So I Came Out – Now What?

Comfort

We’ve all been there, some for longer periods than others, so few would not be familiar with the fear we endure hiding our ‘secret’ from our loved ones. Along with questioning why we are like we are, some of us question what it is that prevents us from sharing our secret with them.

Is it fear of rejection? For many it could be, and the number of CDs who come out and then experience such rejection can be used to justify keeping silent. Is it shame? Often that too is a factor because many of us feel shame at what we do and can rightly expect others will feel the same. Again, the experiences of some seem to justify remaining closeted. Maybe it’s a lack of trust. Unfortunately many of our loved ones immediately assume this is the case – we didn’t tell them about ourselves so we must not trust them – yet that is frequently very far from the truth. Then of course there is our fear of hurting our loved ones; a hurt that we imagine will come from a combination of all the other reasons, made worse by the fact that we will likely turn their lives upside-down. The problem with that is that for every day that goes by the hurt we imagine we’ll cause compounds, with the knowledge of that silencing us even more rigorously.

Thus, for whatever reasons, we keep silent. Some manage to do so all their lives. Some end their lives because they can’t stay silent. Most though reach a point where they find they have to overcome their fears. The ‘inner woman’ is screaming for freedom to exist openly. Eventually we can keep silent no longer. Thus, to whatever fate the circumstances decree, we come out.

Some of us come out by allowing ourselves to be caught en femme. It’s a confrontational approach but felt by those who do so as saving them the need to reveal the secret themselves. Thus, in a way, they can shift the blame if any is to be laid. Others find a way to broach the subject in conversation, either within existing conversations or, as I did, at a time and place they choose to do so.

So there we are, we’ve come out. The years of secrecy and hiding, the lies and deception have ended. Our loved ones understand us because they love us too. We all move on and the ‘inner woman’ is free. I can hear the cheers from the audience as the credits roll and the Disney logo pops up. We all love a happy ending. Sadly, though, the movie might end but Disney didn’t write the script. The script is ad lib just like the rest of life. The players are amateurs and the ending has yet to be reached. Now what?

As the Disney script calls for, coming out should be an end to the secrets, the lies and the deception. The ‘inner woman’ is free but perhaps the freedom is fleeting. The problem with amateur productions is that the players often don’t know their lines or simply forget them. When a loved one reacts contrary to expectation or hope the CD can lose the plot entirely. Instead of revising and seeking to get things back on track they retreat to what they are familiar with. Unfortunately the genie can’t be returned to the bottle and the MIB Memory Eraser employed. We’ve likely already caused the hurt we wanted to avoid. We’ve shattered the trust they might have had in us and it’s almost certain we’ve left them questioning themselves and all they thought they knew. New secrets will not mask those revealed. More lies will not undo or counter those already told. We need to rewrite the whole ending.

Few people exist in isolation so the first step is to work as a partnership. Like any other partnership we must consider each other’s sensitivities and vulnerabilities. Coming out might make us feel ‘free’ but freedom must be earned. We are not free if we imprison our loved ones in their own unhappy place. They are as much a part of the situation as we are, more so in some respects. Most of us took years before we accepted who we are and years more to uncork the bottle. Our self-acceptance does not automatically guarantee theirs. Becoming comfortable with our ‘inner woman’ is one thing, demanding that our loved ones do so immediately is at the very least unfair and unjust. It might also be unrealistic.

There is only one way that all players will reach the finale together and that is if the script we pen is done together unselfishly, as an open, honest work in progress. We must discuss changes, we have a duty to each other to factor in the actors’ abilities and it is imperative that we determine our limits. It is not all about them or us as individuals. It’s about the whole ensemble with equal credit for the successes because of equal efforts by all. Thanks to Disney though, we know a happy ending is possible.

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JaneS

Also known as Doc, from Canberra, ACT (that’s in Australia) is an older crossdresser who gets to dress whenever she wants to thanks to total family support. She’s happy to share her experiences if it helps others to feel less alone.
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  1. Profile photo of Paula
    Paula 2 months ago

    I’m new to CDH so I am just commenting on this. Thanks for writing such a wonderful piece – it is very enlightening.

