Coming out to family and friends

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    Topic
  • #102916
    Antonia Carter
    Participant

    Hi all, I’ve recently started coming out to my family and friends, so far the reaction has been quite positive however I realise that it’s not going to be like that every time, I told my sister and her family last week and I was overwhelmed by the support they showed and spent the next 24hrs on a massive high because of it and all the other issues I’m facing didn’t seem to exist, however the following few days I went into panic mode and was anxiety ridden, I was wondering about other people’s experience when it came to telling family and friends and whether anyone else had the same kind of anxiety afterwards.

    Antonia 🙂

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    • #103216
      Sharon
      FREE

      I have had no bad responses yet.  In the last year I have come out to my wife, son, work colleagues, mother-in-law, friends, sisters, parents – in that order.  Everyone has been loving and accepting.

      My wife, son and family don’t get the pronouns, but friends and colleagues do, but then we do have in rules in the workplace I guess, so whether they get it, or are just following the rules, who knows, but all good so far.

      My wife isn’t keen on some of my clothing, skirts and dresses etc I only wear in the home, and always wear jeans or jeggings when I go out.  But then most women do, and I don’t really want t stand out.

      Yet I still dress more feminine than my wife, even when out.

      The real shock was acceptance from my mother-in-law and my own father, who are both quite right-wing.  I was amazed at how well they both accepted me.

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      • #103226

        Hi Sharon thanks for the reply, the anxiety has somewhat calmed down now, I had my first trip out as Antonia this week (through the city centre) and nobody batted an eyelid, I think a lot of my anxiety was caused by wondering whether my sister was just being polite at the time but after speaking to her again in the last couple of days my mind was put at ease 🙂

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    • #103194
      DeeAnn Hopings
      AMBASSADOR

      Antonia:

      My experience is quite different from most. I came out at the age of 67. I was about 4 months from retirement. I was the Mistress of Ceremonies for an annual event put on by our LGBT employee affinity group. The audience was about 130 people, including some people that I knew from work. I wasn’t aware of any backlash. During that month of October 2015 I also did a couple of presentations. Although I was not dressed, I ended with a photo of me with Ian Harvie from the event when I was MC. My total for the month was about 210 people. That also included my daughter and son, 7-8 close friends and my then department manager. It seemed important to me to have my story conveyed by Me. Again, no backlash that I know of.

      Anyway, compared to some, I think I have been quite fortunate. Whatever people may have been thinking, they chose not to share with me. Since I retired and moved to the desert, people know me as DeeAnn. Very few have ever met Don, or even know that he exists. I am quite acquainted with the lesbian community and once again, if anyone is harboring any ill will, I have not heard about it.

      However, situational awareness is important. I have to remind myself that I am in a different arena. Women function very differently from men in social settings. Since I want to be recognized as DeeAnn, it falls to me to monitor my behaviors and just be aware of the expectations that anyone would have for other females.

      Back to your question, I don’t think that I ever had anxiety afterwards, but it did occur beforehand. I think one thing that was helpful was that, excluding my kids (now 45 and 39), all the folks that I know personally I’ve known for at least 10 years and much longer in a number of cases. I wasn’t known as a whack job, so I think people listened to what I was telling them. It’s harder to dismiss someone that you have known for some time. I hope that is also working in your favor.

      I’m guessing that you did this, but I always tell people that the importance of coming out is that you get to tell YOUR story YOUR way. When we are outed by someone else, who knows how that story will be presented. That’s where things often go sideways as people tend to blend in their prejudices and fears into your story. There’s a quote from Rachel Maddow that I have always found to be significant:

      “The single best thing about coming out of the closet is that nobody can insult you by telling you what you’ve just told them.”

      Works for me…

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      • #103227

        He Deeann thanks for the reply, wow 67 is an age to come out alright, I’m glad things went well for you, a lot of my anxiety has subsided now after another conversation with my sister I’m I’m feeling very optimistic for the future 🙂

        • #103234
          DeeAnn Hopings
          AMBASSADOR

          I think what is always important is to keep a positive attitude. Even if something happens that is untoward, that attitude will help to keep things in a good place.

          Yes, as I said my situation was quite different and I didn’t have a lot of the problems that others do. That said, by October of 2015, I had been with the company for a few months over 23 years. I don’t know how word traveled after October, but I certainly knew many people within the company across 8 or 9 locations. Anyway, nothing was ever said to me, no mysterious notes left on my desk or strange voice mails.

          There’s a saying:

          Expect the Best but plan for the Worst.

          Expect that the people you know will at least be civil, but plan for BS. At any rate, even if it doesn’t happen, you will feel better having done the preparation…

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          • #103241

            Thanks DeeAnn I’ve been feeling great the last week or so, I feel like I’ve made some huge steps on my journey and a lot of that is in part to people I’ve met on here and the advice I’ve received, I am expecting to lose some friends but I’ve told all my very close friends now and their reaction has been nothing but supportive, and the rest, well it’s no big deal if they can’t accept me for who I am, it’s there problem not mine, thanks for all the advice.

            Antonia 🙂

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