Trans activists Fox and Owl: Dating as trans person is a ‘horror story’

Fox and Owl give advice on how to be a transgender ally (PinkNews)

Fox and Owl are trans and non-binary rights activists—and they’re a couple.

Before meeting each other though, dating was an ordeal as they faced misgendering and having to come out, not knowing how dates would react.

Fox and Owl both grew up with little access to information about what it means to be transgender or non-binary but now hope young people won’t have to go through the same isolation.

They’ve written an informative book, Trans Teen Survival Guide, which they say is “the book I really needed when I was growing up.”

Fox tells PinkNews: “Growing up as a teenager, it was a really difficult time for me. My first puberty, the wrong puberty as I call it, was an absolute nightmare.

“With every day, I felt increasingly disconnected from my body and my mental health suffered as a consequence so I turned to drugs and alcohol and attention in all the wrong places.

“I’d hate for people to have to experience what I went through—it wasn’t a good time at all. I’m just happy to be alive, actually.”

Owl grew up in rural Iceland with little access to information about being transgender, and no internet until the age of 16.

They said: “It’s an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and if that wasn’t rural enough, the farm I was living at was incredibly rural in that context.

“There was absolutely nothing about trans people so finding people who are like me was impossible and I didn’t have the agency or the words to explain [how I felt], and I didn’t have any role models. I didn’t see anybody like me.”

 

Fox and Owl have written a Trans Teen Survival Guide (PinkNews)

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Aimed at trans teenagers, parents, friends and allies, their new book contains advice on pronouns, dating, how to come out, navigating school, dealing with the media – and a few “awkward trans tales, too.”

Trans dating

Dating, they told PinkNews, is often incredibly difficult for trans people.

“When I first came out to my parents, I remember my mum said: ‘But who will love you?’” Fox said.

“I thought, god mum, I’ve got to love myself first.”

Owl explained: “As trans people ourselves we’ve gone through the dating world and known all the horrors and the amazing things that come with dating and being with someone.

“Obviously we’ve found each other so we’re kind of past the idea of dating at this point—thankfully because, for me, dating always seemed really horrific, like a horror story.

“I was always concerned about how people would react once they knew I was trans, or if people knew.

“When we talk about dating we often hear people say: ‘Well I would never date a trans person.’

Owl and Fox are a couple (PinkNews)

“This is what trans people hear pretty much every day and when you hear this, you will internalise a certain level of shame about yourself and feel like you have to apologise for being trans.

“I think when people say these things, there’s something deeper behind that. It’s not just a preference—it’s prejudice.

“You never know who’s trans anyway and if you like someone, then surely that goes beyond gender or bodies or expression.

“Some people say they want a certain type of body and that’s fine, but to say you would never date a trans person is just a generalisation you cannot make.”

The couple’s new book, Trans Teen Survival Guide, is based on a Tumblr page of the same name by late trans activist Chrissie Bentley.

Fox said: “Unfortunately she took her own life and she won’t live to see the release of the book.

“We hope Chrissie’s advice and support of other people will live on through her films, site and the book, so this book is dedicated to Chrissie Bentley as well.

“I guess it goes to show about suicide statistics with trans people and it never stops.”

Trans Teen Survival Guide is on sale now and both Fox and Owl are hosting a launch event at a Waterstones store in London on Monday 24 September, 2018.

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