Health Sex and sexual health Trans sexual health Trans sexual health | Safety Trans people are often subjected to abusive behaviour which can make establishing relationships more difficult than for cis people. Recent statistics show a huge jump in hate crime and abuse instances towards trans people in the UK, but trans people deserve to have fun, healthy and vibrant sex and dating lives. Here are a few tips on how to make your sex life and dating safer, whether that’s in-person, online or via apps. Put your safety first It is extremely important to keep yourself safe above all else. If you believe a partner may cause you physical or psychological harm for whatever reason, get yourself away from them. It may be a good idea to let a friend know where you are and meet in a public place for your first date to ensure your own safety. If you have been hurt by a partner, get help immediately and utilise any bystanders, or call the police. You may also want to contact Galop, an LGBTQ+ helpline for those who have been hurt by hate crime, sexual abuse, or domestic abuse. You can reach them at 0800 999 5428 (National Helpline), 020 7704 2040 (London advice line), or [email protected]. Communicate your wants and needs Just like all relationships, it is important to let your partner know what you need from them for the relationship to be successful, this includes sex. Communicating this early on just ensures that confusion will not arise further down the line. Making sure you are both on the same page will make you happier overall. Your needs are valued, and in any partnership, all parties involved have a say. Make sure your partners needs are met, but do not let yours be forgotten. Relationships should also be fun. Don’t be afraid to tell a partner what you want or ask to try something new. Communicating your wants makes dating as enjoyable as possible. While your needs are extremely important, they are just the bare minimum. At the end of the day, you should be having a fun time, and dating because you want to. Have a dating/sex app strategy If you are using dating and hook-up apps, then it’s a good idea to have a safety plan in place before deciding to meet someone. Let someone know: It’s good to let someone know where you’re going. You don’t have to go into detail and it’s possibly best if you choose a friend or housemate rather than your parents (but that depends on your relationship) Meet in public: If they suggest meeting in an alleyway somewhere in the rough end of town then it’s best to say no. The best place to meet is where there are a lot of people walking by – shopping centres, pubs, busy streets. If they suggest a quiet park for example, make an alternative suggestion. Chances are if they are a ‘real person’ then they won’t mind meeting in a busier place. Stay sober: No one is begrudging you a drink, but to have a good handle on yourself and your whereabouts will keep you safer and is easier if you aren’t drunk or high. Report attacks or threats: If you are unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of any verbal or physical attacks, or if you receive any threats then you should report them. If you are in fear of your life at any point call, the police. You will not be the first person this has happened to and they will know how to deal with it in a sensitive manner. If you feel uncomfortable with talking to the police then call Galop or LGBT Switchboard. Contact Galop, an LGBTQ+ helpline for those who have been hurt by hate crime, sexual abuse, or domestic abuse. You can reach them at 0800 999 5428 (National Helpline), 020 7704 2040 (London advice line), or [email protected]. Your identity matters It is important that the people you date respect every part of you, your identities included. Even if your gender does not feel like the most important part of your identity, it is still a part of you that deserves respect and love. Your partners should respect and accept each intersection of who you are – you deserve the freedom to be who you are. Never settle for less than you deserve. Your gender identity belongs to you, and you can choose when to disclose it to others. If you feel unsafe or unsure, or you feel like revealing your identity might put you in danger, then leave, call a friend and/or locate a safe space. Further reading and advice If you have experienced a hate crime or abuse, Galop, the LGBT+ anti-abuse charity, has lots of help and information. You can contact the LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428 And the LGBT+ Hate Crime Helpline 020 7704 2040 You can share you experiences, stories and find help and advice via the LGBT HERO Forums.