Though this risks turning this blog into a diary of the friends I've come out to it's worth relating part of my weekend because the other day I came out as transgendered to my best friend C. My best male friend, that is, so far the only people I've talked to about this have been female.
Talking to C has been a source of anxiety for a while now. If I am to pursue my goal of making the Big Secret go away then he had to be first on the list because he has been my best friend for over two decades now and we have few secrets between us. Something of this magnitude had to come direct from me, I know it would have upset him had he heard from someone else at a point at which it was obvious that he was the last to know.
The trouble is, C is of a conservative nature. He's a really nice bloke, but he has an instinctive view on most things and he's sometimes prone to say whatever's on his mind without thinking first. My big worry was that he'd let slip an initial adverse reaction and then bitterly regret it.
Circumstances meant that we had a bit of time free this weekend and a minor road trip was just what we both needed to get away for a day, so we loaded up the car and headed east to the Fens, where C has lived for most of his life.
For readers not familiar with the geography of these isles, the Fens are a vast tract of reclaimed land on the eastern side of the UK. Former salt marshes turned into farm land by clever eighteenth century Dutchmen, they are a near-endless vista of billiard-table-flat fields broken only by occasional dykes, rivers, electricity pylons and windbreak trees round farm buildings. You might imagine this to be a boring landscape but the contrary is the case, the open vista delivers some amazing cloudscapes and beautiful light effects, particularly at this time of year when the British weather is at its most active.
Sadly for us the drive was in heavy rain with low steel-grey cloud thrown over the Atlantic by Melissa's Bermuda high so it was to a very dim and gloomy Fenland village that we arrived the other evening. C was as welcoming as always though and we were all soon busy in the kitchen fixing a meal, cracking open a bottle of wine in the process. I left it until after we'd eaten before I broached the subject, we'd by then wandered into his sitting room and were well into bottle number two of cheap-ass rosé.
So, Dutch courage imbibed, preamble over, straight into telling him. His reaction: straight away, just "OK, fair enough". The usual questions about what that meant for our future, what it all meant etc, but though it wasn't quite what he expected it was all pretty painless. For the second time in a few days, all without incident and I needn't have worried.
One point has come home to me this weekend. For years I was in a bit of a state with depression and it was more obvious to those around me than I realised. I know it was hard on my wife because she saw me first-hand but I hadn't realised how much other people around me had seen the signs. It was obvious to them when I finally came to terms with my gender issues that something pretty big but unspecified had happened to end the depression, and like my mother-in-law C was half expecting me to talk to him about it. My male impersonation act must not have been as good as I thought.
Part of his reaction was amusing. C and I have spent more than two decades as partners-in-crime on a wide variety of rusty automotive hopeless causes. Our way is lit by Lucas, Prince of Insufficient Light, Castrol R is our perfume of choice and 20/50 multigrade runs in our veins. So it was with some anxiety that C asked "You're still into cars and bikes, aren't you?". With a completely straight face I answered "Of course! I am thinking of trading in the turbocharged rollerskate for a pink Nissan Micra though".
He laughed at that one for about five minutes solid, tears came to his eyes and he became puce with mirth. We were a bit worried about him!