A little while back I put together a blog post about dating after SRS. That post was put together pretty soon after a situation happened that hit me kinda hard where I started talking to a girl on Fetlife, we hit it off really well, and the conversation went to getting together. Since she lives in another city and I’d be staying with her and her bf with sexual things planned, I told her. She said I “misled” her by not disclosing on my profile and to never contact her again. Due to being in a pretty rough spot from relationships ending, it hit me even harder. I also see the “trans” descriptor largely a historical aspect as it’s not really relevant to my day to day, it means it’s more in the back of my mind. I chalked it up to a difference of opinion ultimately, albeit one that still bothers me a bit.
Now we’re a few months removed from that situation and I’ve been dating since then. A lot more successfully too, and after a recent reddit thread I thought a new post might be warranted. Plus I’m in a mood to opine on life.
From that December situation I changed a bit of how I approach this stuff and it seems to be largely why things have been going a bit better. One big change though is my mental and emotional health is a lot better now, albeit still not back where I want it. That’s a post for another night though. My current method has primarily been to handle it in one of two (well a 3rd that’s out of my control) ways, as I ultimately know I’ll disclose it to a partner (total “stealth” from a partner I’m not sure is realistic, or ideal which I’ll get into later in the post).
- Standard talking online/app/whatever, arrange a date/time to get together, and then like the day before or day of try to casually mention it in conversation letting them know if they don’t want to get together just to let me know. This can result in a mildly depressing night though if it results in a cancelled date which has happened. Most of the people I’ve talked to though are already more LGBT friendly due to my screening early on, and it hasn’t been an issue most of the time.
- The other main option is to do the normal talking thing followed by a date or two. Then tell them before we do a date in private (i.e. their place or mine) and/or before sex happens. Usually it’s after the first, before the 4th, and done via text. This can be problematic as some people will feel “lead on” so it’s not a one size fits all solution either.
- If the right situation presents itself I’ve disclosed before on a date or in conversation as well. One date I had a girl who mentioned she thought about transitioning (FtM) earlier in her life. At that point I disclosed I was trans and all that. Her and I have had a lot of fun times in the intervening time.
Regardless of the time I disclose it, I try to do it as casually as possible. Something along the lines of:
One quick thing is I want to let you know I’m post-op trans. It’s part of my past and not really anything currently relevant to my life, but I make a point to put it out there early on.
Casually disclosing it makes it a lot less of a “thing” and much more of a FYI thing. By not putting a focal point on it “defining” me I show them how I perceive it personally while keeping potential partners informed. Informed consent is a good thing, and I know some trans people will vehemently disagree with my views on it but this is how I perceive things for myself.
Which leads to the conversation about “total stealth.” Do people get away with never telling a partner? Absolutely. It’s also your life to disclose what you want to with a partner. I don’t see “total stealth” working for me though. Right out the gate what are the odds that I’ll go the next ~60 years with a long term partner who *won’t* find out or figure it out? I’d wager pretty low. If they find out it can potentially undermine any and all trust built in the relationship. Let’s set that aside for the moment though. I also don’t want to be with a partner who wouldn’t want to be with me if I “was a dude” or something like that. If a partner has an issue that I once had different anatomy, then that’s not going to be a relationship I’d want to have long term. Finally, I’m not ashamed of my past. I own my past. I might not want to put it all out there from the start, but I also don’t put out there my financial situation right off the start either. Everybody does this, it’s normal to not put everything out there up front. Not that you shouldn’t if you believe you should, or choose to. Just don’t put it out there if right away if you don’t want to. I want somebody to share my life with (or people if it is a poly scenario), and that means I share my past with them too. I want to be able to tell them “my balls hurt” jokingly (as an aside, havinga vasectomy many years back means there are two “balls” of scar tissue that hurt sometimes… I’m going to look into options to fix that at some point but need to wait for things to heal first). I want to be able to joke about trans stuff. It’s who I am. I enjoy self deprecating humor, and jokes about gender is rather enjoyable at times.
Am I handling this ideally? I don’t know, but it’s working for me so far. And by working I mean I can live with the results and ramifications of how I choose to approach this topic when dating.Is it ideal? No, I’d greatly prefer to not have to mention it because nobody cares and it’s not a problem for anybody in society. That’s too idyllic at this point in time socially speaking. Especially with the state of politics in the US at present. We’ll see if things change over time in how I date, it’ll be interesting to see.