It is important to approach dating trans people with the right level of sensitivity, assuming that the other partner is cis-gendered. Trans people are going to know about the issues that they face already, but a lot of cis people just don’t understand what it is like because they never experienced it for themselves. A basic understanding of trans issues is a prerequisite for dating trans people, or the cis people in question are going to be unintentionally insensitive.
Trans people are among the most underprivileged people on the planet. They receive a great deal of employment discrimination and social shaming. In the dating world, trans people are often treated as punchlines rather than people. People tell jokes about dating someone who turns out to be a member of the other sex. Trans people are almost always honest with their potential partners about the history of their genders, making this joke both transphobic and inaccurate. People who are dating a trans woman will almost always know that she was assigned the male gender at birth, because such women are almost always upfront about it.
Cis people who are dating trans people need to avoid making assumptions. Gender is very complicated, and people’s relationships to their genders are just as complicated. Cis people should not assume that they know everything there is to know about a potential trans date. They also need to be able to approach trans dating from the right perspective. Trans people pursuing trans dating, naturally, aren’t going to have most of these problems. They will be seeking out people with a shared situation, which is common in dating in general. Most of the conflicts in trans dating come from relationships between cis and trans people.
For instance, people who are attracted to gender bending are sometimes under the impression that they should specifically pursue trans dating. Trans women are women, however, and they will feel that being assigned the male gender at birth was a mistake. They don’t think of themselves as gender bending, and their potential cis partners shouldn’t feel that way either. Turning the bodies of trans people into objects of curiosity is just as much of a common problem, and it is just as much of a terrible mistake.
Cis people usually shouldn’t specifically set out to date a trans person for that reason. Dating a person who happens to be trans is very different from dating a person because he or she is trans. A cis person who is setting out to date someone who is trans is probably doing so for the wrong reasons, which is what he or she should always keep in mind in order to maintain the right perspective.
Dating a trans woman means that trans issues will be part of the lives of cis people in a much more immediate way. Cis people need to know that going in, or they will have a hard time making the psychological adjustment and preparing themselves. Otherwise, dating a trans person isn’t all that different from dating anyone else. However, transphobia is a force to be reckoned with today, which will affect any relationship like this.