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Do Transgender People Have a Moral Obligation to Announce their Status on First Dates?

Updated on September 3, 2016
wingedcentaur profile image

The first step is to know what you do not know. The second step is to ask the right questions. I reserve the right to lean on my ignorance.


Good Day dashingscorpio!

Thank you for the question. You have asked if we believe that a transgendered person has a "moral obligation" to announce her status on first dates.

You have included a very insightful supplemental question. You want to know this: If a transgendered person does have a "moral obligation" to announce her status on first dates, can she ever truly be free in her transition. That is to say: When can we finally just let her be a woman already? or When can we finally just let him be a man already?

Since you have asked such an insightful question, dashingscorpio, it should be no surprise to you that there is no simple answer.

Any reasonably thorough exploration of the issue requires some indelicacy, I'm afraid.

When we ask if a transgendered woman should be "morally obligated" to tell the man she goes out on a first date with, that she is transgendered --- we are really talking about guarding against the man's embarrassment.

There's couple of ways to look at this.

A. Speaking of "embarrassment," it would certainly depend upon the degree of "transition." That is to say, suppose the date goes well and the two want to retire somewhere for physical intimacy. Again, depending upon the "degree of transition," the man might or might not be in for quite a shock! If you know what I mean. I have to say, deceit is not a healthy way to start off any relationship.

B. Suppose the transgendered woman and the man go out and about in a place where no one knows them. Depending upon the "degree of transition," from the point of view of simple, outward visual inspection, no one might have any reason to doubt the fullness of her feminine identity. In this case, the man is not going to be subject to malicious whispering.

C. If the transgendered woman and the man have their first date in an area, where some know of the original male identity of the former, then the man may or may not be vulnerable to "malicious whispering," depending upon the circumstances.

But where does "morality" come in on the part of the transgendered man or transgendered woman?

What is a "moral obligation"?

Again, to refer to the "indelicacy" I mentioned, in one sense it depends upon the "degree of transition." Let me put it this way: Suppose a transgendered woman (a former man) and a man go out on a first date. Let us suppose she does not tell the man of her former male identity.

Now let us suppose that the date goes very well. So well, in fact, that the two of them decide to retire somewhere in private and get "intimate." Now then, depending on her "degree of transition," if she can perform sexually as any woman could, and so forth, the transgendered woman would not have presented herself under "false pretenses" in any way.

Now, at the start of the date the two parties cannot know how well they will get along. They also cannot know whether or not they will eventually become intimate.

Suppose, again, a transgendered woman (former man) and a man go out on a date. Suppose that she does not tell him about her former male identity. Suppose that her "degree of transition" is such that---her comes the indelicacy---it covers her outward appearance, but does not extend to her most "intimate" areas, such as would only be discovered under "intimate" circumstances.

Now suppose that the two of them do not get along all that well. Or, suppose they get along as friends without making plans for "intimacy." Suppose they go to dinner and see a show, have a good time, but part as friends without intimacy.

In this situation, if she does not tell the man of her former male identity, she still has not presented herself under false pretenses. Therefore, as I see it, no "moral obligation" to reveal her former male identity arises.

There may come a time when medical and genetic technology advances to the point, where transgendered men and transgendered women will be able to function exactly and in all dimensions as originally-born men and women. That is to say, there may come a time when a transgendered woman (former man) may be able to experience all the hormonal changes and pregnancy as an originally-born woman.

At that state of affairs, the issue of "moral obligation" will be enormously ameliorated.

However, I suppose there will always be the issue of age. Suppose a young man of fifteen wants to undergo "transition," with his parents or guardians permission. That is to say he wants to be who he truly is, inside, as a female.

Would the fifteen-year-old transgendered girl (former fifteen-year-old boy) have "moral obligations" to announce her status on first dates?

Let's consider this. Even though, I should think, most parents of fifteen-year-olds, would not want them having sex just yet... Well... many fifteen-year-olds have sex anyhow.

In which case, I would go through the formula I have already presented, which depends upon "degree of transition."

What about the freedom to BE?

