When most people learn I am Transgender, they are generally quite understanding.
Whether I am looking to date a new guy or simply looking to make new female or male friends, the majority of people I meet are happy, but understandably curious, when they know they have finally met a Trans woman. Some people may be a little cautious at first, but are usually respectful, upon learning that I belong to the T (Transgender) community, part of the LGBTQ acronym.
After all, with the huge amount of media hype over the last 2 or 3 years, more and more Transsexual women are in the spotlight, whether it be on TV, in films or magazines—although, still, not that many people have actually met or dated a real live Trans person.
Of course, people are going to ask questions, and I truly understand this: Trans people are still officially out of the usual mainstream of society, a small percentage of the overall population. Yet, it was not much different for our gay cousins some 40 or 50 years ago; and not much different for people with rare diseases or some unusual physical characteristics but, at the end of the day, we are all people!
I can handle most questions and queries (more often than not from non-Trans women would you believe, who tend to want to know all sorts of details about my life); just as I’d ask any new friend or someone I was potentially about to date or have a relationship with… but there are limits…
And, beyond such limits, there are certain questions which anyone with a modicum of common sense, decency or respect, call it what you will not ask a Transwoman like me. In fact, you can ask any Trans-
Honestly, Transgender people (not just Trans women but Trans men too) do not like to be asked questions such as:
Er… mmm, er… hmm, you know, have you had the ops?
A good answer: can I turn this question around and ask you about your genitals before I get to know you well?
Of course, we don’t like talking about what operations we Trans have had or not had; our private parts are just that, private (unless of course I know you really well and are planning on dating and becoming intimate with you!)
What’s more, it is not a prerequisite of being Transgender to have genital surgery or Gender Confirmation Surgery as we prefer to call it, whether this is bottom or top surgery (our breasts). I know many Trans women who happily go through life with either no confirmation surgery or (more likely) just top (breast enhancement) surgery.
But, the bottom line, is that it’s not nice or polite to ask me this question! And be warned, I reserve the right to give you a dirty look and not answer at all…
Is being Transgender a lifestyle choice or essentially a fashion statement?
When I have been asked this by a man or a woman, I think my facial expression usually barely conceals my exasperation. I try, like all Transwomen probably would, to give a measured response but, honestly, please take a moment to think about it!
I usually, simply, ask some questions back: how many people in this world would willingly put themselves through so much pain and emotional suffering; prejudice their career prospects or blight their chances of renting an apartment, never mind ostracise or marginalise themselves from society for a life style choice? How many people risk want to risk being attacked, being beaten up, or worse still (especially it seems in the US), being murdered, simply because they wanted to live a particular lifestyle.
I don’t see many other minorities, apart from Transgender people, being ridiculed and attacked in the media for the way they present themselves. Just because someone may look like a man or is not overtly feminine externally, it does not mean that he/she is not a Trans person. Our gender expression is from within; it is from our inbuilt personas and not always from our physical appearance.
What is your sexuality? All Transgenders are gay, right?
Aaah…, the oldest misconception there is! The first part of the misconception is that gender and sexuality are the same. No, they are not. Gender comes from who we are deep down, how we perceive the world, how we present ourselves. A Transgender person may have male genitalia but be female through and through in her outlook, emotional being and presentation. Sexuality, on the other hand, is really to do with who we prefer to make love with.
Can you guess the second part of the misconception? Well, the answer is no again. Trans people can be attracted to the opposite gender; or to the same gender or, just like a reasonably high percentage of mainstream society, be attracted to attracted to either gender; namely bi-sexual.
Again, think about it before you ask: how can a post-op Transgender woman dating a hetero guy possibly be gay?
Hope this all might help you think before you ask…., so, until next time….. take care!