A Trans Guy’s Guide to Picking Up a Trans Girl

feature image photo by Samantha Brooks

Picture it: You’re a trans guy and you’ve met a stunning, charming, brilliant trans girl.

Maybe you were at a tech conference in San Francisco, or at Ultra, the annual electronic music festival in Miami. Maybe you went to a burlesque show at a downtown club. Maybe Blue Velvet was playing at a local independent theater and you locked eyes across the soda stand. Maybe you were set up by friends or matched on an app.

Either way, you’ve lucked out, brother. T4T relationships can be really affirming and fun. Dating someone who understands your transition can be wonderful. Fucking someone who has also thought about their body in an unconventional way can be enlightening and hella hot.

But my goodness, trans men, how do you speak to and then eventually woo the trans woman of your dreams?

I’m here to help.

How to Start the Conversation

This works if you’re in public and she’s a stranger or if she’s someone you’ve seen around and you wanna take it to a flirty place. Hell, it could even work in the case of a DM slide: Compliment. Her. Outfit.

We trans guys have an advantage over basic cis men here. We know what goes into a woman getting dressed up. There’s steps! There’s try-ons and discards, lotions and perfumes, accessory choices, sometimes shaving and plucking, and all sorts of to-dos specific to someone who’s thought out their gender presentation.

While women lament men who call them “natural beauties” when they’ve clearly had Botox and are wearing makeup, we’d never make such a mistake. The work of leaving the house as a trans person deserves recognition — even if that work is just how she styled her Fiona Apple graphic tee or her choice of running sneakers. Compliment her with more specificity than a cis man could ever muster.

What’s the brand of her adorable thigh-highs? Is she wearing her “season” as told to her by a TikTok color analyst? Did you once have a heart shaped choker just like that when you were a woman? Start there.

Only compliment her on what she can control or what is mostly non-sexual. No great tits, even if they are great tits. (You can compliment those later.) For now, we go to “beautiful eyes” or “nice hair” or “cute clothes” and then we add a specific.


“Your shirt matches your eyes perfectly! You must have done that on purpose.” (Most people with nice eyes have absolutely done that on purpose, but they’ll delightfully pretend not to have.)

“I never got the hang of French braids when I was a girl, but yours are perfect. Did you do them?” (This has the added bonus of casually letting her know you’re trans too.)

“Your shirt is so cool. Is it a reference to something? Oh, a DnD podcast? Which one? I always wished I’d gotten into that but I’d have no idea where to start.”

How To Get Her Number

Now, how do we move from chatting to getting her information for a date? First of all, make sure she knows you are asking for romantic reasons!

Sometimes with trans people, we’re so worried about being vulnerable or so unused to being hit on in a serious way, we might not communicate date intentions well or understand we’re being asked out. And since you’ve hopefully dropped into the conversation that you’re also trans, she won’t have the anxiety of wondering if she has to out herself to you and risk negative results.

Say, “I’d like to take you out on a date sometime.” Relate it to something you all have been talking about. For example, let’s watch that old foreign-language lesbian film you’ve been recommending. Or, if conversation hasn’t lent itself to a natural hang suggestion segue, invite her to a trans thing. You and her already have something huge in common. It’s another advantage we have over cis men. (More on where to take her in a second.)

If getting her number seems too intense, or if your phone still shows your deadname when you call, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for her Instagram. The dolls tend to curate their Instagrams really beautifully. Let her show it off!

Now that you follow her, you have to actually message her with a plan. Do not chicken out! Cis men have no spines, but we are not cis men!

Look, you had to tell people you were a whole other gender. You can message a hot girl on the ‘gram.

Where To Go On Your Date

It might be okay to lean into some ideas that are cheesy and gendered, like bringing her flowers. For some girlies, that will be too intense. But for others it might be totally cute, because a lot of us never had those formative experiences.

When in doubt, roses are way too much but anything else the grocery store has to offer is just right. I’d make sure it’s something hypoallergenic, not too fragrant, and not poisonous to pets. If flowers seems like it’ll freak her out, or it’s not your speed, you don’t have to do it! But feel it out. Maybe your version of flowers is pulling out her chair for her or buying the first drink.

Speaking of, you can do the regular coffee or drinks date — always keeping coffee as a low-pressure option in case she is sober. You can also just take a walk around a lake or generally window shop if you’re low on cash. But if you wanna be more specific, like I hinted at above, there’s luckily an existing trans connection!

Maybe there’s an independent queer bookstore or a trans drag show or an anarchist lecture series at the LGBT Center. I know this might not be the case for every city, but look on Instagram or Tiktok for LGBTQ+ stuff she might want to go to and then suggest that. Even if you’re not sure it’ll be good or fun, it’s a perfect excuse to ask her to check it out with you. Tell her that even if it’s cringe, it might be a funny story and you can grab some fried pickles at a diner afterwards.

Or you can get more specific to her interests. You’ve got her socials. Do some digging. What stuff does she usually go to? Who are her friends?

She could be a nightlife trans woman, who maybe had a great run as a gay guy and who still revels in that environment. She could be an outdoorsy girl who hikes with her queer girl friends on the weekends and loves gym selfies. She could be the more introverted type who wants to whoop your ass at video games all night.

I’d normally avoid going to someone’s house or having someone to your house on a first date, but this is another point trans men have over cis men. It’s not as likely that a woman would “choose the bear” over us. It’s a cliché, and maybe has a dab of sexism to it that we’re not perceived as the same level of dangerous as a cis man, but, hey, it’s okay to use a little societal conditioning to our advantage.

If you do go over there to play Fallout: New Vegas, bring some seltzers or snacks. If she comes to you, have your fridge stocked. Ask her for her drink of choice for Final Fantasy. Check if she’s vegan or gluten-free. And for god’s sake, vacuum up a little.

If you end up going out, and it’s something you’ve attended before and where you see friends, such as queer country line dancing or a monthly trans arts meetup, make sure you introduce her around and keep her engaged in the conversation. Trans people can very easily get lost in the friend zone if you don’t make it clear you’re there together. Keep it romantic with little touches, getting her a drink, or introducing her clearly as your date for the evening. Even among queer friends, make sure she knows she’s not there as just another friend: She’s special to you.

How to Keep It Going

I have been told by my cis male peers that it’s now my responsibility as the man to ask for a follow up date. Unfortunately, this seems to be true because we live in a society. This doesn’t mean you have to plan the whole next thing, but it is on you to say you’d like to see her again and provide at least another suggestion on where to go.

After making sure she got home okay (whether that be after the date or wink wink the next morning), ask if she’d like to see you again. I’ve gotten you this far, now you’re gonna have to do something that cis men have struggled with for millennia: Listen to her.

Every girl is different! As you’re getting to know her, you can pull back from the generalities of both being trans, and find out if you’re compatible beyond that. You have a foundation that puts you leaps and bounds ahead of any cis guy who’s ever tried to pick her up. You’ve got this, my dude. Go get ya girl.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

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Gabe Dunn

Gabe (he/him) is a queer, trans writer and director whose most recent film GRINDR BABY was selected for Frameline Festival’s 2023 Voices. He is a best-selling author thrice-over, host of the podcasts The Knew Guys, Just Between Us and Bad With Money. As a TV writer, he has sold over a dozen TV shows to networks like FX, Freeform, and Netflix. His young adult sci-fi drama Apocalypse Untreated was released by Audible Originals in 2020. His latest TV project The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams is in development at Universal with Gabe set to write and produce.

