Getting to know the person you're seeing better can make you think about a lot of things, including their gender identity. It's a difficult subject to discuss, but being sensitive to the individual's concerns will make things better for everyone overall.
Part 1 of 2: Opening your mind and adopting a sensible posture
Step 1. Know that there are no obvious physical signs you can “trust”; there is no way to identify a trans subject just by physical attributes
There is a very wide diversity of bodies and a single physical characteristic does not indicate much about an individual. Furthermore, genital reconstruction surgeries have advanced so much that everyone who has undergone it (not all transsexuals undergo the procedure) can hardly be distinguished from those who have not.
Step 2. Don't ask if the person is transgender, as this will only offend them, whatever the answer
If she really is a transsexual, she may not be ready to talk about it; if he is not (and dislikes who he is), he will be offended. Such a question is a path of no return; at best, the individual will simply leave you talking to yourself. Feel glad he didn't throw the glass of drink in your face!
Starting to spread the transsexual's gender identity around can be very dangerous for him. Only he can decide if (and when) he wants to pass the information on to you; in short, he has no obligation to tell you about his transsexuality. You will probably find out before any intimate contact
Step 3. Examine your own bias
If you suspect that the person you are dating is a transgender person, you may be bringing up negative stereotypes in your mind that are not based in reality, or simply not wanting to be connected to a transgender person. In addition, his reaction to knowing that the person identifies with another sex (allied to his own prejudice) can be devastating for him, who must already face social rejection and abuse. Feeling closer to a different gender than your birth is no excuse for treating someone as if they were an inferior being.
When you notice that you are afraid of discovering that the subject is trans, read this and this article, which may help you understand what they are facing and how they feel
Step 4. Stop worrying and relax
There are many other more important things you should be concerned about, such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If the individual is transgender, expect him to tell you; if everything is going well, leave this information for later. What's wrong with not knowing at first?
If things progress, you will eventually discover the truth. At that point, one of two situations will develop: the relationship will progress or not. It's not the end of the world: just have fun with your date. If the relationship works, great; otherwise there is no problem either
Step 5. Leave your head open
There are many happy endings that started in encounters where one person didn't know the other was transsexual, as in the stories exposed here.
- Sexuality is fluid; it's normal to feel attracted to people, even if they identify with a sex that, at first, doesn't attract you. Pay attention to your emotions and the feelings it arouses; when you notice that you are such a good human being, you will not even remember the gender issue. It will only be necessary to abandon the “label” of “heterosexual” or “gay” that he imposed on himself.
However, it is important to know that transgender people are not men pretending to be women and vice versa or anything like that. They may have physical characteristics that don't always match the sex they identify with
Part 2 of 2: Respecting Transgender Privacy
Step 1. Understand that the subject is not trying to deceive you
His gender is something that comes from the heart and is not defined by the sex organ he has. Transgender people go through a transition period to understand their own feelings and many of them put themselves at risk when going out on a date, as they would never pretend to be someone else for fun. When a transsexual takes an interest in you, he just wants to be accepted as he is.
- All human beings feel the need to socialize, flirt, have relationships and love. Would you walk up to a beautiful young woman at the bar and say, “I have serious problems making serious commitments”? Of course not; therefore, the same is true for transgender people, who are not doing anything wrong in trying to interact with you.
- If you do not accept transsexuals, be clear when meeting the individual. Say, for example: “I wanted to make it very clear that I don't like trans or LGBT people. If you think that's bad, we'd better finish the meeting right here." This way, you will not deceive a transgender person who may end up falling in love with you, ending any possibility of a relationship. Don't talk about your feelings or you could end up hurting him (and risk having booze thrown in his face).
Step 2. Know the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity
It's not gays who go transgender to be straight; in fact, the opposite is true. Sexual orientation and gender identity are totally different aspects.
Think of it this way: Sexual orientation is related to the gender of the other person you want to sleep with. Gender identity, on the other hand, is “how” you want to go to bed
Step 3. Understand the reasons why transsexuals may be afraid to share their identity
In virtually every society in the world, trans people face ostracism, abuse, contempt and even violence. It can be difficult to tell a “safe” individual from a dangerous one; a transgender person who has suffered bullying and physical harassment in the past may feel even more withdrawn and unwilling to open up to you in order not to put their own life at risk.
If the world were a place with more understanding people, this issue would not be a problem
Step 4. Allow the individual to open up whenever he feels comfortable
If the relationship progresses, this information will be conveyed at the right time and will not be withheld, whether through physical contact or verbally. But it will happen, and there is no problem if it takes too long; the important thing is to know how it will affect you and how you will decide to progress in the relationship. And it's nothing more than that, it's neither disgusting nor bad.
When the person says “There's something you don't know about me”, it could be an indication that they are truly transsexual. Say that you accept her as she is, comforting her (regardless of what she wants to communicate). Ask what is the reason for the hesitation and don't let them give up on communicating it; you need to know for the relationship to progress. Now, all that's missing is that “friendly push” to get there
Step 5. Find out how you feel
Dating a transsexual is not a sign that there is something different about yourself; if you consider yourself a lesbian, you will remain so when you have a relationship with a trans woman. The transsexual's gender is at the heart of the person, which is the important point when considering their orientation; however, when dating someone of a different gender than you're used to, maybe it's time to experiment and reassess yourself.
- It is possible that you are bisexual or pansexual. Other possible terms are “heteroflexible” or “homoflexible (straight or homosexual with exceptions) if you generally relate to people of one gender.
- Remember that sexuality is fluid. The idea that there are only men and women, straight and gay, is not how human sexuality works. Furthermore, there is no “prize” for being heterosexual and updating your own concept may be the best option for the situation, which is totally normal.
- Don't tell others unless the person doesn't care. If she really is a transsexual, respect her privacy, regardless of whether or not you want to continue seeing her. Being a transsexual is very personal and it's not nice to betray your trust, even if you end up disliking the person; however, some transsexuals are more open and don't mind you telling others, but you have to be absolutely sure that this is the case.
- Nothing justifies despising a transsexual or someone who is interested in going out with him. Even if it doesn't appeal to you, human sexuality is extremely fluid and many individuals will explore a relationship with a transgender person.