Why don't trans women marry?

The Third Sex Issue 3, article 9 (February 1931)

The public interest in gender identity and expression1 almost leads me as a trans woman2 to believe that our problem and our lives are theoretically and practically nearly solved and that there are few obstacles for trans people3. A butch woman who wears men’s clothes4 remains exactly what she is in enlightened circles, and a gentleman will never allow himself to make a disparaging remark about this woman because she is a lady. The common, “normal” masses simply call them “sophisticated”, they are surrounded with a sensational aura of sensuality, which the “decent” philistine might feed on. She is simply a lady and is treated as a lady in public. She can have a girlfriend, can also kiss her girlfriend in public, dance with her girlfriend and live together. Nobody will be much offended and if anyone is offended to a degree … they are just “ladies.” And women’s fashion is already so masculine today that only the pants are missing; but a butch woman4 knows what to do: there are sport and motorcycle suits with pants for women, cycling shorts, etc. She doesn’t need to get married, she has everything and can have everything she wishes for her personal enjoyment.

But now to the trans women3. Why do trans women2 want to get married and why do they marry so rarely? I would like to share my experiences about this and possibly also hear opinions.

For 7 years I have been looking for a really stately, handsome, understanding, 35-year-old lady to marry. I’ve revealed my intention to marry with the various female acquaintances from mainly educated circles. In the course of a later conversation I touched on a sexual-scientific issue and also mentioned my disposition as a trans woman2. The result was mostly a farewell letter or a sudden strong astonishment with punitive contempt. Then I tried my luck with trans men5, through advertisements in special interest magazines, personal acquaintances in well-known political clubs6, etc. Of course, they understood my disposition, were quite interesting, pleasant companions, but did not want to marry a trans woman3.

Why do some trans women3, including me, want to get married now?

First of all, it’s best that a civil servant, businessperson or artist never shows their individuality. A constant desire over the years to wear women’s clothing drains you. Increasing nervousness, remorse, and self-rebuke plague the body, you get older, more mature, you can’t marry, you ponder and examine yourself, you cannot at first grasp it, you don’t understand that nature gave us a second self. You read books on sexual questions and finally you have to admit that you also belong to these natures. You still struggle against it, throw your life into an unhappy marriage or are close to taking your life until the spell is finally broken; you give your woman’s soul the longed-for shell, you breathe a sigh of relief, you feel relieved. As a bachelor you move into a room, you live as you wish, you satisfy your soul at night. When everyone is asleep, you put on your beloved women’s clothes and live an hour of happiness to yourself, then everything is carefully and anxiously locked again just so the landlady doesn’t notice or find anything. You live alone with this little joy year in, year out; an abandoned, closed existence, without exchanging thoughts with another person, you mistrust everyone. Is it any wonder that a trans woman2 longs for an understanding companion? You have a comrade who can give advice, with whom you can live together, with whom you are entitled to live, and with whom you can found your own home and paradise for yourself, who takes care of the shopping, because it’s always strange for a gentleman to be in a ladies’ clothing store asking for silk combinations7 and other items of clothing in size 46/48.

Now to marriage itself: what are the benefits of having a trans woman2 for a wife?8

First of all, fidelity, because a trans woman2 will never be untrue. Second, in addition to our job, we help the woman (in some cases the man) in the household and devote ourselves to our home. Third, a trans woman2 will allow her possibly differently-minded wife to love a girlfriend in the most generous way. We trans women3 only want to be understood according our feminine soul9, nothing else.

Why then, in spite of everything, is it so difficult to find a comrade, a loving woman …? Why? Those who face this difficult fate aren’t able to experiment, but remain alone in love … forever lonely.

  1. transvestitischen Veranlagung. This article deals both with those who have a trans identity (e.g. the author who was assigned male at birth and has a “female soul”) and women who “cross-dress,” that is, those whose gender expression does not match what would be common for someone of their assigned sex at birth. This expression falls under the broad definition of “transgender” identity and expression. 

  2. Transvestit  2 3 4 5 6 7

  3. Transvestiten  2 3 4 5

  4. Transvestitin. This translation isn’t straightforward because the author is clearly speaking about cisgender lesbian women who “cross-dress.” But the masculine form, Transvestit, (lit. male who cross-dresses) is later used to describe someone assigned male at birth who wants to be realted to according to their “female soul.” The term “trans man” certainly doesn’t fit in this context for Transvestitin, so I’m going with the idea of a “butch woman” because it was quite popular at that time for AFAB individuals to wear men’s clothing whether they were cis, straight, lesbian, or trans men. I’m also going with the idea that the author sees greater acceptance of gender nonconformance as a reason for hope of broader acceptance of trans gender identities as well. I could definitely see an argument that the author is only speaking of male and female “cross-dressers” finding equal acceptance but the discussion of gender roles and having a “feminie soul” at the end leads me to conclude otherwise.  2

  5. transvestitischen Frauen 

  6. Verkehrslokalen. These were bars and restaurants associated with specific associations or political parties. These could be bars catering to bicycle clubs, communists, or Nazis. 

  7. seidene Kombinationen. Combinations were bodysuit style undergarments 

  8. Welche Vorteile bietet der Transvestit der Ehefrau? 

  9. Frauenseele