Gabe has written 16 articles for us.


  1. This article has the depth and smell of a spilled bottle of Old Spice. The 2005 Vice article about a good party needing a slutty transsexual was more progressive than this. I’ve seen videos on PornHub with more rizz. I’m making a donation to bear conservation in Gabe’s name.

    “I’d normally avoid going to someone’s house or having someone to your house on a first date, but this is another point trans men have over cis men. It’s not as likely that a woman would “choose the bear” over us. It’s a cliché, and maybe has a dab of sexism to it that we’re not perceived as the same level of dangerous as a cis man, but, hey, it’s okay to use a little societal conditioning to our advantage.” There’s a word for the exact short of man that intimately understands gendered violence and social pressure and threat evaluation, and then consciously applies that knowledge to manipulate his target by appearing as the less threatening option.

    As a trans woman, the best thing I can say about this article is that it affirmed my gender as an objectified, coerced target of masculine desire.

    • This is just a new version of gender essentialism that buys into transphobic ideas that being assigned a certain sex at birth means we’re also “conditioned” in a specific way that sets us permanently aside from cis people of the same gender.

      • Great article on how to never get a date with a trans woman ever. /s

        Just speaking from a trans man’s perspective, you automatically assume all trans men have experience doing feminine things like make up or dressing up which may be true for some but definitely not for others like me and you also assume all trans women like doing said feminine things. You tell other trans men to take advantage of the fact we are perceived as ‘not as dangerous’ as cis men which is super manipulative first off. Second, shows you don’t think critically about your own actions because you think you dont have the capacity to be sexist or misogynistic in the first place which really shows in this article because it reads as so creepy and chaserish towards trans women.
        Then finally you refer to both trans men and women as ‘when they were a woman’ ‘when they were a man’ which shows you don’t really understand being trans that much because trans people have always been the gender we’re supposed to be even when we didn’t realize yet and while its ok to decribe your own experience as ‘when i used to be a woman/man’ it is certainly not ok to use that terminology for other trans people because its not accurate nor is everyone comfortable with it. I see you write and direct but it sounds like you haven’t really read or learned much on gender studies or queer theory. Educate yourself.

    • Yo way to assume trans women aren’t used to being complimented. Buy me flowers cuz I like flowers not because you think I’ve never been loved. Don’t act like you can avoid misogyny just because you used to be a woman. You are a man now. Take a good look in the mirror and get off reddit.

      All my friends are real upset on Instagram about this article, we’d rather just be called a slur.

    • Its forcing me to leave one to scroll the comments lmao they should fox yheir mobile.
      this article talks about trans women the way cis men talk about cis women actually and as a trans man this is extremely uncomfortable to read.
      You are still treating dating as a manipulative game of chess. you speak repeatedly about being direct and theb turn and talk about how to be so sneaky. maybe instead of checking the socials of a women you dont know fro her intrest, you just, ask her?
      Ask her bc shes a complete person who can answer you in her own time.
      Also if she seems distant or not interested in ur date, another drink and touching her here and there (especially if ur not an established relationship). wont help. Just realize she’s not into you, finish the date, and let her go.

      I put this next to multiple articles by cis men and they sound the same in multiple spots in a very bad way.

      Theres more I could say but frankly dude this is just disappointing. Please treat our sisters better than this.

    • as a transmasc person with experience of dating transfem people, what the actual fck. How can you be so disgusting about being trans, while also…being trans yourself. How can you objectify women so much. This is the worst thing i saw in a while. The way you speak about trans people? Ew. I’m not going to talk over all the trans women who already commented on this from their perspective, but I cringed so hard at all the “wHeN i WaS a WoMaN” stuff, why would you throw that around and use to your “advantage”. Why would you clock other trans people in public spaces and talk to them like this.
      An actual advice on dating: treat people like people maybe?? I almost laughed when “listen to her” was put almost as conclusion to the whole thing, after 29393874 stupid stereotypes that don’t tell you anything, while it literally should be the first thing in any relationship ever.
      Btw how and why you date someone shouldn’t be based on if they’re trans or not. Like, most of my relationships are/were t4t and I like it this way, but I’m not gonna center it around transness, you know what I mean? It’s just one of hundreds of thousands different things about a human being. And I understand the preference or safety or comfort of t4t relationships, but… this article is not about it. It’s about awful fetishization of trans women and all the toxic ways a trans man can be a sly creepy predator. Dysphoria doesn’t mean you can be misogynistic freely.
      I hope nobody is stupid enough to follow through with these shitty attempts at “advising”. I’m truly sorry to all the trans girls who saw that and/or who experienced anything similar from anyone ever. It should have never happened and it angers me how much transmisogyny there is even in the community itself. Stay safe everyone and happy pride or something ✌

    • Gross. Can only consider a girl’s interests insofar as you can win a “complimented her t-shirt!” point or convince her you’re not like other guys. (Choose the bear? wtf)

      If you want to make an impression, treat trans women like human beings and express genuine interest in what makes her heart beat faster. Ask her about her fucking day. And leave the thigh high, choker, New Vegas, “dolls” crap at home. We’re not a monolith and we’re not memes.

      Shallow pick up tips aren’t cute because you’re queer.

    • Yo way to assume trans women aren’t used to being complimented. Buy me flowers cuz I like flowers not because you think I’ve never been loved. Don’t act like you can avoid misogyny just because you used to be a woman. You are a man now. Take a good look in the mirror and get off reddit.

      All my friends are real upset on Instagram about this article, we’d rather just be called a slur.

    • I’m so tired of trans guys who get one taste of partial male privilege and suddenly forget all of the ways that they were mistreated by men when the world saw you as a girl/woman. Or maybe you didn’t think hard enough about misogyny to even notice it in the first place. I can only imagine how tired trans women must be of it. If you wanna bring up the fact that you know how it feels to be treated how women are treated then maybe you should make sure you yourself are treating women right.

  2. is this….satire? is this……transmisogyny? autostraddle it’s really too bad, i would’ve told you all you need is autism and some good youtube recs, you could’ve had that for free.

  3. Man, for all the pains this article takes to emphasize how as a trans guy, the reader will have some experiences of womanhood that will allow them to relate to the trans woman they would like to date, it sure misses an important one: the experience of being reduced down to being a prize to be won by a man.

  4. this is so dehumaning and objectifying and misogynistic. I’m sure the author knows trans women are women but is he aware that women are PEOPLE? Not a different species?

  5. Damn, incels got another one. On a serious note, maybe you could celebrate this pride month by leaving trans women the fuck alone.

    On a real bit I pity any trans man who tries any of this, y’all deserve better role models than the clown who wrote this bull. Be normal, just be normal, be a normal person, objectification feels just as bad when it comes from other trans people.

  6. Gabe please continue writing these tips!
    As a Womxyn, I need all of the Kais to know just how to win over my little, silly, heart!~
    After all, I need a big strong, totally not manipulative, gender theoried he/they to tell me what season matches my eye color. Please don’t listen to the haters! I need the freshly top surged Pat Bateman’s of the world to protect me from it evils!! Oh to be with a true man, who knows what a woman’s worst fears are and how to fend them off!! I won’t have a care in the universe as he paints my pretty nails, the same color of his dark, grimy gas lights.

    • This is misogynistic, transmisogynistic, objectifying, and full of stale stereotypes. Furthermore, I am not sure why you are posting dating guides for men on a website ostensibly for gay and bisexual women.

