It can feel awkward to meet and get to know trans women, and ts dating can bring even more nerves about, especially when it comes to conversation and compliments. Wanting to say the right thing and wanting to make your trans date feel good at the same time can make a lot of men tongue-tied. All women like to be complimented, but think before you say the following to a trans woman:
“You look so much like a woman.”
This one can be particularly hurtful because a trans woman has never felt like anything but a woman. And maybe she’s still in transition, but even so, it will always be more about how she feels and not how she looks.
“I would never have guessed you weren’t a woman.”
Although made with good intention, a trans woman knows she isn’t a man, so this is a meaningless comment.
“You’re so brave, so courageous.”
This can be taken as pity or condolence rather than a compliment. She may internalize this as being able to deal with a horrible fate that was thrust upon her.
“You pass so well.”
Telling her you think she’s “passing as a woman” makes it sound like it’s a game and she’s winning as opposed to failing. A trans woman’s life isn’t about passing, it’s about being the woman she is.
You may read this and think, oh great, now I’m scared to say anything to a t-girl. But don’t be, because what one lady perceives as complimentary, another may not. Yes, we are complicated creatures. Most women, however, even if they don’t like what you say, will recognize whether you’re trying to be sincere or not. On a first date with a trans woman you can compliment her abilities and achievements, and as you get to know her begin to slowly address her gender-related struggles.
TS Readers: Any “compliments” you can’t stand or have given with regret?