Keeping something secret about yourself, who you really are, your innermost desires, will eventually do you more harm than any consequence of letting the secret out. And the consequences are almost always not as bad in reality as they are in your imagination. When you come out to the ones that are close to you, you may get a wide range of responses. From “So what, if that’s what you need and makes you happy.” via “Why didn’t you tell us before.” to the worst one “You’re not my daughter/son any more. Out of my house.”. Whatever the reaction is, it is something you can deal with in real life. Not some awful possibility that grows and grows in your mind.
If you don’t come out the secret will fester like an infected boil. It will grow bigger and more painful everyday. Fear, self loathing and anger will become an ever bigger part of what you are feeling until one day the boil bursts and it all comes pouring out. The worst case scenario being that you try to take your own life.
And ANYTHING is better than that. If you feel like you’re about to take that final step I recommend that you try to get a hold of a copy of Kate Bornstein’s book “Hello Cruel World” and as a first step visit her website. And also try to find a friend or counsel to talk to, a therapist, a priest, anyone – as long as someone is listening to you it doesn’t matter who. You can also find help online on the net in some of all the social media that is out there.
How you should come out is something only you can decide. It can be face to face individually, you can invite all those closest to you for a cup of coffee and tell them all at the same time (alcohol should probably be avoided), you can write letters and explain all to them, but avoid email as it doesn’t have that personal touch. You can drop hints before the big revelation. What kind depends on what you secret is. “Isn’t that L-word series great?” “I think George Cloney is kinda cute.” “I think women have so many great outfits to choose from.” “I wish I didn’t have to wear a dress at the prom.” I’m sure you can figure out hints that suites you.
Besides the fact that keeping the secret festering inside you makes you feel bad it’s not really honest to keep the real you hidden from the ones you love. I don’t suggest that you suddenly bare every nook and cranny of your soul to all and sundry. But that you let those close to you know the basic you.
My own coming out story is not at all dramatic. I started coming out a bit at a time at the place where I worked, at the café of a free cultural organisation in Stockholm. I organised something I called Café Queer once a month with different themes and artists. At this stage I was more out as a gender bender than transsexual. Eventually I came out fully at work and was also part of something we called Queer Qult which was an explicit LGBT event. We had some very good events with great artists and other guests, hi Nina, hi Jan, as well as workshops. So, I was out at work but my family didn’t know. Which left me with a constant worry that I should bump into them on my way to work or that they should just turn up at the café.
When I started the assessments for getting diagnosed as a transsexual I wrote an e-mail to those closest to me, my daughters, parents, siblings. Not an altogether wise move as it some felt it was too impersonal. But the negative reactions I had expected to the message itself, that I started the process of changing my sex, were completely absent. We have other issues, as have every family, but none regarding my transsexuality. I guess I’ve been very lucky with my loved ones and also lucky to live in a society that, in general, have no trouble accepting me as woman who was once a man.
What people seems to have a hard time getting their head round is that I have always been sexually attracted to women and always will be. That now that I’m a woman I’m also a lesbian. The hetero norm is so deeply embedded in us all.
What this post boils down to is: For your own sake, your mental and physical health. coming out is almost always better than staying in the closet and suffer silently on your own.
Let’s all be out and proud!
I’m an out and proud lesbian transwoman and anyone having a problem with that can go and fuck /castrate themselves.
Who/what do I identify as?
It all depends on the circumstances. It could be SciFi-fan, unemployed, parent, lazy lady….
But the mainstay of my basic identity is that I am:
First and foremost I am a woman.
Second I am a lesbian.
Third I am transsexual
It’s important for me that my identity is first as a woman and not as transsexual. This makes me a member of the group women, subgroup transwomen. Not something separate from the women group but a part of it. And the same applies to lesbian, I’m a part of the group lesbian, subgroup transsexual. If I was to have transsexual as my most important identity I fell I would in some way exclude myself from the groups women and lesbians. Like standing outside looking in. Does this make sense?