I am in the process of transitioning from male to female and I am wondering whether I should present myself to my friends and relatives in female attire or male attire. No one knows about my decision except my wife. Our daughter is somewhat suspicious but she has not approached either one of us. What is your opinion ?? I will soon need to live as a woman for an entire year before I start the entire process. I am already on hormones and some body changes have already started (subtle). My wife is very supportive and is looking forward to us being best girlfriends. Your help will we greatly appreciated.
Coming out is one of the biggest steps you will ever take in life, and it will have ripple effects impacting everyone you know. Some relationships may change and may become strained or strengthened.
To almost every one of us, identifying as transgender means something different. Your transition is a moment in your life that is different than anything I have experienced, and your journey and gender identity is different than my own. Our situations are very different, so although I can’t speak from experience, I hope I can be helpful.
As I mentioned before, coming out impacts everyone in your life… especially our partners. Not only does this affect our relationships with our families, friends, neighbors and anyone else, it will also affect our partner’s relationships too. It sounds like you are doing the right thing and taking each step alongside your wife. Keep doing that. When I have come out to others previously it was always after discussing it with my wife. She’s very good at helping me sort my thoughts and helping me prepare for anything in my life, whether it is a talk like this or everything else. It’s also a matter of courtesy to give her a heads up about who knows about this part of my life.
If you are working with a therapist, particularly a gender therapist, I would absolutely heed their advice. They’re more qualified to guide you through this, especially as it pertains to your family.
That being said, if I were to come out to anyone else in my life, I would have a conversation with them first in male mode. This revelation is a lot to take in, and the talk before them seeing Hannah would be a little less overwhelming. If the person I came out to wanted to meet Hannah, then I would show them a photo before meeting them en femme. The photo would also prepare them for what Hannah looks like. Meeting someone as a different gender identity and presenting as a different gender is a lot to process, and a photo first may help.
Plus I look better in photos than in real life. 🙂
Come out to people as you and your wife feel it is appropriate. If you are already showing changes in your physical appearance you may want to do it sooner rather than later as people will start noticing (and likely talking and speculating about) what they are seeing. It’s good to be able to control the narrative. If I had a strong suspicion that someone knew about Hannah, or saw panties peeping out under my jeans, I would have a conversation with them to get ahead of it. I would want to make sure that they would keep what they noticed, or suspected, a private matter. Basically I would want to stop them before they started to gossip.
I hope this is helpful and I wish you the best of luck.
2 thoughts on “Ask Hannah!”
All of what Hannah said, but a few additional thoughts:
Make a list of who you feel you need to tell. You can even break it down to those you need to tell in person (the absolute best way to do it), by phone, by text/email, by mass announcement (basically the world, after you address all the individuals who should hear it personally). Just showing up in a dress (or whatever your preferred women’s attire is) at an event or gathering is not the way to go.
Once you have your list, some people will stand out as good initial folks to come out to. They are generally those that seem like they would be the most accepting, etc. Start with the easy ones to make it easier on yourself so that you are better prepared for the more challenging people.
If a person is a good friend of both you and your wife, consider with her if she would be good to have with you during the discussion. It needs to be a mutual decision. Not a required or even pressured one by you (or her).
And remember, no matter how much we “know” how someone will react, we won’t know for sure until after.
I would add to Evelyn’s advice that you make a list not only of those who would be most accepting but more importantly a list of those who most need to know. You mentioned your daughter (although not her age). You should also consider your place of employment. In some companies they can work with you to develop a plan to ease your workplace into it. (Sad reality … depending on where you live they can also find ways to part company with you). But if you are fully transitioning it’s not a matter of who or if …. only when. My only other advice is do it in a way that is comfortable for the person you are coming out too. Shock and awe isn’t a good strategy.