Transgender First Dates contestant: ‘It’s very rare to see a trans man on TV’
A transgender man who made a landmark appearance on First Dates Hotel has spoken out against a lack of trans representation on TV, saying: “I’ve never seen anything major about trans men.”
Nick, from Glasgow, spoke to PinkNews after going to an Italian hotel looking for love in the episode, which aired last week.
He went on two dates with cisgender man and fellow Glaswegian geek, Lewis.
Nick, who is pansexual, had previously only dated women, but went on the show open to dating men.
The two hit it off, bonding over being geeks and the difficult time they had in school.
Lewis was surprised when Nick told him he was transgender – surprised, but not shaken.
After the date, Nick and Lewis continued their romance – even going on a date to the cinema.
PinkNews spoke to Nick after the episode aired about his experience transitioning, representation of trans men in the media and advice he would offer a young person struggling with their gender identity.
PinkNews: Hi Nick. What did you expect when going on First Dates Hotel?
Nick: To be honest, I was kind of nervous at first, because I’ve not seen a lot of people who are transgender on TV.
I thought if I went on to this kind of show I would get a lot of bad feedback, but it’s been the complete opposite and it’s been quite surprising.
PinkNews: Are you and Lewis still seeing each other?
Nick: We’re not, unfortunately. There wasn’t that spark we thought there was going to be, but we are still friends.
PinkNews: On the show, Lewis pointed out how comfortable and confident you were with yourself. Do you think a lot of that is down to having such an accepting family?
Nick: I do. If it weren’t for the fact that my mum and dad are so accepting and my sister and my aunts are, I don’t think I would be as confident as I am. Even then, I’m not majorly confident.
When I’m in a social situation I try to put myself out of my comfort zone, so I can become a bit more confident and it does help.
PinkNews: Do you think there is enough representation of trans men on TV and if not, how do you think this could be improved?
Nick: I don’t see that much representation of trans men. I only see a lot about trans women on TV shows like Orange is the New Black. I’ve never seen anything major about trans men.
People should go onto shows like First Dates and First Dates Hotel to show that there are trans men out there. The only trans man in the media I think I can name is Chaz Bono.
It’s very rare that you see a trans man in the media. To actually have a trans man in a movie or TV show would be amazing because TV shows and movies always influence a lot of people. We need more representation in all kinds of media, just to get the information out there.
PinkNews: At the end of last year, it was announced that the Scottish Government would be reviewing the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, to make the process of legally changing gender easier. When you were transitioning, how was your experience with healthcare and legally changing your name?
Nick: I’m not going to lie, my experience with healthcare has been amazing. The doctors I’ve had have been so accepting. There has never been any malice from any of them.
There was one surgery I wasn’t happy with, though. It was my top half, mainly because it was on the NHS. It was just straight two straight scars across my chest. No definition, nothing at all like that.
That kind of annoyed me a wee bit, but I can’t fault them for anything else they were so helpful with everything. When it came to changing my name, I had to do it through deed poll. So, I had to get the forms and have someone I’ve known for five years to witness it.
Once it went through the deed poll, I just had to send that away to the bank. There have never been any problems with changing my name. I’m quite happy about that. My gender identity has been changed on my ID and passport as well. It was quite simple to change, as I had the proof that I had changed my name.
PinkNews: Lewis said: “In the gay would, you have to be super skinny or super muscular or no one is going to look at you.” What are your thoughts on this?
Nick: I have to agree with him. Especially on the gay scene on Glasgow, it’s all about the really skinny guys or the big buff muscular guys whenever you are out. Anyone who has the slightest bit of fat on them is pushed to the side as if they’re not good enough for the scene. It’s happened to me a few times, but I take it in my stride and continue on.
If that’s the way they’re going to be that’s the way they’re going to be. I agree with him there is a massive stereotype that is annoying. There’s either really skinny or really muscular, there’s no in between.
PinkNews: What was your experience on dating apps like Grindr?
Nick: I’m still on Tinder too, but I’ve never met anyone from them. People will ask me what my profile means with it saying trans. I will tell them and a lot of people have actually been really accepting, but I’ve had the odd person say: “You shouldn’t be on here,” and stuff.
I just block them, because I don’t need their prejudice.
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PinkNews: What advice would you offer to a young person who is struggling with their gender identity?
Nick: Don’t be scared to be you. Don’t close yourself in, because I did that for years and it wasn’t nice. Don’t isolate yourself. Just speak to someone.
It doesn’t have to be your family. Just speak to someone you know will be accepting and you’ll realise there are people out there who actually want to help you and actually accept you for who you are.
First Dates Hotel – Series 2 concludes tonight at 10pm on Channel 4. Interested in taking part in First Dates? Please visit https://www.firstdatescasting.co.uk/