Last month the MN T-Girls attended a play which told the story of Susan Kimberly, a transgender woman who served as deputy mayor of Saint Paul years ago. Outside of the theater were these giant reproductions of newspaper articles from around the time the play was set. The articles had quotes from people that Ms. Kimberly worked with before, during, and after her transition.
One of the quotes really stood out to me, for some reason. Someone who Ms. Kimberly knew before she came out said something along the lines of how you think really know someone but it turns out that you don’t.
Of course, I am not sure of the context or what the person was feeling, but it felt as if the person who said was… kind of sad. He could have been making a lighthearted observation or perhaps he was bitter, but it struck me as if he was hurt because he didn’t know something about his friend that was obviously very important to them.
Considering how active my life is en femme, I have come out to what I consider a remarkably few people in my life. I have come out to roommates, girlfriends, friends, and a small number of family members. With the exception of my brother, everyone I have come out to is a girl.
I don’t like gender stereotypes and I avoid generalizing people based on the gender they identify with or the gender that they present as, but I find women are easier to talk to. When I came out to my girlfriend who later became my wife, she summed up who I am perfectly. “You just like to feel beautiful”. She could relate to wanting to be pretty. Although this whole… thing is complicated and hard to explain and hard to understand, she could relate to how I wanted to look and how I wanted to feel. She understood my frustration when my makeup wasn’t cooperating as well as the power and confidence that comes from a cute outfit.
From time to time I consider coming out to my two best male friends, but each time I decide against it. I am never sure (but no one is ever sure how anyone will) react to this revelation. It’s easy to talk to my sister about a new eyeliner, but I doubt my guy friends could understand why a little black dress and stilettos are THE best things in life.
Again, I don’t mean to generalize but… well, I guess I am doing it.
After seeing that quote, I started to think that although my gender identity and wardrobe is not something that they could relate to, who I am, who I REALLY am, might be something that they would want to know. Not because they would understand or accept, but because they are my friends, and I am theirs.
Although they wear work boots and cleats and I wear pink high heels, if I put myself in their shoes, would I want to know something that is this personal, and important to them? And I would. I love my friends and it would hurt if there was something about them that was this significant that they felt they couldn’t share with me.
Coming out is never easy, and everyone reacts differently to this truth. Often the reaction is influenced by the relationship. Coming out to your sister is different than coming out to your roommate, for example.
What I am curious about is if you have come out to a guy, whether a brother or a close friend, how did it go? Do you think coming out was different because they were a dude?
Please comment below, thank you!
7 thoughts on “Hannah Asks…”
I’ve only shared my crossdressing with one friend, a woman. At one point, she had identified as gay and lived with a woman. Because of our trusted friendship, and her openness with me, I decided to share a photo of me in lingerie. She actually told me she thought I looked very sexy and did not seemed surprised at all.
The only person close to me that knows both my male & female identities is a female friend who met me first as Allison and would later connect with Male Mode Me professionally. Yes, she is so very supportive.
I’m not out to my professional colleagues or my family, be they male or female. I imagine my colleagues wouldn’t care mostly, but I’d rather have them see the talents I possess instead of the gender I present. My family is mostly conservative in mindset, passed on down from our patriarch. So while someone like my youngest sister could be supportive if I revealed Allison to them, I’m fearful that closed-mindedness would lead my mother and other sister (and maybe my nieces?) to never approving.
I suspect I am out to all…but the messengers helping to spread the word are all women. All have taken my transition well except for my adult daughter. My acceptance of being me has left me close to giddy. After 7 months of HRT I feel wonderful and in some ways beautiful. My journey is just beginning.
My name in near time will be changed to Hope. I will have a new presence here on WordPress called donnaintransition.com
There are very few people that I have come out to as well and all of them are women, except one. I came out to my Wife’s Brother. He is very thoughtful and progressive in his thinking. We had always been close ever since I started dating his sister and have always treated him as a friend without ever realizing it until he came to me one day and shared very intimate details about his life.
He told me I was the only one he could talk to and trusted me not to say anything to anyone unless he asked me to at some point.
He trusted me with very important details of his life. I was one of only a few people he would trust and asked me not to even tell his sister(my wife) unless he told me it was ok.
After a few times talking I felt compelled to share my story with him. He shared with me things he felt that he could share with no one else. There is a bond that forms in times like these.
I asked my wife if this would be ok with her and she said yes I could. A few days later I told him I could relate to his situation. He was intrigued as to how, what was my mystery? I told him and he thought that this is wonderful and wanted to know more about it, how I felt through all these years, he wanted to know how it feels to be so feminine. He was trying to relate, as I was trying to relate and empathize with him and his situation.
