Question Of The DayThis past week, I wrote a diary entitled Blaming The Victim, Angie Zapata, For Her Own Death. When discussing the concept of trans people dating, especially in relationship to trans people engaging in intimate sexual behavior with a partner, the subject of when a trans person should disclose. Here’s an exchange that EnoughNonSense and I had in the comments section of the diary mentioned above.

From EnoughNonSense:

There is no justification for murder, ever, under any circumstance…on the other hand it is unrealistic to assume or expect that straight men are simply going to smile politely and say something along the lines of “Oh, I understand.” when they discover a pre-ops status while out on a date.  There is no telling what a straight man’s response will be…it can run the gamut from completely understanding to completely irrational.  Pre-ops must disclose their status; for a pre-op to not disclose is an invitation to disaster.  It is incumbent on everyone to drive this point home.  Justifying in any way the concept that pre-ops “are who they are” and society as a whole, specifically straight men, should be expected to accomodate their pre-op status when discovering it is absurd, unrealistic, and irresponsible.  It’s not a matter of fault; it’s a matter of reality.

Trans activist should take the unalterable position in their blog posts that pre-ops who desire to date straight men must disclose, every time…instead of after the fact endlessly lamenting how disgusting, homophobic, transphobic, etc. the attacker is.  Sure the attacker is a scum bag, but that doesn’t help the dead or beaten pre-ops who have read ad nauseum in the blogosphere how “a pre-op is just as female” as a natal woman despite still having male bits…or that “gender is in the brain, not the groin”…or that “genitals don’t make a difference in defining me as male or female”.  To the average straight male, even one who does understand and is sensitive to the issue of transsexualism, genitals very much do make a difference.  

If the trans activists are really concerned with the safety of pre-ops who intend dating straight men they should have one and only one position: pre-ops must disclose their gender status prior to agreeing to meet someone for a date.  As more and more young TSs are transitioning, to not take this position will just lead more and more headlines of stories none of us want to see or read about.

My take on the issue can be read here —>

My response:

This is not just a shape of one’s genitalia thing, this is a history thing.

As I point out in [Blaming The Victim, Angie Zapata, For Her Own Death], personal histories matters to the people trans people date and become intimate with. Even post-genital reconstruction surgery, women of trans history who date and have sex without disclosing that the shape of the genitalia at birth are also unwisely taking their lives into their own hands.

And, I agree, and state it to the trans people I meet, and will be mentioning it throughout the trial: pre-, non-, and post-genital reconstruction surgery, folk should disclose that at birth, their current gender identity and gender expression doesn’t (or in the case of post-ops, didn’t) match the [genitalia] between their legs.

You or I living as the gender we know you we are isn’t deception in our daily lives; however, despite the shape of our genitalia at birth. We need to take the concept of deception off the table as a discussion point relating to the behavior of violent criminals.

And, that’s because under any circumstance, you or I don’t deserve to have our teeth kicked in if we don’t disclose when someone else believes we should have disclosed, and we certainly don’t deserved to be killed for not disclosing. But, recognizing that many potential dating partners may turn into violent criminals because they do consider us to be deceptive is a reason to disclose before dating, and especially a reason for disclosing before engaging in intimate, sexual behaviors.

A parallel is that we don’t blame rape victims for their own rapes if they wore short skirts on the day they were raped, nor do we blame them if they were raped while walking alone on poorly lit streets after dark. Just because a violent crime victim engages in behavior many of us would consider unsafe doesn’t mean the crime victims deserve to have been a violent crime victims. The blame goes to the criminal. But, at the same time, we all need to be aware of criminal behaviors relating to how violent criminals pick their victims, and adjust our behaviors accordingly — that’s us taking charge of our own safety.

So, I’m with you on disclosure by non-ops and pre-ops, but I’d go further and say disclosure by post-ops is important too. That’s because any operative status relating to genital reconstruction surgery will always be of interest to the people that transsexual people date. And, violence may later ensue if a transsexual doesn’t disclose before dating, and/or before intimate sexual behavior is engaged in.

And you can count on this: I will write about trans disclosure — in relationship to both this trial and to dating behavior — more than once. But that said, I’m not going to blame the victim for the criminal’s behavior.

I’m also going to repeat frequently that what happened to Angie Zapata is a hate crime. I’m not going to buy into the concept that gay panic or trans panic is an acceptable excuse for violent criminal behavior. In my mind, by definition if a defendant uses a gay panic or trans panic defense to justify violent criminal behavior, then it’s an tacit admission that the defendant committed a hate crime.

But back to the Q Of The Day topic: I’ve talked to other transsexuals — many never disclose their history related to their natal sex. Many other transsexuals don’t disclose if they’re dating but do disclose if they’re going to engage in intimate, sexual behavior. Many others believe there should be different rules for pre-operative transsexuals and post-operative transsexuals.

Basically, there is no agreement with transsexuals about when the proper time is — if ever — to disclose that one’s gender identity doesn’t match the natal shape of their genitalia.

So this is a question for both trans and non-trans people: When do you think transsexuals should disclose their personal history? At all times? When dating? Before engaging in intimate, sexual behavior? Never?

And, should there be different social disclosure rules for transsexuals who are post-genital reconstruction surgery, and those transsexuals who are pre- or non-operative?

In other words, if you’re trans, when do you believe you should disclose? If you’re not trans, when would you want a potential partner to disclose?



* Q Of The Day: Would You Date A Trans Person?

Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen