A reader recently commented on our post Where to Meet Transexuals:
“Being ‘picked up’ can be fun sometimes. Sometimes when out I’m more passable than other times. I often notice guys checking me out, but I’m never really sure if that’s good or bad (so I’m afraid of approaching them.) Are there ‘tricks’ to know if a man is approachable?”
It is fun to meet men, flirt, and get picked up, and there’s no reason not to enjoy the dance! But you are ahead of the game, knowing that us gals, especially trans women, are potentially at risk.
Men are on average stronger than women, cis or trans, and they are far more likely to commit acts of violence or sexual aggression than are women.
That said, most men want the same things we do—to be admired, found attractive, treated with respect. They want to meet women, share drinks and conversation, laugh, date, and have sex. That’s why they’re there, checking you out.
Men and women both risk rejection when we show each other attention. Transgender women have another risk in the dating game—that of disclosure. Whether a man figures out on his own that a woman is transgender, or she shares it, or it’s a surprise when getting intimate, there are guys who react badly. Some people are very insecure, repressed, homophobic, transphobic, or afraid of being made a fool of. This is the man you want to avoid.
Keep things light and get comfortable flirting and meeting men without taking them home right away. It’s easier to meet actual hookups online, when guys who have dealt with their attractions are looking for you directly. The more guys you meet, the easier it will be for you to tell “the type” who is squeamish, repressed, and creepy.
Any girl can tell you women’s intuition is a product of experience and observation. It’s a great tool to develop. It’s also not 100% reliable, because some guys are very good at their game. But it’s a start. You’ll also get more comfortable talking to men and fielding their reactions to you.
Part of the thrill for sure is “passing.” It can be really affirming to a trans woman’s sense of identity when a man doesn’t even think about whether she is a cis or trans woman. This is lots of fun for flirty nightclubs but proceed with caution for hookups, because some men interpret this as being tricked.
There is a lot of discussion over whether or not men have the “right” to “know” and whether or not trans women have the obligation of disclosure. I see the validity of concerns on both sides, but regardless of who is right, I’m most concerned with the safety of my friends, and taking someone home who doesn’t have a clue isn’t the safest thing to do.
The best trick to finding out whether guys are trans admirers, trans positive, or simply find you attractive and are well balanced, nonviolent people, is to attend events like mixers for transgender and admirers, or hang out with trans friends and their friends, or meet guys online, when you can disclose in advance or it’s already known since they are looking for you.