1. Do NOT refer to us as “trannies.” It will not end well for you. This is an offensive slang that is used in the LGBT community, sometimes jokingly, but NEVER in civilized conversation. It’s rude.

2. DO treat us with the respect you would give any cisgender girl. Many times, I’ve chatted with men in bars who were beyond sweet to me — opening doors and asking my interests — only to have the script flip when I reveal that I’m trans. The questions change from, “What’s your favorite place you’ve ever been?” to “So, what are you into, like, in bed?” It’s beyond frustrating, humiliating and degrading. We are worth a real connection and real love. If that’s not something that you want, then leave the nice young lady alone.

3. Most of us are NOT gender studies professors. Do NOT ask us about trans issues, what it’s like to live a day in our shoes or what our stance is on the treatment of trans women the world over. It has nothing to do with who we are. If the girl in question is a software engineer, you should probably ask her about that. If she’s a painter, she’ll be better at that. Buy a few books on us if that’s your thing, educate yourself — the information is out there. Take a gender studies course if you want the skinny on all things trans; we are not teachers. Unless, of course, your girl is a gender studies teacher, then go right on ahead.

4. DO ask us about our family life. Some girls will not have a supportive family, but will hope to create a loving family one day and want to talk about that. Others may have a very liberal background and be excited to share stories about her people with you. It’s a touchy subject sometimes, but at least the topic is genuine, it has nothing to do with sex or gender. These are the questions that will actually help you get to know someone at their core, and it shows that you are actually interested.

5. Do NOT ask about our surgeries. Our body is none of your business, and vise versa. I’m not going to ask you about the pins that you had to put in your knee from that basketball injury you had in college, so you are NOT to ask me if my boobs are hormone grown or implants. Plain and simple.

6. DO ask about our hobbies, that special quirk that makes our soul happy. I love to bar hop with my friends, chill outdoors, brunch all day and decorate my house. I could talk about those things for days! It’s another comfortable none gender-related topic that gets you more in tune with a person.

7. Do NOT ask what our old/real name used to be. This shouldn’t need an explanation, but hell, somebody has to say it. It’s completely inappropriate. None of your business. And why do you want to know? Do you even remember my last name? Why do you feel entitled to know my LAST last name? Rude.

8. DO ask what our goals for the future are. Many girls have big dreams and will stop at nothing to achieve them. Some will go on from being registered nurses to medical doctors, others from sales associates to store managers at Gucci. These are the things we want to discuss, it’s on keel with who we are in real life.

9. Do NOT compliment us on how “passable” or “feminine” we are. It is NOT a compliment. We are not trying to fool anybody or be anything that we feel we are not. This is who we are. Yes, it took a bit more work, but it’s an effort we made for ourselves, not some strange man’s approval.

10. DO compliment our general appearance. “You look absolutely beautiful in that dress” is perfectly suffice as far as compliments go. “You have amazing hair” never hurt anybody either.