With increasing liberalization of social and sexual norms in emancipated societies, men and women who have long struggled with gender identities now have the power to live and love openly. If you have been wondering what it would be like to date a trans woman or have started dating only to discover your partner is a trans woman, it may be helpful to go through the following tips.

Understand what it is all about

Though often assumed to mean the same thing, sex and gender are two different concepts. Transgender is an umbrella term that includes different types of gender variant people like cross-dressers, transvestites, transsexuals whereas a trans-sexual is someone who is assigned a particular sex at birth but grows up to assume a different gender identity. A transwoman is a transgender person with a female gender identity. This group includes both transsexual women who are born males but who undergo sex change to align their bodies with their gender as well as those who identify themselves as women but do not wish to undergo any physical change. While all this may seem pretty confusing at first, knowing the right terminology may be crucial when dating a transwoman since some transgender women do not like being called tranny, he she, or shemale.

Be honest about your intentions

Before you start dating a trans woman, it may be worth your while to ask yourself the real reason for wanting to do so. Many men are looking for trans woman dates as a way of experimenting sexually – you may be a closet gay, a bisexual or bi-curious and are eager to find out what it feels like to have sex with a trans woman. However if sex is the main reason for dating a transgender women, there are plenty of websites offering various types of sex. Your trans woman date may be hoping for a regular date when she goes out with you and may not like being treated as your own version of the circus bearded lady. So as you ask a trans woman on a date or sign up with a dating website for trans women, don’t automatically assume that she would be open to casual sex or is primarily a means of sexual experimentation. It can get annoying for her to be always treated like a sexual object or some piece of meat. Despite her different gender identity, at heart she may be like any other woman, expecting to be treated with respect.

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Most transgender women are not interested in married men or men on the rebound. So, get your affairs in order and then decide what kind of relationship you want. On the whole, a trans woman is probably looking for the same things as any other woman who goes dating. So your date too will appreciate a guy who is intelligent, attractive, witty and of course charming. In short, when asking a transgender girl for a date; it is important that you come off confident but not too over the top. Transgender women are not interested in someone who has “issues” and “drama” in their lives. Ask transgender person a question about their interests or suggest a nice quiet restaurant. It might be fun to attend a yoga, aerobic, or cooking class together.

Talking about trans-sexuality

When dating a trans woman, sooner or later you will have to engage with the subject of trans-sexuality. While there is no need to bring it up If you do not consider her "trans-ness" a problem, if you think you would feel better having got it out in the open, proceed with caution. If and when the subject does come up, be considerate as to how you address her gender/sex/surgical state, and know that it is probably discomforting for her to even think about it, let alone talk about it. Ideally you should allow her to broach the topic instead of throwing a barrage of questions about her sexual and gender identity on your first date. Despite coming out and/or making the transition, your trans woman date may not be ready to talk about her experiences but even then you can let it be know that you will be ready to talk whenever she is. Later when she does express her willingness to talk about her trans-sexuality, ensure that you are there to listen to her with patience and without any judgment. Realize that your date has gone through some pretty massive upheavals in life where an important basis of her identity has been questioned and reset. Your empathy and support are crucial if you and your trans woman partner are to have a mutually satisfying relationship.

Be prepared for some baggage

A trans woman will almost always bring some amount of emotional baggage into a relationship. The very experience of a variant gender identity, the conflict between being born a particular sex and feeling a different gender and the painful awareness of belonging to a sexual minority are all sure to contribute to major issues of self esteem. In addition, transitioning is an equally significant process which apart from physiological changes has emotional, psychological and social aspects too. All these factors could result in some heavy emotional baggage in your trans woman partner which in turn is highly likely to impact your relationship.

One big issue with transsexual women is how they address their femininity. Usually, trans women were not raised as women. In most cases, decades pass before transitioning, and when dating a trans woman so you may be dealing with a 40-year-old woman with the expectations and experience level of a teenager. Your trans woman partner may possess unrealistic expectations about what it means to be courted as a woman since her feelings and beliefs have not yet been tempered by experience and the passage of time. Thus your partner may be prone to having a sense of entitlement or possess a princess syndrome which may make it difficult for you to please her. Also because she may not have been by women as a woman and thus lack perspective, she may be oversensitive to some things when compared to genetic females. All this can bode a lack of maturity in your partner that can easily lead to complications in your relationship. The only thing you can do in such a situation is to deal with her as patiently as possible. Offer her your love and support but at the same time, set clear boundaries on any kind of unreasonable behavior that you are not willing to accept. In case you are thinking in terms of a serious relationship, a better idea might be to go for counseling so that you and your partner can, individually and as a couple, learn to negotiate issues arising from her trans-ness that are likely to impact your relationship.

In the end for a fulfilling relationship with your trans woman girlfriend, treat her as you would any other person, no more and no less. Ask about her interests and her dreams for the future. Avoid making her sexuality the focus of your interactions but at the same time, make her feel special as any woman deserves to feel in a relationship.

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