It would be nice to think of this as an issue that one day i would need to face, although, pessimistic me, i have my doubts about ever “passing” all that convincingly. Still, this is something i’ve discussed before – and i am interested in views from others on here.
Genuinely interested, by the way, because i know my views have been shifting over the last few months. When and how is it right to “out oneself”? Assuming one does “pass”, when should one tell. Or indeed, should one?
In work, i know i have changed. A few months back, i tended to add a slightly self-deprecating explanation at the end of e-mails to new contacts, pointing out my trans status. I don’t do that any more. I am feeling less trans, more female: and for work, it seems to me, it is no-one’s business whatsoever.
In this context (see my Politics Blog for more details) I am with Julian Huppert, Lib Dem MP for Cambridge, who was recently to be heard arguing that maybe, in future, official documents should be gender-free unless gender was absolutely required.
But what about personal interaction? On a date, for instance? It was a comment by the lovely Natascha Kennedy, berating New York agony uncle, the Ethicist, for his advice on this issue that set me off.
Natascha has interpreted the guy as advising trans men and women to out themselves on a first date. I am not so sure. A close reading of his “advice” suggests he may have contradicted himself.
That is, the reader has gone on a first date and detected a lot of evasiveness. They didn’t know their data was trans: just evasive. And, as some people will, they then went off and dug. My partner would do that.
The Ethicist’s answer is ambiguous. On the one hand, he is against “premature disclosure” – which i think means he doesn’t think you need to out yourself on a first date. But then he talks about such information being important “before a first kiss”.
Assuming he means one of those smoochy, melty red hot first kisses (as opposed to a polite peck on the cheek at the end of a date), he may have a point – and he may be coming in for some unwarranted stick.
Or is he? Is self-outing ever necessary? I’m not convinced it is. Or rather, if one is post op, i’d say it absolutely is not, except insofar as it is germane to the evolving relationship. Like, the fact that you might be infertile.
Obviously, it would be unfair to start a relationship with someone desperate for children. Equally, i think it would be seriously awkward to commence a serious sexual relationship pre-op without just happening to mention that there may be a surprise in store when your would-be beloved removes your knickers. 🙂
Otherwise, though, does one, should one out? I am not at all sure one should.