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Old 09-19-2017, 08:05 AM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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Meeting a transgendered person after having met him previously

Next weekend, I will be meeting a transgendered person (M->F) at a party.

I've only met this person once, a few years back, before he came out. I share a tenuous connection with her on Facebook though.

I honestly don't know how to react to this. Do I mention the past? Do I act like nothing happened? Do I congratulate her on her bravery? Do I even broach the subject?

How would you handle it? I'm not sure that saying NOTHING would be appropriate, but maybe that would be best.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:10 AM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is online now
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I have found it best, if you don't know what to say in a given social situation to say nothing at all.

Make small talk, complain about work and the weather, there is no reason to bring up someone's medical history.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:14 AM
Gyrate Gyrate is offline
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My inexpert views: If you're not already at a level of acquaintance suitable for discussing personal life stuff, don't bring it up at all unless she does. And unless the previous occasion of your meeting was particularly noteworthy, "Hi, I'm [X] - we met once a few years ago" should cover past history.

Key points are to make sure to use the new name and appropriate pronouns, and avoid staring or overtly gossiping with others about her. Basically, common courtesy rules apply as usual.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:19 AM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is online now
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One possible thing that might be cool to bring up, if and when the conversation goes in a direction where it makes sense to do so, is if you ever recall having thought "that guy is kind of girlish in some way" back in the day, mention it.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:29 AM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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This whole thing is weird.

I specifically met this person (before she came out) because she has a transgendered child, and so do I. So meeting again will be strange because this is the very topic we discussed on our original meeting. I probably should have mentioned that in the OP.

It's going to be a weird situation.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:35 AM
Gyrate Gyrate is offline
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Okay, that's kind of a big detail to leave out.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:52 AM
Johnny Bravo Johnny Bravo is online now
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I think Gyrate's advice still stands.

"Hi, I'm Leaffan. We met a few years ago at [whatever the event was]. Nice to see you again. You're looking well."

By establishing the timeframe, you let her know that you met her prior to her transition, that you remember, and that it's not a big deal. After that, no reason to bring it up unless she does.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:54 AM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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Originally Posted by Johnny Bravo View Post
I think Gyrate's advice still stands.

"Hi, I'm Leaffan. We met a few years ago at [whatever the event was]. Nice to see you again. You're looking well."

By establishing the timeframe, you let her know that you met her prior to her transition, that you remember, and that it's not a big deal. After that, no reason to bring it up unless she does.
Yeah. I think this is probably the correct approach.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:02 AM
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This sort of came up in the Alex cartoon:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/d...september8.gif
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:05 AM
Gyrate Gyrate is offline
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I'm having a Zoidberg moment right now. "Hooray! Zoidberg was helpful!"
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:17 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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I concur with the "Hi, we met a few years ago. You look well." Otherwise, stay away from comments about appearances unless they are very positive, i.e. "that haircut is very flattering" or the like, probably best to say nothing in that regard at all.

Otherwise, stick to normal subjects for re-meeting an acquaintance. The more you can treat her like just another ordinary person the better.
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:15 AM
Filbert Filbert is online now
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A couple of weeks back, I met a friend's on/off partner again for the first time since he came out and started transitioning, about 2 years ago.

Seemed best to not just not mention it, unless he brought it up, which he didn't.

I'd be inclined to just let her take the lead on the subject.
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:21 AM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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Yeah, the thing is, I'm very curious about it all.

Who wouldn't be? But I guess I won't go there.

Respectfully.
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:43 AM
Dorjän Dorjän is offline
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"I see a lot has happened since we last met!"
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Old 09-19-2017, 12:17 PM
Doctor Jackson Doctor Jackson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
I concur with the "Hi, we met a few years ago. You look well." Otherwise, stay away from comments about appearances unless they are very positive, i.e. "that haircut is very flattering" or the like, probably best to say nothing in that regard at all.

Otherwise, stick to normal subjects for re-meeting an acquaintance. The more you can treat her like just another ordinary person the better.
Thirding. Treat it like you would any other noticeable plastic surgery. The "Hi, we met...You look well" approach fits the bill perfectly.
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Old 09-19-2017, 12:31 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Of course, there are other ways it can be awkward, as well. Like, at a cousin's wedding a couple of years ago, my aunt's ex introduced herself as the "father of the groom". Which was certainly biologically true, and was how the groom was raised... but I'm not sure if e identified to emself as female or male at the time. And when referring to events in that past time, what pronoun is appropriate?
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Old 09-19-2017, 01:22 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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Following this one because I just found out a few weeks ago that my cousin's daughter is in the process of becoming her son. My dad broke the news to me as we were driving to my aunt's birthday party because we would be seeing all parties involved, including the transitioning person's girlfriend. I am at a loss for how to deal with the whole thing and don't see any of these people often because they all live in other time zones.
  #18  
Old 09-19-2017, 07:51 PM
bobkitty bobkitty is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3 View Post
One possible thing that might be cool to bring up, if and when the conversation goes in a direction where it makes sense to do so, is if you ever recall having thought "that guy is kind of girlish in some way" back in the day, mention it.
Wow, that.. sounds like the worst idea in the history of bad ideas.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:26 PM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is online now
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Originally Posted by bobkitty View Post
Wow, that.. sounds like the worst idea in the history of bad ideas.
It confirms a person's identity. I'm not surprised that it sounds to someone like a very bad idea, and it may in fact be a bad idea, but if it were me I would feel validated by that. OTOH, I don't identify as transgender so maybe I don't know WTF I'm talking about, projecting onto them that way, as if what I would appreciate would be appreciated by them.
  #20  
Old 09-19-2017, 08:36 PM
Johnny Bravo Johnny Bravo is online now
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It's a minefield that's not worth navigating. The best way to validate a transitioning person's identity (particularly when you don't know them well) is to treat them the way you'd treat anybody else.

