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I came out to most almost a year after starting HRT over the course of several months. These are my notes about how I decided that it was the right time for me, how I did it, lessons learned, tips I wish I had known when I started, and what I wish I could have told myself at the start.
This is one entry in a series of posts drawn out of notes and journal entries. A link to all of the posts can be found in my transition journey
As with all my posts, this is comprised of notes from my journey, from someone that knew something was off since childhood and transitioned well past puberty had done its thing. Your journey will be different, YMMV applies to this community more than most, and there is no right or wrong way. There are many different ways to come out, this was just my experience and yours can and will be very different.
There is no rule that says you have to come out to anyone or that you have to come out to everyone. Alternatively, you can pick and choose who you come out to. You might tell friends and family, but not tell your work and just start a new job as the new you. It is up to you to decide who needs to know.
If and when you do come out you are not asking their opinion, you are letting them know what is going on.
If coming out feels like a confession and you are seeking acceptance and understanding you want to shift away from that to one where you are just letting them know what is going on. They will or won't be accepting and you have no say in that. Coming out is not about gaining acceptance.
You might lose some friends, but you will probably be gaining some new ones like any transition in life such as when you move, change school/jobs, have kids, etc. Some will be accepting, some won't be, some will take time. Some will go through the seven stages of grief. Some might be open and happy for you, but months later they will stop inviting you to events. Some might hit on you.
From the start my plan
was delay telling others until after I was male failing. To be clear male failing is one person on the street seeing a woman from just a glance at me, not everyone, not all the time. This started happening occasionally between month 9 and 11. Around month 10 even those that saw me frequently started noticing and would ask what's up. That occurring is what caused me to create a more firm schedule for coming out socially.
Of course, this plan makes for an annoying catch 22
- I want to come out socially when others see me as a woman.
- Until others see me as a woman I present like a man and hide or downplay aspects that don't match when I go places I need to be seen as a guy.
The bell curve of when others notice
There was no magic day where everyone's brain flip how they gender you. Some flip early, some flip late, some you have to explicitly tell as they will never figure it out. Unfortunately the time span of this bell curve isn't measured in days or weeks, but months from my experience.
Another woman I work with that had transitioned years before (and was open about the fact) figured it out crazy early, but was incredibly polite and didn't say a thing until I approached her for advice.
Those that have seen other individuals transition were able to spot my transition. Lack of facial hair and early changes to my voice stand out to them. The first unexpected person to figure it out that I came out to was one of these individuals. Later I found out there were several more that knew for over a year, but were all polite until I formally came out.
Those I interacted with the most were the last to notice my changes and they were not the first to gender me correctly. I call this boiling the frog or gender warping and the result is that they had the hardest time.
On the flip side, those that have never seen me before at shops and restaurants consistently would see me as a woman even when those at work that saw me every day had "no clue".
Different people gender individuals differently, placing different importance on different things from appearance to voice to smell. With the face it might be the skin tone, nose shape, or brow ridge that is the most important, you just don't know how any one's brain genders.
When a few people started noticing I was all excited to come out, but really the lesson I learned the hard way was that I needed to slow down. I was at the beginning of the curve. Just because a few figured it out doesn't mean most would and being told that 'they never would have guessed' because they still see a guy hurts. The longer I waited the less common that reaction was.
To further highlight the "speed" here are some dates to show how long I waited to come out at work compared to when I first started to be seen as a woman in public.
- Month 8 - The first male fail in public
- Month 10 - Those that knew what to look for started noticing
- Month 12 - Regularly called miss/she in public by those that had never seen me before
- Month 14 - Came out at work
Deciding when to come out
Originally I was going to wait to tell most until after I had FFS which was scheduled for month 16, but a few were figuring it out at month 10 and I really didn’t want to wait.
In the end, I told very close friends first, immediate family, and worked my way out in my social circle saving coming out formally at work for last and so there wasn't a specific day I told everyone, but it happened many times over the course of around three months.
Because I wanted to tell people in person there was a time period where some knew, but others did not which gets annoying and was a little depressing at times.
