Whether you’re dating a transwoman or becoming a transman yourself, there are a few unspoken rules in the world of transgender dating. Here are just 10 tips for keeping your foot firmly out of your mouth.
1. Be Honest
Don’t misrepresent yourself either online or in person. If you’re pre-op, say so. If your breasts are body foam, bring up cross-dressing over coffee and see how your partner reacts. You don’t have to give away all your secrets on the first date, but the longer you wait to share certain truths, the harder they’ll be to swallow.
2. Know the Lingo
Not every transwoman is a drag queen. Not every transman considers himself gay. Before you take your first steps in alternative dating, make sure you understand all the terminology that goes with it. For example, if you don’t know what “cissexual” means or what the acronyms BA, GCS or HRT stand for, it’s time to do some research before you embarrass yourself in front of that beautiful VGV TG.
3. Avoid Inflammatory Language
In the same vein as the above, nothing will turn people off faster than a dating profile declaring its interest in “sexy shemales” or “hot trannies.” Transpeople aren’t objects, and unless you’re on a seriously kinky website, most will resent being treated as such. Stay as courteous and respectful as you would on any other dating platform.
4. Talk About Kinks
Not every transwoman likes to be spanked while listening to Pink Floyd’s The Wall, but if you catch that lucky lady, you’re going to be pretty embarrassed if you don’t know anything but the missionary position. Discuss your kinks before heading into the bedroom. Again, you don’t have to share everything right away, but it’s a good idea to make sure you’re sexually compatible before attempting actual sex at craigslistpersonalsalternative.com.
5. Don’t Ask About the Plumbing
This applies to both cispeople and trans people who are dating someone like them. Don’t ask about genitalia! It implies that you don’t care how smart, funny or interesting they are; you’re only interested in what they keep in their pants. Don’t talk about parts unless they bring it up first or show interest in the topic. It’s an important exchange to have, certainly, but it’s one that can wait until the second or third date when you’re more comfortable with each other and open to the idea of an actual relationship.
6. Date from the Right Circles
Heterosexual couples may be able to find love in the produce section, but it’s a little more difficult for trans people. Whether you’re trans yourself or just interested in dating that way, you might want to stick to alternative dating websites or gay-friendly places in your neighborhood. That way you’ll be able to pick from a pool of LGBT singles instead of just catching someone’s eye over the oranges and hoping fervently that they’re not a bigot.
7. Allow for Some Uncertainty
Transwomen weren’t raised as women, so they might be a little sensitive or insecure in their femininity. They might also go in the opposite direction and be very brash and aggressive. When dating a transwoman, the key is to be open and accepting no matter where they are on the path of self-acceptance. Let them figure things out for themselves. Your role is just a supportive one in their journey.
8. Apologize for Your Mistakes
It’s easy to mix up terms and pronouns even if you’re transgender yourself. The important thing is that you don’t linger on or try to justify your gaffe. For example, if you call your date “gay” but they consider themselves heterosexual in the wrong body, don’t get into a 30-minute argument about terminology. Apologize, respect their label and move on. You could be doing something romantic instead of squabbling about semantics.
9. Don’t Treat Them As An “Other”
The first time you introduce your date as “my transgender girlfriend” will also be the last. For the most part, trans people are looking for the same kinds of relationships as cispeople, and that means not treating them as exotic commodities or a topic of gossip among your friends. Stop those Victor/Victoria jokes before they even begin. Punch your buddy in the face if he starts to ask about genitalia. Your date will see it as gallant.
10. Stay Safe
It’s a dangerous world out there, especially for trans people who meet online. Take precautions while looking for The One. Meet in a public place for your first date; have a friend awaiting your call at a certain hour; don’t go anywhere with someone if they make you uncomfortable. Look out for red flags in their language, too. Some trans people have yet to accept themselves, so if you notice any alarming or self-loathing phrases, get out before you wind up in The Silence of the Lambs.