DEAR ABBY: I am a 30-year-old transgender woman who has just started her journey. Feeling more comfortable in my skin, I have been going to some local hangouts with some friends from work and meeting straight men. My question is, when is it appropriate to disclose that I am a preoperative trans woman?
I have tried online dating on trans-friendly websites, as well as visited the local transgender bar, but those men tend only to be looking for sex, and I am looking for more than that. I would love your advice on the matter. -- STARTING MY JOURNEY
DEAR STARTING: For your safety, it is important that you disclose your status early, before there is any sex involved. If you don't, the straight man could react violently and possibly put you in danger.
At this point, it would be a good idea to contact PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) because it can put you in touch with resources to help you through your journey. The largest increase in new individuals reaching out to PFLAG is now among people with "trans" issues -- and this includes both trans individuals and their family members.
It is critically important to seek out a culturally competent therapist to help you with specific issues. To find referrals and a local chapter, visit pflag.org.