How do I come out about my roller-coaster gender?
February 5, 2012 10:24 PM Subscribe
I was a man. Then a woman. Now a man again. So, um, how do I tell potential romantic or sexual partners this without scaring them away?
posted by omicron to human relations (35 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have an interesting gender history. I was born male. I transitioned to presenting as female at 20 (in 2004), while living in city X, where I was for college; I transitioned back to male at 23 (2007), while living in city Y, which is where I'm from. I am now 28 and live in city Z, which is far from both X and Y, and famous for being accepting of This Sort Of Thing. I still identify a little bit as queer, but I don't hang out with lots of queer people. (At least, I don't think I do. Maybe I do and I don't know it.)
I never took any hormones, so my body is that of a typical man of my age, I guess. When I transitioned I changed the name I used in daily life but I never legally changed it, and I went back to the name I was born with when I transitioned back. A few friends here in city Z know. One of my housemates is someone I went to college with, but we've never talked about this. An ex of mine (who I dated, long-distance, while presenting as female) lives in my current city. (And she occasionally still calls me by the name I used in those days.) A lot of people I went to college with live in my current city. I think everyone involved has the sense to not out me; my friends tend to be pretty clueful about this sort of thing.
All my sexual experience is with women. I am not totally opposed to changing this but in practice I think if I were going to have sex with men I would have done so by now.
And I am starting to have more romantic and sexual experiences! This is exciting! But it is also scary. I feel like this is a very important part of my history. It's not that I want to talk about it all the time -- I've moved on -- but I think it's shaped who I am and if I get close to someone emotionally I think I'd want them to know. And it probably has some influence on what sort of sex I like. It's like I spent a few years in a foreign country. Except usually when you live in a foreign country for a few years you can go on and on about it and people's reaction is either interest or fake-interest. I can't do that. The last time I was dating someone (a few months ago) she did What You Do when you meet someone these days (Google!) and managed to find my old livejournal... which makes it clear that this was going on... and she asked me about it. She was fine with it (that didn't last, for other reasons) -- as she pointed out, by the time one gets to the late twenties one learns that everybody has some baggage -- but it was kind of awkward. And I would like to avoid that awkwardness in the future.
(The old livejournal is now friends-only, back to day one, so that won't happen again.)
This was easier the few times I dated while presenting as female... I knew I had to bring it up, because I didn't quite pass. (Friends told me I passed, but they were being, let's say, charitable.)
So how do I bring this up? When do I bring this up? (It's obvious to me that, say, the first date is too soon and my deathbed is too late, but there's a lot of room in between there?) Or do I just not bring it up at all: is this something that, if you were dating me, you just wouldn't want to know?
(sockpuppeted because my metafilter name is my name in enough other places that someone dating me and googling me might find a post under my real name. If you think you know who I am, you're probably right. If you want to talk about this via memail because you have your own awkward things you don't want everyone to know about, I will read those messages.)