I’ve been meaning to start this thread for a while after reading the recent ‘I’m Gay, Do You Care?’ and the ‘Sex changes’ thread below reminded me of it.
The former thread established that most dopers at least wouldn’t consider it that big a deal if a family member/colleague/friend/acquaintance came out as homosexual but what if they told you that they were transexual or presented you with a fait accompli (it would have to be someone you hadn’t had contact with in some time naturally!)
Homosexuality is somewhat more accepted by the genderal public than it used to be but transexuality (if that’s even a word) much less so I would imagine.
How would you react if someone came out to you in this manner, it would be something of a difficult thing to get used to referring and thinking of someone known to you by different pronouns if nothing else and a huge change in their life.
I’m sure some people here either have experience of this or are transexual themselves, I’d appreciate hearing their stories.
I would only care if they had started out as a man and were now a much more attractive and graceful woman than I am. I’ve been working on this whole chick thing for a good while now; I can’t be expected to shrug off being upstaged by some newbie.
On the one hand, no, I don’t care, I totally support them finding their gender destiny and making their life closer to their perception of their ideal.
On the other hand, I’m glad I know, as I can be aware and potentially helpful if any repercussions occur (other friends and relations who find out, weird medical issues). Plus, I just like odd stuff and gossip, so I’m always going to be interested. So…I care, but I don’t care.
It is very hard to feminize my user name, a problem I had not anticipated when I chose it.
Care in the sense that I’m glad to be trusted with what is often controversial information, and to be able to offer my support and concern as needed. I’ve got a fair number of trans* friends and do my best to be an ally to them.
One of my best friends did this. He was a longtime bandmate and sometimes roommate. He was a macho guy – gearhead, part time roadie, cultivated a biker image, covered with tattoos, wore black leather and chains, and was sleeping with multiple women at any given time. I had spent untold thousands of hours, living, working, rehearsing, traveling and gigging with the guy. My wife actually knew him before I did. She’d known him since high school. I never had a clue.
One day I got a call from him that he was joining a well known transexual band in Minneapolis. At first he made it sound like it was just a paying gig. He was going to dress like a woman on stage, but it was just a job. Over the course of the following weeks and months, he spilled more and more, until he came right out and told me that this was something he’d been hiding for years – since he was a kid – and that the macho act was a conscious attempt at subterfuge, He’d always been afraid that people would be able to tell just by looking at him. He now lives as a she. She legally changed her name, starte taking hormones, and has done everything but the surgery (which she’s decided she doesn’t need).
It was very odd for me at first – not because I was unaccepting or put off or anything, but just because it was so unexpected. What guy do you know who’s absolutely the last guy you;d ever expect to come out one day and tell you he was a woman? Well, this was that guy. It’s been a couple of years, but it’s still hard for me to remember to use the female pronoun and new name, I think mostly because I knew this person for more than 15 years as somebody completely else.
I’ve tried to be as supportive and understanding as possible – let her know that nothing has changed in my opinion, but it’s still very strange.
The first time I met her as a woman was the most awkward – not so much seeing her (I’d seen her in stage drag before), but when we went into a Starbucks together, and I suddenly became aware that people might think I was “with” her. I started butching it up ridiculously. I ordered black coffee in a Barry White voice. I don’t even drink coffee. I just thought it sounded like the most masculine thing I could order. I was pathetic.
If it was just an acquaintance, I’d think “huh, ok”. I’d be surprised, but I wouldn’t think badly of them. If it was someone I knew well, and interacted with a lot, I would find it hard to wrap my head around. I would have questions, and I would wonder what kind of differences it would make. (If it doesn’t make any difference, why do it?) I still wouldn’t think badly of them, but the relationship might take time to adjust.
I have only known one transgender, MtF, and she was very unhappy about her life, and the difficulties of being transgender. I wouldn’t be able to say I didn’t care about it, when it was the cause of so much unhappiness for her. But care in the sense of ‘you spawn of Satan!’, or 'you lying wretch, you’ve been deceiving me!", no I don’t care.