Switching pronouns and name
I held off asking those that knew really early on to switch to use my new name and female pronouns until I was male failing and told a wider circle of friends. I did not want to live through others trying when I was clearly still presenting male which would result in me getting constantly misgendered not to mention someone slipping up around someone that did not know. It was just too messy and this was easier socially even if it was sad for me.
I did ask those that never interact with others to switch my name and pronouns immediately such as the woman that I went to for laser, which made my visits amazing. In fact, she never knew me by my deadname and one day I left smiling when I told her my deadname in a conversation and she said it was weird
. I never "came out" to those individuals, they only ever knew me as the new me which was great.
1 minute coming out speech
Before I came out officially at work a handful of people figured it out. One even asked me my name/pronouns and told me later they assumed they had missed the announcement. I realized that I needed something for these cases where someone approaches unexpectedly. I put together a little speech that I can say in a minute that hits all the bullet points that I kept on my phone.
- My new name and pronouns
- This is not a choice, something I have struggled with for a long time and am 100% sure I am making the right choice.
- I am still me and like the things I liked before
- Transition is slow, but I will change how I present when I feel safe.
- Don't tell anyone. It is a personal and safety issue. If someone must know let me tell them. After I am out still don't tell new people.
Don't beat around the bush
Early on (month 10-11) there were a few people that figured out what was going on, but didn't say anything. If you realize this is happening don't beat around the bush or play coy games to see if they can figure it out. It is much better all around to just be upfront and tell them that you are transgender, transitioning, and give the above 1 minute coming out speech. Don't turn it into a long awkward thing.
My apologies to the person that I did this to before I had the 1 minute coming out speech and was still terrified of telling people and really wanted them to figure it out and say something first. If you are really sure they know, just tell them.
Shorter is better
It is tempting when coming out to want to sit down and share everything that you have been keeping quiet about. Further, there can be a desire to convince them and seek validation. Long term though you want to try to stick more to the 1 minute speech and less the 1 hour discussion. Many of the things you share you will later wish you never had.
A one liner is also okay
One person I came out to really early on I did it in an off handed way. They overheard something with my new name and so I told them that I will be going by a new name in a month or two and that I am transgender. That was it, no further conversation was had. I simply told them of a change in my life, like it was exciting as buying a new winter coat or something. In a way, I think I liked this way of coming out more than anything else because they immediately switched and life moved on without a big drawn out event.
Coming out lessons
Guidelines I have learned the hard way.
- Don't show old photos, they then try to see your old face in your new face
- Don't use your old voice no matter how proud you are of your progress. It can further re-enforce the idea that they might have that you might be faking it, are still a guy, or they will start trying to pick apart your voice which is probably not perfect yet.
- Do share one or two light and amusing things that many that transition have is a good way to break the seriousness of the conversation. Examples include that your hands and feet are smaller, smoother skin, and you might shrink in height.
- Don't share incredibly personal information such as the fact that woman’s orgasms are so much better than mens.
- It is always amusing when after coming out to someone they would then tell me that they already knew it or figured it long ago. It is really hard to believe that, but I am polite and ask them what they noticed. Many told me that I started looking more feminine which was nice to hear.
- If someone asks you about "the surgery" you can gently answer by saying that you will fully look and present feminine in due time which is usually what people are actually asking. If they actually want to know and press, tell them that is personal, you don't have to answer.
- Many individuals will be looking to answer the question: what does this mean for me. If you can help them find that answer it makes them happy.
- The majority of individuals will share some personal struggle, shut up listen and let them tell you as much as they want so when they leave the conversation they will feel like it was a really positive conversation. If they feel it was a good conversation they will feel much better about your transition. They will share how they are working through or overcame their struggle and try to apply it to your situation. It might be completely irrelevant, but listen and give them time to share. This happened so often that I even started looking for the signals that they were going to share their story and would help them along.
under any circumstances assume that the person you are coming out to is supportive. There are countless stories of being surprised at how others react. They might call you by your new name to your face, but never anyone else. They might be supportive say you are brave, but gossip about you negatively to their friends. Be especially watchful of those that might be openly hostile to you.
