Part of my ongoing series of articles for young TS women.

Going out on dates can be really fun and exciting, especially once you can start dating as the real you. However, don't let the initial thrill cloud your judgment.

This advice is written specifically for surgery-tracked TS women in their teens and twenties. Some of the information may be useful to others.

Some of this is just notes for now...

The Queer Resources Directory has a great list of dating tips:

Find out who your date is.

Ask for your date's first and last name, where they work and live, and what they like and don't like.

Ask around to see if anyone knows the person.

Introduce your date to others (e.g., your friends, the bartender.)

Tell a friend where you're going, or call your own answering machine as if you were calling a friend.

Make sure your date knows you spread the word about them.

Choose public places, such as malls or restaurants, for first meetings. Leave your date’s name and telephone number with that person. Never arrange for your date to pick you up at home. Provide your own transportation, meet in a public place at a time when many people are present, and when the date is over, leave on your own as well. A familiar restaurant or coffee shop, at a time when a lot of other people will be present is often a fine choice. Avoid hikes, bike rides or drives in remote areas for the first few dates. If you decide to move to another location, take your own car. When the timing is appropriate, thank your date for getting together and say goodbye.

Protect your valuables. Don't carry extra cash.

If you bring someone home, don't leave your wallet, cash, or valuables in sight. Your possessions -- and the person you brought home -- could all be gone while you're in the shower or asleep.

Watch for red flags. Pay attention to any displays of anger, intense frustration or attempts at pressuring or controlling you. Acting in a passive-aggressive manner, making demeaning or disrespectful comments or any physically inappropriate behavior are all red flags. You should also be concerned if your date exhibits any of the following conduct without providing an acceptable explanation:

Provides inconsistent information about age, interests, appearance, marital status, profession, employment, etc.

Fails to provide direct answers to direct questions.

Never introduces you to friends, professional associates or family members. This is an especially big problem for TG women with tranny-chasers. Not only is it insulting and degrading, but it's a sign that they are not secure with their own sexual identity. This might prove to be a serious problem at a later point, whether it's heartbreak, or even a dangerous situation where they take their self-hatred out on you.

If you decide to bring someone home, introduce her or him to a friend, acquaintance or bartender so that someone knows who you left with.

Never do anything you feel unsure about. If you are in any way afraid of your date, use your best judgment to diffuse the situation and get out of there. Excuse yourself long enough to call a friend for advice, ask someone else on the scene for help, or slip out the back door and drive or run away. If you feel you are in danger call the police. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

I highly recommend reading Jennifer Reitz' excellent dating guide.

Dating TG men

One of my best friends dated a TS man for a while. He was very hot-- worked out, had a great bod, and he was one of the few guys I know who looked good with facial hair. I never would have known had I not been told.I think the benefit of this relationship was they were both pretty interested in traditional male-female roles in a relationship. He was very chivalrous and sort of old-fashioned in how he treated her, and she responded in the same way. Yet they were both obviously open-minded in general. It seemed to me the real attraction was that they UNDERSTOOD... they knew exactly how it feels to deal with being TS, and they were able to get past that faster than someone non-TG could. It makes you more aware to the sensitivities of your partner.

A note on transfans

They call themselves admirers, or maybe transfans, and they get called tranny-chasers and other derogatory names sometimes.

I went out with my share of admirers when I first went full-time. Most of them were very nice (and some were extraordinarily hot), although several of them had pretty serious hang-ups about their own feelings. They seemed to be pretty uncomfortable with the fact that they liked transsexuals. A couple of them seemed to pin their own self-loathing on me. It's interesting to note that a lot of transsexual women have the same response to them-- they hate their gender issues so much that they are repulsed by anyone who likes them because they have gender issues.

I can assure you WAY more men than would admit are intrigued by the idea. In fact, the most vocal about how much they dislike TS women probably have the highest combination of desire and fear of their own desire.

  • bi-curious
  • gay-curious
  • crossdressers
  • future transsexuals

Dating TG women

This happens quite a bit, and it seems to be even more common with later-transitioning TS women. In my own case, I told myself for a long time that I was simply attracted to transsexuals, not that I wanted to be one. That means you might run into someone with the following interests:

  • Living vicarously through you
  • The exotic or forbidden stereotype of transsexuals

Drugs and alcohol

A lot of younger TGs, especially in the club scene or in college, are going to encounter drugs and alcohol. I've personally made a number of extremely bad decisions when drunk or high, from sex partners to other unsafe activities like going someplace with complete strangers.

Alcohol is by far the most common problem. I like to drink, but it's important to stay in control, or at the very least, stay with someone who is in control (i.e., not drinking or taking drugs).

Get/mix your own drinks: There may be a reason a person insists on getting or mixing you a drink. Getting you drunk or giving you "knockout drops" is an easy way to cloud your judgment.

The date rape pill has been discussed a lot on television and in magazine articles. Personally, I think the scare is a little overhyped, since alcohol, ecstasy, and depressants are the most likely to impair your judgment. The following safety habits can protect you from a bad experience:When going out, if you have a friend you trust with you, you are safer. Watch out for your friends and make sure they are watching out for you when you are places with lots of people or people you don't know and trust like at a party or in a coffeehouse or in a bar. Be aware. Now that you know about the date rape pill, it is your responsibility to watch out for yourself and people you care about. Don't go home with someone you don't both know and trust and don't accept drinks when you are alone at a house where there are strangers (like at a party). Watch when someone pours you a drink. Better yet, get your own drink. Make an agreement ahead of time with friends that you won't let each other leave with people you haven't planned to go with. Don't leave your drink or food unattended at a party or coffeehouse or lounge or anywhere else that people you don't know and trust could have access to it.

If you are going to use drugs and/or alcohol, try do do it with a group of friends, and try to have one who is going to take it easy that night and watch out for everyone else. Make sure your friends don't let you go off by yourself with someone you don't know well.

Final note

Again: You are far more likely to be assaulted by a date, coworker, or a friend than by a stranger.

Never worry or feel embarrassed about your behavior if you feel threatened.

Most people are basically good, and physical attacks are fairly rare. Don't let fear of an attack rule your life. Go out. Have fun. You've earned it after all you've been through. Just make sure you stay safe. The vast majority of attacks can be avoided by taking a few simple precautions.

So have fun, but be careful, OK?

See also my pages on sex work safety and on internet safety and stealth.

Sources: Andrea Brown at TransAlba Transsexual Support, LAMBDA, the Chicago Police Department and Queer Resources Directory