      I would advise you take this down and platform more trans women and trans lesbians. As one of the few websites left specifically for WLW, I am disapointed to see autostraddle publishing this sort of drudgery instead of any of the incredible trans lesbian writers I see struggling to get by every day. It makes me not want to come back.

  7. this sucks and dont ever do this. i promise you that hinting at the fact you know she’s trans will not get her to swoon. also, i’ve never met a trans women who would think a “trans drag show” was something made for them in any aspect (it sounds very demeaning and pretty transphobic tbh), but that’s anecdotal. i can tell the writer hasn’t, and will (hopefully) never talk to a trans woman in person.

  8. Truly amazing *all* men suck regardless of who they are. It makes me wonder why anyone would date one.

    Anyways, thank you autostraddle for your contributions to the lesbian community, I now somehow like men even less.

  9. From now on, whenever trans men assert that their community has some keen clandestine insight into the struggles of women by virtue of being AFAB, I’m going to pull up this article to prove that they, in fact, don’t. Or maybe just can’t comprehend.

    Cis women and trans women are women. Trans men are men.

    • this article is rancid but fuck this noise 1000000%

      trans solidarity forever, take the gender essentialism nonsense back to radfem land, you do not speak for me nor my other trans sisters

    • One trans guy writes a cringe, cheesy, and stereotypical article that plays into gender tropes:

      All of you geniuses: “All men are trash omg, trans men are sooooo cringe, I hate men so much.”

      It’s like that one xkcd article where the dude is like “wow you suck at math”, and the next frame is a girl doing the same equation and the dude says “wow, GIRLS suck at math”. Y’all aren’t slick.

      • we’re never going to be able to talk about systemic transmisogyny and how that’s rampant in the queer community are we. you have a nice tactic to shut us up whenever we point something out by calling us terfs or some shit.

    • Hey Gabe,

      This article turned me, a bisexual transgender woman, into a lesbian. You’ve done a great service today. Now I know that there’s nobody out there I can trust who isn’t another trans woman. What a great victory you’ve earned today.


  10. I know people are upset with this because it’s definitionally pick-up artistry, but a (trans or cis) guy complimenting my clothes, buying me flowers, gauging my interests, taking me out, listening to me, etc. all sounds super nice. If it’s pick-up artistry it’s a pretty benign type which I’d have a good time with. I suspect some of the commentors wouldn’t feel so incensed if (1) the phrase “pick up” wasn’t in the title, and (2) it was a woman doing it instead of a man—since I suspect a lot of these girls commenting aren’t really that into men.

    • I’m gonna be real with you… The idea of a woman “picking me up” only sounds good as a fantasy. I prefer to be treated as an equal, not an Other that needs to be coaxed into things like giving up my phone number. And while the article’s body technically presents itself as advice for dating, not hookups, the bit where the author implies a trans woman might be willing to fuck the reader earlier than she would a cis man, sounds dicey, and would sound dicey even if it was presented as advice for women.

      I suspect both AS and the author knew the implications of leading with language like “picking up” and “get her number”, and they’re really just getting the kind of engagement they were hoping for.

    • Bisexual trans woman here! I’m actually just not into manipulative creeps pretending to care about me as a person when they are only interested in using me for sex, regardless of their gender!

  11. does autostraddle really need to be publishing pick-up artist guides about how to manipulate trans women into relationships? like holy shit this is incredibly sexist. i’m honestly concerned for the safety of the transfeminine people in this dude’s life

    signed, a trans girl with actual self-esteem

  12. This article is the perfect example of why I hate majority of my trans brothers. Get over yourself, be normal, no one cares.

    I’d recommend you do some deep diving on your internalized transphobia, accept your past experiences, and stop comparing yourself to cis men. Weirdo

    • It sounds like the author has never met an actual trans person in their lives, neither a trans man nor a trans woman. They’ve concocted these Netflix e-caricatures of trans men as Glorified Totally Safe UwU Alt Women™ and trans women as simultaneously easily manipulated girliepop meat dolls AND just slutty gay men at the club. The entire article screams “Trans men are women and trans women are objects.”

  13. I’m confused why people are taking this seriously. My gf sent me this w the caption: “did you use this on me.” It is funny and it’s cool to see jokes and references we make/relate to/hear in writing. I hope the people that this post bothers or hurts (understandably so) can just click off and be okay. Thanks for the laughs.

  14. hi, trans woman here:

    good lord please do not follow this article for advice please please please

    Love the casual shitty quips aimed at people for no reason peppered throughout – you know what’s super attractive in a partner? meanspirited jabs at groups of people; that always makes me feel super safe as a trans person!

    • Why are you clocking her in public?? If someone, even another trans person, implied that they could tell I was trans in public I would be extremely uncomfortable. If they did that as an attempt to FLIRT with me I would slap them.

  15. I’m a trans woman who finds this article extremely offputting. The article reads like pickup artistry, and the tactics it outlines are manipulative, making unfair assumptions about trans women.

    Attempting to use inside jokes and stereotypes comes across as desperate, or that the author did only the most bare of research before determining what trans women are like. While assuming we all have poor fashion sense is insulting, I’m more concerned with the comparison of trans women to gay men. While there are gay men in the nightlife scene, it implies the author sees trans women in that scene as men.

    I find alarming the belief that trans men are somehow safer than cis men, implicit in the paragraph is that trans men are allowed to violate a trans woman’s boundaries simply by virtue of being trans. Trans men are no more entitled to trans women’s bodies than cis men are.

    While the article is from the perspective of a trans men, and trans men are its target audience, it is clear that no input from trans women was included in the research for this article. The most valuable source for what trans women look for in a partner would be trans women themselves. Since presumably no trans women had input in this article, it is not a a good source on how to date us. These tactics certainly would not work in practice, and would serve to alienate one from any contact with trans women

  16. publishing a “how to pick up chicks” article doesnt become progressive just because you pause to remind the audience youre so totally different than those cis guys every five minutes. bad look for autostraddle.

  17. its so disgusting how you
    a) assume trans women would think youre less dangerous because you were afab (something which we don’t do because of creepy manipulative shit like this)
    b) use your completely unfounded generalization to call US sexist for trusting you?? so its fine when you say youre better than cis men but when you strawman your dream trans girl as saying it its misogyny
    c) and then immediately talk about using this “societal conditioning to your advantage”. you sound like an incel redditor trying to ” social engineer” women
    for all the time you spend talking about how you have an advantage over cis men you are just as good at them as treating women and tgirls specifically as sex objects with no regard to them as a person. gabe, please reassess the way you think about women as goals and not people and how hostile you seem to trans women you made up in your head. your transness does not make you infallible and you are still a man in a society where men can use power to control women. in the meantime I don’t think you should be allowed within 500 feet of a tgirl

  18. Had no idea trans men could be just as douchey and sexist as cis men thats too bad. The advice is cute when it’s not condescending and stereotyping trans women but ultimately you could get the same advice from any cis dude youtube pickup artist. Need help picking up women? Ask a butch.

  19. actualy i love these kinds of slimey incel tbros, the kind that if i laugh at their lame jokes and blush and giggle at their objectifying “compliments”, i can get to buy me food nd drinks at the bar. Then when they try to bring me back to their apartment i can just rob them, and they’re thinking with their dick too much to see it coming. who needs an addy prescription when these guys r a dime a doze?

