Friday, 26 March 2010

First family member

    The other evening I had the Long Chat with my cousin. I came out as transgendered to the first member of my family. She's a bit older than I am and has seen quite a bit more of the world than I have, plus at just over an inch shorter than me she is the only woman I know I can just about look in the eye. We don't see each other that often but we have become friends as adults probably because we both have slightly less conventional approaches to life than most of the rest of our extended family. She's also quite close to my mother, which was one of the main reasons why I wanted to talk to her. I have no plans to talk to my mother about my gender issues unless it becomes absolutely necessary because I see no profit in upsetting her but in the unfortunate event that she were to find out I think she'll need someone to talk to. Hence I wished to recruit my cousin for that role.
     She took it quite well, considering it was probably not what she was expecting. I'd asked her if it was OK for me to share something in confidence with her and she said nothing would faze her, but I don't think this had crossed her mind. So the silence was a tiny bit more shocked than it has been with my friends I've come out to but to her credit she soon rallied and we had the by now usual conversation about what it all means. We then settled into a discussion about our family dynamics with a level of frankness I've not shared with any other family member. It was as though the level of confidence between us was such that now we could talk without the usual in-family politenesses. I think she really appreciated the chance to do this, like all families ours has its hidden tensions and I think the opportunity to finally be able to talk candidly about them was cathartic for her.
     We ended up on the phone for a lot longer than I expected, my wife looking pointedly at the clock as we were due elsewhere. Once over the shock she provided some surprising insights into the whole thing, which was both unexpected and very welcome. I will not be coming out to any other family members in a hurry but I am very glad to have done so to her. A very worthwhile conversation.

10 comments:

  1. Losing the internal editor is quite liberating. I never knew the power of communication till I found people that I didn't fear telling all to. Glad that it went so well, Jenny!

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  2. Well done, pleased she took it so well.

    Stace

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  3. Thanks both, it was certainly a slightly tense moment for me and that it went well was a great relief. Pride comes before a fall though, I have to bear in mind that one day I'm going to come out to someone who's not going to take it well.

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  4. Jenny, I know that worry only too well... Still trying to figure out if/when/how to tell my brother...

    Stace

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  5. At least I've already fallen out with the family member most likely to be unpleasant about it all so the chances of my talking to them are not high at all.

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  6. Well done. Talking like that can be good for both parties. You get to share your concerns, but the recipient also hears a voice saying, 'This is a pretty big thing for me - and I trust you with it.'

    Hey, those who matter won't mind...

    Cat XX

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  7. I was certainly very relieved she took it that way.

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  8. Congratulations.
    It sounds like yo made a very good choice in choosing this cousin.
    It will be a big help in your transition, however far you go.
    x

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  9. This is a huge step :) If I were there I would give you a huge hug.

    As you got the courage and took the time to prepare for the moment, it probably made it all the easier, especially when you saw your fears were out of proportion to reality. The hardest part of the journey is indeed the beginning.

    It sounds, that like me, you may find a chatter coming out of shy and timid personality. All we want is to be compassionately asked.

    Congratulations,
    Sophie

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  10. Thanks both. She asked me a few questions in an email, still waiting for her reply to my response. Hope I haven't further scarred her for life :)

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