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Introducing Doll, Racked's first transgender guest blogger. Always secretly wishing he'd been born a Barbie, Doll was a young army brat who grew up and became a citizen of the world. After landing in Manhattan, he became a New York fashion insider, working in a high-powered industry position, living a life worthy of a feature film.
After mysteriously vanishing from the scene, Doll recently resurfaced and has embarked on a new roller-coaster ride of a journey. Follow his transformation, week by week, right here on Racked.
"If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees." -Kahlil Gibran
Doll: One guy I recently met out at a bar was immediately attracted to me, and the feeling was mutual. The sparks really flew, and on our fifth date we started getting a bit physical so I felt I had to say something before it went too far.
At first, I only said that I had something I needed to tell him—“A secret,” I said—and asked him to guess what it was, just in case he already had suspicions. After he made some really mundane guesses, I disclosed—over the phone for my own personal safety, of course. That was the last I ever heard from him. Let me tell you, it really hurts to go from a "ten" to a "one" in a matter of seconds.
So now, before I tell someone I'm in transition, I'll tend to ask myself, "Will this knowledge make the person any happier? Will it be something positive in their life? If not, why tell them?" When I'm having a conversation with a new acquaintance I would really prefer to just talk about regular things, rather than have some drawn-out intense conversation about the intimate details of my life. Besides, entrusting someone with intimate knowledge about myself is always fraught with risk—not least of which is that they'll wind up relaying the juicy tidbit as gossip to a few close friends, who in turn could inform others, etc.
I also ran these questions and thoughts past a friend of mine the other day to see how a heterosexual male observer would see my issues. His advice was pretty obvious in hindsight, but sometimes the obvious isn't all that obvious. He said that disclosure only becomes important if the relationship gets serious. But he advised that if a guy does like me, I should be upfront and honest right away. So I guess that means sometime not too long after the "L" word comes into play.
At times, it seems near-impossible to keep a secret of this magnitude. Since I didn't transition at a very young age, keeping it quiet would involve fabricating an entire past. My childhood, places I've lived, schools I've attended, things I've done—everything must be carefully constructed and I will constantly be weaving a webs of lies. I'll be faced with questions such as, "Where are the photographs from childhood and adolescence? Where's my high school yearbook?" Inventing a plausible explanation—that many of my possessions were destroyed in a fire, for example—might get me off the hook for awhile. But it won't explain everything, especially the multitude of inevitable inconsistencies, nevermind access to the internet.
It seems too difficult to consistently lie well enough to pull it off forever. And even if I could manage to invent a flawless past life, something outside my control will expose me—"Six Degrees of Separation" and all that. I do, in fact, have a very real past, a past that includes people who knew me. So there will always be the danger of running into someone who knows my secret, no matter how carefully I arrange a life of stealth. Worlds occasionally do collide, often with disastrous consequences. I will just have to be cautious, to the point of paranoia.
With regards to the other guys whom I considered confiding in; a couple of them do seem to possess the requisite sensitivity and intelligence. But in the end, I decided against not telling them, for the fear of rejection. I now worry I'll constantly be wondering what is churning around in their heads and I will obviously refrain from letting the relationship progress beyond the casual. None of them is allowed to get too close to me. As a result, I've been described as a "Cock-tease" by one and "a fucking prude" by another, consequences of keeping them at arm's-length.
I understand that ultimately, these casual relationships will become a sort of limbo—empty and unfulfilling—but I prefer to think of them as practice. There are so many casual interactions we have with people that help to make life colorful. So if it's not absolutely essential to a relationship then why disclose myself and have some of those friendly relations transformed into weirdness? Ultimately having people view me as just being a “transgender”—one quality that totally swamps anything else. For now, I will keep my fingers tightly crossed, hoping that worlds will not collide.
· @ratedxx_doll [Twitter]
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