May 2013: Did I get your attention with this title? Actually it's one of the bigger questions I get on a regular basis. Over the years I have tried to over think this process and come up with complex answers I can't even follow.
Last night though, in a rare moment of brilliance- my transgender spirit guide said "listen dummy, you find your own places by just going there."
I thought for a moment a said "wow spirit peep you are on to something!"
Think about it, we all have the power to help a place to become transgender friendly. But of course there are rules:
One of the biggest misconceptions is that all gay venues are trans friendly. The truth of the matter is you have to educate them the same as any other place. They just don't know us. Recent surveys have indicated that only 10% of the population has met a transgender person-change that!
Shopping of almost any kind should be a given. After all you are spending money with the merchant. You can also endear yourself if you don't treat women the way they treat each other. If you don't know, listen sometime.
Which brings me to what I assume are common sense points:
1- Never Assume your experience is going to be a bad one and be a bitch. With that attitude you will be right. More than likely you will give yourself and the rest of your trans sisters and brothers a bad start.
2.-Mind your own Business, be pleasant and TIP well when you are in a service situation. You will indeed make a good impression.
3.-Go Back. Maybe not common sense but a good point. If you become a good customer, you will be remembered and even protected in certain situations.
4.-Communicate. I learned this one the hard way. When you don't talk to people they assume the worst about you. So what if you don't think you have the sexiest female voice around. Not using your best effort will hurt you more in the long run.
Last but certainly not least, rest room and dressing room usage.
Very iffy and very sensitive. Too big of a subject to be covered here except to say I do have one definite standard. When I'm a great regular customer in the places I go-I can get my restroom privileges. Employees and managers get used to me using the women's room. BUT any "civilian" (not an employee) can change that in an instant with a complaint. The last thing I want to do is cause a scene. Years ago a male manager at one of my regular haunts revoked my rest room card. I simply went up the street and established myself at a competitor. About 6 months later, he got fired and a few of the employees who were still there came and invited me back. How nice was that?
Finally, YOU have the power to enable a place to become transgender friendly. Just don't go dressing all crazy, acting like an idiot and being a poor citizen. You will just ruin it for all of us.