  20. Holy shit lmao. All I can think of is the “This is the one thing we didn’t want to happen” joke from Brass Eye. You tried to write an article about non-threatening Feminist boying your way into some gock and now you’ve June and Roxie yelling at you in the comments. Retire dawg you’re finished

  21. You can really tell the author has next to no trans women in their life and has perhaps cooked up this childish thigh high wearing idea of a trans woman that can easily be manipulated into sex. The real cherry on top is the part where they distance themselves from cis men as a trans masc as if that somehow makes this article full of stereotypes and transmisogyny even remotely acceptable. Would be willing to bet that “amab” and “afab” are terms commonly used by the author in their personal life, you can really just tell.

    • I think we all know where our little buddy got this thigh high uwu girlie mental image from. It’s porn brain rot. But it’s okay, because he does it in a totally sex liberated way in the name of feminism /s

  22. The position of this article appears to be “Trans women are women and trans men are ALSO women so it’s totally chill for them to be creepy.”

    The unspoken corollary of “when I was a woman” that every trans woman will hear is “when you were a MAN” so don’t fucking do that shit.

    It’s the year 2024. Hasn’t everyone realized that softboi, male feminist bullshit is played out– and that the whole “man lite” thing is transphobic AF?

    If you think you’re a kinder, gentler, “safer” type of man by virtue of being trans…. what message does that send her about what kind of woman you think she is?

  23. This is the worst thing I’ve read in my life holy shit please never write again this fucking REEKS of transphobia and literally made me want to not transition so I wouldn’t have to associate with this article in any way

  24. yknow… i was once a woman too… yeah.. i’m not like those other MISOGYNISTIC CIS men… i’m AFAB, you can trust me.. guess you could say i’m a feminist, haha… i’ve always had this.. connection… with femininitywaitwhereareyougoing

  25. Wow, way to cash in on every single stereotype when it serves you to game-ify your pick-up artistry while waging a proxy incel war against men who have penises. Trans men really are the men of trans people!

    – a trans man who thinks you should delete this article, issue an apology, and pay some trans women to do it over

  26. i would pick a hundred bears over a single trans man if he ever talked to me the way you’re trying to talk to me in this article. even if he didn’t i’d still pick the bear.

  27. this is so demeaning and gross. what a waste of space on the internet. literally have you ever gotten a trans woman to write an article? have you ever tried? no? than maybe do not write about us.

  28. this article is not only really, really gross pickup artistry nonsense, but really… sad. is this really the extent of your honest opinion on us? this personality profile of us that you create here… thigh highs and chokers. fallout new vegas and EDM shows. it’s like your mental picture of us is something cultivated entirely through the lens created for you by watching us from a distance online and taking notes of tweets made about us and memes plastered with impact font from trans reddits. like you don’t listen to… us, ever

    like, you’re over here doing things like noting that you’re perceived as less predatory and that you should use that to your advantage. like saying that you have an easier time getting a woman to go to a second location with you. it makes it seem like you see us as pieces of meat, all while slathering it in trans solidarity. while saying you should chip at a shared female experience by saying that you used to look or act like us Back When You Were A Woman™

    is this all that’s left for us? the most respect we can get, even from our brothers in shared trauma and bigotry, is dehumanization and strategy guides on how to convince us to fuck you? as though we’re nothing more than fragile girls who can be manipulated with a wink and a smile and an acknowledgement that we’re different, but good different? is this all there is?

    i dunno i guess. you’ve just created a really depressingly bleak snapshot of humanity, man

  29. All the transwomen in the comments bashing the author definitely remind me why I don’t go on dates with transwomen anymore. Normal article about dating turns into an hate sesh, because they see anyone who isn’t an UWU-cute tgirl as someone who shouldn’t have a voice.

  30. And I thought only cissies fetishize trans people… Jesus Christ. I’m not sure how people like you survive. But I suppose nothing else can be expected from a “man”, or whatever you identify as tomorrow, who writes for this website. Make sure to use AFAB as a noun, verb, adjective and adverb in your next literary masterpiece to really drive the point home how you are such a cute cuddly little soft boi and not one of those evil big bad toxic manly men!

    • Honestly, I’m side eyeing Autostraddle for publishing it. In a different way, Slate published an article by Allison Raskin without the context that she was a comedian, knowing it would make her look precious and entitled. I’m not defending Gabe’s take, but he’s autistic and has bipolar disorder – IMO it was irresponsible of Autostraddle to publish this. They knew what the response would be.

      • A quick glance at his social media made me think that this Gabe character might just be one of those people who make up having autism in order to skirt responsibilities. Funnily in his case, that’s just having to deal with people finding this graduated-top-of-the-class-in-queer-theory-and-gender-studies-writing-style a bit annoying.

        • In response to Freddy (since I’m unsure of how this website works) those types of people are the very most manipulative to autistic people that I have ever known and it makes online autism communities harmful to actual autistic people viewing the most common of even mild autism traits as “unrelatable stereotypes” and this comment used to be way longer including a rant about Devon Price who has been described as the Rachel Dolezal of autism and I think it’s very accurate considering his writings but my page refreshed so it was all deleted which was frustrating but anyway thanks for reading and if you have a Reddit account my username is the same as on here because I would like to make friends if that’s okay it’s my trans throwaway account and nice talking to you

          • Hey Tptroway, I don’t have a reddit account but I would like to respond to you. I know exactly what you mean and was nodding along as I read your comment. That type of person is too commonly found in various online communities, but I’m not sure what solution there is. This author reeks of self identifying with neurodivergence to flaunt as a quirk or kink, rather than to find friends or get support. While that is extremely offensive (and I do see the irony in Gabe seemingly being the type of person to find many things other people feel and think VERY offensive) I am honestly also just positively surprised. About how forgiving many of the comments here are towards the author, based on this alleged autism.

  31. A lot of this article feels like weird retreads of very insular intercommunity stereotypes but not like, actually terrible advice. I guess, as the other trans girls who’ve commented before me have shown, treating yourself as “less of a threat” than cis guys is in and of itself a red flag for most trans women (since, well, we know better) but so long as you’re not outright saying that or bringing up sex based oppression you’re probably golden. author, i love you but do take the criticisms to heart and in the future, talk about tgirls w a bit more tact and less nods to transgender in-jokes in. same for the tguys reading this for advice. xoxo

  32. Yeah so writing an article about how to bag literally anyone as if they are a monolith or a prize to be won not only goes against queer theory but just sucks, man. Like this is gross. You should know better.

  33. Gabe. As a long term fan – of over a decade – I want to call you in rather than call you out. Since you transitioned you’ve made several misogynistic comments. Blaming “the girlies” for Matt Rife’s DV comments. Saying that the only reason you approached men for dates was that you were actually a man, implying that women don’t do that. A few other little snide remarks. This article.

    A dear friend of mine went through this process – brief, performative misogyny – when he transitioned. It was just quicker and less public.

    Get off the internet. At this point I feel like you’re hurting yourself. You are an incredible writer and very charming. You would have a stellar career in account management that wouldn’t have this impact on your mental health.

    • I wanted to thank you for this comment; I think you are spot on regarding the performative misogyny. I pity Gabe, as cringe as the article is.

      From experience – I think any kind of social transition is especially difficult while autistic. Relearning boundaries and what behaviors are acceptable given your new social role takes time. It’s worse when it’s so painfully public.

      idk man. In any case someone probably should have done a sensitivity read before this was published. The whole thing is a bummer.

      • I agree. On all fronts. I think it was irresponsible. A responsible editor, even on a clickbait publication, would have published something like “Pitfalls of being a Trans Guy”, or “Dating as a Trans Guy” or “How to Make Trans Women Feel Safe”, or “TFT Celebration Month”.

