When dating, when is the right time to tell someone you’re trans?
Published Thursday, 12-Aug-2010 in issue 1181
People who identify as transgender, transsexual, both transgender and transsexual and/or genderqueer (for ease I’m going to refer to all these folk as “trans people”) are as sexual or non-sexual as anyone else. In other words, there are trans people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual and asexual in the trans community.
There are a few ways to frame the question, covering dating for visibly trans people, dating for trans people who “pass” in the sex of their gender identity, dating for genderqueer (which include agender) people, and dating for part-timers (like crossdressers). Let’s face it, dating for trans people is complicated.
Personal histories matter to the people trans people date and become intimate with. Trans people always hope that they would be viewed as they identify themselves, per their own individual perception, but in reality that is looking at the situation through rose tinted glasses. In today’s world these histories matter to most trans people’s potential dating partners.
Trans disclosure can be fraught with dangers, big and small. A crossdresser can find potential partners are extremely uncomfortable with someone whose gender expression doesn’t match their sex. Transsexual people who don’t “pass” as a member of their target sex have the issue of potential sexual partners not perceiving them as a member of their target sex. Of course with “passing” transsexuals, trans men and women who aren’t visibly transgender to people that they meet, when do you tell a potential partner, for example, that your genitalia doesn’t match your perceived sex? From a personal perspective I’m aware there are some, even within the broader gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community, that will always see my gender as male and if I didn’t disclose I was trans right from the start, instead of just before intimacy, I could be seen as being deceptive.
For example even with post-genital reconstruction surgery, trans women who date and have sex without disclosing that the shape of the genitalia at birth may be taking their lives into their own hands.
Heck, dating-while-trans can be dangerous, period! Back in April of 2009, I covered the trial of Allen Ray Andrade for the blog Pam’s House Blend. Allen Ray Andrade was convicted of the first degree murder and a bias (hate) crime of Angie Zapata. He had stayed in Angie’s apartment for four days before he bludgeoned her head with a fire extinguisher, apparently while she slept. Angie was a pre-operative transsexual who had a habit of outing herself as trans before she dated anyone, yet she was murdered in a hate crime after the convicted killer had spent four days with her. When he referred to Angie to his girlfriend (!) in recorded calls he made from jail, he referred to her as “it” and “that thing.”
Sadly it’s not too far a leap from not wanting to date a trans person and/or feeling ambivalent about dating a trans person to perpetrating violence to a trans person while dating.
So for those who aren’t trans, the questions comes down to these: Would you date a trans person? Would you date a trans person who was visibly trans? What would you do if you found you had dated or been intimate with a trans person without first knowing the person you had dated or been intimate with was trans and/or was someone who had had genital reconstruction surgery? Above all when dating people, at what point in dating would you want to know when a potential date identified as trans?
Your answers will impact the trans people in the dating pool and when they should identify themselves as trans. l