by LEILA BLAKE
1. Don't refer to me as a "tranny."
Sure, while you might see a lot of trans porn stars labelling themselves that way, many trans women experience it as derogatory. The term "tranny" makes me feel like a thing rather than a person. Porn companies are giving their audience a fantasy.
Unfortunately, these fantasies are all too often produced and directed by men. Simply put: Don't let what you see in porn dictate how you communicate with a trans woman.
2. Don't make me feel like I need to be your teacher 24/7.
Many guys tend to ask questions, which is good in some circumstances. For example, once we've gotten to know each other, asking me if I'm non-op (transgender individuals who have not had any surgery), pre-op (transgender individuals who have not had genital surgery, but may have had breast augmentations) or post-op (transgender individuals who have had breast augmentation and genital surgery) is fine, since it's a personal question about me. Asking me what's the difference between a cross dresser and transgender makes me feel like I'm your personal textbook. Also, it's kind of offensive! A lot of this information is available online.
Do a little research first, please.
3. Treat me like a person and not a sexual unicorn.
Men that I've dated tend to oversexualize transgender women as these rare, mystical beings who are always horny and ready to have sex. When I've met men at a bar or restaurant, I've had great conversations with them. Once they ask me out and I inform them of my gender, however, a total 360 happens. Once, when I was at a lounge with a few friends, I went to the bar to grab some drinks and met this guy.
After about 10 minutes of conversation he asked if he could take me out the following night. I leaned forward and whispered in his ear, "I'm a transgender female." His looked shocked, but then he then grabbed my thigh and asked, "Can I see your cock?" Sadly, this is not uncommon territory; trans people are often violated like this. To many guys, we're "good enough" for sex but not to be seen out with in public.
4. Be prepared for some "hairy" situations.
Some girls are further along in their transitions than others. When you've recently started dating a girl who is early-to-mid transition, don't look at her like she's Chewbacca for having some facial stubble in the morning. We're likely to already feel insecure about it; guys or girls, please don't add insult to injury.
5. Be secure with yourself and the relationship.
If you are only comfortable with me in the bedroom, then you are not comfortable with yourself. You should be able to be secure at the beach, coffee shop, and anywhere else. Trans women can sense when men are insecure about dating us because they don't show affection like they would behind closed doors. A friend of mine told me that a guy she was seeing would intentionally walk ahead of her and not show any form of PDA, and only wanted to do takeout from restaurants. She asked him why he kept doing this and he said he didn't want anyone to know they were together because she was not very "passable." This, my friends, is the definition of a true asshole.
6. Don't stereotype me.
Yes, there are some trans women who are escorts; however, that is not the case for everyone. Way too often, guys will throw around some equally bigoted remark and then say, "Don't be offended, I don't know much about this stuff," as if ignorance makes it OK for you to imply I'm a prostitute.
7. Don't compare me to women.
We are not and will never be cis women. So, when you're talking to a trans woman, don't refer to cis women as "normal" or "regular" girls. This can come off pretty damn ignorant and make a trans girl feel like you see her as something abnormal, like she's not really a girl.
8. Yes, I graduated from college.
When I go on dates, so many guys are surprised to hear that I attended a four-year college and have graduated. Being a trans woman does not mean we all come from broken and battered homes, and have no education or plans for our future.
9. We need to get through one date before discussing sex.
I need the time to know you before I can let you in my bedroom. I cannot count how many dates I've been on where within the first 15 minutes, guys are asking me about what I'd like to do to them. This is a massive turn-off. If I wanted sex right now I wouldn't be here, on a date in a public place, with my clothes on, and not in your bedroom.
10. But we should still probably discuss sex before we do it.
If you're dating a pre-op girl, there are many things to consider that might not come up when dating cis women. For example: oral stimulation. How comfortable does the man feel performing it, and how comfortable is the woman receiving it? Some pre-op trans girls are opposed to having their penis touched and some are comfortable with it as long as the guy is comfortable. This is a relationship and what happens between those four walls is something that is shared between you two. So if your male partner is more inclined to give oral or even be penetrated, have at it. Just talk it out first.
11. Dating a trans woman does not make you gay.
Dating a trans woman is ultimately dating a woman; what you are attracted to physically is typically her femininity. We are not men. Yes, we were born boys and some of us may have the same genitals, however, there is more to a relationship than just your junk. And hey, there are many "straight" couples who incorporate "pegging" or strap-ons into their sex lives. The labels are just not necessary. Love is love.
12. I am not an experiment.
I am not your lab rat or personal science experiment. It's already hard for a trans girl to genuinely date or be in a relationship, because of, oh, I don't know: points nos. 1–11. Guys, be very clear and up-front about what you are seeking. If it's not something the woman is looking for, then move on.
13. No, not all trans women are porn stars.
If you came into the relationship thinking you were about to have the wildest, best sex that makes you pop like warm champagne, you might need to reconsider. Porn is fantasy; not every girl is going to give you Mia Bella in sexy lingerie and serve you a platter of the raunchiest sex you've had. Don't let porn overshadow the girl.
14. Be accepting and supportive of the transition.
There are so many steps within our transition, and more than likely each of them costs a substantial amount of money. From hormones and laser hair removal to breast augmentations and gender confirmation surgery. You have to be patient because it truly costs for us to be the woman we see ourselves as. Don't be the guy to lose out on a great girl because she hasn't had her breasts done yet.