Auntie SparkNotes: My Crush Came Out to Me as Trans
I've got a crush on a good friend of mine, let's call him M. We met through camp and have been friends for about a year now. A couple of my school friends know and have met M, and tease me relentlessly because they think we'd be a good couple. They keep telling me to ask him out, which I would do if I wasn't kind of terrified of losing our friendship, and also because we live about half an hour away from each other and neither of us can drive yet.
However, M recently came out to me as transgender (FTM), and told me that I was the first person he told. This hasn't affected the fact that I still really like him, but it does mean I that I'm not really sure how to proceed. The fact that he told me first scares me a bit, because I don't want to ruin that trust that he appears to have in me.
How should I move forward with this? I can't ask any of my friends for help with this, for obvious reasons, but I'm really not sure whether I should wait until he's come out to more people or if I should ask him out anyway.
Well, let's start here: If M's gender identity doesn't make any difference to you, I see no reason why it should be a factor in when or whether you ask him out. I mean, at the end of the day, this is a scenario in which you learned something interesting about your crush that still changes nothing about your feelings—except that your feelings are now directed at a "him" instead of a "her."
So if that doesn't faze you (and it certainly doesn't seem to!) then you've got no good reason not to go for it—and considering that you've been crushing on this person for the better part of a year, it's arguably about time for you to do something, whether it's making your move or trying to move on. And while I suppose there's potential for M's gender identity to complicate things down the road, e.g. if and when it becomes necessary to explain to your friends that your by-all-appearances girlfriend is actually your boyfriend, that's really his issue to deal with; your only job is to let him take the lead and respect his choices, whatever they might be. In the meantime, since he's out only to you, playing along with his public (presumably female) presentation should be easy enough.
That said, I can't promise you that asking M out won't change your friendship. Obviously, it could (and of course, if things go as you hope, that's kind of the idea). But that's always the risk when you have the courage to reveal something like this, and if he's a decent person—and if he's as worthy of your trust as you evidently are of his—he won't punish you for being honest.
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