In the wake of the Angie Zapata killing in Greeley last week, the debate raging in the blogosphere and beyond that has emerged since her tragic and untimely death has depended on who's doing the interpretation of it.
For non-transgender people, we've heard the ludicrous "she 'deceived' Allen Andrade, so he was somehow justified in killing" her spin on many comments. Some can't even get the pronouns right, or are doing it to be disrespectful or sensationalist.
In the transgender community, the discussion has been all over the map. I had two of my young TransGriot readers take me to task over the dating safety post I wrote Saturday because they felt, in their words, it was 'condescending to young transwomen' and 'insensitive to Angie's memory' because of the timing of it, even though that wasn't my intent when I wrote it.
One point Megan was correct about was that I didn't highlight the core dilemma of all transwomen who embark upon establishing a satisfying romantic relationship with biomen: to tell or not to tell.
We transpeople agree with our biobrothers and biosisters that the logical and sensible thing to do in an ideal world and an ideal dating situation would be to just simply reveal your transgender status at a certain juncture in the courtship process. In our intracommunity discussions we've agreed that point would usually be just before getting intimate with that person. By doing so, you would give that person the option of staying or going.
But in the real world it's not that black and white. The dilemma we face and the questions we ask ourselves are - when is that point? What will be the bioman's reaction when you do tell him you're a transwoman and will you have a relationship, much less be alive, after you reveal that personal bombshell?
It doesn't matter when or where she tells him, once she reveals the deep secret about herself, she's damned if she does and damned if she doesn't. She's also putting her life in jeopardy if or when she does.
If she follows conventional wisdom and she's fortunate, the worst she'll get on the lower end of the scale is getting embarrassed if she's out in public when she tells him because the guy cursed her out before storming off.
On the other end of the scale that far too many transwomen experience, is a violent reaction that ranges from a simple beatdown to murder. That is consistent irregardless of the transwoman's age, ethnicity, social status or whether she's pre/non-op or post-op. Even marriage won't protect you if you make the revelation to the wrong person. There was a case a few years ago in which a post-op transwoman came clean to her husband and was subsequently found dead.
The other problem is that once you disclose you're a transwoman, as far as some biomen are concerned, you may as well wear a scarlet 'T' embroidered on your clothing. If you don't, they will damned sure create a virtual scarlet letter for you since they will tell all their homies and a few of their biofemale friends for good measure.
So even if you show up in the club one night looking so fly you make all the biowomen in it look like your ugly stepsisters to your Cinderella, you not only won't be getting any play from the fellas if just one biomale or biofemale is around who knows your business. By the time they've finished spreading the news, in some cases you'll be getting dissed by some of the biomen and biowomen hanging out in that nightspot severely enough to make you leave.
So what's a transwoman to do who's not into GLBT clubs, who's looking for love but also wants to survive the process as well?
While there are biomen who do wish to date us, want us as life partners, and will be perfect gentlemen about it, there are others- the 'tranny chasers' as we call them in the transgender community- whose perceptions of us are colored by too much exposure to transsexual porn sites. Get one of them on a date, and they treat you like a porn star or an object instead of a human being with feelings.
If you are a Latina, African-American or Asian transwoman, that problem is even more acute because much of the transgender porn disseminated these days disproportionately features transwomen of color.
For a transwoman, finding true love can be as elusive as an NBA playoff spot for the LA Clippers. But even the Clippers make the NBA playoffs from time to time. The trick for us is to find that true love without losing our lives in the process.
And sometimes, to avoid living the rest of their lives alone, some of my sisters will take that chance. If they find a guy they like, they'll cross that disclosure bridge when they come to it.
So we're damned if we do tell- damned if we don't.
Crossposted from TransGriot