With each coming out the overall lesson I learned was to tell less.
Who needs science
Before I came out I had a list of scientific articles and was ready and happy to discuss it in greater detail with anyone that wanted to. To my surprise, everyone either was just happy that I was happy or had already made up their mind and wasn't really interested in that sort of discussion.
My parents lived nearby and so I made sure to regularly see them so it wouldn't be a jarring visit with me looking different. I had spent months crafting a letter to give to them. The letter served several roles. First and foremost it was to articulate what is going on in as clear of a way as possible as well as answer the most common questions they might have. Beyond that, I knew that when I left their house they would still have this letter and use it as a FAQ of sorts to be able to go back and see what I had written.
When the day actually came they told me that while they didn't really understand they still loved me. I regularly went back and hung out with them so they could see that I am still me. On the second visit it there was a lot more questions and push back to the point that they were trying to debate how I felt when I was a child as though they might know better than me. No matter what I felt about that, I calmly let them talk because I could see what they were doing and I know that this is all new for them and it will take some time. I kept going back, each time being calm and as time went and they learned more they seemed to became more accepting and supportive.
Family is family and giving them time to adjust and not giving up I felt was the right thing to do. When I came out I wasn’t wearing a dress and was still presenting androgynous, but each time they saw me after I slowly changed my presentation. Not only could they adjust to my presentation, but HRT continued to do its slow magic, and each time I was more feminine. I don't have a magic solution for dealing with parents, but I am being much more patient than I am with anyone else.
If I have to cut a family member out of my life I want to know that I first did everything possible to maintain our relationship.
Acceptance and Support
When asked how others are responding to me coming out I like to describe in terms of acceptance and support as two separate axis on a graph. I have those that are supportive, but not accepting, those that are not accepting and not supportive, and those that are supportive and accepting and everything in the middle.
For many that are not accepting it is because they are not informed. They make a million assumptions based on what little information they have seen in the media. Simply talking to them helps bring to light a lot of these misconceptions and can move that axis.
Its all about sexuality right???
Some individuals have a really really hard time separating sexuality from gender. They will bring the conversations constantly back to that topic and they just can't conceive that I am not doing this for sexual reasons. When I discuss my transition it is almost never about sexuality and every time they bring it up I clarify and move the conversation elsewhere. I try to discuss sexuality as little as possible because I want to send a clear message that it is not
part of the conversation. Sometimes I have to be as blunt as I am willing about this topic as they might have just insane ideas.
Do not trust that people won't talk. Assume if you tell someone they will tell someone else. Someone at my work figured it out and told his wife (via chat on his phone) before we even finished my coming out conversation. Within the world of gossip, this ranks insanely high. If someone asks if you are going through something early on you can just say 'personal stuff' and leave it at that, you do not have to tell anyone before you are ready. There are plenty of stories where someone came out to a friend or supposed ally only to find out that they told everyone
. Even though I was prepared for it when it happened to me it took me by surprise. Even telling another trans individual doesn't guarantee they won't talk. The safest thing is to not tell anyone until you are ready for everyone to know.
On the flip side, this can be used for coming out at work, the neighborhood, etc. Tell the person that gossips and just stand back. Or tell a close group and let them know it is not a secret and you plan on formally coming out in a few weeks. They will talk and when you "come out" it won't surprise many. It will be news for a few weeks and then people will hopefully move on. Cis individuals by and large don't understand how serious outing you is.
As for myself those that are closest to me would almost always tell their spouses shortly after I told them. Friends, family, boss, acquaintances, at each level of the circle, the possibility of someone telling everyone grows. It is really juicy gossip from their perspective and not a medical or safety issue like it is to us.