Let me say this. I am not a particular religious or even 'spiritual' person. But I believe that the transgendered phenomena is the strongest evidence I have ever heard of for the existence of a human 'soul.'

To my way of thinking, what is happening with a transgendered individual is that she is effectively declaring that she has been accidentally dumped into the wrong body and has sought to correct that.

I could be wrong, but my understanding is that transgendered individuals know from a very, very early age that they are transgendered: that outwardly-appearing boys have the 'souls' of girls and outwardly-appearing girls have the 'souls' of boys.

Now, if we human beings do indeed have 'souls,' the transgender phenomena suggests that the 'soul' thinks of itself as either male or female prior to implantation into the body. If that is true, this brings about further cause for reflection, which is beyond the scope of this essay to even approach. But how does it come about that a soul can fall into the wrong body?

If a male 'soul' accidentally and incorrectly falls into a female body, then what has become of the appropriate female 'soul' ("slated"?) for that body?

I suppose that, having been knocked out of its orbit, that female 'soul' either goes into another female body or a male body.

I think that transgendered individuals would be free to BE, if something like the understanding I have presented above became the generalized view of society. For that to happen, we probably need to have more psycho-biological-spiritual research into the question of the soul.

For example, I have read of a demographic crisis in Asia. This is due to a widespread social practice of sex-selective abortion, favoring the birth of boys over girls, and aborting female fetuses because they are female. I have read that this practice is responsible for one-hundred-sixty-million (160,000,000) 'missing' females (1)

According to the most logical interpretation of that data there should have been 160,000,000 more females that came into existence than were allowed to come into existence.

Think of that: One hundred sixty million female bodied receptacles for female souls GONE! Never allowed to have come into existence! Where did those 160,000,000 souls go?

Suppose, for the sake of our peace of minds, that the vast majority of those 'souls' went into other female bodies. But some of them---millions at the very least---went into the wrong bodies of boys.

This would mean that the social, political, economic, and geopolitical issues that caused the non-existence of 160,000,000 female bodies as receptacles for female souls, would be something that needed to be looked at.

That'll do it, I think. Thank you so much for reading!

Take care.


1. see Hvistendahl, Mara. Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls And The Consequences Of A World Full OF Men. Public Affairs, 2011.


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    • wingedcentaur profile imageAUTHOR

      William Thomas 

      2 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

      Hi Elias! How's it going?

      I'm sorry I took so long to get back to you. Yes, I certainly will say "transgender" from now on; please forgive me. And I will take your word for it about there being about an equal number of transmen and transwomen.

      And yes, I am aware of the difference between sexual identification and sexual preference; but you are right to raise the concern since it was on your mind.

      I want to thank you for setting the record... oops, I almost said "straight." But seriously, folks, thank you so much for the clarification.

      Take it easy.


    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I haven't read all of the comments, I'm sorry if this has already come up, but: it's TRANSGENDER, not transgenderED. The latter is rather rude and offensive to pretty much everyone in the community, so PLEASE, say transgender.

      As for the answer to the question: The person should tell the date before they kiss. In some cases where the first kiss was a bit spontaneous it's alright I guess to not have "revealed the secret", but of course definitely before any intimacies happen. Even if they are post-op.

      Another thought: Please note that the majority of the trans-community aren't transwomen. I'm pretty sure transmen and transwomen exist at an equal rate, so they should be mentioned an equal amount of times. Also, just because someone's trans doesn't mean they're straight, gender identity and sexual orientation are completely different things. You probably know that, but in that article it didn't really come up...


      a gay transman

    • wingedcentaur profile imageAUTHOR

      William Thomas 

      2 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!


    • fpherj48 profile image


      2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I think we experienced what is known as "talking it over," til we got it right!...LOL Thanks to you too!

    • wingedcentaur profile imageAUTHOR

      William Thomas 

      2 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

      Yes, indeed Paula! "same wavelength... different degrees!"

      Thank you for your comments.

