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I’m surprised at how often I encounter people — typically cisgender men — who don’t understand what transgender means, even in a world where Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox make headlines.Despite the slowly turning tides, dealing with these potential partners is difficult because I often have to serve as both a therapist and a teacher. He was very much interested in me, but it took a few months for him to admit the full extent.So far this year, at least 18 trans women have been killed in the U.S., while countless others have been attacked or have attempted suicide.

And even though I now make sure people know my identity before I’m alone with a potential partner, there are still some aspects of this interaction that seem to show up in my dating life no matter how many precautions I take.A little under a year from now, I'll be the same age as 25-year-old India Clarke, a recent victim of trans killings.One of my biggest fears is becoming another murder statistic: someone for the media to posthumously misgender, leading the public to believe that I somehow deserved to have my life taken away.Despite one pervasive misconception that transgender people transition for the approval or acceptance of future sexual partners, when I transitioned there was nothing about the forthcoming experience that assured me I would be seen as desirable. But when you’re trans, it’s hard in a completely different way.I didn’t know if I’d ever have the chance to be loved. It’s all too easy to internalize the assumptions that we are rudimentary facsimiles of the people we actually want to be, or that we take on a lifestyle that’s all about mutilating our “God-given, natural” bodies.

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