. Just like people tried to teach gay people to be sexually attracted to the opposite genitalia? Do you see where you’re failing in your argument? Sexual attraction and romantic attraction goes hand in hand for probably 90% of people. People want sex. People want sex with the genitalia they’re attracted to. People want sex with a person they get along with mentally and physically.
“Saying that you’re not attracted to fat people isn’t innate, it’s informed by a society that tells you that being thin is ideal.”
Yes, one part of our body preference does stem from society, but at the same time it ALSO has to do with nature and biology. The fatter you are, the less likely you will be to bear children, which will make a lot of people turn away from them as potential partners. They are also more likely to have great health problems such as diabetes, sleep apnea, heart problems, back problems, etc. The same goes for the overly thin, they are at risk of not getting children and if they do they can themselves be in great danger of dying while the child is growing inside them, they might get heart problems, weak and easily contract sickness. If someone is so thin they look sick, most people won’t date them, just like they won’t date someone who’s so fat their hospital bill will go through the roof cause of all the pills they need to eat to stay alive. Our instincts are to find a HEALTHY partner that can bear healthy children (or in the case of women, whom can be good caregivers). That’s in our nature.
“If you find someone attractive and you like spending time with them, there’s no reason why their weight should be a factor.”
Economics. That’s a big factor. Does the person have a stable job? Can the person move around properly? Is the person healthy? Does the person need to spend lots of money on medical things? These are factors that means A LOT. If they pass on all levels or you don’t mind certain aspects being an inconvenience in your life, then go for it, date them, but don’t shame people who won’t because they want a more secure life with a more healthy partner. Now, as I’ve said earlier, there are fat people who are relatively healthy, but there are even more that aren’t, and at some point if you don’t do anything about that weight, you’re risking to become severely unhealthy, like my dad.
It all depends on the situation of the person in question. Can they take on extra burdens if their partner isn’t well enough to function in a way that’s expected of people. For example, if the person they’re attracted to is heavily overweight and only have the strength to work 20 hours a week, you’ll HAVE to consider if you are willing to lift the weight of those lost 20 hours or if you can afford to loose such a huge amount of income if you ever get married.
“Disabilities comes in a very wide range and I think it’s ridiculous to say you couldn’t be attracted to any one person who has any of those disabilities.”
I fully agree. It all depends on the person and how much they are willing to do for their partner. How much can they give before the disability becomes too much? It’s up to everyone to decide where their line is drawn, and most people could probably date people with certain disabilities, but because there are such a wide range of disabilities, from mental to physical, they might just not think about what counts as disabilities when they are asked the question and only imagines some of the worst types which makes them say no. Missing a foot is a disability, but most people would probably not care about it, especially since people do learn to walk with help of fake limbs now a days, so it wouldn’t affect them much.
“Someone you’re extremely attracted to today, could become disabled tomorrow.”
True, but there is a difference between dating a person who then becomes disabled and dating someone who was already disabled when you met them. In one scenario, you already have a deep connection except if you’re at the start of your relationship, in that case it can still end quite abruptly because they haven’t gotten a deep enough connection yet to make such a choice. But even if you have a deep relationship, if the disability is extremely grave, it can end a relationship. Usually not immediately, but because of all the changes people have to make, the strain on the economics, etc, people can easily drift apart, just like it sometimes does in any ‘normal’ relationship.
In the second scenario they haven’t gotten any emotional connection to one another, so their brain will more easily tell them “well, that person isn’t suited to have kids. No attraction there.” That’s really not something you can do anything about. If you don’t feel attracted to disabled people just like that, then you just don’t feel attracted to disabled people. If you get to know someone as a friend, then maybe after some time you will start becoming attracted to them, just like you could any other friend. Sometimes if a person isn’t suited as a sexual partner, you won’t be attracted to them from the start, but if you have the same interests a romance might grow over the course of years. When you ask people “would you be or are you attracted to this type of people.” People won’t answer with how they’d feel if they got into a long lasting friendship that then developed into attraction, they will answer with how they feel during the first few times of meeting someone. That’s just how people think. It’s first when you sit down and think about these questions for a longer period of time that you might realize “yeah, I probably could date that kind of person if they had this personality.”
I am skipping the part of disabilities in media. I haven’t seen enough disabilities in media to know how they are represented or about the exceptions to the rules etc. All I will say is tragedy sells, which is why cancer is so popular.
“Now if you’re not attracted to someone, you’re not attracted to them. I’m not gonna tell you that you have to be attracted to this fat person or that trans person or that disabled person. But the more you work on unlearning your own prejudices, the more you will be able to see the people from these groups as people.”
DUDE! JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T DATE PEOPLE WITH CERTAIN ATTRIBUTES DOES NOT MEAN YOU DON’T SEE THEM AS PEOPLE. My best friend’s little brother has cerebral pares (CP). He’s really smart, and has a good personality, but would I date him? No! (Let’s say that he was my age instead of 7 years younger for the sake of the argument.) I’m unable to communicate with him, I’m not attracted to him and he needs constant help in his every day life. Do I see him as a person? Yes. I see him as a person, and I recognize that he’s a nice guy, and even if we were the same age and we had stuff in common I still wouldn’t date him because economically, mentally, communicably wise and physically it wouldn’t work for me.
This is a very extreme case, I know that, but it does highlight the issue. At what point is it acceptable not to date someone for their disability because it is too straining for a person? Is it when they can’t take care of any part of their life and can’t talk? Or is it when they loose a leg? Everyone has their own limits, and those limits does not mean we aren’t seeing people as people, those limits recognizes that WE OURSELVES are human beings. We are flawed and sometimes we can’t take what life is throwing at us. I can barely take care of myself, so being in a relationship where I have to take care of another person to ANY extent won’t work for me. That’s my limit. I’m only human. But saying that me not wanting to date someone is me not recognizing them as a human being and only seeing their genitalia, that’s your world view being in a very odd place. I recognize my friends as human beings, as people. If one of them came up to me and asked if we could date and I said no because I’m not attracted to them, that’s not me reducing them to their genitalia, that’s just me not being attracted to them and only wanting to be friends because I still like them as a person, even though I don’t like them THAT MUCH.
Okay, I’m done.