        As I said before, the people saying Gabe should know better, are really not highlighting how this blog is exposing creators. And they’re just straight up ignoring that not understanding social cues is a textbook symptom of autism.

    • Or maybe trans men are ultimately men and are capable of misogyny? Maybe it’s not performative maybe he is misogynistic lmfao. Women can be, men can be. The othering is weird.

      • Trans men are very capable of misogyny. Trans men are men. I’m not othering him. I’m saying that as a man he is repeatedly demonstrating misogyny, and that it has made me very uncomfortable.

  34. I haven’t been on this site for a moment & this just giving me more reason not to. I thought Gabe was better than this. I am surprised this article is still up there & there is no apology written. Thean again this from a site that fired some of their good writers & didn’t even apologize for that racist & transphobic incident at A-Camp a few years back. Yeah I hope both this site & Gabe can mature to be better, but so far it seems like they won’t.

  35. Oh, I am absolutely sure that your female assignment at birth gave you insight to the routines of shaving, wearing a choker to cover your Adam’s apple, debating tucking, assessing which bottoms show bulge and if that’s acceptable, etc… and that of course all women desire to be feminine and told how feminine they are and thus no trans woman would ever choose to be masculine and/or butch, and no woman has ever been made uncomfortable by a man scrutinizing her outfits regardless of presentation! Definitely all very true things I am saying.

    Have you seen Revolutionary Girl Utena? Men telling Utena she’s so feminine is in fact psychologically detrimental to her. Maybe stop doing that to trans women? And please stop using the virtues you’ve assigned to your junk to convince women to let you into their house as a first date??

  36. They’re just gonna delete all these comments anyhow once one of the TERFs that runs this shithole actually reads the jokenalism that gets published here. The author (lmao) already pulled the post from their social media to escape the shitstorm there. How manly…

  37. What getting 0 pussy does to a MF… Anyway here’s a custom pickup artist guide for Gabe Dunn to follow. How to get pussy:

    Just look in the mirror! There you have it.

  38. This has made me even happier that I’m a lesbian.

    Absurd generalizations, barely concealed misogyny.

    Anyone who tries to take this advice should never be permitted to be anywhere near a trans woman.

  39. God this article is vile. Good job autostraddle,I hope this article got you the clicks and engagement you needed for pride month. I have nothing to add that my trans sisters haven’t expanded on in greater detail.

  40. Everything in this article is perfect, not a word could be different. From the way the title contrasts “guy” with “girl” to subtly infantalize the trans woman in question even before it starts openly infantilizing her, to the constant references to dated transfem memes to emphasize how utterly rizzless and perennially online the author is.

    Seriously, just hire Halimede.

  41. Could’ve just named this one “Disturbed and deeply predatory male explains his sociopathic view on hookups”.
    Terrible advice. Treating transwomen like they’re redditor stereotypes will not make them want to fuck you. You really wrote “I abuse my status as Well I’m Safer Than Cis Men :) to take vulnerable women to a secondary location they otherwise wouldn’t go to” and thought that was like, some great tip for other dudes, and published that. Extremely grim read; possibly the bleakest “trans” article I’ve read in a while. Please stay as far away from transwomen as possible, you are not a safe or kind person.

  42. It reads like “how do you do fellow kids (t4t trans men)”. To any trans woman who still considers dating trans men, please, don’t think we’re all like that.
    (I agree with the general idea of complimenting things that had a thought put in on it and giving an option of a sober date, but everything else is extremely weird.)

    Gabe, we don’t need to repeat everything after cis men. You’re passing just fine. Try to unpack those weird ideas and where did they come from.

    • Do you really think that someone who is 100lbs soaking wet and draws on a mustache with makeup is “passing just fine?”. That’s just chronically online, sorry. No one outside of Hollywood (or wherever this creep spends their parents’ allowance?) entertains people like this. No wonder most of us live stealth after changing our documents when this is the representation we get in the media.

  43. You’re THIRTY SIX years old and this is the best you can do? This is what the extent of your real life interactions with trans women (if you’ve even had any) culminates to? This could have been written by a 19 year old cis male chaser with a reddit addiction.

  44. Okay, so let me see if I understood your points

    1. Open up with a compliment. Be specific and respectful. Try to work in that you’re also trans – or allude to it to ease potential worries about coming out
    2. Exchanging social media is acceptable instead of phone numbers if that presents other problems
    3. Be direct about asking for a date. Ideally pick a first date based on interests learned from initially conversing or something safely neutral or related to shared queer/trans experience
    4. Flowers are nice but don’t go overboard if you go for it
    5. The home isn’t ideal for a first date but have a good place for hosting if you do or bring snacks if the date is hosting
    6. If you want a second date ask for it yourself

    Makes sense. This was an enjoyable read!

  45. This won’t win me any friends here, I’m sure, but I gotta say: I’m baffled by the response this article has gotten.

    I’m a trans woman, and I find absolutely nothing objectionable in the advice given here. I see people calling it dehumanizing, objectifying, transmisogynistic, manipulative, etc., and I just cannot understand where they’re coming from. I’ve tried to ask other trans women what they find objectionable about it, but the only responses I’ve gotten have been generic objections to *any and all* dating advice aimed at men.

    I wouldn’t be offended if you tried any of these tips on me, and I’d find a few of them pretty charming and flattering. Unfortunately, I’m not into guys… but I hope that you, and any of your trans bros who need this advice, are able to put it to good use and find the love you’re looking for. 💝

    • I’m happy to read this comment cuz I’m also baffled about the response. (spent way too long reading comments last night trying to understand) I considered most of the article benign at worst but a handful of comments do make sense to me with their objections.

      I’m a fan of Gabe’s so I know that a) he does consider himself to have been previously been a woman b) presented as very feminine once upon a time c) also knows that this isn’t the case for all trans masc people. He doesn’t really explain that here though and kind of generalizations his appearance. Like, yeah, Gabe DOES in fact know how involved the process of “getting dolled up” can be but there’s also an implication that other trans men/trans masc folk do. I eventually got good at performing femininity so I also understand this (and I’m more feminine than Gabe, anyway) but that’s definitely not the case for all trans masc folk.

      I’m also noticing that people seem to think he’s implying all trans women/trans fem folk are super feminine or SHOULD be but… he’s really not. He acknowledges a woman might just have a T-shirt and jeans on and goes on to celebrate the effort and the self expression in that. I think people are also reading into the article that he’s like, “Yeah! Go out and get a trans girl specifically. They’re hot and [blah blah, fetish chaser]”. However, the vibe *I* got was, “Oh, you’re interested in a trans woman? And you’re a trans man yourself? Well, let me give you some tips, partner!”

      Most of the actual advice is just like, real basic getting in to dating stuff to me. I’m not a woman but I’d also be flattered by a few of the tips. I left my own comment summarizing the tips and saying I enjoyed them in a quasi defense of Gabe but also because I was sort of hoping someone would reply to me and point out something insidious or ill thought I hadn’t realized

      You probably weren’t expecting a long reply to your comment. I don’t know. Anyway, have a lovel day, Pearl.

    • I appreciate your perspective Pearl, but as a cisgender woman I found it offensive. I just didn’t say anything until trans women did so.

      Some of the tips were fine, and I think people of all genders should start with a sober date. It’s just respectful. However I found the stereotypes offensive, and I felt it was a little gender essentialist. As I said in another comment, I think I found it more offensive via broader context.

