My qualifications to write this post go back many years to a 30+ year career in the commercial restaurant business. I have seen trans women in my venues as well (of course) dining in others.
Here you go:
1.- Be nice and talkl. I'm sure many of you think, Cyrsti, this is common sense. It is, until I expand on it. Before I even began to journey out into the world as a woman frequently, the cross dressers/transgender girls who my staff's waited on, drew extra attention to themselves by being too quiet. I was guilty of it too, during my early ventures. What happens is, you may be quiet, scared to death and shy-which comes off to the world as you maybe doing something wrong.
2.- Tip well.- Especially, in the current ultra competitive climate, food employees would serve Martians if they minded their own business, were pleasant and tipped well. As transgender women, we are in an ideal spot to make a great impression because so many people don't make them. An example was, in the restaurants I ran, the "after church" crowd on Sunday was notoriously difficult to deal with. Look at it this way, unless you are an extremely passable trans woman, you will be remembered. Make your impressions good ones and you will be welcome.
3.- Trouble in Paradise.- Just when you are thinking all is well when you are heading out for a nice meal, beware of the predatory 50+ something genetic female. It used to be we thought teen aged girls were the worst group of humans we could face. This is the same group all grown up They are still in the same blissful state of transgender ignorance suffered from in their teens and are still our biggest problem. Young girls today either know "one of us", are informed about us, or just don't care. My latest example of 50 something genetic bigotry was just last Friday night. As Liz and I were blissfully enjoying our food and company, two women just had to S&S- Stare and Smirk. Outside of aggravating me, I don't let ignorance ruin my evenings anymore but women like this can throw more than stupidity at you. Such as:
4.-Rest Room Pass.- It is human nature. When you eat and drink, you may have to potty and are easy prey for an S&S er out to save the world for morality. Of course you have a couple alternatives. Hold it and don't go, just throw your shoulders back and the girls out and head confidently to the restroom or watch where the bigots are heading.
5.- Go Back.- As I said, if you like a place, return and begin to establish yourself as a regular. As you do, all kinds of good things can happen. These days, a progressive business embraces diversity which includes the TGLBQ community. I have never minded being the token transgender person. If possible, find another person to go with you. Nothing gives you more credibility. An example is when Liz and I go out, she is totally oblivious to the possibility I may be facing negative feedback. Which is fine, I fight my own battles. Finally, especially with my restaurant background, at all costs I try to respect the owners or management of the venue and be welcomed back.
So there you go kids, I'm sure many of you have welcome hints of your own! Be sure to pass them along. Bon Appetite!