This has always been a hot topic in the trans community and, I suspect, in the gay community before it. Do you hide who you are from people? How 'out' should you be? At what point is 'disclosure' actually required in a relationship, in a casual acquaintance -- or in an intimate one?
One of the most common questions that trans people get asked (after "which bathroom do you use?") is "have you had surgery?" I've always hated that question. I sometimes feel like responding with something snarky like "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours." What gives another (non-intimate) person the freedom to ask what my genitals looks like?
That brings me to one last thing about disclosing whether one is or isn’t transgender, and maybe this is the most important. Being transgender can so often be about taking control of one’s life, and being not only a label, but being ourselves. And being oneself gives one the power to decide for ourselves exactly what we want to disclose and when.
It is really our choice as to what to say, when to say it, and so on. I think that so many feel they can ask us those personal questions, why they feel they can hold our past of more value than who we are now, and perhaps even part of why some choose to violently end our lives is part of controlling those of us who are transgender.
Yet being transgender, ultimately, should mean that only we who are trans hold that power. I – and all transfolks – are the ones who get to disclose what we want to when we wish, and we can choose to keep that card in the hole if we want.
That is how it should be, even for those of us who choose to disclose.