A Question for the Community
I've written this a thousand times, at least, it feels as though it's been written a thousand times.
I had sent most of this in a private email and was encouraged to post it here, publicly to share and get a wider range of feedback and information. I had the post complete when my internet browser shut down, my entire post lost.
I've tried to re-create it for the last hour with no luck. It turns out that you can't re-create those emotions in that way, so now I am trying again by re-reading the email that I originally sent and a little cutting and pasting and remembering why I came here in the first place.
I'd like to preface this by thanking people in advance for their help. I know it makes it sound as if this is a big deal for me, and in reality I am on the outside looking in, but the idea that there is a place like this that I can come and ask questions about gender is really a wonderful thing.
I'm new to all these things. Growing up in a very sheltered life, and not having any kind of crisis over my own identity swept a lot of things in the world under the rug.
I'm not sure that if I had these gender questions that I would have been able to go anywhere for answers.
I hope that my ignorance on the subject doesn't come across as offensive. I'm not here as merely a curiosity, but in an effort to help a friend in need, although in the reading it seems as though he's all right and it's others who are in need.
I'm trying to respect my friend's boundaries, and this actually does feel as though I'm going behind his back, but I'm not sure that I can ask these things of him right now.
I have a very close friend. Recently, people have questioned his gender. He says that he's a cismale, although I believe him to be transgendered. Now, this doesn't actually matter to me, but there's been some issues for him publicly where others are stating "what he is" and that he's really a woman pretending to be a man (there are other issues that I don't want to get into because they're private for him and unrelated to gender) and they say that he's not actually identifying as a man, which is why they feel the need to continually say "she" and insist that he's a woman.
I don't know if they're actually transphobic or if they are just trying to make this one individual's life difficult since they can't get to him the way they'd like and think that they're hurting him by doing this. I don't know if they are, in fact, hurting him because he and I haven't spoken about this.
I've always known him as a man, and it truly doesn't matter to me whether he was born male or transitioned male.
My real question is, for transgendered people, is there a point where they are just male or female or is their entire life spent explaining, "I'm a man, but I was born a woman," and why should they have to explain that? It almost sounds apologetic, and why should he have to explain any of this?
Is it dishonest for him to say (to complete strangers) that he was born male when he wasn't?
I personally don't think that it's dishonest, but I was wondering what the community at large felt about this issue or if it depended on the relationship he has - are co-workers different from friends different from significant others?
Does he have some kind of responsibility to inform people of his past?
Are these people making such a big deal about it because it is such a big deal or because they just don't like him for other reasons?
I want to know how I should be helping him through this difficult time and because of the other circumstances, I really have no one to ask since I feel that just my hinting that he may be transmale is a betrayal of him and what he says and has already told other people.
I also hope that I've said things in a way that doesn't offend anyone because that is definitely not my intent. I just want to be a good friend to him. I'd also like to tell these other people off.