Delay until next week
When going through the process of telling everyone if you delay telling an individual a week it is only better. As I started coming out more and more events were conspiring as they do, to delay things. That might have been telling a neighbor or getting my name changed or telling an extended family member. In each case I really wanted to do it yesterday, but also took a breath and didn't worry about it. The important thing was that it was going to happen. And in fact, the extra week or month was actually a positive thing. A few more weeks for HRT to do its thing, for me to work on my voice, wardrobe, facial hair, everything. So I didn't stress when I realized something I originally was hoping to do at month 11 would happen at month 13. This happened a number of times and in each case, I was simply more prepared in the end. I started not trying to cram everything as close together as possible, but just tell those when the time is best.
And then ... nothing
I told the majority of individuals over the course of two months. Not too surprisingly very quickly it became yesterday's news, but what was more interesting was how the news wasn't timely. I wasn't going to a family wedding, high school reunion, or similar. If I had waited another month or three to start telling everyone it would have been okay.
I told my boss when a few early individuals started to figure it out just in case something happened and I wanted him to be in my corner, but this was months before actually coming out at work. At the same time I reached out to HR so that they would be in the loop both for my own documentation/legal purposes and if they wanted to help. I am not sure if they were unprepared or if I live in a more liberal state than I realized because the response was only a link to the documentation on how to change my name in the various corporate systems.
I delayed the general announcement until almost 14 months. I was full time everywhere except work and itching to be me at work too, but given that it is my income, how I pay for food and housing I played it very safe. It was only once I had my legal name change and needed to update my name for payroll that I decided to come out at work. My face had changed enough that after I came out I was told one person said: "about time".
I crafted a simple email that my director sent out. It was in the style of a new hire email just a photo and an introduction. Not only did having them send it out give it authority behind the announcement, but they got to use the female pronouns in the email when referring to me. I also had a long legal type HR email ready in case we needed to send it to anyone in specific if there was trouble.
The email that went out was very short, just a few paragraphs that covered the following points:
- I was [deadname] but will now be [new name] and using female pronouns
- This isn't new for me, but something I have known a long time
- Transition is slow and while I have changed a lot I will continue changing.
- I am still me with the same hobbies, staying here at this job, etc
- On misgendering: "At times just out of habit you might use my old name or pronouns. That is understandable, a simple correction will really show support."
- I would be happy to talk to anyone with a genuine desire to be educated more on the topic as long as it doesn’t cross any usual work personal boundaries (this mostly applies to questions about surgeries)
I told my immediate colleagues before the mass email went out because I consider them my friends and because they saw me almost every day they didn't realize I had been changing and were surprised. After the announcement I got to go around changing my name and photo in various systems and got a new badge all on the same day.
I received a lot of congratulatory emails and then after a few hours I was just back to doing work. It took a few days for the news to filter out and over the next few days others kept finding out and either stopping by and saying hi or sending me an email.
I work in a casual environment and the day after coming out I switched my wardrobe, but to help others adjust kept it more on the androgynous style with jeans and t-shirts to start. I had been hiding my chest fairly well so trading my compression bras and large sweaters for tops that fit and a regular bra resulted in a fair number of stares for a few days. As the weeks went by I slowly started introducing more femme pieces and wearing jewelry.
In the end coming out at work went better than I expected. There were a few name and pronoun mistakes, but as time went on that decreased and work continued on as it had before. Seeking feedback on how it went someone told me that when I am not around they switched to my new name which made my day to hear.
Work and sexual discussions
Discussing what it means to be transgender has a lot of topics that are sexual in nature. Be extraordinarily careful about what you say or do as you
might actually be reported to HR because it makes someone uncomfortable. Have conversations in private areas because individuals that eavesdrop in publicly held conversations area might also report you. Because the nature of coming out, stuff normally not discussed day to day at work is. Extra care should be taken to not put your job in jeopardy as you navigate answering those that have questions.
There are a number of individuals that I would classify as on the outer circle. They know me from before, but I infrequently interact with them. These include places like my dentist, hairdresser, eye doctor, library. An option you have at any time is to just go somewhere else. The new place won't have that baggage of you having to come out to them or the possibility of being misgendered like those that need to adjust. I kept going to many of the same places, but if I had to do it over this might choose differently both to get the validation and have one less thing to stress over.
