“Do you see her over there? Did you know she wasn’t born a she?”
What an odd thing to say, but did you know that happens more often than you think? It does. Transgender individuals tend to get this type of statement directed to them on a regular basis. What could be worse is comments like this might be made by that individual’s friends.
Amazing isn’t it? Friends and supporters will do this when a transition has gone really well for some people. It’s still wrangling our born gender into who we are, and despite it not seemly like it, it’s very much the case. Friends might say to someone how proud they are of how well a transition has gone, how well so-and-so can pass and it’s hard to tell they weren’t born the gender they identify/present as. When comments like this come up, it can be part of a first interaction between a new person and that trans-person. Talking about possibly pushing a boulder up a hill.
Some times these conversations have to occur. The example I will give is with my sister. She has been involved in a long-term relationship, and things over all are pretty serious. When she met him and his family, if she spoke about her family, there was her brothers, mom and dad. Now if family comes up, there is conversation about her brother, sister, mom and dad. Clearly there was change to someone in the mix, and outing me as trans in that case isn’t under the same circumstance, as meeting someone for the first time. Now, people that are met I am simply, sister, and everything is harmoniousness.
Another question that may arise from this discussion then is, “Well who should tell ‘new person’ that you’re trans.”
First off, that is up to the transgender person, don’t you think? Trans-identity can be a rather deep secret for trans-people, and there are some people we just don’t want to know about who we use to try and be. If we feel that a person should know we are trans, typically we will tell them when we are ready, and it shouldn’t be any other way. It’s our right to tell someone that about ourselves.
Secondly, who gave anyone else the right to take it upon themselves to possibly make difficulties? Believe it or not, even if a person is a supporter, and that supporter reveals the trans-identity of someone, that new person that’s being interacted with may not be as understanding. If trans-person is being treated as the gender we identify as by someone, and suddenly that trans-person is outed, it can change the way they are treated by the people they’ve been interacting with.
My personal experience so far is I know I have been outed, it’s happened right in front of me. Other times, it has happened behind my back. Needless to say, when it does, I grit my teeth. I know in the cases where it did happen right in front of me, the person that did it meant no harm, but it doesn’t change that I was outed right on the spot, to people that would have never known otherwise.
When that happens, we can be treated, maybe not as male, but not entirely female either. (Vise Versa for transmen.) We then aren’t getting the full experience to live as worked so hard accomplish.
What this simply means that, outing someone as trans does more harm then go in smaller situations. Let that person decide if s/he wants other people to know about them and what they’ve gone through.
After all, you wouldn’t want people to know things about you that you’d prefer to reveal yourself.