Monday, May 7, 2018

Putting Toothpaste Back In The Tube

I had a great question put to me:

In normal conversation how do you get around outing yourself when faced with a question or statement that will identify you as being transgender.  An example; being in a group and blurting out , “My fraternity did this while I was in college”.  Oops, I meant “sorority”.

Hard to put that toothpaste back in the tube.

A few things come into play, that work for me; your mileage will vary.

Know that there are minefield words that will out you (as above, (fraternity/ sorority). Practice ahead or quickly think of substitutions. Just last week at my college reunion a woman asked, "what dorm were you?"  If I mentioned a men’s hall, this could have outed me to a stranger I had only just met. I said I lived off campus which was true for my last years. Long and unnecessary explanation diverted. 

Know that some holidays have gender. There is no need to tell everyone all about what your kids did for you on Father’s day.  

When in the company of persons that do not know your history, venture down certain paths carefully; speak “spouse”, not wife or husband. 

Even with planning, there will be situations where you are in a corner with no way out. Then casual honesty is your best defense and I have used this before.  Just say:

I know you all well enough by now and do need to share a bit of my history – 'I have not always been a woman'. I hope this does not offend or cause you to see me differently or as someone other than your friend. I do not share this until I know I can trust, so please honor my confidentiality. This is for just our discussion. 

Typically this opens up a world of questions and a bond that did not exist before. You have shared your most intimate secret. Contrary to what we are seeing in our president, everyone appreciates honesty. 

Even the most seasoned poker players are said to have a “tell”.  Let’s be honest; a good number of males to females (MtF) do not pass 100%. I am good but not flawless. Thus, I assume that everyone just “knows” and I move forward with that assumption. I am not ashamed of being transgender. I fact, I am rather proud. Although with that said, "I do no wear a sign stating this fact".   

If someone is going to reject you over this issue, then it is better to just get past it. It is their problem, not yours. Honesty is always the best practice. If we are trying to fool someone, they might see the situation as they were being made a fool. Not a sound foundation to build a friendship or relationship.

Constantly trying to invent and maintain a contrived back-story can be mentally exhausting. 

Tomorrow - The myth of going stealth. 

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