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Post-op, post-transition and ready to actively start dating again

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I'm now 9 months post-op trans woman and I'm essentially post-transition at this point (except for finishing up electrolysis - those darn last hairs!). And emotionally, I'm at a point where I would really like to start dating again.

The problem: I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to dating.

As background for those less familiar with my story:
* I'm 49 years old
* Post-op
* Passable, although I am tall at 5'11"
* I have been told that I look pretty good for a 49 year old woman(?)
* I live in Maryland, a decently liberal part of the U.S.
* I am very chill and informal
* I think I'm a lesbian. Still have zero attraction to guys (I'm kind of curious about hetero sex, however, at least for an experience...)
* But I have no idea how lesbian dating works
* Kind of concerned about throwing myself into lesbian spaces given that there are some TERFs among the older lesbian crowd
* I have never done online dating - again, I have no idea what I'm doing
* I have zero interest in flings or polyamorous situations...looking for a committed relationship
* I am NOT stealth in real life, and in fact many people know about me being trans. I would prefer to be open about being trans in my profile
* I am very picky - I've been in enough relationships to know what personalities / values are compatible with me and traits that are red flags
* I am willing to go out on lots of first dates to find someone I'm really excited about

So I have questions:
* What dating sites are worth doing? Any best practices? How do I address the fact that I'm openly trans?
* What are some activities that I can go to where I can meet other lesbians? I do lots of outdoors / sporty things, but most of the LGBT groups that organize these activities have mostly gay guy attendees (they're fun to hang out with, but don't really help me with my dating game...)?
* Any other suggestions?


Northern Star Girl:
Dear Sarah:
Congratulations to you on getting this far along in your journey....
I am sorry for my longish comment reply to you, but I wanted to cover all the bases.

Dating can be a mystery not only to trans-women and trans-men ... but also it
can be a mystery to many cis-women and cis-men as well.

First off....  proceed very SLOWLY as you navigate the gauntlet of dating.
I first started dating as a trans-woman after I went full time and relocated to
my small town in Alaska.

Many years ago I briefly tried dating sites as a guy well before I decided to transition
and then briefly after I became a trans-woman.   
As a woman on a dating site, even the "higher quality" dating sites, be
prepared for "<admirers>" that primarily go after trans-women for less that serious reasons...
...and be prepared for those that never read the profile and just look at the pictures. 
Many replies will be one-liners or one-sentence "come-on" lines that can be rude, nasty, and
very sexually oriented...  and that will be in just the first messages that are
received... put those that respond on that way in the "no contact" or "block" file.
Then of course, especially with on-line dating sites, be very careful with divulging
personal contact information.... real first/last name, email address, etc.   
Never meet with someone that is a stranger that you "meet" online in a private
setting.....  if you do meet, do it in a coffee shop or for lunch in a public populated area.

When I relocated to my new town I very carefully and slowly entered the
real life dating scene and never went back to the on-line dating endeavors.
I immediately found that as a new comer blonde haired, blue eyed woman in
a very small town that I drew more attention than I could easily handle.
I had "experimented" with dating men and with dating women. 
I almost immediately had 5 or more male and female suitors that I had
entertained with mutual romantic intentions.

I know that you have read my following Blog thread so perhaps you
are already aware of my dating experiences as a trans-woman:
  *****    I am the HUNTED PREY: Danielle’s Chronicles
The first several months of my posts and comments in that thread really
describe from my point of view the IRL dating scene that I was navigating.

All of my suitors and respective dates came about by being involved in real life
local community activities, charity events, my local gym involvement, the next
door coffee shop, my involvement in a book club, cooking club, and my gym-gals group. 
My local small business that I started also allowed me to meet a lot of people in my town.   
My friends and acquaintance "net" grew quickly, friends of friends, etc.

You are correct about not being "stealth"   
Always be very open about your transgender life and especially in romantic
involvements you do not want any unpleasant surprise admissions to your
possible suitors... NO past secrets that will tarnish burgeoning relationships.

I am wishing you well and I am trusting and hoping that you find what you are looking
for in your dating search activities.... and I will say it one more time... GO SLOWLY !!!


Thanks Danielle.

Trust me, if I felt I could find people without resorting to dating sites, I definitely would! I just don’t know if I am going to be able to meet enough women if don’t do online dating….


Northern Star Girl:

--- Quote from: sarahc on November 02, 2021, 06:52:15 pm ---Thanks Danielle.

Trust me, if I felt I could find people without resorting to dating sites, I definitely would! I just don’t know if I am going to be able to meet enough women if don’t do online dating….


--- End quote ---

Dear Sarah:
I will be rooting for your dating successes.
Keep us all updated as you progress in your dating endeavors.
HUGS and best wishes to you.

I've been married for the last 18 years, so I haven't dated in a very long time.  My brother; however, has dated more recently.  From what I understand, online dating is super common now, and many relationships start there.  I wouldn't be afraid to explore some online options.  Unfortunately, I am not sure what those options are...


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