I don't often (or at all) post things that could be considered controversial, mostly because I don't like getting into arguments with people and, sadly, most people I meet are incapable of having a discussion rather than an argument. I was raised in a household where someone always took the other side of an issue; we had domestic debates on a regular basis. Imagine my surprise when I got out into the big, wide world and people thought I was trying to tell them they were wrong about their opinions just because I was trying to discuss the other point of view! I found it disheartening and annoying and started keeping my opinions to myself.
Earlier tonight I was strolling through Fetlife and I stumbled across a discussion that really inspired me to want to Say Something! I am writing about it here because my opinion is likely to be too lengthy to be a comment on that post, (which if you are a member of Fetlife you can read here.) The discussion in question is entitled "Reality check? Entitlement, disclosure, & the 'trans' hypno-fetishist" and covers whether or not a person who is trans-gender should be required to inform their potential hypno play-partner of their trans-gender state. A recent book on erotic hypnosis, Mind Play, states that yes, they should, and there are reasons abounding both for and against this opinion playing out in the comments. (Extremely well-written comments presented by people having a discussion and not necessarily an argument!) I won't go into those opinions, I will merely present my own.
Yes. They should. But they shouldn't have to. It's a slap in the face to have to say "I identify as a woman but I have (or once had) the physical attributes of a man" to someone, it's a step backward in someone's personal journey of gender identity to have to fight to be accepted for what they know they are, because it is fact, rather than opinion that leads them to identify as female.
But it is also fact, not opinion, that many people just don't get it. They think that one day Sally woke up and thought to herself, "You know, being a woman really sucks. I think I'll try being a man now." They think that when Sally gets tired of being Steve she can just change her mind and go back to being Sally again. Which means that when they find out that the person with whom they have forged a highly personal and intimate connection with through hypnosis is trans-gender they feel betrayed because they think the other person lied to them about what gender they are. They think that they've been made the butt of a joke. They think that the trans-gender person has been pretending to be something they are not, rather than someone whose anatomy has a truly terrible sense of humor.
I believe that it is foolish for someone who is trans-gender not to disclose this fact to their prospective playmate, because if they do make a meaningful and intimate connection with the other person then they had better be damn sure that their new friend isn't creeped out or wouldn't feel lied to about it. And with the level of ignorance that exists at this time it would be nearly impossible to have that discussion without bringing their own gender identity into it. Also, should a public relationship form, it's just irresponsible to put the non trans person potentially in the position of having to defend them in public without knowing what they are talking about.
Historically, the burden of societal change has fallen on the oppressed. So, yes, it absolutely sucks that, due to the rampant ignorance and fear of the general public, a trans person should have to out themselves to prospective play partners, but until such time as we are all educated and informed about what it is to be trans-gendered it is necessary. It's hard to be the pioneer. It's a terrible burden to have to be the one educating the ignorant. But it has to be done. Because most people can't accept something new without it becoming familiar, and the only way for that to happen is for the unfamiliar to expose itself to public scrutiny.