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Most people who meet Colleen don’t know she’s transgender.Typically, she discloses after she's gotten to know someone. Interpersonal relationships are formed in the context of social, cultural and other influences.The context can vary from family or kinship relations, friendship, marriage, relations with associates, work, clubs, neighborhoods, and places of worship.While he has dated some people through the site—it’s where he met the woman he’s seeing—he is frustrated with the limited ways transgender people are able to identify on the site, “because you don’t fit into these little boxes, or the people you’re interested in don’t fit in neat little boxes.” La Mon wasn't alone in his discontent.Last year, Yeni Sleidi met a software developer named Asher Snyder who was fed up with what he calls the “Tinderification” of online dating.
From the beginning, she knew it was important to allow people to identify as queer and transgender in their profiles.
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.
As La Mon noted, it all comes down to “the age-old question of when you disclose” your transgender identity.
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.