Back in February my wife and I decided that to lessen the stress of having a Big Secret I'd slowly come out to my friends. Over a month later and the ranks of People Who Know have slowly swelled until now I'd have to throw a larger-than-average dinner party (for which of course I'd need a larger-than-average dress!) to accommodate them. I have friends in the group both male and female from several different circles, I've even come out to a family member and my mother-in-law knows through my wife.
It has been a rewarding process. OK, I've selected them carefully, but nobody has reacted in anything but a positive way. I can now talk freely about all this in front of people I've known for years and trust and respect, and this has been very liberating. It's changed my relationship with them forever, and for the better. None of them have yet encountered me en femme, but when that day comes it will be something to enjoy not dread.
My concern is that the process of coming out, through being such a relief, is becoming irresistible. More than once recently I've been insanely tempted to just get it over with and tell someone, and resisting the urge has in itself become a slight source of stress. I've been lucky in that it hasn't gone wrong yet and that is in no small part down to careful preparation. Skipping that preparation can only lead to failure.
In particular, I had the urge to come out to my mother yesterday at my parents place. She's the person I most fear talking to about all this because I'm pretty certain that she has more than slight suspicions about it - she's a retired teacher who raised a child with gender issues after all - and I'm equally certain she does not want to be confronted with it. She shows discomfort when faced with anything relating to me that differs from her notion of the gender norm, for example when Magnus sent me their ladies catalogue by mistake her reaction was one of horror in contrast to my amusement. I wish I could remove the resulting worry at her potential upset by just talking to her, but to do so would be to cause her a lot of grief and it is not necessary to do that. Probably I never will.
I do not regret deciding to come out to my friends and I will continue the process. I must be careful though to do so at a measured pace and to respect any boundaries I have set.