Anonymous asked: When you start dating someone, how do you explain your physical condition to them? When do you explain it, right at the beginning, or do you wait until you get to the point where you might see each other naked? Do they usually freak out or handle it well?
“Telling” is a complicated issue, both in the intersex community, and in the trans community. I don’t believe it should be necessary or that you should ever have to tell someone. If you’re not an intersex person, or a trans person, you don’t say “Hey by the way, I was born with genitals that looks like this, and a body that looks like this, and I identify as dyadic (non-intersex) and cisgender (non-trans)” So why should an intersex person or a trans person have to go through all of that. Also, if you get to like a person and you’re to the point that you want to sleep with them, and then you change your mind just because their body or genitals look differently than YOU EXPECTED them to, it’s kind of fucked up, shallow, and discriminatory.
Unfortunately there are some practical concerns, and people are NOT that understanding or humane. People feel threatened by intersex and trans bodies. Our mere existence make people uncomfortable and make people question their sexual orientation and their identity and no amount of explaining or rationale or logic will ever get them to see how ridiculous and oppressive that is. So, many of us have to find ways to “tell” in order to protect ourselves and keep safe safe. Some people like to tell in a public place, because often men will feel threatened, deceived, and manipulated, and as though they’ve been “coerced or tricked into being gay”, and sometimes they get violent.
I personally have had partners make me feel guilty over my body, and tell me things that implied they were afraid of me simply because of the way my body looks and functions. I’ve had partners break up with me because they felt it threatened or contradicted their sexual identity. I’ve had people ignore it and pretend like it wasn’t real, which meant I couldn’t have conversations about my thoughts and feelings around being intersex and my experiences as an intersex person. I’ve had people date me for “cool point” within the lesbian community, so they could seem more radical and progressive.
I don’t have a strict policy for myself or others on when to tell, or even if one should tell. Like I said, I don’t think you should ever have to, and the whole notion that you’re being deceptive or dishonest if you don’t is completely oppressive and just another way of separating out those who aren’t “normal” or who challenge the sex and gender binary and heteronormativity.
There are also a lot of intersex conditions that are not “visible”, either because they’ve been erased by unnecessary and harmful “surgeries” or because they just aren’t a kind of condition that you can see. In these cases, most people don’t even believe we have an intersex condition. Or they might feel “let down” because we’re not the fetishized ideal “hermaphrodite” they thought us to be, and leave disappointed that they couldn’t fuck someone with a pussy and a dick.
I am fortunate to be with someone that’s known me for a long time, and who was friends with me for a while before we ever got together, and because of that, she already knew a lot about my body and my history and we never had to have any awkward difficult conversations about how my body works, what it looks like, or what it’s history is, although I suspect with her, it wouldn’t have been a very difficult conversation had we had it.
I’d say in general, people are reprehensible in this respect, and in my experience, cannot be trusted to handle it very well, so it’s safest to tell in a safe place, possibly a public place, if you’re not sure how a person will react.