Transgender people have a difficult choice to make when venturing into the dating world: “Do I disclose my birth gender?” Of course those who still possess male genitalia have the decision made for them, as your relationship isn’t going to get physical without that particular piece of information coming to light. For women who have fully transitioned however, it is an ethical quandary.
While you are indeed a woman, the fact that you weren’t always this way is a piece of information that can change the way you are perceived, one minute you are whatever you are, an intelligent, funny vivacious individual (or whatever your defining personality traits are) but after the revelation, some misguided people think that “Transsexual” is the new sum total of your identity life experience. That’s all due to the larger culture’s lack of understanding, and it also brings to mind shemales from pornography, transvestite hookers, drag queens and other attendant “tranny stereotypes” of ugly men in makeup, tottering around on stilettos.
So what do you do? Some try to leave their old lives completely behind, a complete reinvention. While that can certainly work on a day-to-day basis, and for casual relationships, what happens when you find a man you want to spend your life with? Family is always going to be a problem, your past is not erasable, and even if you’ve moved to a new city and no longer have contact with your family, eventually you’re going to have an inconsistency in your back story, will meet a friend of your mate’s that has exceptional radar for the tell tales of androgyny, or will have a medical issue that causes the whole thing to blow up in your face.
It’s a seemingly impossible situation, if you’re completely upfront, you risk being labeled a “tranny” with all of the attendant baggage, but if you wait to tell him, particularly if you wait after getting physical, the repercussions can be severe. His sense of being betrayed will be very real, and the revulsion that has been programmed into many in our culture can lead to violence and vindictive acts of retribution.
There’s no easy answer. Online dating has worked for some, but there are a lot of creepers who are just looking for “chicks with dicks,” so that’s one hurdle you’ll need to surmount. If you are trying to keep your old identity buried, online dating provides an anonymous outlet. But if you’re going to try for a relationship, our advice is to disclose and disclose early. If they can’t handle the woman you are, then better to find out right away rather than later when they might feel betrayed and in some cases feeling like their masculinity has been somehow irreparably damaged. Every man is different of course, but keeping a secret like this will eat away at the foundations of any relationship.
There are several online dating resources available for today’s transgender woman, and with the great strides that are being made in GLBT rights these days, happier times are certainly ahead, even if TS acceptance lags the GLBT revolution already under way.
What is your experience with sharing who you really are?