First Dates star opens up about exhausting realities of dating while trans
A trans man opened up about the stigma he faces on the dating scene from people who have a “small town mentality” on First Dates Ireland.
Harry, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, went on a date with Muirenn from Cork on Thursday’s episode (15 April) of the hit dating show.
Kicking off their date, Harry and Muirenn bonded as they both realised their last relationships ended at the start of lockdown last year.
When Muirenn asked Harry if Belfast is “any good for dating”, he opened up about the challenge of having to constantly explain the fact that he’s trans to new people.
“It’s difficult enough in Belfast and I actually… I’m a trans guy, and it’s not – I don’t see it as a big deal but a lot of people do,” Harry said.
“It’s a lot of energy to explain to someone, like I don’t have the time for that always,” he said.
Speaking in a pre-recorded interview, Harry said: “There is a stigma around it, and it’s not particularly nice being on the receiving end.”
When asked by Muirenn if he’s had any “bad experiences” on dates, Harry replied: “Yeah, yeah. I mean, you get the rejection of people being like, ‘Ah that’s not for me.’ But I feel like living in Ireland, a lot of people have small town mentality. They’re like, ‘That’s so weird!’ and you’re like, ‘Really?’
He added: “I’m just like anyone else really. Just wanna get on the dating scene and have fun and enjoy it like any young guy should.”
“I think you’re totally right though,” Muirenn told Harry. “It is about Ireland in that we’re a very conservative country, as much as we’d like to think we’re very forward thinking, it takes us a while to get to places. We do get there in the end, but it just takes us a while.”
Throughout their date, Harry opened up about becoming homeless as a teenager while doing his A-Levels, telling Muirenn about the challenges of growing up in a “really religious” family.
— RTÉ2 (@RTE2) April 15, 2021
“It got to a point that it was really affecting me mentally. It was kind of a mutual agreement for me to leave,” he said.
The pair also discovered that their star signs are a perfect match – Muirenn is a Taurus and Harry is a Cancer.
They also bonded over their mutual emo phases in their teenage years. Wrapping up the episode, Harry said Muirenn was “very beautiful” and was “absolutely” his type.
While he would have been happy to go on another date to see where things went, Muirenn felt that they didn’t have a romantic spark.
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“I think we had a great conversation, I just don’t think it was very romantic. I think I’d prefer to be friends,” she said.
“I think we got on very well, I don’t think it was flirty in any way.”
Opening up about the experience on Twitter, Harry said: “I may have got a no but sure look I got a decent meal, good convo and a good set of photos out of it.”
— Smarry (@HarryJ_Matthews) April 15, 2021