Response to The Ethicist

Recently, I was reading the article “When to Out a Transgender Dater?” published in a column called The Ethicist on July 9, 2010 by Randy Cohen. There are so many things to say about this article and though it is from 2010, I feel it is still relevant to talk about.

The anonymous asker:

She begins by identifying herself as a straight woman and tells this story of how she was set up with a man and he wouldn’t reveal as much about his past as she had anticipated. She did some digging online, found out he is transgender (female to male), and promptly ended their relationship. They both live in an Orthodox Jewish community, and she doesn’t know if she should have their rabbi out him.

The respondent:

They discuss that her date should not have withheld the information as it is important for the progression of the relationship. They also go on to say he is entitled to his privacy, and while she should not be going around outing him to everyone, it would be understandable if she were to discuss the situation with a few close friends.

My response:

It is NEVER okay to out someone without their explicit permission. This woman wouldn’t have even known in the first place had she not done “sophisticated checking online” to find out what he was “hiding.” While I agree with the respondent that he is entitled to his privacy and should not be outed to the community, they went about it in a way that made him out to be a bad person who was doing the equivalent of not disclosing he had an STD. This man is not in the wrong for not coming out to a woman he just met. He didn’t want or need to come out, so he didn’t. She had no clue he had been anything other than a man his entire life until she did her background check.

I can understand not wanting to date someone who isn’t biologically one gender or the other. But I can’t understand why him being born with an X chromosome puts him at fault.

More responses to this on The Ethicist.

More about coming out.

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