We could share with one another things, intimate things, about our lives and be comfortable in knowing that a trusted friend is out there. It has brought us even closer and I feel relieved to have another person who knows all of who I am.
I believe my wife does also as she has another person close to her that knows what she is going through in living with a transgendered individual.
Of course I would not have told him unless I could trust him and I have known him for a long time and knew him well enough that I could gage his reaction and that it would most likely not damage or strain our relationship.
Well that is a part of my story, thank you for creating a forum where we can share parts of our lives.
I’d love to know what some family members (mostly female) would think about my femme side. But I just can’t risk it. Crossdressing is not my 24/7 lifestyle and I have zero plans of transitioning so in some ways I feel like it’s none of their business.
Coming out to male family and friends would be the last thing on my mind.
Unless some of them dress (possible) I just don’t think they would understand
how I feel. It would really weigh heavily on me if they thought less of me because
of it. When you have low self esteem it is very important to have close friends and family. Anything that would cause them to become distant or totally push me away would be devastating.
So for now I just have to keep my 2 worlds separate from each other.
I love and cherish my friends on both sides but never the 2 shall meet.
It would be a dream to have everyone know and be ok with it, but I doubt
that would ever happen.
After coming out to several female-assigned-at-birth friends and work colleagues, I did recently came out to one of my best male friends. He is someone I’ve known for coming up on 45 years since we were in elementary school and I was the best man at his wedding. We now work for the same company and have lunch at least month and go to baseball games regularly. At one of our lunches recently, I told him. It went so well. He immediately choked up and felt so sad that I had to keep this secret inside for so long. Pretty soon, we both were crying in our neighborhood mexican restaurant. It was really a beautiful moment. He’s been supportive since and we were planning to go to more Twins games (if they ever have them).
I’m sure coming out experiences will be different for everyone but I’ve really been blessed so far- Mom, daughter, son sister-in-law, brother-in-law, nieces, female co-workers, etc… In all cases, I knew it was the right time for me and I feel better for doing it. It basically came down to that I wanted to be my full self. There are still ones that I’m nervous about (male work colleagues, my brother, my elderly dad, etc..) but if the time is right, it will happen.
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A couple of years after my divorce, I was really trying to take stock of my life. I was fed up hiding, fed up lying. I felt that crossdressing had cost me my marriage, and I was determined that I wasn’t going to let things go the same way again.
I decided that I was going to tell the people closest to me the truth, and let them decide how to handle the information.
I started off telling my mum. She was unbelievably accepting and supportive, but that’s not your question. I then told my two best male friends, guys I had known for many years. One of them was best man at my wedding, and I was asked to be the godfather of the other’s daughter. So deep, lasting relationships.
I led up to it by saying to them both (separately!): there is something really important I want to tell you about me. It might permanently affect the way you think and feel about me, and it might not be something you like. So before I tell you, I need to ask you if this will be ok.
This was my way of warning them there was something important; asking them to prepare that they wouldn’t like what they heard, and giving them the chance to say “Actually, I don’t really want to hear this about you, if you don’t mind”. And if they had said something like that, obviously I wouldn’t have carried on.
But they each replied something similar, along the lines of: no matter what you say, it won’t affect our friendship.
When I told friend 1, Bob, he was immediately cool about it. He said he had never known, nor suspected. He said he didn’t mind at all. I reassured him that I wasn’t going to turn up to his house wearing a frock, and he replied “Just make sure it’s a fabulous one”. And I knew he was going to be fine. He told his wife, who was instantly fascinated, and wanted to see all my pictures and asked me loads of questions. She sent me makeup tips and offered suggestions on my wardrobe.
Friend number 2, Bill, was less cool. He wasn’t angry, but he was clearly a bit unsure. We took a long walk, where he asked me a lot of questions about my sexuality, whether I was going to transition, hormones, what makes me do it, how do I express it, and so on. I answered his questions honestly and forthrightly. At the end of it, he said “Well, I guess this has always been you, so I won’t let it affect the friendship. But I guess I’ll never understand it, or what makes you do it”.
I was worried that Bill was going to let it gnaw away at him, and that he would start to withdraw a bit. But thankfully this hasn’t happened, and my most recent visit with him was as warm and funny as ever. I don’t know if he told his wife; she has certainly never mentioned it, and I’ve never mentioned it again either.
I’ve also told two other, less close, male friends, without any problems.
What I have also found is that, having told the most important people in my life, my ache to tell people has nearly gone away completely. It’s as if, having the support of my close friends and family means that I don’t need to tell anyone else: even if they do disapprove, it doesn’t matter because the people closest to me are fine.