How do you know when to come of out the closet? To come out and be trans? That’s a scary question.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I think it’s because I’m at a crossroads. My current gender expression is limited to hanging around the house, days we’re not going to go anywhere at the weekend. I might slip on some of my underwear under my old clothes and hang just in that. Sometimes I slip on my pads and wander around with breasts, and rarely I spend a day or part of it in my gorgeous dress with the whole getup going on.
But that’s it.
There’s a lot of questions for me about what I do next, do I keep this up? It’s okay, I can do that. Do I keep moving forwards? Pushing what I’m comfortable doing to get more towards what I want to do? Or do I back off and go back to what’s familiar and easy?
The main next steps for me to consider are (in no particular order):
- Facial hair; I’ve got a lot of it
- Body hair; I am so hairy everywhere
- Head hair; do I grow mine out or buy a wig?
- Wardrobe; expanding it, do I go dresses, skirts with existing t-shirts, new t-shirts/jeans? Secondary consideration on this point: money!
The trouble I have with wardrobe is that it’s the most expensive part, there’s only so much I can buy from amazon’s bargain section, and it’s really limiting when I can wear it so any great expense on something beautiful feels wasteful at best.
The massive issue with everything else comes back to the question at the top of the article. I have always been hairy and especially for people who I’ve worked with for the past 4 years I have been bearded and gruff. If I start shaving to confirm my gender I’m going to be asked a lot of questions. I really doubt anyone is going to go with “aha, I see you’ve shaved, transgendered are we?” but as someone who is naturally shy and doesn’t like a lot of personal questions anyway even just asking “so what made you want to do this?” is going to fluster me. Even worse is whatever I say is going to be a lie, and I’m going to know that, which will make it much harder for me.
Back to the point…. When do you tell people? And who do you tell?
My wife, obviously, knows everything. She’s my wonderful rock who tempers my excitement with calming reminders and always calls me pretty, even when I know I look at best like a hairy-potato.
What about other people? My family? I honestly don’t even know how they’d react. My sister came out as a lesbian a few years ago and they took that pretty well, she’s getting married to her partner at some point (who might also be be trans?). They don’t have a problem with this, their biggest concern is the planning. But if it was me? And they were basically forced to accept me as a woman? I don’t know.
When I was much younger we used to watch things like Fear Factor, for those who were lucky enough to miss it; contestant on a TV show would have to do gross of scary stuff to win prize money. It was pretty gross including picking up dead rats in their mouths to get a key. I do wonder now looking back how much of it was real and how much was staged. The only reason it was ever on was because it was prelude to what we really wanted to watch; Doctor Who, but we needed to put something on in the half hour or so beforehand to kill the time.
Anyway, there’s a point to this I promise…. There was a “game” my mum like to play with the contestants called “spot the man”. I’ll bet you can see where this is going? When a slim busty woman comes on try and spot if she’s actually a post-op transsexual. Big hands? A man. Prominent adams apple? A man.
At the time I didn’t really understand it, or care particularly. I didn’t get the implications of “used to be” a man, and couldn’t understand why it mattered that they used to be anything when they were clearly a woman now.
This kind of casual transphobia is something I’m most afraid of, not being shunned or ridiculed over it but just being told I’m wrong, I’m just a man and that’s that.
Don’t get me wrong, my parents are great, they’re both really caring and I couldn’t have wished for a better life growing up. They’ve had to content with 3 neurodiverse children, hosts of health issues, and they’ve come through it generally smiling and laughing.
For me personally though now wouldn’t be a good time to start pointing out the size of my adams apple or how hairy my knuckles are.
What about work colleagues? How will that go? I know that we’ve got at least a few trans individuals in my workplace (to be fair my workplace is huge, like over 3,000 people, so there’s a few everything in it) and we have a fairly prominent LGBTQ+ group as well as an equalities lead so from the discrimination point of view I’d have a lot of ammo to go with… from the personal though? I don’t know how I could handle all the questions, the sidelong glances, the whispering behind my back. To compound this I’m not going to be particularly good at “passing”, certainly not for a long time if ever.
Friends? I don’t have a large number of friends but the ones I have tend to be close. I know for a fact at least a few of them already know another trans person and they get on well, but both of them met this person after their decision and switch to full-time living as their gender. I’m not sure how things would go during that process.
There’s another question about if I actually want everyone to know. As someone who has done more than a bit of psychology and read more than a bit of Terry Pratchett I’m quite adept at what he called “second thoughts”.
In Terry’s “Wee Free Men” series the young Witch Tiffany learns about the 2 most important things a Witch needs. She needs First Sight, and Second Thoughts.
First Sight is seeing what’s really there, rather than what should be there. In these books there’s a habit for people to ignore anything that shouldn’t be possible, meaning magic gets away with a lot by just going unnoticed.
Second Thoughts, meanwhile, is the ability to think about what you’ve just thought about. That’s a confusing sentence to write but thing of it this way; if you think “eww, look at that person” that’s your first thought. Your second thought might be “that’s not fair, look at this etc.”. It’s basically mentally keeping tabs on yourself. In the series Tiffany (our young Witch) takes things even further and had Third Thoughts as well, keeping tabs on what her Second Thoughts are thinking. It all gets a bit complicated.
So knowing about my own mind (lol) I wonder if this blog is an attempt to put my thoughts out in a way people can see and discover. If anyone who knows me were to read this the level of detail I’ve put would mean they’d probably guess it was me. A few things I’ve mentioned are cornerstones of my identity and would flag up to anyone who knows me even a little.
Do I want people to see this? To read about my thoughts? Would that be pushing the onus and responsibility of the thing onto them, rather than have it rest on me? Rather than telling them and letting them react I’m leaving it open for them to consume the thoughts, devise a reaction, and bring it to me? How arrogant would that be?
And I can’t really answer one way or another if that’s the case.
So my questions kind of boil down less to who do I tell and when, because I’ve happily convinced myself it’s a bad idea to tell anyone ever… but about what I should do next.
Shaving is going to be my White Whale, it’s going to completely change the way I look to myself and allow me to start exploring a lot of other stuff (wigs and makeup), but it will also open a can of worms for me in my life. It’ll be a bit of a turning point for my closer relationships as I try to decide if then it the moment I should tell people I care about, and something I’ll also have to practice lying about convincingly to those I care less about.
For now, I guess, that’s it?