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.

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.

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 - 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.

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.

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.

Okay, that’s kind of a big detail to leave out.

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.

This sort of came up in the Alex cartoon:

I’m having a Zoidberg moment right now. “Hooray! Zoidberg was helpful!” :smiley:

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.

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.

Yeah, the thing is, I’m very curious about it all.

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


“I see a lot has happened since we last met!”

Thirding. Treat it like you would any other noticeable plastic surgery. The “Hi, we met…You look well” approach fits the bill perfectly.

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?

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.

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.

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.