Many of us feel we have this burden, this weight we carry around. We have a secret about us that we don’t get to talk about. When we do talk to someone, when we let someone in on our secret, many of us feel as if a weight has been lifted. We feel free, the burden is lightened. It’s like exhaling. We have someone to confide in, we hopefully have found someone who is supportive, or at least, hopefully found someone who won’t think we’re…weird.
But the truth is, the weight may have been lifted from our shoulders, but the weight is still there. We feel better, but the person we confide in carries that weight now. We confide in others at the hope and trust that they will not tell others, but any secret can be a burden to someone. Especially something like this. The people we confide in will likely have questions, they may need someone to talk to about our reveal. I know when I came out to my wife she often wished she had someone she could talk to about me. Yes, I felt better when I came out, but she carried that weight.
Not only can the weight be transferred, it can often be shared. If I am nervous about going out, whether is because of being seen by someone I don’t want to be seen by or possibly being hurt by someone else, those fears are now the fears of the person we confide in.
I write this because I want us to acknowledge the burden we can put on a person when we come out to them. It’s easy to overwhelm someone with everything we have been thinking, feeling and even wearing for years. If we have never spoken to someone about this, many emotions can come pouring out, like a dam breaking. We have been discovering, and often times creating who we are for many years. We have had a long time to come to terms with who we are. When we come out to someone, it hits them all at once.
I don’t know if there is a right way to come out to someone. I know there are plenty of wrong ways. I feel it’s wrong to wait to come out to someone until after you’re married. Many of us have tried or hoped this part of us would go away after we got married, but THIS NEVER GOES AWAY. We are who we are and there’s nothing wrong with who we are. But we need to be honest with ourselves and we need to be honest with our future spouses.
Before you come out to someone, I would recommend talking to someone who will understand, such as a gender therapist or joining a transgender support group. Pflag is a wonderful place to start. I would also recommend being prepared to offer some resources to the person you come out. Again, Pflag is an excellent resource.
I wish I knew how to tell you how to come out to someone. I have come out to a few people in my life and some have gone well, and some have not. I realized that you cannot come out to everyone the same way. I know we want to be accepted, I know we want to be understood.
I know we want to be loved.
Please, be gentle.