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Navigating dating and being transgender is something that most people tend to find difficulty with. The media has imprinted in our minds the caricature of the very “obvious” trans person who you probably recognize quickly at a dinner date may not have been born the gender they’re presenting as, but what happens when trans people have reached the point of “passability”? Is it their responsibility to disclose their trans status to their date? If so, when is the right and wrong time? How serious is it? Let’s break it down.
I’m transgender myself, but I’ve also been a public figure online throughout my entire transition. Because of that, I thankfully have never gone into a date or relationship with it as a secret—how could I? One Google search spills all my beans! However, I’ve witnessed a huge amount of trans people within the community completely mishandle love, sex, and their trans status. Make no mistake—it is absolutely deceptive to lie or omit your biological sex to your romantic partner.
As far as sex goes, you absolutely must disclose that you are transgender before being intimate with someone. Get it out of the way! It is your partner’s right to know that sort of history before proceeding with anything physical. Far too many trans people, particularly trans women, have experienced beatings or even murder for the age-old cliché of “tricking” a man and having sex with him. You should be prioritizing not only honesty for your partner’s sex but for your own safety. Anything can happen in the heat of the moment, and the harsh reality is that not everyone wants to have sex with a trans person. Even someone of the folks that do want to have sex with a trans person may still be struggling with their attraction and lash out. It’s not about victim shaming, either- it’s about avoiding this danger altogether.
Of course, there’s nuance as well. A simple, wholesome dinner date isn’t the same as sex. Many trans people struggle with the right moment to disclose their history. Should it be on the first date? The second? The third? Here’s my opinion—honesty is always the best policy.
It’s in the best interest of you and your date to tell them before you even sit down and meet. This has become increasingly easy with the rise of online dating. Put it in your bio or send it as a text from the safety of your own home! You should want to weed out the people who wouldn’t be interested in dating a trans person in the first place. Any type of relationship, whether it’s romantic or even a friendship, is built upon honesty. If you go into a situation with someone with secrets at the very beginning, you’re dooming the relationship.
Maybe you’ll get lucky and get away with not disclosing your history at the beginning, but maybe you’re setting yourself up for a dangerous situation that could have been avoided had you just told your truth. Remember that!