The person I started dating is/might be trans, but never told me and I'm not supposed to know.
- How can I approach the matter with her?
- What is the best way to do it without causing her discomfort or worse?
I've been on dates a few times with an amazing woman (that I'll call Alice) lately, and she never revealed or mention or hinted to me that she is trans.
A coworker (Bob) who happens to be a close friend of hers, told me that she is trans. Bob wasn't supposed to tell me and asked me not to tell Alice that he told me. I didn't investigate or ask anything to Bob, Alice told him (as a friend) we had a date, and he came to me out of the blue to tell me about her being trans. I told Bob that it was a breach of Alice's privacy, and he shouldn't be telling me, but he said he did that because "If it were me, I'd rather be 'warned'".
Assuming he's telling the truth, I'd like to bring up the subject with Alice for the following reasons:
I'm concerned about Bob "outing" her without her consent, especially in the workplace where it may hurt her both personally and professionally.
As a cis person, there is a lot I ignore about being trans that impacts her and may impact our relationship, but I have no clue of what it implies and what the impact might be for us. I don't see it as a big deal, but I'd like to discuss it with her because I have never been in this kind of situation before, and self-education from the Internet can only go so far...
Notes that may be relevant:
- We're both women (25/30 y.o.)
- We met through work even though we don't work together. Bob and I work for company A (but not in the same team/projects), Alice works for company B. Our companies sometimes do events in our joint buildings where everybody is welcome, that's how we first met before our first date a while later.
- We're in France where gay relationships and being trans are legal but still marginalized (a LOT) and potentially dangerous depending on where you live and how open you are about it. That being said, I'm interested in more generic answers.
Eventually it boils down to:
- How can I confess that Bob told me about her being trans and how can I express my concerns about his attitude and my lack of experience? And how can I do this tactfully?
Edit: I'm editing to clear things up. If I'm hurting anyone with my wording know that I'm sorry, and feel free to edit again to express things better.
Alice is a woman and goes by she/her, has a "womanly" name (as in no man ever had that name in France). What Bob told me boils down to she "was a man before" and I "may have 'surprises'"; he also mentioned a deadname but I won't use/mention it with Alice.
What I want to highlight is that what Bob meant is that she's a trans woman, i.e. she was probably assigned male at birth and raised as a boy for the first part of her life (until she socially transitioned).
I'm accepting @IMightBeAmelia's answer because I've done as suggested.
I'd like to highlight a few key things so here is the end of the story for context.
What I did:
- Texted Alice this morning asking if we could meet for lunch because I needed to talk to her (she agreed)
Waited until we bought our food and were settled somewhere calm and alone.
Told her that:
I've had a hard time deciding whether I should bring "this" up to you or not.
"This" is "Bob told me you're trans".
I don't care if it's true or not and you don't need to confirm/deny, but if true, I'm worried that it may hurt you and/or be dangerous, that's why I decided to tell you and not pretend as if Bob never told me.
I'm here for you if you want me to talk to Bob so that you don't have to deal with him directly
Shut down for a moment to give her time to think/respond to my "speech"
What happened next, but may differ with someone else:
She is angry/upset about the outing, but angry at Bob, not me.
She appreciates that I didn't choose to pretend not to know
The key things I'd like to highlight:
Texting her telling that I needed to tell her something without any details freaked her out because she (rightly) guessed that it may have something to do with her transsexuality but had no clue what it was since I was not supposed to know. Something more gentle would be better.
She made it clear to me (but it may differ with someone else) that she would have been very disappointed if after deciding to tell me about her being trans she were to learn that not only I already knew but also I never told her someone outed her.
She also told me that if I had had the information (or uncertainty) not from someone but from a context (from seeing her in a trans support group is the example Alice used) it would be OK not to bring it up and let her decide if/when she wants to share it.
@avazula's advice is great, and even if (due to the context of a third party outing Alice) I didn't follow this answer, questioning why I wanted to tell her helped me decide. I told Alice because her safety comes first. I didn't mention my lack of experience, because it's up to me to solve it.