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Transitioning on Facebook, and being out

February 6, 2009

At first, I resisted getting a Facebook account — I was happy enough without it, thank you very much. But I ended up getting one last year, while I was still thinking gender-confused. So now I’m trying to transition my profile over to male while facing the “out or not” dilemma.

The actual female-to-male profile transition was easy. Luckily, I had signed up with my gender-neutral nickname; I changed it to my chosen name. I didn’t have too many photos, either; a friend helped me purge the older, more female-looking ones. I had never marked my sex as “male” or “female”, and I left it that way, because I think it’s annoying that they ask, especially if they only give me two options. Plus, my sex is none of their business.

The hardest part is deciding whether I want to be out as trans on my Facebook or not. I don’t actually state “I’m trans!” anywhere, but I am part of many trans groups, and I have my gender blogs on my profile because I’m proud of them. Plus, there are lots of tiny details: a friend signed one of my pictures “haha, look at her”.

I didn’t think I minded being out; but I’ve been meeting new people and I don’t necessarily want them to know I’m trans when we’ve just met. When people find out, they start treating me a little different; not unkindly, but as if they were seeing me differently: seeing me as a girl. It’s the old question of when/how/if to come out, but instead of deciding in each individual situation, you have to decide once, for everyone you’ll meet. And the newspaper keeps running articles on how important social networks are for getting jobs.

Right now, most (all?) people in my life know I was assigned female at birth, and I’m planning to do trans activism anyway, so it isn’t worth it to hide my past. I think I’ll probably open up a new Facebook account before starting college, which is when I plan to start T. It’ll be a fresh start.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2009 5:47 pm

    I ended up using Facebook as a way to come out. It was a way that I could control how I came out, instead of the grape vine. I got many messages saying “What’s up with the name change…” and I got some offensive ones too, but I knew what to delete and what was not idle curiousity but genuine concern.

  2. genderkid permalink*
    February 6, 2009 8:06 pm

    I started my Spanish blog –and posted it on facebook– partly to come out; like you say, it’s a better way to control what people know about you.

    I’m sorry to hear you got offensive messages! But I’m glad you knew how to handle it.

  3. radicalyffe permalink
    February 6, 2009 11:24 pm

    Oh hey, I’m on Facebook too if you want to look me up.

    Facebook is a bit of a tricky thing. Its not pleasant when people treat you differently when they find out you’re trans.

  4. February 7, 2009 6:49 am

    Oh, well, there’s no choice but to handle it, you know?

  5. March 11, 2009 10:50 pm

    I don’t think that is the case in Argentina, but here in Uruguay everybody know everybody. Mi friend list includes family, friends, friends of family, family of friends, schoolmates, workmates, employers, potential employers, past employers, people I only know from my nightlife at gay and gay friendly clubs, bars, and pubs, and well, the list goes on. So changing something as simple as the person with whom I am in a relationship, can be considered as an “outing”. In my case, I chose to leave that one out, as you said, they don’t really care who my girlfriend is, most of them know I’m not straight, and if anybody were to ask me, I would answer with the truth. But it is interesting that you bring this up, since I though of it for a while. Maybe Facebook is not really transfriendly, since if you had decided to specify your sex, maybe you wouldn’t feel any of them fit. My MtF friends, usually use Female, but I understand labels such as that one don’t make everybody comfortable.

    I like your idea of having a fresh start later on.

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