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Colleen, who asked that we not use her real name, is a 30-year-old transgender woman who has been dating online since she was a teenager.
She's in a monogamous relationship now, but before she fell in love she had an OKCupid profile that identified her as a straight woman.
Mesh, which is in pre-beta, allows users to identify as male, female, transman, transwoman, or non-binary—a person who doesn't identify as male or female.Categories for sexual orientation are straight, gay, bisexual, or queer.Users can also tell Mesh if they are interested in meeting men, women, or everyone.But not every transgender person wants to be this open.For those who don’t disclose their trans identity online, safety and rejection are big concerns.
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.