Blimey, that was easy.
Someone pointed out that I don't necessarily have to be face-to-face with a friend to talk to them, a phone will do. Armed with that blindingly obvious insight that had somehow eluded me my list of friends I'd be prepared to come out to reordered itself neatly, so this morning I emailed my friend and ex work colleague.
I've known her since the late 1990s. I said she's one of my most cherished friends, and I mean it. Like me she's worked across a wide variety of media-related industries, though in a completely different field. She's incredibly clever, very practical and most importantly, very open-minded. If she reads this, she'll now be wanting to hit me with her keyboard.
I think she was a bit surprised that I wanted to talk to her without involving either my wife or her SO. I assured her that I wasn't about to declare my undying secret love for her, and arranged to call her at lunchtime.
Lunchtime came, and I set out on a long walk through the damp January countryside surrounding the industrial park containing my workplace. Call my friend, pleasantries aside, deep breath. Look around, nothing but a field of winter wheat, green shoots competing with a few straggling rapeseed(canola to non-Brits) plants seeded from last year's harvest, no eavesdroppers. "I'm transgendered".
I can't remember her exact response. Probably because of the blood rush, and because it was completely natural. After a few questions about what exactly I meant by that, was I transitioning, was she looking at a marriage breakup situation, we settled down to my first ever true girly chat with another woman who instantly accepted what I was saying and was quite happy to talk to me as female. Wow.
I am incredibly lucky to have one of the most amazing friends anyone can have.
It turned out that I'm not the first transgendered friend she's had. Before I knew her she had a good friend who'd transitioned, but who she'd now lost touch with to her sorrow. She hadn't delved into all the intricacies of transition because she's polite and well, do many transitioned girls want to forever have to talk about it? So I gave her the run-down on what dysphoria means, how it manifests itself for me, the transitioning process, and why I'm not taking that path. Then we had a damn good chat about girl stuff, shoes, clothes, attitudes of boys and girls to each other, yes even cosmetics.