This one is a more personal piece, because the only coming out experience I can really talk about is my own. I will do a post in future about what to do when someone comes out as trans to you, but this isn’t that post.
I’ve known I was queer since I was a teen. My friend Alex would be able to tell countless stories about me cycling through sexualities like they were haircuts, until he (and his dad!) helped me discover the term pansexual, and how it applies to my life. It’s a really neat term, and so I was happy as this little chubby pansexual girl, and all was well.
Thing is, even as a kid I knew there was something not quite right about my body, something more than just being fat and being badly bullied for it. But I grew up in the 90s, and trans folx were only ever the butt of jokes, and so I had no idea what being trans was. Even going to uni I only really knew about the various sexualities, and had never realised I had been questioning my gender the whole time.
I had what I can see now as an abusive friendship throughout uni with someone who would constantly put me down whenever I spoke up about my sexuality or what I now know was my questioning gender, and it took me a good year of being away from him to realise what he had been doing. I mention this because when I look back, I do believe I would have realised I was trans a lot earlier if it hadn’t been for him.
I started using genderqueer to describe myself in late 2014, and for a while I did use singular ‘they’ as a pronoun. It fit for a while, I talk about it like a comfy shirt I borrowed from someone, but it still didn’t quite fit.
I came out as trans properly in March of 2015. I had planned to tell my closest friend first, because it made sense, and he is incredibly open and accepting.
It took me two weeks to get up the courage to tell him. And because it was done by text message, he couldn’t see me shaking with fear then crying with relief after. Because of course he was accepting and didn’t question it, but coming out is fucking scary.
I still haven’t told my parents well over a year later.
And it has been rough at times, and other times have been amazing. I have great friends who accepted me 110%, and didn’t flinch when I said my name was Theodore James Methven Graham, not the name I had been given before. But I am lucky, I know I am, because I put a lot of trust and faith in my friends, but I curate them very carefully. I’ve been hurt enough throughout my life that I have learned how to be tough, how to guard my trust, and how to let people go if they’re not good for me.
Eventually I will come out to my parents, when I feel I can trust them with the information. I don’t believe they would ever physically hurt me for it, but my da in particular is an expert in emotional and mental abuse, and I don’t like the idea of handing him more ammo.
There are random people online who spend their time making trans folx’ lives hell. I’ve had a couple of them come at me, telling me I’ll “never be a real man”, that I “just need raped to show [I’m] a woman”, or that I should “just kill [myself] and rid the world of a disgusting tranny”. Thankfully I can curate my online space too, and they’re banned and reported pretty damn quickly.
All in all though, I am glad I came out, because the alternative is just awful. My mental health isn’t the greatest anyway, and hiding this from everyone would have just destroyed me. My coming out was uneventful and at the same time incomplete, so if I manage to fully come out I may revise this topic.