      As a long term fan of Gabe, he’s been making some other comments that I found offensive – e.g. that he only asked men out pre-transition because he was always a man.

      Plus IMO Fallout 3 is better in every way than Fallout New Vegas.


  46. Made my skin crawl…and I’m a trans guy myself. How about you try just talking to her like a normal human being? Imagine if someone wrote an article about trans guys and it was like, “make sure to take Tyler/Kai/Chris to a Cavetown concert and compliment his flannel and craft beer collection”. We don’t need to be PUAs. Can we just be normal men who interact with women normally?

  47. We’re not the first 5 posts you see on r/196 when you wake up in the morning. We’re real, individual people with unique interests separate from the stereotypes you force on us all. I get that you probably don’t know any trans women but at least try.

    Also I don’t get the whole posturing that being trans suddenly makes you cool and non-threatrening. You’re acting like every shitty pickup artist who chases women for sex and leaves and 5am in the morning. Don’t flirt with strangers going about their lives and DEFINITELY don’t clock us at all, especially in public.

  48. This publication should be ashamed for putting out this disgusting transmisogynist drivel. Literally just advice for chasers based on fucking reddit memes. And people wonder why trans women feel alienated in LGBT+ spaces. Fucking disgraceful. You need to be kept away from trans women at all costs. If this publication has any sense of decency towards trans women they must retract this article and issue an apology.

  49. I have this vague recollection of trans guys being normal about women at one point but I’m starting to wonder if it was a fever dream. Kind of shocking to see this kind of transmisogynistic crap on Autostraddle of all places. Consider never talking to trans women if this is the way you view them.

    Gabe please stop writing anything representative of trans masculine people. You’re embarrassing us.

  50. Ooof. A trans guy’s guide to be a creeeeeeeeeeep! Autostraddle, please remove this transmisogynist crap and apologize. Does autostraddle have any standards at all? No, no they do not.

  51. Ooof. A trans guy’s guide to be a creeeeeeeeeeep! Autostraddle, please remove this transmisogynist crap and apologize. Does autostraddle have any standards at all? No, no they do not. Yikes

  52. Former Autostraddle monthly donor here, feeling very vindicated in my decision to cut that cord back at the merger. I was stunned to see Autostraddle publishing such a wildly transphobic, creepy piece. The fact that this not only cleared their editorial team for publication, but is still unapologetically live after days of controversy and backlash from all across the queer community – no apology, no retraction – is a testament to where this publication’s priorities truly lie. I will never spend another cent supporting this company, and will make sure my friends know Autostraddle isn’t for queer people anymore. Everybody involved here should be ashamed.

    • Concept: Maybe let trans and cis women tell us how they’d like to be approached. Just an idea. Instead of having a man say how it should be done. Would appreciate hearing from WOMEN about how THEY feel. A neat idea.

      • PRECISLEY. I’d love to hear about how to approach dating trans women as a bisexual cis woman in a respectful way. Or navigating bisexuality as a trans woman, or I dunno, just any bisexual content that wasn’t an insulting A+ content ask, or a film.

  53. Congratulations Gabe Dunn for again proving that trans men are often as if not MORE MISOGYNISTIC and cissexist than cis men! If you’re going to position yourself as a “former woman” and therefore a “safe man” literally why the fuck did you even transition. Your article makes it sound like you still view yourself as a woman at your core since you’re so eager to distance yourself from men even though you are literally a man. You are the reason so many women, both trans and cis, and even other trans mascs/men will choose the bear over a man. Thank you for giving the bears yet another win. You should be fucking ashamed of yourself for this sexist and aggressively white-centric bullshit (not every tgirl is a reddit nerd. Your article makes it obvious you arent in community with any trans women). This is some disgusting chaser bullshit and frankly if you don’t delete this soon I would worry about your career. This shit is fucking embarrassing.

  54. As a transmasculine individual, this is just.. embarrassing. I have never read anything from AutoStraddle prior, and if *this* is the content that’s platformed as being higher quality, I don’t think I would ever want to. Gabe Dunn does a fantastic job at showing just because you’re trans, that it doesn’t mean you’re any safer to women than your cis counterparts. We seriously need to do better.

    So many of the asides and “tips” in this article come across as treating trans women and fems like zoo animals; something to gawk at and have to “tip toe” around because you’re afraid of getting hurt. I wonder why that is. It totally couldn’t stem from the idea that many trans men and mascs, seemingly including Mr. Dunn here, like to rely all too heavily on the bioessentialist view that, no matter how much we protest, we are still “female-coded/socialized” and “male-coded/socialized” and will never break out of that mold. No, of course not, that’s totally not the reason Mr. Dunn decides to frame trans women and fems simply having a personalized social media feed as, quote: “The dolls tend to curate their Instagrams really beautifully.”

    Real dating advice? Treat trans women and fems like any other person you have interacted with in your years of existence. Get to know *her*, not the idealized, meme-y social media stereotype that everyone loves to push instead of humanizing trans women and fems.

  55. There is potential value in a guide for queer people who were raised with the cultural expectation that their partner would make the first move, but who now find the tables turned and want to balance “putting themselves out there” with “not being a creep.” I do not think this article is that guide.

    I hope this is a parody failing to be funny. Please say psych.

    • As a trans woman this unironically makes me more uncomfortable than the vice guide to partying. Try treating women with respect, not stereotyping them, and not misgendering them. Instead of relying on “safety” based on bioessentialism to get women back to your place, try making them feel safe and comfortable around you!! Just a really gross read that’s giving 2010s pickup artist but somehow treating me with less humanity.

  56. the way people are dogpiling this article but not reading the articles by trans women and fems on this website and giving their work interaction, support, and comments is very 👀

  57. At first I genuinely thought this article was satire, but then I realized this author writes no satire, this is just an awful article.

    To any trans men, disregard every single word in this article. It helps a lot if you don’t stereotype and rely on gender essentialism and misogyny.

  58. I can’t even pick a ‘worst part’ of this article to highlight. I have seen many a trans guy participate in transmisogyny over the years and this is definitely going on the podium for that. Amazing. If this was on r/transgendercirclejerk I’d call it a hall-of-fame worthy post. Actually, someone’s already posted it there for you!
    Really love the reductive framing of ‘when she was a gay guy’ and ‘when I was a girl’, I’m totally sure that’ll work on trans girls. The idea of using the AFAB Female Socialization Pussy Power that somehow gave me magical knowledge on makeup to woo this imaginary woman is also crazy- did you seriously choose going the route that most cis woman chasers go for with trans men over the fact that as trans people we have shared experiences??? (Honestly, I think this article is a pretty good example of how the ‘lived female experience’ (or similar phrasing) that some tguys talk about does not actually make them more understanding towards women.)
    Not to mention the reddit buzzwords and the objectification going on through this whole thing. If I found out a guy I was hanging out with had views like this, I’d be disgusted. I kind of feel bad for you for having had the brain to write and post this, but far worse for any transfems you have acted like this around. Sure, you see trans women as women, but do you see them as people?

  59. The more I read the comments on this, the more disappointed I am that this not only made it to publication but is still up. I was kinda squicked by some parts but I thought maybe it was just me being overly sensitive since I’m fairly early in transition. I mean, I do love getting flowers. But coming back later and seeing the absolute wall of criticism, with almost nobody defending the article… Makes me think I should have trusted the squick feelings.

