Thursday, September 22, 2011

Meeting Those Who Dont Know

When I first came out as a transgender woman I told everyone. Most of my family and close friends knew already, but I blanketed my social circle just the same. All my coworkers, all my friends, long lost acquaintances and colleagues from jobs of yesteryear on LinkedIn.

Naturally, all my transgender friends had known for a while. It's almost a given that you'll be outed when you meet the friend of another transwoman. It's a story for another time, but trans women love to talk about trans stuff. Even if that subject never came up, it's easy for the new introductee to do the math. Tall girl, friends with my trans friend - lets look for other signs. And they're always there. Hands a bit larger, voice not quite perfect - there's something.

Given how thoroughly I came out, it's still a rare experience when I meet friends of friends who know nothing of my history. And I'll admit, it's a somewhat daunting challenge. It's one thing to pass in the brief collisions through daily life, quite another to do so over a meal.

I'm spending the next two weeks in California with some friends. They know all about my transition, but every other night I get to meet the new friends they made since moving to Cali - over dinner, at a party, in other close contact social situations.

While I'm looking forward to meeting new people, I've already decided that I won't talk about my past. I'm not trying to fool anyone, just live my life and meet some great folks. I'm eager to move as quickly as I can from circumstances beyond my control and take my place in the concert of womanhood.

How have you handled similar situations? What was your best or worst experience?

5 comments:

  1. Hey sweetie. Enjoying a vacation in Cali :)

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  2. "I had the most amazing Masaman curry in Thailand, with spices ground right next to the table."
    "Oh? When did you go to Thailand."
    "Last December."
    "What were you doing there?"
    "I went for surgery. They have a huge international medical tourist industry."
    "What kind of surgery?"
    "Well, I'm a transsexual, and I went over for transsexual surgery"

    I guess my point is that I wanted to talk about Masaman Curry. I don't want to stop myself from talking about the things that interest me. If they don't ask, "why were you in Thailand," then the rest doesn't have to happen either. On the other hand, I don't start with, "I'm trans, went to Thailand for surgery, and right before that I had the most amazing curry..."

    I like to wear my shirts that say, "Guess" across the front. If it doesn't come up, I'm happy to leave the world guessing, or not...

    Hey darlin! Love, Chels

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  3. These days I have no idea whether a work colleague knows or not about my transition. I'm moving away from talking about my journey to colleagues as an educational exercise and letting it simply be my past. If it's relevent it may be referenced otherwise not. If my colleague asks more questions I answer.

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  4. That's an interesting approach Julie - I'm trying to leave it in the past, but don't necessarily want to spend the rest of my life trying to hide yet another secret.

    Chelsea hon, I know we've chatted before, I think the key difference is that you're open to conversations goign that direction and sharing, I'd really rather they didn't, and only share once I've built a deeper friendship with someone, if ever.

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