  2. Profile photo of
    Amy Louise Dawson 6 months ago

    So much truth in this and so beautifully poetically written. Thanks for this. I hope we all find the new script.

    X

  3. Profile photo of janedon
    janedon 6 months ago

    Coming Out—Everything depends on where you are stating from—
    As far as family kids go—It can change from being just fine—To being treated like a leapor over night depending on who they are friends with /date or marry—(esp if they marry into more money-
    For the majority of us-It’s about continuing to make a living-that’s the Biggest Problem

  4. Profile photo of Tess Williams
    Tess Williams 7 months ago

    Great article Jane.

    You are so right. Once we have “come out” to our wife/SO/partner, we must truly come out. No more lying, deceiving, withholding of information, or hiding. Honesty and transparency TOGETHER is the only way to make it through. When times get tough or hard, it’s way too easy to slip into old habits – you must make a conscious effort to be forthright and open, and you must think about their feelings, likes and dislikes as well. Marriage is a partnership and a journey together.

    Thanks Jane for sharing! 🙂

  5. Esther 7 months ago

    My wife has no problem with me wearing slips, so I wear slips all the time now. But when I wanted to wear skirts, she told me that I shouldn’t wear them, so she knows I like to cross dress. But because of that disapproval, I find it hard to tell her my reasons. She also makes fun of transgender people when they are in the news. I really think I would like to change into a woman, but with her reactions to news stories, I think I have a real fear in telling her that. I really am ready to dress as a woman full time if my wife if my wife was not so disapproving of TG people.

  6. Profile photo of andrea
    andrea 7 months ago

    I am unable to tell anyone about Andrea she is a part of me that I keep well hidden from all my family as on the outside I am a hard working loving husband and father who takes care of his ill wife she has had cancer three times and I’m also an aging rocker who plays in a rock band with his son every weekend talk about conflict. I am however happy to keep Andrea my own personal secret as she allows me to escape and probably in some way keeps me sane
    Hugs from Andrea xx

  7. Profile photo of Terrim
    Terrim 7 months ago

    Whether telling loved ones or not is a big decision. My wife is the only family member that knows about my femme side. She is not accepting. I have a close relationship with all my children and grandchildren. I don’t plan to transition in the near futur. The effect of telling them I think would change things big time. I get out as Terri maybe 2x a month. I don’t want to risk damaging my relationship with my family

  8. Profile photo of skippy1965(Cynthia)
    skippy1965(Cynthia) 7 months ago

    Jane,
    As someone who is in just the position you describe (having just told most though not quite all of my immediate family about Cyn and the CD/TG feelings I have) this article really hit home with me I am fortunate that most of my family have been quite accepting and supportive of me telling me that I seem happier than I have been in the past when I was hiding this part of who I am. The only one who is not completely on board with it is my daughter who is to be married next summer. She still loves me and talks to me but does NOT understand that this is a basic part of who I am. She seems to feel still that the the dressing is something I can just turn on or off and that I should just decide not do it. I understand that it is not easy for her and that I need to be mindful of her feelings. She may or may not ever be completely comfortable with my gender issue though I suspect part of the issue is the uncertainty I have as to whether any from of transitioning is a part of my future path. Strangely enough, I really think if I were definitively going to go forward with HRT and/or SRS she might actually accept that need better than she would if I remain at the current place where I am questioning or stayed just dressing occasionally.

    I know as you say in this article that our future relationship is something we shall have to work on together not to be dictated by one party or the other. i DO hope that our story will have a happy ending rather than a tragic one. Thank you for sharing these insights.
    Cyn

  9. Profile photo of Kayla Jameson
    Kayla Jameson 7 months ago

    Thanks for the great article, Jane. During the coming days, I’m sure my mind will mull over the things you said.

  10. Profile photo of ...
    ... 7 months ago

    You covered it well Jane. Thanks for sharing with us.

  11. Profile photo of Aaryn P
    Aaryn P 7 months ago

    All very true and a good reminder not just about how I feel but how my SO may feel as well. Thank you

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