Friday, 19 November 2010

Why I'm out

    A few months ago as I edged out of my personal closet I came to the conclusion that the best way I could deal with this was to lose the Big Secret. Be open about it all even if I'm staying a bloke on the outside. I don't have to do this and since I have the ultimate stealth option of a larger than life bloke skin some people might say I'm crazy to do it, but to them I'd say the reduction in stress that no longer living a lie had brought has been worth it. I've not come out willy-nilly to all and sundry but the ranks of the People Who Know have slowly expanded to the point at which they'd probably now fill a primary school classroom. All without any drama.
    Yesterday I had a bit of a chat with my friend C. I've known C for over twenty years, he is without a doubt my best friend. He was our best man a few years ago when my wife and I were married and earlier this year he was the first of my male friends I came out to. One or two recent posts from other bloggers have made me consider the meaning of the word "Gentleman" of late, and I think it's a tag I'd apply without reservation to C. Back when I came out to him I was a little worried as to how he'd react because he has distinctly conservative leanings. In UK newspaper terms he's a Daily Telegraph reader, which is to say as reactionary as a Daily Mail reader but possessed of more intelligence. Though it turned out to be needless I was worried when I came out to him because I once caught him spitting with fury at a newsworthy story involving a transsexual a few years ago when I was deeply closeted, to which I politely pointed out that it was not a lifestyle choice and moved the conversation on to something else before I said more than I should have.
    Yesterday's conversation was half us wittering on about cars and half in-depth support call. I am very grateful to C for both, the first because of the normality taking my brain away from all this, and the second because I was in a bit of a state due to my wife being away and the fog moving in.
    One thing C said made a real difference. He said that if he hadn't known me he would have been just like the Daily Mail readers in condemning out of hand everything to do with transgendered or transsexual matters, but having seen me being eaten up by depression for twenty years before finally coming out to him his views had very much changed. He's on our side now, he'll go into bat for us next time he hears someone ranting at the newspaper.
    And that is why I am out when I can be in stealth as effortlessly as pulling on a scruffy pair of jeans and a geeky t-shirt.

15 comments:

  1. This is a huge issue for those of us who choose to keep that bloke look in spite of obvious internal conflicts. Being dishonest has been the trigger for much of my mental issues, but as you have said so well, you cannot be just a little bit honest; a secret shared is not really a secret, it is a burden.

    You have demonstrated an integrity here I very much admire, giving me much to consider in my own search to turn struggles into a benefit for others.

    It would be so wonderful for that one person going to bat, to turn into thousands, somehow.

    Halle

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  2. I could not have passed through this life with a clear conscience without coming out at some stage. When young blending in as a tall girl wold not have been difficult, was not difficult! Showing the world that we exist and have to have a place in the world should help acceptance for those who follow.

    Sadly the UK media take great delight in stirring up hatred towards us and will do until we become so ubiquitous nobody cares.

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  3. Don't give the UK media all the credit, the media in the US is very quick to condemn us for jumping off the 'male' track.

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  4. 'To thine own self be true' is a well worn phrase often quoted but it is certainly most apt here. Not only to one's self be true but to others also. The only reason we choose not to reveal our secrets to others is the often justified perception of an agressive response. It takes courage to reveal all, it isn't bravery but a self assuredness and confidence to say to the world 'Hey I am here and have just as much right to be here as anyone and everyone else'. Whilst reading your history with C I was taken a bit aback thinking what a wally he is, C that is, thinking the way he does. Nobody has the right to condemn anyone else just because they don't fit into the same mould as they! However I was relieved to read later that he has indeed come to his senses and even now understands a little more about what it means to be transgendered or 'different'. Anyhow, well done you Jenny. I hope your peace of mind continues. Love

    Shirley Anne xxx

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  5. How open and honest to be, whatever presentation he or she chooses, is an issue for all of us. I don't think I will ever be truly stealth for many reasons, not the least of which is that I hid something for 35 years. Why spend the next 50 (with luck :) ) hiding something else?

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  6. Jenny,
    I salute your courage. Since starting down my own path toward being true to myself I am impatient for the day when I will be out to family, friends, and coworkers. Once I reach that point I don’t intend to hide my past, but as yourself I don’t intend to do so with parades, marching bands, & fireworks. My dream is to go along as unobtrusively as possible (ha!), and my hope is to have minimal drama. Your words are encouraging.

    I came out to my dear wife a few months back after well over 30 years together. The event itself was somewhat traumatic but the end result has been good. She has chosen to remain in our relationship through whatever lies ahead. I have experienced much reduction of anger, frustration and stress. However, it appears some of that has been turned over to my sweetie. You see, since I am still in that hateful closet she shares the big secret. The stress seems to be affecting her much more than me these days. For instance, the incidents of impatience or road rage I used to experience are for all intents non-existent, but where she rarely expressed these traits before my dear wife undergoes many of these types of episodes. This has caused me incredible guilt. On the other hand, we have become so very much closer and have had many lengthy discussions on the topic. She too looks forward to the day when we will come out together.