      Take it easy. :D

    • fpherj48 profile image


      2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I can easily follow your intention and understand. I am in full agreement that each human being is fully aware of all issues concerning sexuality....preference, transgender etc. from a very early age. In fact, I never doubted this, even without having done extensive research. It seemed a rational & natural fact to accept & comprehend. As far as I have been able to surmise, it's fairly clear the bigots and/or slander & condemnation comes from those who base ALL on Morality..straight from God, the Bible etc etc...ESPECIALLY "professed Christians" who love to quote scripture. I always find it curious these "followers of Christ" must skip over much of the scripture that Christ Himself loves, embraces & is kind & gentle to everyone EVERYONE. To each his own.

      I see your reasoning given particular scenarios, but each individual of course, will have their own opinions on "what they might or might not do." Obviously this is why we post questions in the first place.

      I feel no societal pressure in any case under any circumstances. Frankly, I have a tendency to "challenge" society's group of smaller and/or bigoted minds. I deal with life experiences from a personal point of view based upon my own intellect, common sense, heart & rationale. Since I am not basically anti-social and my morals are in tact, society can accept or reject me and my choices as far as I'm concerned.

      So WC...Thanks for the communication in sharing your fascinating thoughts on this topic. I believe we're on the same wave length...different degrees! Peace, Paula

    • wingedcentaur profile imageAUTHOR

      William Thomas 

      2 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

      Hello again, Paula! How's it going?

      Thank you for responding back. I will make this short by saying that my interest in this question seems to be more relentlessly metaphysical than your own approach.

      I believe you have "heard" me express the view that transgenderism is the strongest evidence I've ever heard of indicating that human beings indeed have souls. I understand that these individuals "know" that they have been placed in the wrong gendered bodies at a very, very, very early age.

      I have said that I believe that this suggests that the "soul" think of itself as either female or male prior to implantation into the body---or rather incarnation.

      Now, if I go out on a date with a woman (who turns out to have been "accidentally" incarnated or originally born into the body of a male), I would recognize that "she" is not deceiving me.

      If "she" dresses like a woman and talks like a woman, and all that---and depending on her economic circumstances, which may or may not permit her to undergo hormonal therapy and surgical alteration---she is not deceiving me or anybody else. She is only doing everything in power to correct a mistake that "God" or "Fate" or whatever made.

      The real issue is my tolerance for potential social embarrassment. Suppose someone comes up to me, sneers and points a finger at me and says, "Na, na, you're dating a chick who used to be a dude!" "Ha Ha," as the bully Nelson from the Simpsons says.

      Suppose I find out its true. Given what I just said I have to think that maybe she doesn't want to talk about her early life imprisoned in the wrong body, for whatever reason.

      Now, I've never seen the play or movie, but aside from a "Madame Butterfly" situation, I, personally, would not feel myself deceived. The point is: Can I endure social embarrassment? Would that unduly influence me to stop the relationship?

      And so forth. I guess what I'm saying is that, from her perspective, no deception has necessarily occurred.



    • fpherj48 profile image


      2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      WC....Looks like I need to clarify a few things. Please note that I was not implying a formula of equivalency~~ not at all. Sorry if it seemed this way to you. I repeated the story only because it related to UR Q. in terms of individuals having a moral obligation to "divulge" what may or may not be a major factor, to the other person in a relationship. (I don't happen to believe anyone has a moral obligation of any sort to lay their entire life out on the ground for anyone to see, judge, analyze or consider....I feel for each of us, the past is precisely that...past. Each new day is the starting point for the the remainder of our lives) I put Christian in quotes to emphasize the doubts that arose in Susan's (my friend) mind. Also, HE did not tell her of his past. She was told by someone else.

      In this case, I think that made it worse than had HE told her at the start or any point thereafter....OK? This is simply how she reacted.

      I have no reason nor right to doubt anything about this man. I barely knew him. I can tell you sincerely that I have no personal aversions to individuals who have served time behind bars~for the mere fact that they were incarcerated~and God forgives when implored, PERIOD.

