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Savage Love

I came out as trans-something/genderqueer three years ago

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I came out as trans-something/
genderqueer three years ago. I was born male but live my life predominately as female. I'm 25 now. Coming out involved accepting that it would complicate my ever finding someone. I haven't dated since.

My problem: Today, a guy my age asked me out while making me a sandwich in a cafe. He told me I was very pretty and asked if he could take me out. I gave him my number. Before I left, he said, "I'd really like a relationship with you." That sounded like a weirdo red flag. I told him, "We'll see," but agreed to the date.

I don't know the rules and I'm a panicked mess. I know to meet in a public place, in the afternoon, tell people about it - all the safety stuff - but I am afraid that he's a creep. But no one has ever told me before that I'm pretty. While I'm not ugly, I'm not passable. My questions:

1) Was he way too creepy to go on that date?

2) Was agreeing to a date smart or dumb?

3) Am I acting out of desperation?

4) The great unanswerable: How do I get the giddy 13-year-old inside to grow up so the 25-year-old can navigate safely in the dating world?

Does Understand Men Basically

1) My inbox sags under the weight of emails from straight/straight-identified guys who are desperate to meet transwomen/trans-somethings, and not all of them prefer passables. So it's possible that this guy saw trans-something, unpassable you and decided to go for it because you're everything he's ever wanted. If he's one of those guys who are into transwomen and/or born-male-trans-genderqueers-who-live-as-female-but-aren't-quite-passable, DUMB, it's also possible that he's never had a chance to meet someone like you before (you're not thick on the ground), and nerves and/or inexperience caused him to fumble the pass. The only way to determine if nerves made him come across as creepy or if he's genuinely creepy is to go on that date.

2) Smart. Even if it turns out that he's a creep, even if you never see him again, being open to people and taking risks - while at the same time taking all reasonable safety precautions (particularly important for transwomen, who face a much higher risk of violence at the hands of the sometimes deeply conflicted, self-loathing straight guys who are attracted to/resent transwomen) - is the only way that anyone ever manages to find love.

3) Yes, DUMB, you are acting out of desperation - you and everybody else. Just don't let your desperation - the worry that you won't ever meet anyone else who's interested in a girl like you - convince you to settle for a shitty and/or abusive relationship. If he comes across as nice at first but it turns out that he's an asshole or a creep, and if he begins to treat you like you're stuck with him because no one else will ever want you (not true - remember my inbox!), dump the motherfucker. It's better to be alone than to be with an asshole who preys on your insecurities to keep you coming back for more abuse.

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