    Mikayla

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  7. Thanks everybody,

    I am in a fortunate position that not everyone will share, I live in an unthreatening place, I work at a trans-friendly employer and my appearance means nobody in their right mind is going to have a go at me. Against that background what I've done was simply an obvious path, nothing like the challenge faced by for instance a t-girl who goes full-time living on a rough council estate. Everyone has their own path and comfort zone, mine happened to take me here but other people will find themselves in completely different places.

    I would probably not have done it had it not been a stress relief for my wife too.

    You might ask why I maintained a friendship with C, well he's simply a really nice bloke. He'd never considered that there might be a different reality behind the hate-speak in the tabloid, but that alone doesn't make him bad. His change of viewpoint when presented with more information about the issue attests to that.

    There will be many more people like C out there, we'll convert them in time, one by one.

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  8. Mikayla,

    Long lengthy, honest, open discussions are very important, they will clear some of the frustration which consumes us. Above all discuss with her in your intent listening skill.

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  9. Jenny I feel I have to comment on this issue because it is something that I feel very deeply about. I understand you reasoning and that the conclusion and opinion that you arrive at is through consideration of facts as they affect you and those who are important to you. I don't know much about you except what I have gleaned from three posts so forgive me if this may sound a little "unfair" an assessment.

    I gather that although you call yourself transgendered it probably means that when push come too shove, you would probably be described more correctly as transvestite since you are not living 24/7 female. Since I've detected not a hint of desire for surgery transsexual is not applicable in any way shape or form. For the transsexual being a woman in every way possible is the prima objective. Unless experienced it cannot possibly be conveyed how intense is the disgust we feel for any association with primarily male genitalia and male sex markers but additionally the perception in others that we ever were male. The truth is some of us handle that better than others. "comming out in order to "educate" society for many is an act that simply defeats the whole purpose of our transition. Please bare in mind what I have said when advocating everyone should be as open as you have chosen to be.

    Carolyn

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  10. Ooh, Carolyn, you've opened a can of worms there! :)

    Yes, you are right, being out in this way is what works for me in my situation. It's not right for everyone. The primary objective of coming out is not to educate but to lose the stress of living in secret, the conversion of people like C is a welcome side-effect.

    But I'm afraid I now balk at being described as a transvestite though I guess it's strictly true, male bodied, dresses female from time to time. Hell, I envy uncomplicated transvestites, I did my best to be one for years but it didn't work, I just ended up suicidal. A brain from the girl parts bin does that to you.

    Desire for surgery? If I were not married, or if I didn't care about my wife's feelings or want to be the best husband and parent I could be for her sake, I would be very happily on my way through the system. Surgery and all. Unless experienced it can not possibly be conveyed, etc. etc.

    I'm kinda concerned by the view of stealth that I get from some trans people. Being out is a personal decision. But some of the more fundamentalist views I've heard seem to veer precariously close to "If you can't pass, you aren't one of us". As someone who's a realist about their limited passing potential I do hope I'm not detecting these attitudes in your comment.

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  11. Carolyn definitely abides in Transsexual Room 8, as in the old joke

    "A man arrives at the gates of heaven. St. Peter asks, "Religion?" The man says, "Methodist." St. Peter looks down his list, and says, "Go to room 24, but be very quiet as you pass room 8." Another man arrives at the gates of heaven. "Religion?" "Baptist." "Go to room 18, but be very quiet as you pass room 8." A third man arrives at the gates. "Religion?" "Jewish." "Go to room 11, but be very quiet as you pass room 8." The man says, "I can understand there being different rooms for different religions, but why must I be quiet when I pass room 8?" St. Peter tells him, "Well the Jehovah's Witnesses are in room 8, and they think they're the only ones here."

    Wad we had the giftie gie us, etc...

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  12. Dru, between drawing sessions and reading out your poetry do you not have any time for a bit of stand up comedy?

    You are a natural.

    "Divide and conquer" seems to be the mantra even amongst many of our own! Especially the anonymous.

    Caroline xxx

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  13. Thanks for that, made my mother laugh too.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to buy a bad wig and PVC French maid's dress. Oh, and throw away my razor too. If I'm assuming the label I might as well live the stereotype!

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  14. I've always said that friends are a big part of making this work, but I never thought of that as "normal" male friends. Whatever works, Jenny. I'm glad you were able to have this chat.

    Calie xx

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  15. C is both a *very* good friend and a nice bloke. I don't think I'd have this conversation with a lot of my friends.

    I came out to him originally because I care about him enough that if he found out I'd want it to be from me rather than second hand.

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