      I was asking your opinion in terms of the level of equivalency in offenses. Who's to say that IF major info is withheld or WHAT that info is...just how wrong or unacceptable it may be? It's possible that someone may find it a "deal breaker" to withhold a prison record, worse than withholding their transgenderism....follow me?

      The word "morally" obligated is central here.

      Frankly winged, my very own genuine beliefs in relationship scenarios is that complete honesty with one another is not only the ideal way, but the only way. Relationships evolve. What should be disclosed & shared occurs in a natural sort of way when spending time together & "getting to KNOW one another."

      Specifically to your question: We do not dictate to others what their MORAL obligations are. Each person's own moral compass should lead them. I think in order to answer this I can only use myself in an example. I can truthfully say that I would hope & expect & appreciate a transgender would tell me from the start of a possible relationship. I feel it's then my right to make a life decision based upon the truth....this is what is, can I, will I be perfectly OK with it or in fact choose not to go forward? I hope I am a bit more clear this time. Thanks for your response.

      This is a really difficult & complex issue. How about an easier question?? LOL

    • wingedcentaur profile imageAUTHOR

      William Thomas 

      2 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

      Hello again, Paula! I think the technical glitch is over with.

      Let me just say this. I must respectfully disagree with the formula of equivalency you seem to imply.

      1. You explained how someone you are acquainted with was really good friends with someone for a year, a "self-proclaimed, die-hard, bible-toting 'Christian.'"

      2. Its turns out that this person has a prison record, which he did not disclose right away---if at all, but certainly not in a "timely manner."

      3. Is that why you put the word Christian in quotes, in reference to this person? Two questions:

      a. Do you doubt his the sincerity of his faith because he spent ten years in prison, and you believe that "people don't really change all that much"?

      b. Or do you doubt the sincerity of his faith because he did not tell your acquaintance that he had spent ten years in jail? Does that mark him for you as fundamentally dishonest and contrary to the Christian way?

      c. Or, was it the fact that he spent ten years in prison for "fairly egregious crimes"? Are these crimes so bad that you cannot even imagine God forgiving him for them? I mean, is this like Charles Manson or Jeffrey Dahmer claiming to be "born-again" Christians?

      4. Whatever your answers are to those questions, can we fairly make any comparison to someone withholding her trans-gender status?

      5. If we want to make such a comparison, this begs the question: What is the crime we're accusing the trans-gendered person of? And when did the crime start? And what crime would we have her confess to? What is the "fairly egregious" thing we want to say she has the duty to disclose in a timely manner?


    • wingedcentaur profile imageAUTHOR

      William Thomas 

      2 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

      Hi Paula! How's it going? This site seems to be having technical difficulties right now. I will get back at you with a suitable response later on, after the problem has been resolved.


    • fpherj48 profile image


      2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      winged....Forgive me for taking a bit of a detour, but this brought a story to my mind.

      I know a woman who became good friends with a self-proclaimed die-hard, bible-toting "Christian." They were really good friends for about a year.

      Then one day, this woman found out that what the "Christian" man did NOT tell her was that he had his religious epiphany~ conversion while serving 10 years behind bars for fairly egregious crimes.

      She could no longer spend time with him because according to her, he was not honest about his former life and she felt deceived. She then felt he was faking everything about himself.

      It seems to me that hiding and/or failing to admit something most people consider major, does not usually go over well at all.

      For instance, many people decide not to divulge that they've been married multiple times, or worse that they are a registered sex offender......Do you think these "secrets" can be considered equal in level of offense? Or that the "past" must remain in the past?

      One more thing. You have made the statement "we have a soul." My understanding has always been that we ARE SOULS, first & foremost at our basic core...and simply have a physical body. This would be interesting to discuss. Great hub. Peace, Paula

    • wingedcentaur profile imageAUTHOR

      William Thomas 

      2 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

      Thank you, Larry Copano. I guess what I'm saying, at the end of the day, is that the general society has to evolve. I was framing my answer in terms of what I understand to be "reality," or the "reality of the situation."

      Its possible that I got a bit too cute in my answer. I, for one, do not think that there is any pretense going on, either in terms of sexual partner preference or self-identified gender preference.

