How i came out as trans to my family

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A few of you may be at the point in your journey where your thinking about beginning hormones and wondering when to come out and start telling people in your life about the upcoming changes.

While everyone’s situation is different and unique, I have had a few people come to me for guidance and I wanted to share with you all my experience for you all so that you have some additional perspectives to consider.

How did I handle it?

As some of you may have read in my previous posts, my journey on transitioning hasn’t been the easiest and actually involved me pausing my transition for a period of time due to challenges.

My first attempt at coming out was met with a lot of resistance and doubt from family, friends and peers, and even therapists.

I had wanted to give everyone as much time to process my life choice as possible, and went the whole nine yards of telling HR at work that i was looking to transition in a few months, sent letters to my family and extended family about my choice, and even told some of my close friends ahead of time.

In my head, i had this hope that people would be supportive and maybe even help guide me through this journey. Maybe my female friends would help teach me a few things and take me along on girls outings and things like that. By coming out to work I’d be able to start making some of those permanent changes sooner and not have to live such separate lives.

However that didn’t quite go to plan and looking back i wish i would have done things differently and here are some of the lessons that i learned that I hope can save you some heartache along the way.

Lessons Learned & FAQs

You may be tempted to tell everyone in your life right away, but there is no timeline and you don’t have to tell anyone that you don’t want to.

There were people in my life that i barely knew that I felt that I “owed” them information, however they just ended up causing me more drama than anything.

I was never close with my grandma on my dad’s side, and after i sent her a letter she basically just said that she doesn’t understand and even didn’t invite me to holiday gatherings following that. For some weird reason, I felt i owed her that letter, but in all honesty, i learned that you don’t owe anyone, anything, regardless of their blood relation to you.

You will find out who really cares about you throughout this journey, and surround yourself with those that genuinely care about you.

Sometimes we don’t have all the answers, and maybe we still even have a few doubts or questions about how this will all play out.

However i do know that if when you have these conversations with family and friends, if you sound unsure of yourself, your family will reciprocate that same energy and tone back to you.

Try to view your coming out as “this is going to happen” versus, “I’m thinking about doing this”, or “i want to transition”. The latter makes it sound like it’s more a thought and they will view it as a chance to talk you out of it, or question you to the nth degree.

Explore any doubts with a separate support group and your therapist before going into these coming out situations, as it can make a big difference in your mental health following the conversation.

When you feel it is time to tell your immediate family, understand that this may take them by surprise and they will need time to process this change. Depending on how blindsided they are by this, they may challenge you, try to talk you out of this, ask you if you have thought this through, or even distance themselves from you completely.

Family and love should be unconditional, and transitioning doesn’t change who you are. If anything, it’s bringing out a more true version of yourself for the family and world to see.

My best advice is to remain confident, and don’t give them any lose threads of doubt to pull on because they will grab onto those like no tomorrow.

Additionally, give them time to process and don’t rely on them for too much support during this process, as they may need to cope and process on their own as well. I highly recommend finding a different support group (i.e. lgbtqia+ support center, therapist, or kinky/open minded friends) in the meantime.

Honestly, try not to feel pressured to tell anyone you don’t want to about this.

If there are some extended family members who you are close with, and want to attempt to keep them in your lives following the change, I would reach out to those. But if it’s aunt susy that you only see once a year for 5 minutes and never talk to, you don’t owe her anything.

This is about you and your life and not about trying to convince others of accepting you.

Unfortunately there will be some people who will surprise you and not be able to accept or understand your decision.

Being a people pleaser, this killed me, as i wanted to make everyone understand and be okay with it, but as i eventually learned, we can only control ourselves and our actions. People are entitled to their own opinion, and we can’t force our believes and perspectives onto them, just like we wouldn’t expect them to do that to us.

If someone in your life is unable to come to terms with this, you can still be civil with them and keep the door open should they change their mind, but if they can’t, then they showed their true colors and you should focus on those that do support and love you.

You don’t have to tell anything to your employer about your life decision unless you’re at that point where you are legally updating your government information and need payroll updated.

I recommend waiting as long as you can before making any announcement to work, because if anything it’s going to just cause drama and additional stress to your already stressful situtation.

Doing it over, i would wait until i no longer could pass or present in boy mode before starting those conversations, and that could be 6-12 months after you start hormones.

Job hunting is also very difficult when transitioning, especially as our confidence in passing may be a work in progress, so i would try to avoid as many variables as you can and try to stick out your current job if possible. (use your discretion of course and don’t keep yourself in a toxic situation)

When you’re ready to have the conversation, I would do it in a situation or environment that you can step away from after the conversation. Don’t do it in the middle of a trip where there’s an elephant in the room for the rest of the time, or potentially a hostile situation you can’t escape from.

In person is always best since text messages and emails always tend to be misinterpreted and lack body language and subtext. it’s helpful to hear and see their response as they are processing the news, and you don’t have to overthink or overanalyze their response.

Second best would be a video call or phone call.

if there’s something i didn’t cover or you would like additional guidance on, please feel free to right a comment below and I’d be happy to address those!

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