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Do Transgender People Have a Moral Obligation to Announce their Status on First Dates?
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!
1. see Hvistendahl, Mara. Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls And The Consequences Of A World Full OF Men. Public Affairs, 2011.