Account and Names
Working in software I know just how dangerous it can be to ask to have a name updated. It is very common that the old name isn't deleted or changed, but there is just some note saying the new name is X, but the original name is still there or the name is just copied from one system to the next. Even if you think you updated everything eventually something screws up and the first name in the account is used. So even if it was a bit more work whenever possible I created a new account and then deleted the old account so there would be no chance for the old name to be accidentally used down the road. This applied for big things like Facebook, but also to little things like online purchases from places like Etsy and even my library card.
A good example is Amazon.com where your name is copied all over the place rather than having a single account holder and so you will be playing whack a mole trying to find all the places your old name is used if you continue using your old account.
As I would come out to others when it applied I would tell them about my new accounts and switch communicating with them exclusively there. I highly recommend when possible creating new accounts and deleting the old ones.
Telling others your deadname
When you first come out, everyone knows your deadname, but from then on you will start meeting people who don't know your deadname but might know you are trans. The moment these individuals learn what your deadname is they often will feel compelled to say it out loud, almost like they are trying it on to see how it fit you. This experience never once has felt good. Like coming out, you can never undo telling someone your deadname. Worst of all they can (and sometimes will) tell others what it was. But overall after experiencing this a few too many times I no longer tell someone my deadname even when asked saying I wouldn't be comfortable telling them and dropping it. If they find out through some other means that is okay, but there is no reason for me to volunteer that.
Coming out on Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit and similar places was the very last major thing I was planning on doing. In preparation for that, I had scrubbed photos of myself from the internet, created new email addresses, and took a new "stock" photo of myself to use as a profile photo everywhere.
I always assumed I would have a big coming out message on Facebook. But as it got closer and closer to when I thought I might do that I realized I didn't really need to do that. Facebook just has a collection of individuals I knew over the last decade, not my close friends. And what did I really have to gain by posting there? Anyone I wanted to tell I told in person and they were now friends on my new account. And then I looked over my friend's list and realized that a number had actually deleted their account. Facebook isn't used like it once was. I could just delete my old Facebook account without an announcement and it wouldn't be a big deal.
Accepting at first, but...
Some individuals are very accepting at first, but on the second or third time, you see them they are less so even to the point of being hostile. Unfortunately, those same individuals can come off as extremely supportive at first and it is very tempting to open up to them. Because of this, I switched to holding back initially and only open up over time as I learned I could trust them.
For some I have been transitioning for only a few months ...
I came out to most people between months 9 and 14. Some told me they started noticing and suspected something was up as early as month 8. While I might have been living with this since I was a child, seriously dealing with it for several years and I have been on HRT for more than a year to them it is very
new. I would even go as far as saying some think I have been transitioning for only a few months.
Ways that I outed my transition before coming out
Some of the things I did before coming out made it much more obvious I was transitioning. I wrote down what other people told me they noticed. If I had ever seriously worried about my job as income or wanted to go stealth by quitting my job and starting over in a new city these are things I should not have done.
- Multiple people commented that they did notice my long nails with clear nail polish. Shiny nails are not at all inconspicuous and very noticeable evidently.
- Rather than keeping it in a low male ponytail I was playing around with feminine hair styles and cuts.
- Near the end I hated hiding my chest during the summer and started getting more lax about it. Again it isn’t really moobs when you are really skinny and they are perky as fuck. People (especially guys) are really bad at pretending not to look.
- I was eager to come out so if they showed a hint of knowing I told them when I could have just let it slide or denied it or said it was personal if anyone bothered to ask.
- I never dualed my voice and moved to a female voice before even starting HRT, I love my voice and it is me and the idea of using a male voice at work would have been very hard emotionally for me, but having a female voice did cause a few individuals to clock me as transitioning incredibly early.
In summary, if you want a group of people to not know you are transitioning don’t be stupid, just don’t start socially transitioning in front of them.
