Coming out can be a daunting process. A few months ago I shared some tips for coming out in an article entitled ‘How To Tell Someone You’re Transgendered’. Coming Out is a uniquely personal experience that depends intimately on the person sharing, their life circumstances and the people who are close to them. There is no right or wrong way to come out and it would be impossible to provide a template that would work in all circumstances. Today I’ll share with you the details of my coming out in the hope that it will provide some insight, comfort and encouragement.
Over the next two to three weeks I’ll share with you details of all the emails I send out, my approach to coming out, and some of the responses I received. I pray that this will be a blessing to you. I also hope that if you have a coming out experience you’d like to share, that you’d take a few moments to comment. I know that the many different perspectives will prove useful to others looking for a coming out strategy.
An Overview of My Transgender Coming Out
My coming out involved a few different stages:
- Telling those closes to me in person or over the phone where not possible: This occurred over many months, as I prepared those closest to me for my eventual transition. I wanted to give them time to get used to the idea of my upcoming change.
- Telling HR, and my manager: About a month before going full time I began working with HR and my manager on my transition plan at work. This included the specifics of how I would come out to my team (we chose a team meeting) as well as writing the email that would be sent by my manager to all the people I work with.
- Telling friends and acquaintances: As time ran down towards my announcement I was not able to tell all my friends, so rather than postpone the carefully prepared plan I had with my manager, I decided to send everyone I knew a short note on the day I came out. This included friends I hadn’t told, acquaintances and previous colleagues.
Coming Out To Family
The email below is one I sent to my family and all the friends I knew on the day I went full time.
Subject: The next step in my gender transition…
To my Dear Friends and Family,
I’ve had the chance to share with you the news about my upcoming gender transition, I wanted to follow up with some details now that you’ve had a chance to process the news. But first – thank you all for the outpouring of love and support for both my wife and I. We are blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives. Thank you!
The most immediate change in my life is that I will live as a woman. I already spend most of my time outside work as a woman, and from November 12th I’ll work as a woman too. This is what is referred to as “going full time”. It’s an important step in my gender transition, where I will experience the ups and downs of being a woman on a daily basis. As of Nov 5th my name has been legally changed, and I have the dubious joy of updating all relevant government and other documents over the next few months.
My new name is Vanessa. Along with that my new email address is <new email>, and my phone number is <new phone>. I’ll update the relevant social network sites soon as well. Please refer to me as Vanessa, and with the female pronouns. I know it will take a while to change a habit built over many years of knowing me, so don’t stress out if you slip up on pronouns and such once in a while.
How will this affect our relationship?
While this is a fairly dramatic change, my hope is that we’ll have a closer and deeper relationship because of it. I’m still the same person you knew, except for the first time I can truly express my authentic self. Undoubtedly there will be a few awkward moments, but my hope is that we can laugh through them together. I look forward to getting to know you anew, where you’re able to see my true self.
You’re also welcome to tell any of your friends about my gender transition if the situation arises. In a few days we will have shared this with all our friends. My wife is also in the process of telling her family – please don’t share this with them until she has had a chance to tell them herself.
What about you and your wife?
We have been talking about this for a while. As you can imagine it adds a fair number of complications to our marriage. We still love each other deeply, but In all likelihood we will separate sometime next year. We are working out the details together and what will work best for both of us. Your love, support and prayers for both of us will be treasured at this time.
What are the next steps?
I’m currently taking hormones to feminize my body, and late next year I’ll have two surgeries to complete the process. The first of which is called ‘Facial Feminization Surgery’, where bone is shaped to produce more feminine contours on the face. The final surgery is ‘Gender Reassignment Surgery’, which for lack of a more polite way to say this, will make me functionally and anatomically similar to a woman below the waist.
How can I help?
Your friendship, love and support so far have been a blessing. Being a friend, and recognizing my new name and gender will help me navigate the tumultuous emotional waters ahead. If there were one thing I’d ask though, please be a good friend to my wife, offer her your love and support – her journey over the next few months will be equally rough and she’ll need kind loving friends to lean on.
If you’d like to learn a bit more I’ve shared answers to some of the most common questions folks have had in this document [Ed: To the dear readers of Crossdresser Heaven, I’ll share the details of this document in my next post]
Thanks and Blessings,
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- Scholar Program – Transwomen’s Social Support for Medication Adherence - April 6, 2019