Imagine going to work, or church --maybe the salon-- or even family functions, and instead of the usual conversations one would expect --hows the kids, hows the job, hows your mother-- you're asked in front of your friends, family, co-workers or even your children "so, do you like men now?"
When you're a person of Transsexual experience, you become fair-game. All the normal social filters most people have when engaging someone in a conversation are seen as completely unnecessary when someone spills the "T"...
"oh, your trans - cool. Soooo, do you have periods, or what?"
[...and you thought the worst thing about family reunions was getting a big old wet kiss on the lips from Aunt Bunny!]What is still difficult for me to sort out in social situations, is when you're being treated like a woman, and when your being treated like a Transsexual.
Having lived 32 years presenting as a young handsome white heterosexual male, had its privileges.
The "adjustment" in transitioning from male to female, is learning to gauge social situations without having any former "female" experiences or privilege to compare from.How can one learn and adjust to this, if they are not seen as "just" a woman... but rather, something "other than" a woman?
Thats my dilemma as a woman who's transgender history is public knowledge. As a result of that, I've become my own worst critic.Over the past 6 years, I have developed an atitude that "if I know" that even one person in the room knows I'm Trans, then the safe bet is, they all know. Being an "Out" Trans person, I am guilty running everything I see and hear, through my Transgender-filters, which can have me self defeating myself in social situations, before they can even begin.
While in California, waiting for a meeting with network executives, I was running into a Starbucks to get some change for the parking meter, when a nice handsome man jumped out of his chair to hold the door for me. He said, "Something compelled me to come over and talk to you - your energy is amazing, and you have a lovely smile. May I buy you Coffee?"
I said, "thats nice - but I'm just here to get some change for the meter.." He dug into his pocket and said, "here... take what you need... coffee??" After talking to him a bit, I found out he is a terrific guy.Meeting men, is not a problem for me --or women-- and interestingly enough, I get more offeres now from women, than I ever did as a man. Hot women. Young Women. Straight, Gay... you name it.
But, do they like me? or the exotic flavor of my trans nature?The guy at Starbucks had no clue. But lets just say I decided to take his bait, and see where things go. In this digital age [and being Chloe Prince - public Transsexual] chances are, he'll know who I am before he's done paying for the coffee... then what?
What if the guy from Starbucks doesn't care, but his family, friends and people he works with, do care? Would we as a couple dating be forced into another closet?
What if he didn't Google me, and we went out on a date, but then he later found out - What if he felt tricked? He could be extremely hurt and distrustful of Trans people in the future - or even violent.
The "how", "when", and for "what reasons" I tell someone of my past, is something I still wrestle with, with each person I meet... its incredibly complex.
It is easy to understand now why many Transgender people will find comfort in settling into relationships with each-other - a subject that has very few references or exposure to gleam from for examples or advice.
I personally have been attracted to Female-to-Male, and Male-to-Female Trans people in various stages of transition, --not because of their gender-- but for the security of being in safe harbor in the dating pool together, rather than having to deal with the complex nature of dating non-transgender people.I wonder sometimes if this is why some men and women enter into what could appear as homosexual relationships, but really, are not sexual at all? Rather, they love one another, for the "person" they are, and not in a sexual way.
This reminds me of a time when I resented my wife Rene in the worse way, because she refused to identify herself as a lesbian.
I felt that if Rene didn't identify as lesbian [but STILL wanted to remain in a mariage together] then by default, that made me STILL the husband in the relationship - and not "just" a woman who happens to love her spouse.This was a deal breaker for me. I was so uncomfortable and hurt after 5 years of trying to settle for living in her shadow as the "husband that transitioned," that in November of 2010, I filed for divorce to free myself and finally live completely as a woman and mother of my own right.
We have remained supportive of one another , and for now, still live together, but are working towards moving on.
Rene shares her feelings in this letter, on the way she views our relationship now...
How can I still have a relationship with a person who is no longer my husband, but a woman? It’s easy when you still love the same heart and soul.
No, I’m not gay. I don’t have that physical desire. I’m just continuing on.
Years ago, when Chloe had a “date” with a male, it was interesting to hear how she felt. She really enjoyed the balance and protective feeling that a man can offer - and, as a woman, she could now appreciate what she took away from me, Ted's wife.
I know Chloe is very attractive and does cause attention with her shape and stature. Men like voluptuous women. But it doesn’t bother me when she gets more attention.
Once, at a family picnic, there was a man there whom spent some time trying to talk with Chloe. It didn’t bother me at all. I’m glad for her and glad that she is an attractive woman. We are two completely different people and I am not in competition with her. I think it would be awesome if there was some wonderful man that would sweep her off of her feet.
But then again, I really would like our family to stay together because I do still love and care about her.
God knows what we need, and I have faith He will sort it out.