Although I am an openly Transgender woman, I was almost overwhelmed not long after I graduated.
Why? Well, I secured a job with a major Dutch company and was told that I would be based in Amsterdam for the first 18 months.
My excitement was palpable and I dreamed of living in the free-wheeling, anything goes capital of Holland. I knew there were lots of other T-girls in the city and the night-life was renowned for its diversity and tolerance of others who are different. There must be, I thought, plenty of men in Amsterdam looking to date a Trans woman like me!
Holland has always puzzled me a little. Very similar in many ways to England and, from what I knew, Amsterdam especially having a number of similarities with London. Of course, there is widespread use of English. However, I understood that the typical mentality amongst the general public appeared to be akin to that of the Brits.
On one hand, Amsterdam is known world-wide for its liberal outlook in terms of acceptance of people of different sexuality and gender. There are plenty of Trans women from overseas making their home there. You have Thai Ladyboys and Trans-pinay from Asia, for example.
On the other hand, many of the population purportedly have an almost puritanical outlook on matters of sex and religion. Not, you might think, conducive to a Transgender woman from UK living and working comfortably in the city. I must add here that I had recently split up with my boyfriend of almost two years so was single and free again. Watch out Dutch men, I thought, I am looking for a new boyfriend!
Amsterdam has a lot of T-Girls and transgender women like me that are looking for a relationship
Maybe I was worrying unduly I don't know. Yet, for a few days before I left for Amsterdam, I worried quite intensely how my work colleagues would take to a Transgender female as a colleague. But, hey, the company was a major Dutch conglomerate so I guessed they must have considered this when they hired me. I also assumed they had strict HR policies in place about work place ethics and behaviour.
In addition, as you'd expect from a Dutch company, they were rigorous in checking me out and I'd had to disclose my medical history. They even asked about the dates when I'd started hormones, had breast implants and had my gender confirmation surgery.
My first few months living in Amsterdam were hectic. Work was all-consuming, getting settled in to my apartment took time, as did the paperwork for this and for that (driving licence etc). I did, however, manage to make some forays into the very visible Trans scene. I also made contact with a couple of other Transgender women who became firm friends.
Looking for a man to date and build a relationship with was high on my agenda but, certainly in the early days, I simply didn't have time (or the energy for that matter).
I think it was just on four months since I'd moved to Amsterdam. It was a cold night, as I sat at home and reflected: Here am I, an attractive, Transgender woman living in open minded, tolerant, diverse Amsterdam. But I haven't even had a remote chance of a date yet. What am I doing wrong?
Okay, I knew I hadn't spent enough time in bars and clubs or places where I know men who are looking for T-girls hang out, but...
I decided there and then I had to do something and quickly. I frowned and scratched my head, and pondered about when I last had had sex.
Within 15 minutes I was on the phone to Rosa, one of the other T-girls I knew in Amsterdam. Her advice was stark to the point and quite a shock, I have to say.
"From my own experience and that of most of the Transgender women I know, forget expecting to meet a nice guy in a bar, club or other public place. They are either Tranny-chasers, or have a fetish for a chick with a dick (even if you haven't got one!). Or they just want a quick fumble and grope. Try a specialised Transgender dating site such as MyTransgenderCupid and you will have far more chance of success in dating. Believe me..., I know!"
I listened carefully as Rosa ran though some of the reasons to use a site such as MyTransgenderCupid and began to see her reasoning. She explained:
There's no need to waste time (and money) getting ready and going to nightclubs where you hope there may be eligible men looking for Transgender women. If you meet someone, you may find he already has a girlfriend or is simply a Tranny chaser;
Most Trans women dating sites have a great selection of available men, not only in Amsterdam but from other Dutch cities. Within minutes of joining it's possible to start perusing the photographs and bios of all sorts of men looking for a T-girl;
When you believe the time is right, you can arrange a meeting with one of the men you have been chatting with on-line. You can get to know about his personality and make your own judgement if he may be right for you... before you meet!
Quite a few of these Trans girl sites have already verified the men on the site to make sure the information they are presenting is correct. They will check the men are who they say they are. After all safety and security is key for all Trans women
"Need I say more?" Rosa asked
"No," I replied, logging-on to my computer and starting to search for MyTransgenderCupid "Thanks, Rosa you've been a great help."