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Article written by Maya Vukovska

Some people like to believe that gender is between the ears and sexuality is between the legs. Well, honey, we wish it was that simple. Most gay men think they are open-minded and tolerant towards everyone. However, even they may stumble when out on a date with someone who, somewhere between the smoked salmon canapé and the main dish, nonchalantly mentions they are gender fluid. Yes, the world of dating has changed drastically in the last few years, and you probably haven’t fully adapted to the new reality. But you “better shape up, you better understand”, otherwise you’ll die lonesome, with only your two cats and a turtle named Mr. Dickinson to keep you company...

Anyway, here are our six pieces of advice on how to treat a new crush, a date, or partner if they happen to be genderfluid.

Start the relationship with a linguistic sort-out

Ask your new bae what pronouns they go for (we'll be using "they" as generic stand-in in this article). This is you first star-winning moment, because your date will feel seen and validated for who they are. If you happen to meet an acquaintance of yours while walking hand in hand on the street or dining in a Thai restaurant, use ungendered terms to introduce them, something like ‘Meet my sweetheart!’, or, if you are not in the sweetheart zone yet, say simply, ‘That’s the person I’m dating.’ And one more thing: many genderfluid, non-binary people today do not go by their given names. Don’t do the mistake to call a Jack ‘Jack’ just because it says so on their birth certificate. Never dead name!

Do not expect them to be your educators

Dating someone who’s genderfluid doesn’t have to feel as if you were back in school, cramming for an exam. It’s understandable why you’re curious, just don’t expect them to come up with a PowerPoint presentation explaining their gender identity. What you can do instead is to kindly ask them if they feel like talking about it, and then, act accordingly.

Count to 5 before making a compliment

Flattering someone genderfluid about their outer appearance can be a field of landmines. Even the most innocent compliment, like “Wow, you absolutely have Matt Bomer’s jawline!” may affect them. So, instead of frantically trying to find the right words, you just say, “I am attracted to you!”

Have the body talk

Sooner or later, the body issue is going to be put on the table for discussion. Your date may look and dress very manly, but, like many other gender fluid people, they, too, might experience dysphoria - a condition causing mismatch between gender identity and the sex assigned at birth. It may not bother you, but mind your words - dysphoria can result in many awkward situations when it comes to having sex.

Since we mentioned sex…

Like anyone else, your genderfluid date has their sexual preferences. So ask before you take off your pants! And again, mind your language! Especially when you refer to their intimate body parts. Instead of saying/texting, “I so wanna taste your cock right now!”, substitute “cock” with the more neutral “junk”. Or “bits”. Get to know the terms they use to think of their body.

At the end of the day, just keep in mind they we are all are multi-layered creatures, and getting to know each other is the fun part.

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