Coming Out as Transgender
Suggestions on Coming out Trans*
- Use the “Good News” method for best results. Share your good news of discovering who you are and what makes you happy as positively as possible. Joy is contagious!
- Be prepared for shock and disbelief, especially from those closest to you, but do not expect it. Expect the best and prepare for the worst. Put yourself in their shoes to best understand the situation and to respond with compassion.
- Some will feel angry and betrayed and may judge you harshly. Meet their anger with compassionate understanding. Remember that they may be fearful of ‘losing’ someone of great importance in their lives. Recognize how your transition may cause pain and hardship for others. Acknowledge this pain and avoid being defensive. Being angry only make things worse. Others are justified in feeling angry about your transition; just as you are justified in feeling the need to transition.
- At times you may feel euphoric about your self-discovery. Caution against assuming others are feeling the same way about you. Your experience is yours – enjoy!
- Expect skepticism with regard to the necessity of transitioning. This is a natural reaction – treat it with patience. These days, most people understand that being gay is not a matter of choice and being closeted is not healthy, so it may help to compare the need for gender transition with the need to accept one’s sexual orientation. Treat efforts to “dissuade” you with good humor and respect.
- Be prepared for suggestions that your transition is a selfish choice. If you feel you had no other choice, don’t be afraid to say so. Ultimately, only you are qualified to judge this.
- Your transition will be bewildering to some, who will look to you to help sort out their feelings. If you maintain a positive, good-humored attitude about your transition, others are more likely to respond in kind. Be positive about how you expect your transition to affect your life.
- For many, adjusting to your transition will take some time. Keep in mind that you have spent much of your life dealing with these issues, while most have given them little thought. For those who are disturbed by your transition, giving them time may help more than anything else.
- Feel free to offer information about being Trans*(Transgender umbrella term covers all gender identities), but don’t assume that it’s welcome. Make clear that you welcome questions and are happy to discuss your transition. Many are full of questions, may even be fascinated, but are reticent about prying. When explaining Trans*, do it with grace and sensitivity – don’t lecture or pontificate.
- As a Transgender person, you probably have thought more about what “gender” means than most folks. Many will learn a thing or two about themselves when you share your experience with them. Remember to be interested in their growth around your transition, just as you want them to be interested in yours.
- The type of relationship you establish before you come out will likely have a big effect on how coming out is received.
- Some of your family and friends may celebrate your courage, rejoice in your finding yourself, and congratulate you on your breakthrough. Don’t forget to show them how much their support means to you.
by Sequoia Elisabeth Carpenter
Modified from a document by Sophia Unger of PFLAG. The more Transitioning people who see this the better. I truly pray this list helps you on your journey! Remember there is no “right or wrong” way to do anything. Acceptance has more to do with your attitude than anything else. Love yourself and the world will follow suit!!