As we live in a cis-heteronormative society, it is almost impossible to escape the moment or process of coming out. Being cis and straight are seen as the default, meaning that anyone who identifies otherwise is inherently othered and expected to declare their identity.
For many members of the LGBTQ+ community, coming out is a continuous process throughout their entire life, with some people feeling forced to come out again and again.
For some trans people, the experience of coming out is entirely positive, while for others it can be much more difficult. Every trans and gender-diverse person’s coming out story is unique and personal to them, but there are also many shared and common feelings and reactions.
Sharing these experiences can help us and help others in the community on their own journey.
Rebecca’s Coming Out Story
I had known something was different since I was six years old. When I was twelve, I started cross-dressing. When I was 18, I started looking online and doing the usual tests that we all do – things like the common ‘am I trans quizzes’. I originally went to the Gender Identity Clinic when I was 21, but before my first appointment, I met my wife and so decided not to transition.
After years I broke down one day and said I had to transition. My ex-wife told most of the people we know – with my consent. She had reservations about being able to stay together so she felt she needed a support network for herself. However, we did separate, and I became me.
As far as coming out to my parents, that was a bit different. I had not spoken to my mother in four years. She kept deadnaming me – I had to stop her because that person in my mind had died years ago. I told her that I have been Becky for the past four years and I have been transitioning. In the end, my mom confessed: ‘I just thought you were gay’.
Our relationship has since become really good – it’s how I think it always should have been.
Sera’s Coming Out Story
When it comes to me being ‘normal’, I am not straight, not cis, not neurotypical.
I have always been the quintessential tomboy – I never did pink and my hair has always been short or in one of those typically queer styles.
The first coming out experience I had was coming out to my mom as not-straight. She did not really get me or believe me. With my blood family, they do not understand it and I do not think that they ever truly will, but they do tolerate it.
Thankfully, I have amazing friends and a wonderful found family. My friends had always suspected and it did not surprise them. I have people around me and all over the globe who support me.
Rather than discovering who I am, I have become more grounded in who I am. It has always been there; you just learn to stop fighting and hiding it.
That is the struggle that most trans people have: you fight with yourself to live up to your family’s expectations and personal expectations.
Having come out is like a weight off my shoulders. You already know how I am, and I do not have to worry about you finding out who I am.
It has been easier since joining GenderGP. It is a genuinely safe space, and I can talk to anybody here without fear.
Sofia’s Coming Out Story
Coming out for me was a process that started when I began accepting my gender identity. I had no idea who I was, I faked it till I made it my whole life.
A friend of mine suggested that we have a night where we all give a presentation on something that we are knowledgeable on and that we like to talk about.
It was suggested that we all dress up as stereotypical women. I then ordered my first actual ‘female’ clothes and figured out how to wear them properly. It was very nerve-racking. I have been transitioning for a year and a half and I am still nervous talking about it. That was when I first presented as female … and the first time I used the name Sofia.
These friends were really supportive. A couple of them were surprised because I had become very good at presenting as ‘male’.
I am still not out to everybody, and the majority of my family does not know. There is a huge stigma, especially in my family because I have a lot of conservative family members. I get misgendered by my mother to this day.
I am still in the process of coming out. Life is significantly harder than it was before, but I am still happier now. GenderGP has been and continues to be a part of my coming out journey.
Some advice from the GenderGP team:
“Social norms do not define you and family is chosen.
There will always be people who can and will support you. There is a whole world of experiences, support, and like-minded people who are waiting to give you the support you need.”
“I spent so much time denying it and repressing it … and it only got better when I embraced it. I wish I had done it sooner. I am happier since I came out and a lot more comfortable in myself.”
“Find your people. Your friends are probably going to be the first people you come out to. Your chosen family ends up meaning a lot more to you than your actual family.”