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On being "out" as transgender

I wrote this post the night after the incident mentioned in this post happened. It is in the past, I have no hard feelings, but I still feel like I should publish this post, almost a month later.

If you're reading this, you already know I'm trans. If you don't know me and just found me on Google, allow me to introduce myself: My name is Eris, I'm a 24 year old woman, and I'm transgender. I'm not shy about being trans: I kept all of my old pictures up, where I looked like a guy; I came out publicly on Facebook about two months into my hormone therapy, and continue to be fairly vocal on transgender issues; I occasionally wear trans-related clothing of some sort; and overall, I'm not ashamed to be transgender. If you meet me in person, on reddit, or are friends with me on Facebook or something, I don't mind answering any trans-related questions (though I do lead with the disclaimer that not everyone's experiences are the same, and I can only share information based on my own experience). However, choosing who to come out to should be under my own control. I don't mind if someone does some research on me, finds this blog or my Facebook, and discovers I'm trans: I control that information and don't mind it being out there.

A few weeks ago, before Christmas, I met up with an old online friend who knew me long before I came out as trans. It was his first time seeing me since I started transitioning, and though he has seen pictures and talked to me frequently since then, he hasn't seen me in person since January of last year. He was visiting NYC with his family, on a little family vacation, which means that with him, I also get to meet his brother, sister, and cousins. I asked him, however, not to tell them that I'm trans.

He told them anyway. I don't think that he meant anything harmful by it, and I don't think he told them after I told him not to tell me: he had probably already told them by then. And these were all friendly, accepting people. But here's the deal, I had one night to hang out with my buddy who I haven't seen in close to a year. I didn't want it to be a night where I'd be talking to people about my transition. Recently I realized that people who didn't already know me pre-transition tend to gender me correctly on sight, meaning I "pass", most of the time. I am incredibly lucky that at only 6 months into my transition I was already blending well, and that allows me to be able to go out, hang out with friends, meet people, and kind of forget I'm transgender for a night. My friends are great in that they don't treat me any differently for being trans, which I'm also lucky to have. But when I'm outed to someone, that means I have a barrier to get over. Now this person knows I'm trans before even meeting me, and who knows what else you told them. Now I need to deal with whatever misconceptions or preconceived notions they have about me and other trans people before they will start to treat me like they'd treat anybody else. And on a night where I'm just looking to hang out with a friend for a few hours, that's not a welcome feeling.

So basically the takeaway from this, is that even if someone is publicly "out", don't "out" them to others without their permission. Most people don't need to know.