Reply To: Coming out (finally!)

Sophie Bourne


Well it’s now a week since my first coming out. My mum and dad described themselves as “poleaxed” though they are now calling me Sophie, by email, and from the tone of their latest emails, seem to genuinely want to. Mum got it first. It felt like an achievement.

I”m now out to two people at work too: an  LGBT contact (who was a bit surprised, but told md she’s been party to quite a few conversations like this) and the company’s trans support lead, who herself has transitioned only recently (and is about the same age at me).

We had one of those striking “me too” conversations over the phone… rather similar to some of my exchanges here actually.

Both of us married wives though we secretly longed for husbands. She is still with her wife but never had children and feels terrible loss from that; I split from my wife after chldren, but now don’t know what to do about the situation, and fear an even more terrible loss.

We were both woken by the same biological clock: both had long, flowing, thick hair in our youth; both felt we had to cut it back again and again to conform; both of us then felt severe dysphoria when it started to thin and bald (and that we were now on our final chance). I got a bit of hope from spironolactone though: she said her hair has started to grow back since taking it.

Now about the children and my ex. I feel that while jumping off the ledge, my dress snagged on a hook a few feet below and I am currently left dangling. My daughter actually opened the wardrobe containing my female clothes, told my son and ex about it, and … absolutely nothing happened.

They came to the conclusion that I was keeping sone clothes for a female friend (to sell at a second-hand stall), my ex mentioned the incident to me casually last Monday, apologised for my daughter’s nosiness and no-one has mentioned it again. I even said I would explain properly, but no one has followed up.

My turn to be poleaxed… of all the possible reactions, that was the last I was expecting. They looked the truth straight in the eye, and still couldn’t see it. It must be literally unthinkable to them. I had a whole bunch of coming out materials prepared… but none of them are ready for them.

Anyway I need to talk to my therapist next week, and work out how to proceed very carefully. Coming out at home is going to be a total shock; tbere doesn’t seem to be any getting away from this now. My years of disguise have been just too good.

Reactions after shock are not good ones. Disbelief and denial are likely. Both my ex and my daughter already have a tendency to clam up about painful problems that they hope will go away (or to yell about them, fire off blame at random, and take the slightest hint of criticism of such behaviour as a personal attack). My being trans is going to hit them right like this.  They will refuse to do any research or reading themselves. They will hope that therapy might “cure” me, so they don’t have to deal with it. They will feel it is all my fault for grotesquely disrupting their lives. My son is most likely to just cry about it, and feel terrified about what happens next.

Worst case is that conversation ceases completely. I  just get a letter from my solicitors in a few weeks time… telling me that my ex is dragging it all back to court. Or I get papers served on me telling me that they’ve managed to find a judge who would issue a temporary order banning me from seeing or talking to my ex or my children. And then I have to spend months more and thousands of pounds overturning it. At a time when I’m in a deep personal crisis myself.

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