    I want to like Autostraddle. I’ve read the odd article here or there for years but never felt like I belonged. I was so excited when I realized I could finally belong here, that I wasn’t a cis guy. (Yes, it’s not a joke, being able to read this site is part of the upside of transition for me) Only to find it in its decadence/decline…

    I’m used to being one of the only commenters on most articles, I didn’t just come here to comment from socials. I don’t know where else to get content like the rest of this site, queer culture stuff without constant trauma trigger news. Even if it’s owned by a binder company now, I want to join.

    But like, you can’t be above criticism. Pull it, make an apology post that says due to issues highlighted by the community, the article has been pulled, future articles in those realms or by that contributor will go through a sensitivity reader, thank everybody for their respectful feedback, boom. Claim the failure, understand it, and work to fix the harm. The actual change might be hard but the process is straightforward.

    And trans guys, especially in journalism, need to stop generalizing about trans women or assuming they know anything about our lives. (Beyond the basic misogyny of a pick up artist style post) This is not the first time trans men around me have done this kind of thing when I thought they were above it.

    • P.S. Treat this as a systems failure: several holes had to align for this failure to occur, there’s no one person entirely at fault. How did this topic get approved? Was the article already written? How did this get written? How did the editing process leave it at this point? Was any feedback raised by early readers that was ignored? (Are Summer and Drew far enough in transition that they read this and saw no problems with it? Are there trained sensitivity readers involved at any point?) Once it went up, what controlled the lifecycle of it on the homepage? On the socials? Why did it stay up without editorial comment, despite these pretty glaring flaws?

      And perhaps the hardest one: I suppose that the loss of a few subscribers is outweighed by the many ad impressions… (I would love to be wrong…) How can procedures, incentives, business be structured so that really problematic content (with lots of negative engagement) like this, isn’t prioritized and optimized for?

        • It wasn’t meant to be, sorry about that. I moreso meant that each group of “hatch”/transition seems to have a slightly different view of things. In my very recent transition group, it’s ok to refer to your own time pre-transition as “when I was a xyz”, if you feel that way, but you would often include a disclaimer that it’s just you, and you aren’t implying anyone else was anything other than their preferred gender. Basically, you can say it for yourself if you want but everybody knows it’s a loaded and controversial statement.

          So that’s something that would have been obvious to me, but I’m different than even just the quarantine trans folks who are only 1-3 years ahead of me. So, what I meant was, are the concerns I noticed something you’d only find if you had a recent transition person on staff?

          I was trying to not throw them under the bus, basically 🤦🏻‍♀️

          I’m sorry, I can see the phrasing is not great and can be condescending. I’d edit it if I could, I’ll be even more careful when referring to other trans folks in the future. Especially since that was basically my whole point.

          • Better: I should have phrased with “I” statements: “I feel like I would have noticed this issue had I read an early version, since it stuck out to me immediately, but I do not know if this is universally understood to be problematic phrasing.”

            I genuinely enjoy the work of both Drew and Summer, they are both great writers. I especially feel like I learn a lot from Summer, she’s incredible and also seems a lot like me in many ways. (I’m too disconnected from film culture to really get everything that Drew writes.) Look for my head in other comments, I often write that under their articles 😅

  60. Incredibly demoralizing as a trans man to learn that some of us define ourselves and each other by our former womanhood. “When I used to be a woman” this, “when I used to be a woman” that, I can relate to you (a woman) because “I used to be a woman,” I’m nonthreatening and safer than other men because “I used to be a woman.”

    Well I don’t know about you guys but I’m not a “former woman.” I’m a man. And I’m aware that as men we are capable of being as manipulative, misogynistic, and predatory as cis men, which this article proudly exemplifies while at the same time implying that trans men are “men lite,” like a soft, nonthreatening version of men.

    Do you also believe the corollary, that trans women are dangerous and violent women because they “used to be men?” If so, you’re a bioessentialist, and if not, you’re a hypocrite who’s clinging to womanhood as a tool of manipulation. Genuinely pathetic and extremely disappointing.

    PS: I would NEVER refer to myself as a woman even in the past tense, and even before I transitioned I was quite masculine and clueless about “try-ons and discards, lotions and perfumes, accessory choices, and shaving and plucking.” So maybe don’t act like all of us were as comfortable with being a stereotypical woman as you clearly were.

    Disappointed in Autostraddle for publishing this.

  61. Is your confidence that low that you need to devolve into some kind of Alabama Man just to come up with the most conviluded and stereotype-filled dumpster fire in order to cope with your loneliness? Do you think in order to pass or validate yourself as a “real man” you meed to consume the bible of misoginy? Did you even take yourself seriously?

    And no these are genuine questions. Especially as a trans woman you’re really started to piss me off. And on top you didn’t ment Celeste or Splatoon at all. Shame of you, i thought you’d knew your stereotypes 😤

  62. Bereft of hope…and now dignity.

    I release you from your duty. All of you.

    I take solace, your Radiance, in the knowledge that you are not here to witness our debasement.

    ‘Twas a grand, glorious dream we shared.

    Of a world united. Of peace and prosperity.

    We are ghosts, you and I. Memories of days gone by.
    Bonds forged in blood…that I will not see tarnished.

  63. While I understand that a lot of trans masc folks have ties/affinity with the wlw community for both historic and modern reasons, I do wonder why exactly this was published on a website predominantly aimed at sapphic women. I mean, yes, it’s trans, but at its core, this article is *very* much about heterosexuality.

    • Agreed. A guide for bisexual trans women to date men would not be off base – this website is for gay and bisexual women. But this is a (problematic) guide for men to date women. It makes no sense on this website.

  64. Does Autostraddle not have an editor anymore? Who allowed this to be published? A final nail in this site’s coffin (too bad bc I love Drew Gregory’s film analysis)

  65. this is a great article. it’s inspiring. I’m grateful for your insightful and informative article. this site is fantastic, and I’m thrilled to share it with love.

  66. Genuinely I don’t get where the kerfuffle is coming from – like this advice just reads to me as “just go and be nice to her, but here’s how some gestures might come across so keep that in mind” – but some of these comments are horrifying!

    Comments calling trans men “Kais”, implying that all transmascs are gross and shit by default of identifying as men (“trans men are the men of the trans community”), comments denying that Gabe Dunn is neurodivergent, the FREQUENT comparisons between trans men and incels and statements about trans men being “worse” than cis men – how is any of this okay?! How can people write comments talking about “yeah these transcel topsurged gender-special he/they’s are terrible and abnormal, all other Normal Trans People hate you, thank you for proving how misogynistic and evil all trans men are, touch grass” and decide you’re being the kind, decent person in this situation is fucking beyond me.

    Like At Worst this article is a bit embarrassing or reliant on stereotypes; I certainly didn’t get manipulative or incel vibes off it, and I’ve definitely read worse written/creepier/more transmisogynistic things in my time. Is this article really worth all this vitriol in response? It’s so over the top and extreme in response to an article talking about like…”maybe get your date flowers, she might not be used to that, but roses are overkill”. Really?

    If this is how people talk about transmasculine people in response to them writing something they dislike, then fuck it, why bother being an out transmasc person online? If making a mistake (or saying anything that could even slightly be interpreted as A Bit Rubbish) has people exploding at you as if you just doomed the entire trans community with your heinous words, then why bother saying anything at all? Especially knowing that a cis lesbian could have written this article, and the comments wouldn’t have been nearly this aggressive or cruel about cis lesbians. How often does this website generally rely on stereotypes about cis lesbians and the lesbian community writ large? I’ve never seen someone do an article about like “The Ten Birkenstocks You and your Queer Hiking Group Need” receive the response of “see, this is lesbophobic and stereotyping, all Normal Real Lesbians think you need to eat shit and die”. The fact that a vast majority of them are being left up is worse than the article itself still being here.

