For me it's taken a long time and a lot of reading to put some answers to these questions together in my head, and I've barely put them into practice.
Last week I was faced with these questions from a college at work (whom I had recently befriended and decided to tell about myself.) She is a very nice person, kind and intelligent as well as open minded, yet when I told her I was trans I got this:
"You look so real, I never would've known!"
"When did you have 'The Surgery'?"
"What was your name, before?"
"Do you have girl parts or boy parts?"
I admit, I was disappointed being asked these questions once again from someone who I like. However, this time I did a lot better with my answers. I informed her that I don't disclose my previous name at least, but I wish I could have had more conviction with some of the others.
There is always next time, of course. Luckily or unluckily as it is.
Image is © Saku Smith aka CreatoreMagico
1.If a person loses weight,do I give them that kind of reaction?"Oh,you look so slim.I never would have guessed that you used to be so fat".
Most people don't.
2.Is it any of my business?
No,if you're not the surgeon,it's not your business.
3."Do I need to know they're old name?Do I really need to?Is it relevant?If it is,is it an important part needed for understanding?"
The answer is almost always no unless you're the person handling the name change documents or related documents.Besides,not every transgender person changes their name,even if it isn't traditionally used for the gender they identify as.
4.What's below a person's waist is their business.
2. Which surgery? I have had several surgeries
3. Which name? I have changed it several times in my life for a variety of reasons.
4. Depends on if that is a mathematical or or if that is an exclusive or.
I like to think that a lot of questions come from a place of ignorance but that doesn't make it hurt any less, and I really do get tired of being like... some sort of go-to FAQ for all questions gender and sexuality based pertaining to myself. I actually did used to think it was sort of my duty to educate them, like you! Like I was under some sort of obligation to explain myself. But unless I've actually put it out there for questioning, why on earth should I be open to a barrage of them? Making other people understand me ISN'T my duty.
I do think the worst line of questioning, and I've come across this a LOT, is when they ask you questions and you entertain them, only to be met with "nah, I don't get it, I still think blahblahblah". Sorry, this isn't a sodding opinion poll about who I am and what I like. You can't just go "well, I don't like it, so therefore you're lying". You don't NEED to "get it" because you don't have to live as me! (I get this SO SODDING MUCH in relation to the fact I'm a... well, a soft butch person going out with another butch person. Apparently, in the straight AND in the LGBTQ community, this is unheard of, because someone needs to be the "man" and if I've "gone to the bother" of liking women, why don't I like "REAL women")
I feel like I'm not making much sense hahhaa
There is a fantastic book called 'Anything that loves' with some amazing comics in it dealing with gender and sexuality issues. You would adore it, it really goes into how even in the LGBTQ community, there is still a lot of prejudice and assumption about what is and isn't understandable behaviour.
Your situation is a lot like how bisexual people get lumped into the categories of 'greedy,' 'deviant' or 'undecided' when they are none of those things, they are bisexual. People find it SO hard to understand, but really the issue is WHY do they NEED to understand? It's nothing to do with them or their sex life. You don't owe anybody any explanation for just being yourself. Same way asexual people get questioned to death about why they are asexual. HOW is it anyone's business but their own?
The reason I like to try and answer questions these days isn't because I feel obligated, but more because I want to. I feel like I've put my artwork out there for that reason, so I'm open to it as an individual!
I think you're doing a good job with beginning to inform people that these sorts of questions about you and your body aren't the sorts of things that they should be asking. It takes time to work up to being able to say it, so don't worry about it. If it happens again (knock on wood that it won't be for a while or at all), then I'm sure you'll have more conviction to say so to them!
Next time it happens to me, I think I'm going to pause for a moment and then try harder than I've ever tried before to explain why the questions are offensive. I only hope when the time comes I can do it. Thank you for your support as always!
I'm glad you got two pieces done already this year bb! You're doing so well!
The "what was your name before" thing is always so strange to me. Its like... what does it matter? You're talking to a person NOW so call them what they are NOW thing. Its a name change, its no longer what it was. Its this now.
I can never leave you intelligent comments on these bb, I'm so sorry <3 I'm just always like "idg people."
Thank you so much for the comment and taking time to come over here and look at my scribbles. <3
Love you very very much.
It's hard to tell people that they're being offensive when their intentions are good. But if I was in their position, I would rather be told, so that I don't repeat the mistake.
Still, I dream of one day being offended by being told I look "real"