      But even if people did "choose" to be gay or lesbian or bisexual or did "choose" to switch genders, I would say that their full rights should be affirmed.

      Well, Larry Copano, thank you again for taking the time to comment.

      Take it easy!

    • Larry Copano profile image

      Larry Copano 

      2 years ago from USA

      Thank you for sharing your interesting perspective. You're talking about it from a cis-persons point of view.

      I will tell you why I, as a trans-man, would not tell them until the second date. Most cis people don't know anything about trans-people, and the majority of cis-people think that we are actually "pretending" to be our gender. If they knew up front that we were trans, they wouldn't even date us... not even once. After they date us once or twice, some of them see that we are really our gender.

      Also, after talking to them for two dates we can "feel them out", and have an idea whether this person is open to the idea of dating a trans person. After all, we don't want to come out to everyone... only the people who will at least act civil about it.

      So you see, we're not trying to delude you. We just want the same respect as cis people.

    • wingedcentaur profile imageAUTHOR

      William Thomas 

      2 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

      Thank you, dashingscorpio!

      As I said, there are no easy answers. I do understand your central point: If a transgendered woman has to repeat over and over again that she had been born a man, she will never fully be allowed to feel like a woman.

      I guess what I'm saying to that is: Unfortunately, with our level of knowledge of the 'soul,'---whether or not human beings have them---we do not live in such a world, in which a transgendered woman can be allowed to feel like a woman.

      Some transgendered people are poor and cannot afford hormonal and surgically corrective procedures. In which case, they do what they can to feel feminine or masculine, as the case may be. If you think about it, this is yet another, subtle way that the poor, in general, are punished for being poor. In the case of poverty, transgendered individuals, because they cannot afford corrective procedures are considered 'freaks.'

      I'll tell you, I wish we in the United States had single-payer, universal healthcare, like other industrialized countries see fit to give their citizens; and I, personally, would have no problem have gender-corrective procedures fully covered under the plan.

      Of course, age is always an issue, as I indicated in the main body of the essay. However, if society came to generally agree that human beings have souls and that things can and do happen, which causes souls to sometimes fall into the wrong bodies, the age question may not be as pressing, if you know what I mean.

      You ask: "Would {you want to know} up front either before going out on the date or during the date before you initiated a kiss or other form of intimacy?"

      Let me answer the question this way. I happen to be a heterosexual. I would go on the date on the understanding that the other party, herself, is also a heterosexual.

      As far as "moral obligation" goes it is one thing to deal with a gay man who likes to "cross-dress" and a genuinely transgendered woman, a woman's soul accidentally deposited into a male body.

      An outward-appearing male may have the soul of a heterosexual female inside of him. Notice something: Outwardly this person appears to be "gay." But if the thesis I've presented is true, that is not necessarily the case.

      In other words, it is possible that this seeming-"gay" man is a transgendered person, with the soul of a heterosexual woman, a woman sexually attracted to men, accidentally deposited into the body of a male.

      The mutual understanding must be clear. Is the born-man homosexual or bisexual with a "yen" for men who "cross-dress"?

      Or is the born-man an exclusive heterosexual with an exclusive heterosexual intent? That is the question.

      Again, I'm afraid there are no easy answers. We do not live in a world of easy answers, especially on this issue; and especially since our knowledge about the 'soul,' one way or another, is so paltry at best.

      Take care.

    • dashingscorpio profile image


      2 years ago


      You pretty much covered every potential scenario.

      It is a difficult position to be in especially if one's goal is to be loved and accepted for who they are. That's pretty much impossible if they're carrying a "secret" which may eventually come to light via someone else.

      On the other hand if the transgendered woman has to repeat over and over again that she was born a man then she will never fully feel as though she is a woman. The last part of my original question had to deal with if you were the man or woman on a date with a transgender person:

      Would {you want to know} up front either before going out on the date or during the date before you initiated a kiss or other form of intimacy?

      It's important to put ourselves in both pair of shoes.

      At any rate thanks for publishing a hub on this very topical subject!


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