Before coming out at work I admit that I submitted way to many photos to how-old.net to see how I was being gendered. It had the addictive nature that initially only occasionally would it rewarded me by saying I looked female, but as time went on more and more were being marked as female. A big reason I was using it was as a gauge for when I could come out. But after coming out I found myself no longer using it because it didn't matter. If the site saw me as male or female it didn't help me at all because I was now out.
That photo where I am fat
I lived a life before I transitioned and pretending I didn't is silly. Within that lifetime I took photos and videos, wrote articles for publications, gave talks and much more. I don't want to pretend that this never happened.
Someone told me it is like I have an old vacation photo that I love, but I happened to be fat during that time. I loved that experience, don't want to pretend it never happened, but just don't care to show anyone the photo because of how I looked. I have used this allegory a few times to good success to explain to others how I feel about old photos or places that still have my old name.
Being screwed over
Someone will screw you over. You just don't know who it will be. Perhaps they will decide that it is their business to tell everyone sooner than you were planning. Maybe they will find you offensive and cause you problems on social media or at work. Maybe they will stir the pot on purpose to cause issues in your relationship. Maybe they will call you sir or deadname and misgender you in every single sentence just to voice their opinion. You don't know who it will be, but be prepared and try not to engage with them and be defensive in every single person you come out to. And just to make it extra challenging they might be accepting and supportive in the first conversation, but only in the second conversation does it becomes clear that they are not an ally.
Most of the people I told were very supportive and accepting, but there were those few that I surprised me at their behavior and if I had to guess at the start I never would have said it would have been them. You just don't know who it will be.
The best advice seems to be for those that know you have changed, but are misgendering you is to be firm, calm and consistent in correcting people from the very start. Correcting with a single word, completely neutrally in tone with no explanation and move one without waiting for a response.
I practiced with a close friend when the day came for them to switch. Explicitly telling them I needed to practice worked out great for both of us because they would still use the old name and pronouns from habit and I needed to build up the reflex of calling it out while knowing that they wont attack me.
For those that don't know you the best advice I have heard is to act confused and be confident in your gender like any cis individual would behave.
At work record down on paper when it happens in case you need to give it to HR down the road.
A pattern I have seen happen is that many individuals are very good with names and pronouns for a short while (the first or second time after I tell them), but later on when it was not on the forefront of their mind that they made mistakes. At first I was excited at how easy it seem to be for everyone to switch, but they all started accidentally using my deadname. Now I realize that when it was less at the front of their mind they were much more likely to make mistakes until the new name became habit. I never thought that they were being malicious (usually that
is very obvious) but realized that it will just take some time to switch their automatic behavior.
Pronouns for before
When asked what pronouns should be used when telling old stories I didn't have a good answer and initially let the question slide. When thinking about myself in the past I would see someone presenting male and it was a bit confusing. By not clarify an answer to this question I noticed a few things:
Switching back and forth just makes it harder for everyone, especially parents to retrain themselves.
As time went on and as I looked more feminine, was read and treated as a woman day in and day out, having other people use my deadname and use male pronouns hurt more each time.
While they often ask about talking about stories when you were six it hurts way more when they are talking about you from just a few years ago while using your deadname and male pronouns.
Something I couldn't articulate at the time, but u/nubivagance
did very well with this comment:
I've always looked at this from a linguistic perspective. Pronouns and names serve the purpose of designating who you are referring to right now in the moment. Even when talking about the past, you are still indicating "there, that person. This is about them" linguistically. In that way, using a person's old name doesn't make sense. You are referring to a person who goes by X so using Y to refer to them doesn't make sense and will only serve to confuse the message you are trying to convey with words.
What I should have said from the start was that unless the fact that I was presenting male is relevant to the story to not mention it otherwise they should say "when [name|our daughter] was pre transition" and keep on using female pronouns.
While I understood how much harder switching pronouns when talking about memories, over time I expect everyone to switch.
Overall coming out went way better than I was expecting it would. I had really low expectations and many individuals surprised me. There were a number of cases where those that I was sure would be a problem were a strong ally in the end and those that I assumed would be an ally were unexpectedly nasty. You just don't know until you tell them. The vast majority of individuals switched to my new name and life moved on.