Last edited by Johnny Bravo; 09-19-2017 at 08:37 PM.
  #21  
Old 09-19-2017, 09:00 PM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3 View Post
One possible thing that might be cool to bring up, if and when the conversation goes in a direction where it makes sense to do so, is if you ever recall having thought "that guy is kind of girlish in some way" back in the day, mention it.
I think that sort of thing one would only bring up after really getting to know the person well and knowing if it is complimentary without being potentially distressing.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:30 PM
Arrendajo Arrendajo is offline
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"You're looking great! Have you lost weight?"
  #23  
Old 09-19-2017, 09:38 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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I think that sort of thing one would only bring up after really getting to know the person well and knowing if it is complimentary without being potentially distressing.
Do you have any advice Una?
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:46 PM
black rabbit black rabbit is offline
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The one time it's come up in conversation for me, it was with a guy who I hadn't seen in about ten years, back when he presented as her. Her girlfriend lived in my building at the time. When I was reintroduced to him a few years back, I realized we'd met before, and asked, "Hey! Didn't you date Mary who lived on Main St. a while ago? I think we used to go to some of the same parties."

"Yeah! Oh, dude, Rabbit!"

"Bro! Let's do a shot!"

We then proceeded to get wasted together and shot the shit about ex-girlfriends. Much to the annoyance of both of our current girlfriends.
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Last edited by black rabbit; 09-19-2017 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 09-20-2017, 01:23 AM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3 View Post
It confirms a person's identity. I'm not surprised that it sounds to someone like a very bad idea, and it may in fact be a bad idea, but if it were me I would feel validated by that. OTOH, I don't identify as transgender so maybe I don't know WTF I'm talking about, projecting onto them that way, as if what I would appreciate would be appreciated by them.
It sounds like a horrible idea. Said person might not be out yet. Also, you don't know what their experience was like growing up -- perhaps they tried to supress it, or hide it. Either way, telling someone, "oh yeah, it was totally obvious you were trans" isn't going to go over very well.
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Old 09-20-2017, 11:40 AM
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  #27  
Old 09-20-2017, 12:20 PM
Eonwe Eonwe is online now
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In general, you probably don't want to use male pronouns, even when you're talking about her in a time when you thought she was a man (as in the OP).

Other than that, don't say anything about it, unless she brings it up as a subject of conversation.
  #28  
Old 09-20-2017, 12:35 PM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is online now
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I declare myself convinced that my suggestion was stupid and poorly thought out.
  #29  
Old 09-23-2017, 12:29 AM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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Do you have any advice Una?
Not advice, but I'm surprised. From what I know of your family situation, you should have a bit of exposure and experience to this whole thing by now, yes?
  #30  
Old 09-23-2017, 01:52 AM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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Not advice, but I'm surprised. From what I know of your family situation, you should have a bit of exposure and experience to this whole thing by now, yes?
A bit. I just wanted to bounce it off some other people.

Anyway, it turns out she won't be there now.
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Old 09-23-2017, 12:39 PM
Napier Napier is offline
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[...] And when referring to events in that past time, what pronoun is appropriate?
The pronoun the person currently uses is appropriate.

In general, to think through ways of referring somebody who has transitioned, it can be useful to use as a model how we refer to somebody who has changed their name because of changing marital status. You use their current name, even when referring to the past. To keep using their past name is to refuse to acknowledge that their marital status changed, like you think they should not have gotten married or divorced. You might refer to the earlier name if it's necessary for the story ("People would ask if she was related to the president because her name was Clinton back then") but if you don't need to refer to the name, well, don't. It's called "deadnaming" for a reason.

As far as a few of us in a trans advocacy group could figure out, there aren't any situations where this nomenclature analogy will steer you wrong. The linguistic logic works similarly.

Now, pronouns don't change with marital status, so you have to extend the logic. But perhaps "Miss" versus "Mrs." provides a closer test case.

Last edited by Napier; 09-23-2017 at 12:40 PM.
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