The question was: Do “post-op” trans people have an obligation to tell their lovers “that they were once the other sex”?
Savage’s answer was: Yes.
I’ve never particularly cared for the terms “post-op,” “pre-op,” and “non-op,” but those aren’t Savage’s words, and that’s for another blog post.
And while there are probably quite a few people who are in a position not to have to tell their lovers, I’m certainly not. Unless my “lover” was satisfied with very little loving, he or she would know my birth sex in relatively short order (and I do mean short).
FTM surgical techniques have improved substantially over the years, but even for those guys who have had extensive genital surgery, it might be difficult to keep that fact from someone who wants to get very, very close. I don’t know, though — I’ve seen some really good results lately. But I’m pretty sure a gay man would figure it out.
My understanding is that MTF genital surgery provides a far better result in terms of appearance and functionality. Some women have told me that even their gynecologist can’t tell the difference. So some trans women might be in a better position to never have to come out to a lover.
But regardless of how great our genitals might look, it seems to me that this is a pretty monumental thing that we have gone through, and something that has some substantial implications for a potential partner — as well as for who we are.
I’m not necessarily talking about a one-night stand, although my own personal philosophy is to come out if it even appears that there might be physical intimacy — or even a second date — on the horizon. Yes, I risk rejection before a person has even gotten to know me, but people get rejected for all kinds of reasons — better, in my opinion, to know where the other person stands right away.
Personal safety is another reason that I am inclined to come out as soon as possible (some people can get pretty nasty when they get a surprise they don’t like).
Even more important, a truly intimate relationship involves a lot of give-and-take and a lot of sharing. If I’m hiding my entire past from someone, then how intimate is that relationship? If I have to say I was in the Boy Scouts instead of in the Girl Scouts, and to dismiss my two marriages (to men) and a host of other past realities, then what is that relationship based on?
And if I have to live every day of my life in fear that my lover might discover my past, how comfortable will I really be in that relationship? And what happens if my lover ever finds out? The results could be devastating for both of us.
I don’t need to tell a lover that I once had my gall bladder out (although I probably would, in case I was ever unable to speak for myself and that person needed to know my past health history — and, anyway, gall bladder surgery is always a great conversation starter).
But for him or her not to know that I lived more than half of my life as a female — well, that seems a little more serious. But then, I don’t have the option not to come out, and I know that many people do.
What do you think?