So I decided to come out to my friends a few days ago.
It wasn’t particularly special, I didn’t have some special song or deep, heart-felt 2000 word essay on being transgender. I just sent a short text consisting of the words:
‘Hi (insert friend’s name), I just wanted to tell you that I’m transgender. You don’t have to change my name yet, as I haven’t decided on one, but please expect it in the near future. Thank you, and I hope you accept me’
Short, but sweet.
This method of not making a big deal of it seemed to work, as I haven’t got a negative response so far (although I’ll admit I avoided telling one or two people who I knew wouldn’t be too happy about it). I didn’t go into detail about my childhood, nor the effect on my mental health unless I was specifically asked about it.
Most responses I got were just expressing love and support for me (one friend said “I’ll love you male or female”, which made me super emotional). However, there was one person who asked a few questions. I shall tell you, so you can prepare if you are planning on coming out soon.
- “Wait, so what gender are you?” It may seem like a stupid question, but be patient, as it’s probably extremely confusing for them. Imagine the first time you realised that you didn’t want your body to be the way it is. That’s what the person is experiencing. Answer the question politely and respectfully, it increases the chances of them respecting you.
- “What triggered you to tell me?” This one can get very awkward if you don’t want to go in-depth about your personal life. For me, I was okay with admitting the damaging effects being in the closet had on my mental health, but if you aren’t, I’d recommend just saying that you want an honest and open friendship with them and didn’t want to keep secrets anymore.
- “Have you told your parents?” The answer to this one is pretty obvious. Just tell the truth, but you might also want to add whether or not you want your parents to find out just yet.
- “But you dated/are dating (insert boy’s name)” I am a straight guy. I have dated boys. The way I explain this is simply by telling them the truth, that I wanted to fit in better with the girls. It may make you seem like a shitty person, but your friend will probably understand. If you’re gay, just be honest.
- “But you don’t like (insert trans person’s name)” This one is very specific, but there is a trans guy in my school who I have often had arguments with. This lead a lot of people to assume I’m transphobic. When coming out, I had to explain that I don’t like the guy because of his behaviour, not his gender. It hurt me that people thought I was transphobic, but I kept my cool and explained myself. Let your friend know that you don’t have to be friends with someone just because they’re trans too.
The overall message of this post is, when coming out, honesty is the best policy. Sometimes it’s not the nicest thing to say, but the truth is important to build trust, and trust is important in a supportive friendship.
I feel a lot better knowing that I have support and a place to be myself, and it has definitely boosted my confidence in coming out to my parents. Coming out is so important to happiness, and if your situation allows it, I really recommend telling friends that you’re LGBT+.
PLEASE ASSESS YOUR SITUATION BEFORE COMING OUT. IF YOU FEAR THAT IT MIGHT BE DANGEROUS, CONTACT SUPPORT GROUPS/CHARITIES/MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS/SOCIAL WORKER/TEACHER ETC. AND DON’T COME OUT UNTIL YOU HAVE A SAFE PLACE TO GO.
UK Trans Organisation Directory – https://www.gires.org.uk/the-wiki
UK FTM Info – https://ukftm.tumblr.com/
US Trans Organisation Directory – http://www.tgnow.com/support-groups.htm
As always, stay positive and have a great day! 🙂