How do you tell people that you’re somewhere on the transgender spectrum? Is there a system that works better than others? This is one with which I’ve grown comfortable. Tell me what you think.
I had posted a topic in CDH describing my experience as I went to a business meeting en femme with a group that I had recently come out to. Laura asked how I came out to them, so I offered this response.
Wow that’s a great question! As I look back, I realize there was a progression in approaching the group, and there is a progression in my conversation.
I started with the leader of the mastermind group who was also my business transition coach at one time, as well as my trainer when I decided to become a life coach myself. You reveal a lot to a coach when you’re working on yourself. She knew me very well. When I told her about Lorie, she said she felt honored to know the whole me, and that she felt closer to me for the reveal. I asked her if she thought it would be OK to tell the rest of the group (of six), and she thought they would be good with it. Which they were! As a matter of fact, one of the members of the group has two out of three of her adult children who came out to her as trans in the last year or so.
When I tell people, I refer back to the timeline for me. “Over the past three years, I’ve allowed myself to explore an aspect of myself that I’ve tried to push away for my whole life. As I explored my gender identity, I’ve come to realize that I’m somewhere on the transgender spectrum. I have a friend who helped me to understand it better, because they are experiencing something similar as an AFAB (Asigned Female At Birth) who feels male most of the time. They call it genderfluid. That’s what I am. If you never want to see this, just say so, and I’ll honor the image that you have known for so long.”
“One of the reasons that this has been a major confusion for me my whole life is that I assumed that if I was feminine or identified as female then I must be gay. But I’ve never felt gay. I’ve never been attracted to men. So I thought I was just a pervert. But sexual attraction is not linked to gender identity status. Now that I’m OK with being female while not being attracted to men, I am free to explore my feelings around this.”
“I wanted to tell you this for a couple reasons. One, I trust you. Two, secrets generate shame. As I release the secret, the burden and the SHAME are slowly diminished. This may seem selfish on my part, and if it is a burden for you, I apologize. My intention is to be open and honest and learn to be myself.”
“As I go through this process of expressing myself, I feel a lightness and wholeness that is amazing. I don’t know where it leads, but it’s a fabulous journey, even if it is terrifying at times.”
“You probably have a few questions, so feel free to ask them now, or maybe you need to think about this a bit and the questions will come later.”
OK, so that’s my system. Sometimes I can lead into it with reference to something I’ve done, or something I wear (like nail polish). Just this past Saturday I told a woman I’ve known for several years when we were at the Renfest and I bought a pair of women’s gypsy pants.
I feel like I have to gauge my trust for the person/people, or just decide I’m tired of hiding it. Even in those cases, I don’t bludgeon people with this fact, or tell them in an aggressive way, or give them the “shock and awe” treatment of just showing up dressed en femme. That’s not my style, and I feel that the psychology of it is like people who are “brutally honest;” they are more interested in the brutal part than the honesty. Passive aggressive?
We’re going to upset an apple cart that has been an apple cart for many years, and I want to be compassionate and kind to them so that we can continue the relationship in a healthy way.
I would suggest rehearsing this system at the kitchen table pretending you’re talking to someone who you trust and want to know about your true self. Get a sense of it. Imagine it from their perspective. Maybe even record it to get the listener’s perspective.
The first person I told was my life coach who lives on the other side of the country. The next person was the genderfluid friend that I mentioned. The next was an ex-girlfriend who lives in another city. Safe. Start safe.
Do you have a system for coming out? Do you have any suggestions or concerns about this one? If you came out to someone, what was their response? How did you feel? Would you like to do it a little differently?
Thanks so very much for taking time to read this article of mine. Please take the time and answer any of my questions posed above or serve up any reply to something in my article you can related to!