Post # 1
I just received a Facebook friend request from an old classmate of mine. Putting together the pieces from looking at the profile, it seems as though my old classmate is transgender. In high school, this classmate was a girl, and now appears to have recognized that she is a he (so, for the rest of the post, I will refer to this classmate in the male gender).
He seems to be really happy, has a wife, and seems to be doing well. He left me a Facebook convo, just asking how things were going. I said that they were going really well, and left it at that. I was on Wedding Bee, so I missed the conversation, and with the new chat feature on Facebook, mine is all messed up.
I really, truly do not want to offend this classmate. It’s obvious that this is something major that has happened ever since we graduated. Do I ask him questions about it, do I bring it up…I feel awkward ignoring this change in his life, but I don’t want to bring it up in an insulting way.
Any information would be greatly appreciated. I am sorry if I sounded insulting or if I said anything wrong in this post. I truly didn’t mean to, this was the first place I thought of to ask for help. I promise, this isn’t a trolling post. I am interested in catching up with an old friend, and I don’t want to insult or offend him in any way.
Post # 3
@keepsmiling19: just ask simple questions like “what have you been up to” if he wants to talk about it he’ll bring it up… otherwise I’m sure he’ll bring it up when he’s ready. I wouldn’t want to push it… he might think your prying.
Post # 4
- Wedding: March 2012 - Father's Vineyard Church/ A Touch of Class Banquet Center
I had a friend who was also transgendered and did not make the change until after high school. Though it was the opposite (he became a she). I basically just asked what was new with her life and what she had been up to. I figured if she was comfortable with it, she would talk about it, otherwise I wouldn’t bring it up. After all, she was the same person I knew in high school, she just finally had the anatomy to match how she felt on the inside. Maybe that is what you can do with your friend?
Post # 5
Sounds good, that works :-). I knew it would be a simple response. Thank you!
Post # 6
@doily: ditto. I tool lost touch with a friend through college and when we caught up she was now going by he. Her name was pretty gender neutral so that didn’t change but he was very open about transitioning and is currently in the process. Last time I saw her, she was dating girls so that was not a big difference but his physical appearance is now completely male and he legally swtched genders recently. Basically, he brought it up and I was interested so I asked a few questions and quickly learned he was oen aout it. I think he was also open because he wanted support. I would recommend the asking how he has been and see where it goes from there.
Post # 7
I think you’ve gotten really good advice from the other posters. A girl I lived with in college transitioned FTM a few years later, and at first I was really… ignorant, I suppose, and I didn’t know what to think about it. I’ve been queer since forever, but in a small town, where I never to my knowledge met someone who was transgender. The closest we had was a friend of my sister’s who was biologically male but wore women’s clothing about three-quarters of the time; it was never clear whether he was a transvestite or transgender.
So I didn’t really know how to approach it. In fact, my friend had started questioning his gender identity while we were living together, and I handled it poorly. I said things like “Are you sure?” and “Have you tried hard enough to feel like a girl?”–stuff that I would cut someone dead for if they’d said it to me about being bisexual. I just wasn’t thinking it through. Our friendship later dissolved (not because of the gender thing–he got mad at me because his girlfriend had a crush on me and he was convinced we were sleeping together; I was furious at him for not talking it through with me if he thought that–he just got pissy with his girlfriend). In retrospect, I wish I could take back the things I said.
Another friend of mine (also a college roommate) transitioned, FTM, around the same time. That was less awkward because we hadn’t known each other as well. Sometimes he mentions something about it on FB, but I get the feeling it’s not something he wants to keep rehashing with everyone, so I just say the occasional supportive thing when that’s obviously what he’s looking for (like when he says something positive about the hormone treatments and says, “Yay!”), and I try not to bug him about it otherwise.
Post # 8
If you’re still concerned, you could PM Ms. Ferris Wheel – I know she’s made it part of her mission to educate people about trans issues. It’s really awesome that your main concern is not wanting to make him feel uncomfortable – not everyone is so sensitive.
Post # 9
I’m such a non-beat-around-the-bush kind of girl and I asked. Gently, but I asked. I said something along the lines of “Congrats on the change and for becoming the person you were always meant to be, it took a lot of guts but let me say, you look AMAZING!” It went over well and I (no offence to elephants) killed the elephant in the room with my ahem.. big mouth I guess.
He reached out to you by befriending you and is obviously very comfortable with his (himself.. oh my english no-so-good) self. So I think you’d be fine saying something!
Post # 10
I think he is already comfortable with himself & is no longer “awkward” since the change. That’s a huge step & wouldnt be done if that wasn’t the life he wanted to live. I would just simply say “hey, whats new?” <– no pun intended.. lol I;m sure it will be fine & go over well…
Post # 11
I would totally ask questions and have. I went to school with someone who FBed me and I asked all kinds of questions, when the now she sent me the request I only remember her as a he. She was super nice and answered all my questions and expected them as, I mean come on, I only knew this person as a guy 20 years ago. If you have any reservations, ask them if they are ok answering question, if they say no then drop it.
Post # 12
@keepsmiling19: my fiance (we’re getting married in 2 days…Ahhhh!!!!) is transgendered. he is FTM (female to male) and we are totally open to people asking questions about his tranformation–in fact, we encourage it. people usually fear what they don’t understand and in the community of people we live in, we found that by embracing questions and education, it eleviates a lot of ignorance and misunderstanding when it comes to the transgender comuunity. gender is not the same as sexuality, and even living in community with prodominently gay and lesbian people, it is still misunderstood. BUT it is so awesome when people genuinely want to know and ask questions…just our experience… =)