Just the Tips

How to Tell Your Friends and Family You’re Dating a T-Girl

Brunch Gathering

She’s incredibly smart and sexy… but she’s not like all the other girls.

Whether you’re a trans admirer, or have fallen for a woman who happens to be transgender, at some point you might have to tell your circle the good news.

But it can be tricky. So follow these tips…

Don’t put her at risk. Number one! If your old Uncle Jeb is a hoot during the annual family pheasant hunt, but did time for punching out the neighbor for “being queer,” he doesn’t get an invite to the dinner party. Period.

Do make clear what you expect from them. You tell your friends and family how to act. Some will understand that your expectations are a given. The rest will be on some level relieved. You have set the boundaries. You can’t help who your family is, but you can dictate with authority that no hostility or outbursts will be tolerated. You aren’t asking for their approval, just the same respect and civility you would expect and give for anyone.

Don’t expect everyone to get it. It’s a mistake to expect everyone to be understanding or knowledgeable overnight. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re horrible bigots, and if it does, give them the chance to overcome that ingrained position.

Transgender acceptance has been making huge strides in society and people have had more opportunities to meet trans persons or learn about trans issues. But it doesn’t happen overnight.

You’ll be disappointed if you think everyone will see the light right away. Be tolerant, just as you ultimately want them to be. As long as they are civil and treat her and you as human beings, they will come around if you let them.

To be clear, we aren’t talking about Uncle Jeb here. Remember, volatile, vocal, and violent folk aren’t on the guest list. But the rest of the lot might need to get used to the idea, or have questions that you should take seriously. They might just need to meet a trans person to realize the obvious, that we are all human.

Don’t be surprised if some people surprise you. On the other hand, you might wrongly assume that some folks might react badly. A friend of mine was really apprehensive about telling his father, who was a retired cop and pretty macho in his ways. But after he introduced his transexual girlfriend, he found out Dad was an admirer, too! Dad had even had a few trans dates from the Internet in the years since my friend’s mother had passed away.

Now that was a father-son bond that was totally unexpected, and wouldn’t have happened if my friend had not taken the risk to be true to himself and his t-girl.

Do be frank and upfront. But how to do the actual telling? I say, just do it. Short and sweet. Frank and to the point. “Mom and Dad, Pastor Joe, bestie Bob… I know you’re looking forward to meeting Angela this weekend. I have to mention that she is a transgendered woman. She’s terrific and I know you’ll love her.” Done.

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