However, I am also aware that many people do not or cannot come out for any number of reasons, including employment, family, personal safety, or simply personal preference. But for those of you who are out, let’s hear your best coming out story.
If you have been reading this blog for any length of time (thank you), or if have read a lot of my stuff (thank you), you are probably already familiar with many of my personal coming out stories. Below are three of my favorites so far:
> At the office: When I first decided to transition, I stopped wearing makeup and had my long, anchor-woman hair cut short – all in one weekend. I left work on Friday as a big-haired woman with flawless eyeliner, and returned on Monday as a short-haired, pale-faced person of questionable gender. The problem was that I didn’t tell anyone (other than my boss) what I was doing or why.
I’m not sure what I thought was going to happen (did I think that nobody would notice or care?), but I wasn’t expecting that the rumor mill would churn up my imminent demise. It turns out that, left to their own devices and with no guidance from me, people did their best to improvise – and what they came up with is that I was dying of cancer. I apparently cut my hair because it was going to fall out from the chemotherapy, and I stopped wearing makeup because it didn’t matter anymore.
When I finally came out to my little staff (I was a supervisor at my workplace) about a month later, I sat back and waited for the shock, disgust, and possible resignations. What I got instead was this: “We’re so relieved that you’re not dying that we don’t care what you do!”
Although it worked for me in the end, I would not advise this tactic. My own fear of being rejected led me to cause discomfort and even fear among those around me. Overall, I had a successful on-the-job transition and learned a lot in the process, but I would definitely do things differently if I could do it all again.
> With my friends: When I came out to one of my best straight female friends, she was less concerned about my gender identity, and more concerned about who I would be sleeping with.
“I guess you’re going to have to start liking women now,” she said (a bit hesitantly, as she slowly shifted away from me).
“Why?” I asked.
“Because you’re straight, and everyone knows that people can’t change their sexual orientation.”
She was confusing sexual orientations with labels for sexual orientations, but it really didn’t matter. We stayed friends, and that was the important thing.
> With my family: My parents are dead, and I always tell people, “Not from this.” But my sister had a couple of things to say – like “Are you sure you’re not just a lesbian?” and “Maybe you’re so mentally ill that you don’t know you’re mentally ill.”
Okay, it sounds bad, but it wasn’t. She was just concerned. When I pointed out to her that I had never been attracted to women and that I seemed to functioning quite well in pretty much every area of my life, she eventually relented. But there was some semi-estrangement that took a while to resolve itself.
Those are just some of my major coming-out moments. There will probably be many more, because for a lot of us, coming out is always coming up.
So let’s hear from you. What’s your best (or worst) “coming out as trans” story? Let us know in the Comments section.