National Coming Out Day was earlier this week and it always makes me feel…a little left out.
Coming out is a life-changing experience. It forever alters the relationship you have with those you come out to. Sometimes its a weight off your shoulders, sometimes they admit they already knew, or at least it’s not a surprise. Sometimes it goes horribly wrong. Sometimes it’s all of them. It’s a huge risk as we will never really know how someone will react until we do it. I am sensitive to those we come out to as it will forever change how they see us and a certain level of care and consideration needs to be kept in mind when we do.
I think at this point in my life I have come out to everyone that I ultimately will. I don’t feel the need to come out to anyone else. A few years ago I felt that I should tell my mom and siblings. I felt that this was big enough, and important enough, that they should know. I also wanted to come out to them because, well, this is big enough and important enough to me.
My immediate family are kind, loving people. Fiercely liberal, supportive and allies to everyone in the LGBTQIA spectrum. I wish I could say that coming out to them “accomplished” what I wanted to. I had hoped that my mom and siblings would have a cup of coffee or hit the mall with Hannah. That hasn’t happened (well, except for that one time) and I doubt it will.
Please understand that I don’t think negatively of them because of this. Coming out to someone is tricky. It can be hard on those we come out to, and it’s hard for us to get it right. We only have one chance to come out to someone the first time and how we do it will set the tone going forward. I’m sure coming out as any part of the LGBTQIA spectrum is hard for different reasons and I don’t know what it’s like to come out as anything other than transgender.
In my experience, coming out as transgender is very hard. Being trans means different things to different people. Me being trans is different than Caitlyn Jenner or Chaz Bono being transgender. I think most people think of someone being transgender as one who has, or will, permanently change how they present themselves to the world. I think most people think that being transgender means they have, or will, or are going through hormone therapy and surgery.
And for some trans people, yes, that’s exactly what being transgender means. But as I’ve written before, gender is a spectrum. I don’t want to transition. I never have. Being trans to me means not committing to presenting as only one gender for the rest of my life. I have to explain what being transgender means and what it means to me and what it means to the person I come out to.
As anyone who has come out before, you know this can be exhausting.
I honestly think I would come out to more people if it was easier to explain and to understand. But it is what it is and I have accepted it.
National Coming Out Day creates a bit of a pang of regret. I read stories all day from others who came out and had amazing experiences with their family and friends. I was happy to read so many wonderful stories. I was happy for those that came out and proud of how supportive the people they came out to were. I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous and sadness when I thought of own coming out.
We can come out to everyone in our lives and receive endless support from them, but sometimes the really important people in our lives are the ones we need the most love and acceptance from.
As I’ve said I have accepted things and I am luckier beyond any hopes and dreams I ever had. I have the love and understanding and help from my patient and amazing wife. I have a wardrobe that exceeds any fantasy I ever had. I couldn’t ask for more. And I won’t.
I hope everyone has love and support and understanding from at least one person in their life. I hope everyone has at least one fabulous dress in their closet that makes them happy, I hope everyone has at least one killer pair of heels that they never thought they would have.
We all have our own stories and experiences when it comes to coming out. If you would like to share them in the comments I would love to read them.