I’ve known several transsexuals over the years, so I don’t have an issue with it. The first was in fact a relative, one of my mother’s cousins . . . way back in the 50s, before surgery was available, and before it was common or well-understood. I don’t know whether he ever had surgery later in life.
A good friend of mine went through this and is now in the process of removing all the extra bits. I’m proud to say that neither, nor any of my friends, found this a problem, and we are encouraging her as much as we can. We still get blind sided now and again by some new revelation, but we mostly shrug it off and move on.
I do have a problem with her latest girlfriend though. Not because she is transgender as well, but because she’s just a plain bitch.
I’ve also known several transsexuals over the years. I do my best to be as supportive and accepting as possible. It’s never occurred to me to think less of a person because their gender doesn’t match the body they were born with.
Assuming this is a casual acquaintance, my discomfort (and I would be uncomfortable) would be similar to the uneasiness I’d feel in being told about their breast reduction (or augmentation), circumcision (or reversal), vasectomy, tubal ligation, or any other intimate, semi-sexual issue about which I have no need to know. I just don’t want that much private information unless we are pretty darn close to each other.
If Fred was going to show up the next day as Frederica, I guess I’d like some warning. But I wouldn’t want details.
Assuming this is a close friend or family member, I would care as I care about any issue that matters to them, especially an issue where they might be afraid of being judged or rejected. I’d probably go overboard being accepting and make things all awkward. But we’d get past it.
I have known and worked with a small number, both M2F and F2M. And while it’s exotic and curious at first, that all wears off eventually.
However, I have an in-law relative who went through a very difficult time in their life and ended up M2F. He was in his mid-40s, had been married for many years, loved his wife very much, no kids. The wife contracted cancer and died. He was devastated, as could be expected. Eventually, he sorta-kinda got together with another lady, she from a very very sheltered home life (lived with parents into middle age). They planned on getting married but she eventually backed out. More pain on his side. Then one day BINGO! He announced he was going to get a sex change. In my observation, this was a desperately unhappy person who was grasping at anything to alleviate the pain, short of suicide. So, I’m a bit torn, I accept fully that people are born with the wrong parts and want to live as they know they should. But in my in-laws situation I am not convinced this was the case at all.
So, I can say that at least once, yes I cared very much!
This. Unless it was my husband, I wouldn’t care at all. However, if I were friends with the person I would care as it relates our friendship (i.e. providing support, lending an understanding ear, etc).
If the person was not my friend and I had no particular relationship with them, I wouldn’t care at all. I might be curious and silently root for them but it wouldn’t affect my opinion any more than finding out a distant co-worker had their tonsils out.
I’ve been acquainted with a few actual transsexuals over the years, but all but one were more-or-less out before I met them. The exception is an FtM I’ll call “Jack” who I was in college with and only knew as a girl. He didn’t come out and start living as a man until after graduation, and since I haven’t seen him since then I only know from mutual friends that he is in fact transsexual.
Since my only memories of Jack are from when he was still Jackie, it is a little weird for me to think of him as a man. I knew Jackie as an out-and-proud lesbian (although not a particularly butch lesbian, funnily enough) and president of the campus gay/straight alliance, and I’ll admit when I heard that she was a he one of my first thoughts was “Wait, Jackie wasn’t even really a lesbian?!” It was a little disappointing that someone I’d seen as something of a lesbian role model on campus didn’t identify as a woman. Then I felt sad that even within the gay/straight alliance Jack apparently didn’t feel he could come out as a transsexual. But it’s not like we were that close (Jackie was a senior when I was a freshman), so maybe he was out to people he knew better. Or maybe he didn’t really work out his gender identity until after college, I don’t know.
If someone I knew better suddenly came out as transsexual I’d be surprised at first, but I’d probably then think “Well, I didn’t see it coming with Jackie either!” It wouldn’t bother me, but if this were a friend then I certainly hope I’d care about this news in the same way I’d care about any other important news about their life.