questions about trans people 2

Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask Trans People 2: Electric Boogaloo

One of my very first articles on Tabooless was a question and answer period with a real live trans person (me!).

I answered people’s burning questions about transgender people, covering a wide variety of topics from sex to dating to nonbinary folks. 

Well, I’m back with a laundry list of queries. Imagine this as the next step in being a good ally, and educate yourself before embarrassing yourself!

Remember: if it seems too intimate to ask your only trans coworker…then maybe don’t? Save it for me, so you can prevent any embarrassment at the next holiday office party ( even if it’s on Zoom ).

If I’m a lesbian, and my partner transitioned. Can I still call myself a lesbian?

Interesting question! Congrats on your partner’s transition, many trans blessings from this trans guy to another trans person out there. 

So there are two parts here: your personal sexual identity, and whatever labels you both want to use for your relationship.

You can 100% identify as a lesbian, and also be someone who is currently dating a man! Sometimes love just happens, even if you don’t expect it. It could be that cute guy in math class who you initially thought was a butch lesbian but turned out to be a soft-haired guy, or it might even be your long-term partner who realizes their transness years into your relationship! 

For some people, this will give them an understandable crisis of sexuality. 

What am I anymore!” they’ll cry on their knees, demanding answers from the deity of sexuality. 

The answer is: whatever you want to be! Lots of people might negotiate the label they place on their sexual orientation and open up their monosexual identity to being bisexual, pansexual, or “homoflexible” (which sounds more like a yoga studio for queers). Other folks see this experience as a one-off cosmic event, and the likelihood of them falling for another person of that gender being lower than the chance of 2020 getting worse (am I tempting fate?).

How you identify your personal sexual orientation is totally up to you, and no one can tell you that it’s incorrect to call yourself a lesbian while currently dating a man. That doesn’t mean critical people won’t try to, though!

As for which label to use for your relationship, that’s up to what you and your partner find comfortable. Does your partner want to continue to consider it a “queer” relationship in the most general sense, or does he want you to transition into calling it a heterosexual one? Both are fine, but you want to be careful not to let yourself fall into a place of uncertainty. 

Be careful not to reveal your partner’s transness to folks in an attempt to explain how you can be both a lesbian and someone who’s dating a man. Not only will you likely out your partner to people without his permission, but you’ll give strangers the idea that if a trans man and a cis woman are in a relationship together it’s somehow a “lesbian” one. That will perpetuate this idea that trans people aren’t really the gender they are, and likely will place a generous serving size of dysphoria and transphobia onto your poor partner’s shoulders.

Is it okay to tell my friends my partner is trans?

This is a simple question which can be answered simply: ask your partner!

No matter what cable news will tell you, every trans person is different. Some trans people are super okay with being identified as trans and don’t mind strangers knowing. Others are “stealth” and would prefer to have the privacy of appearing as cisgender as possible. They might never reveal that they’re trans to people, not even their closest friends, for a variety of reasons! That’s totally okay.

I just met someone, and I’m wondering if they’re trans. When is it okay to ask?

No. Roll credits.

Joking! But seriously, if you assume someone is trans but they haven’t said anything, don’t ask! They’re not required to tell you, and most people feel really uncomfortable lying to someone they want to have a friendship or relationship with. If this person is comfortable with you knowing, they will tell you when the time is right. Otherwise? Don’t ask and put them on the spot like that!

Not only that, but it can make people feel really uncomfortable and nervous to be seen as so “visibly” trans. If that person is binary, you could make them feel that they’re not “passing” enough and it will definitely make them feel some level of dysphoria.

I just found out my date is trans. Is it okay not to want to date them?

It’s hard to answer this question, harder than finding a face mask that doesn’t completely fog up when wearing glasses (is it even possible?). 

In my opinion, if you meet a cutie online who you really vibe well with, and you find to be a delicious snack, then feel revolted on their admission that they’re transgender? That’s some transphobia right there. I respect that people have genital preferences, despite being someone who doesn’t care (I won’t lie, all genitals are kind of bizarre to me). 

To expand on this, let me turn the tables and reply with my own questions:

  • Are you assuming that this person has one set of genitals because “all AMAB people have dicks” and “all AFAB people have vags”?
    This person might not have those genitals, and you shouldn’t assume to know what people’s genitals look like without them telling you or sending you a lewd nude.
  • Is sex with someone required to involve penetration? Do you need “dick in vag” action for it to be satisfying sex for you? If your partner was cis but unable to have sex in that typical way, would you still want to be with them?
  • If you found out your date had extensive reconstructive surgery on their genitals because of a health condition or an accident, would that change your interest in them?

Hopefully, this helps expand your views on the question. Ultimately remember: be honest but not shitty to someone. Trans people aren’t looking for table scraps here, your date might be disappointed and let down but it’s far better than feeling like someone is disgusted by their body.

I’m in a country where we have publicly funded healthcare. Why should trans people have breast augmentation or mastectomies covered under public health care?

Cis people have this understanding that if a trans person gets top surgery of some kind, that it’s considered to be purely cosmetic. Trans people are upset that our chests don’t look cis enough, so therefore it’s a cosmetic procedure. We’re just lucky that our local legislators are kind of enough to throw us a bone, or really, a skin graft!

However, top or bottom surgery is considered to be reconstructive surgery. It’s done to repair the bad hand dealt by puberty, or simply being born with genitals that don’t match our internal map of self. 

Surgery isn’t only a way for us to alleviate life-disrupting levels of dysphoria, but also as a means of security. In a world that treats trans people with fear, violence, and public ridicule, imagine the level of fear a trans woman has in the changing room in a city that has been less than welcoming to its trans citizens. If she felt dysphoria with her body, and also felt unsafe with being such a visible target, wouldn’t you want her to feel secure in both senses?

What is your real name?

My real name is whatever name I give you, honey. If I said my name is Belinda Boogiebear, it’s fucking Belinda Boogiebear and you better not choke on it.

Will you have to take hormones forever?

Good question and the answer depends on the trans person (spotting a trend yet?). 

So for me, I specifically enjoy almost all the aspects of being on testosterone. 

I like how my body shape has changed to having less pear-shaped, or how my face shape has become less round and feminine. I especially love how my voice has deepened! 

I don’t like how often I have to take testosterone (my schedule is an injection twice a week), or how testosterone has blessed me with copious amounts of butt hair, and vaginal atrophy which causes constant pelvic cramps for me.

If I were to stop taking injections, some changes would revert back. I would eventually have fat distribution as I did before taking testosterone, both on my face and body. My voice wouldn’t change due to how the vocal cords are affected by testosterone, and my facial hair would largely remain the same. (That likely goes for butt hair too.) 

Sadly, bodies don’t learn how to eventually produce the ideal levels of hormones we desire, so until a future where I can train myself to produce the adequate levels of testosterone… shots! Shots! Shots! Shots!