    Really makes me afraid for the future, tbh. If the queer community can turn on someone for the crime of being Mildly/Moderately Cringe As A Trans Man like this, then fuck it, why bother.

    • The article advises people to “use social conditioning to your advantage” no one does this except abusers. Using social conditioning to your advantage is abuse. Leveraging societal pressure in a relationship is abuse.

    • It’s disappointing to repeatedly see this kind of attitude about transmasculine people. It’s like some (certainly not all) queer people are waiting for a trans guy to say something cringe so they can dump all their baggage with men on him.
      It came off as cliche but people are calling him predatory for no reason.

    • Criticism of this post is not remotely about ‘being cringe’. I am the Queen of Cringe. This is about stereotyping women, gender essentialism and PUA tactics. And Autostraddle not being responsible.

      • idk mate, when people are coming up with usernames like “pooncel” in order to criticise this article, I’m thinking maybe a lot of that criticism isn’t in good faith, perhaps.

        Been thinking a lot about this, and like…was “Detransition, Baby” being gender-essentialist and stereotypical when it describes how trans men can always pass, because cis people expect trans mascs to look “Like Gwyneth Paltrow with a moustache”? Aren’t ALL of Autostraddle’s dating/sex articles doing some measure of stereotyping women/lesbians?

        As for the PUA thing – having seen what PUA shit is like, saying to a trans woman that you like her shirt, asking her plainly for a date and/or her contact info, making an effort to get to know her, and not being ashamed of her on the date, is NOT the same thing as recommending you neg her or try and get her attention by learning magic tricks.

        I still stand by it: I think if a woman had written this, people wouldn’t mind it at all, and the sheer strength of the response and the open hostility to transmasc people in these comments isn’t at all an acceptable or proportionate response to the article.

    • if you can’t see why an article that implies:

      -trans women ‘used to be gay men’
      -trans men are safer than men by virtue of their AGAB (what’s the implication there?)
      -you should hit on trans women by clocking them in public

      then both you and Gabe should stay as far away from us as humanly possible. trans men are men

      • Addressing your points in order:

        – Couldn’t find where in the original article Gabe said trans women “used to be gay men”. Dunn says a lot more often that a good number of trans men “used to be women”, and, well…lots of transmascs DID used to identify as women before coming out as trans. That’s clearly a part of Dunn’s own life experience, and, while it wasn’t a great idea on his part to generalise that so much, I don’t think he’s innately in the wrong for discussing it. I think a lot of people, including other trans people, see trans men as “former women” anyway, regardless of whether they ever identified that way. Speaking of which…
        – The implication is that a lot of people – including a lot of other trans people – still see transmasc individuals as being “weird women,” or “woman-aligned/adjacent,” and treat us accordingly, even after we come out; this includes feeling that we’re safer to be around, or more understanding about women’s issues, than cis men are. Dunn also highlights that there’s a lot of sexism about that, and yeah, we KNOW that people gender us transmascs in this way, it’s part and parcel of the transphobia and misogyny we all live under. If you’re offended by that implication that a trans woman would think that a trans man is innately safer to be around than a cis man, then I don’t think that’s the trans man’s fault for pointing that out. It’s the fault of people who aren’t transmasc for holding those unconscious biases in the first place, surely?
        – I’d interpreted that advice to be more about outing yourself as ALSO being trans, rather than just saying “you’re a trans woman and I’m into that,” but maybe that’s just how I read it. Again, I don’t think it’s a perfect article by any means, but rereading that section on flirting, the actual suggestion was more based on outing yourself as being trans early on, so that a trans woman might feel more comfortable about it (iirc the suggestion is like “I could never get the hang of that hairstyle before I transitioned”). Or do you not see any problem with a trans man outing himself to someone he’s flirting with in a public place?

        Anyway, even if this article IS actually deeply transmisogynist and thus evil, and I’m just too much of a nasty man to see it that way, do you think it’s okay for people to have responded to this article by calling trans men “pooncels,” “Kais,” and “gender-specials”? Trans men are men, yes, and clearly a lot of people in the comments section fucking despise them for that.

        (P.S. It’d be a bit difficult for me to stay away from trans women, considering I’m married to one. T4T is great actually! I love my wife so fucking much!)

      • Honestly, at this point they’re also hurting Gabe. He’s made no secret of the fact that he’s struggling for money. They could have commissioned a dozen articles from him that wouldn’t have had this negative aspect.

  67. What world does Gabe live in that he thinks trans women are any less likely to pick the bear over a trans man than any other man? Or think that he himself is not an inherent part of the reason WHY women feel a bias towards picking the bear. It’s guys like Gabe that make life suck for woman-attracted trans men. Thanks Gabe, I’m gonna be hearing all about this article and how trans men just want to exploit social conditioning to emotionally manipulate trans women into sex for months and now I’m gonna feel weird even complimenting women’s outfits for fear they’re gonna pattern-match that with this load.

  68. As a transmasc in a long term relationship with a trans woman, this article reads like it was written by someone who not only has never been on a date with a trans woman but has never even spoken to a trans woman in his life. If the constant invocation of transfem stereotypes are anything to go off of, it actually reads more like it was written by someone whose only exposure to trans women has been from seeing tgirl memes on Reddit.

    Why did this author feel the need to create a trans version of the shitty misogynistic pickup artist guides from the 2010s, and why did Autostraddle think it was appropriate to publish it??

    The cognitive dissonance of treating trans women as sex objects while still assuring the audience that you (and the poor misguided men you’re trying to give advice to) are one of the Good Guys that are Safe For Women simply by virtue of being trans was almost enough to give me whiplash. The persistent invoking of the fact that you “used to be a woman” to signal that you’re Safe without considering what that might imply you think about her as someone who (in your terms) “used to be a man” is baffling. And acting like she should be interested in you (and view you as inherently safe) by virtue of you both being trans alone is absolutely absurd.

    This is also just full of bad advice in general for “picking up” anyone. Going from “step 1: politely compliment her outfit” to “step 2: immediately ask her on a date and make it clear that you (a stranger she just met) are interested in her romantically/sexually” before even getting her contact info is creepy as hell. None of the date suggestions would actually make for a good first date (an anarchist lecture? line dancing? really?) and it’s especially presumptuous to expect that she would be willing to fuck on the first date. Also why are the only suggestions for figuring out what to talk to her about on the date either 1: stalk her social media beforehand (creepy) or 2: expect conversations about being trans to carry you the whole way. Why does it not suggest to actually listen to her until AFTER the introductions and first date are over?

    If you want ACTUAL advice for “picking up” a trans woman it’s this: TREAT HER LIKE A HUMAN BEING. And drop the pickup artist mindset, it’s degrading.

  69. I’ve been a reader for 14 years. Autostraddle got me through the hard years when I was closeted, and was a rock for me when I finally came out and started transitioning. I have a lot of love for you, still.

    But this article really, really sucks, as everyone above me has already noted, and the fact that it’s still up weeks later without apology or comment makes it so much worse. And I think this might be it for me – this isn’t the Autostraddle I fell in love with and that I cared so much about for so long. Y’all just lost me as a reader.

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