In every coming out conversation the topic of me becoming a "completely different person" would come up. It didn’t see to matter what I said and it seems like it was only once they got to see with their own eyes that I was pretty much the same person after going full time did they believe me.
I had a fair amount of anxiety around not knowing how it would turn out was and it was a big relief once everyone knew.
While I initially wanted to do it in one big moment spreading it out and delaying a week or month here and there was not a big deal and I don’t regret a single instance where I had to wait to tell someone. The same goes for clothes, rather than switching in a big bang, slowly shifting what I wore of the course of several months worked very well, both to help make everyone comfortable, but also to help give myself more time to build up a wardrobe.
Would I have had the same experience if I had come out earlier or later? That is something I can never know and I could probably make arguments for and against coming out at a different time, but at the end of the day, this is what I was comfortable with and worked well for me. I know there are others that come out pre-HRT or never and that is cool too, the point being that they came out when they wanted and felt ready.
One year later (At 2+ years HRT) one evening I went to my parent's house for the first time in a long time and they misgendered me and deadnamed me all evening. It didn't seem malicious, just habitual and I corrected them each time. They had been good in the past so the behavior was a little surprising, but what was truly surprising was how I felt about it. When I first came out the approval and validation of others (including my parents) meant a lot to me. Transitioning is a big scary choice and I was looking for support. When someone would disapprove or misgender me it would hurt. As time marched on I gained a lot of self confidence in who I am and I discovered that their behavior didn't phase me because I no longer needed that validation. It was disappointing, but I didn't go home and cry or anything. What it really taught me was just how much validation was tied up in my coming out.
As you come out to others be aware of your own confidence and how that can play into the situation. Over explaining, trying to convince with science, and being hurt and distraught when they just don't understand. (Cis individuals not understanding what it feels like to be trans? shocker!) No matter how sure I was about being trans at the time I was still insecure and that made coming out much harder than it needed to be.
Reflecting on how I came out 2 years later
On the internet people like to obsess over the question: "what is a woman". I might know I am a woman in the same way I know I am right handed, but in the eyes of other people, I am only a woman because they now see a woman and treat me like other women. Once I realized this had happened I become very bitter because it just further reinforces that you only are what you look like. This caused me to question everything I did when I came out because clearly very little of what I said actually mattered, all that mattered what how I looked to them.
When I came out I was itching to be me full time and tell everyone everything, so I might have ignored any advice, and I still can't say it it is any better than what I did, but if I could go back I would tell myself the following:
What to tell
As little as possible
I told people so much personal and private stuff that they had no need to know and I can't take back. If I tried to justify it by saying I was convincing them, I now know that was pointless and just waited would accomplish that better. And it didn't matter! Coming out isn't about validation or acceptance or any of that, but about telling them what is going on and nothing more. I knew who I was, that is the reason I was doing this.
A few conversations could have been in-depth, but the vast, vast majority of conversations only needed the bullet points I listed in my work email, and in some cases I could have done even less.
Who to tell
When I started I was under the impression I had two choices, go stealth like those in the 80's/90's and reset my life or alternatively because it is 2020 and people are more accepting, tell everyone, post it all over social media and more.
It isn't so binary, you can tell all your friends personally, but you don't have to come out on social media. You can also wait to switch your name at work until you start a new job. A few key choices can result in needing to come out to dramatically fewer people.
No, every neighbor didn't need to be personally told. No, I didn't have to tell my hairdresser. No, the friend at work who was leaving shortly before I came out didn't need to know.
When to tell
Later is better
I know waiting is really hard. I remember crying in bed at only 3 months on HRT knowing I could not socially transition yet when I knew to my core this was right. I stick by my choice of waiting until I male failed, but I would say to wait another 6-9 months after that to get through as much of the androgynous phase as possible. Then again maybe if I had simply told less I would be happier with when came out.
After a lifetime of imagining what it would be like, preparing, waiting, and finally coming out I finally start living full time
as a woman and starting to experience the trials and tribulations that entails.
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