Comming out to others

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    Topic
  • #130311
    Keleth Wolfsong
    Participant

    Merry Meet everyone,

    I’m wondering what is the best way you know of to come out to people you know aren’t going to like your transitioning.

    I have 4 people that might not take this news well. I thought about a letter but what other ways can you creative people give me for comming out?

     

    Keleth

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    • #130367

      Hi Keleth, hopefully I can offer some advice based on my recent coming out to everybody in my life. After some very deep thinking and recollection of how long I’ve known I was different, I realized I had to let the world know I was transgender. I also came out where I work. I personally told those closest to me and then used social media to reach almost all those I considered friends and acquaintances. At my workplace I personally reached out to over 100 people including all admin staff and let them know I was transgender and wished to transition while working. I was accepted, affirmed and encouraged by all the staff and have been working there fulltime as a woman for over a month. The responses I received from my social media announcement were mostly all positive and encouraging as well, there are those who have not responded and have not been heard from. This is when you find out who your friends really are. I have to tell you that dealing with family was hard and will almost always be the most difficult hurdle, but one that must be taken care of. I have several family members who now refuse to talk to me as a woman, that is their choice and their problem, not mine, I have to get on with my new life.
      Keleth, I know it seems scary and quite daunting, but telling everyone is really the only way you will successfully “come out”.

      Best wishes on your journey!

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #130330
      DeeAnn Hopings
      AMBASSADOR

      Keleth:

      Every situation is different. It is also hard to predict how people may react. People get surprised all the time from both positive and negative perspectives. But, from what I’ve seen, people seem to be pleasantly surprised more often than not.

      Anyway, I can only pass along my thoughts, but you are the one who must ultimately decide.

      It is always important to come out on your terms as it is hard to recover if you are outed. The problem is that if you are outed, you have no control over what is said. It can be driven by misinformation, purposeful misinformation and prejudice. Further, it works both ways. The negative ones will be pissed because you are the cisgender heterosexual person that they thought. The positive ones may be upset because, they feel, you didn’t trust them enough to tell the truth. It can be a minefield either way.

      As is said, the best defense in an offense. In this case, it means to take the initiative. Give the process some conscious thought as to what you need to say. Remember that you are telling YOUR story YOUR way. Taking notes to capture your thoughts may be helpful, but, reading from a script may come off as impersonal.

      My story is this:
      I came out October 10, 2015. I was still working then and was a member of our LGBT employee affinity group. Every October we brought in LGBT comedians for a free event that was open to the public. Previously we had Suzanne Westenhoefer twice, Marga Gomez, Alec Mapa and in 2015 we brought in Ian Harvie, out first transgender performer. To me, it was a golden opportunity. I had been out in the public many times before, but all an hour to an hour and a half away from my hometown. I volunteered to be Mistress of Ceremonies as DeeAnn and the group accepted my offer. The result was that I came out in front of about 130 people, including some co-workers. In the course of that month, I discussed the event during 2 other gatherings. I was not dressed, but I closed with a photo from the event with Ian Harvie and me. The total was about 210 people for the month, which included my daughter and son, 7 or 8 close friends and my department manager at the time. Sometimes, for whatever reason, my thought process is Go Big or Go Home. While it suited me at the time, it is not a methodology that I would recommend to others. What is important is a way that makes sense and feels appropriate for each individual.

      On final point about the “How”. Personally, I would only do a letter or an E-Mail as a last resort. I did talked to my kids on the phone (individually), but that was because they both live at the other end of the country. I had no time to do otherwise. To my mind, there is a parallel. What would you think about being told that your significant other was breaking up with you by E-Mail or being told that you were laid off from your job by E-Mail? My interpretation, and purely my own, is that it would feel disrespectful and impersonal. Conscious thought is your friend!

      Good Luck!

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #130336

        Merry Meet DeeAnn,

        Thank you for sharing your story with me. You are amongst the strongest people I know to be able to come out like that. I couldn’t do it.  Thank you about the imput on the letters idea I have alot of thought to do on the matter.

        • #130341
          DeeAnn Hopings
          AMBASSADOR

          Keleth:

          The reality is that we are all working with our own belief systems. What really chaps my ass may not even register with you and vice-versa. For me, the part about personal contact was important because, if someone had a problem with me, I wanted them to address me directly. However, given a potentially strong reaction from someone, the thought could be to minimize the possibility of confrontation.

          There is no one right way to go forward. I also don’t think there can be a blanket approach. All the people that you want to interact with are unique personalities, + and -. They deserve to be treated as well as you can…

          2 users thanked author for this post.
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