Thoughts on Coming Out

The last two posts I’ve talked about my coming out experiences. (You’d think that since I’ve identified as transgender for years, everyone would know already, but with my friends and family spread out all over the world, that’s not always the case.) I want to share a story of my coming out to a friend. For all my positive stories, this isn’t one of them. It happened awhile ago, at a time when I was unsure of my future. I was unemployed, and I’ve been in a bit of a rut. I was encouraged to come out to my friend, since in the past, he’s shown a lot of insight towards people in need. And I needed a sounding board. We agreed to meet at his place one night, after his wife and kids have gone to sleep.

I spent an entire evening rehearsing what I wanted to say, and I was assured that nothing bad can come out to this.

I never really got around to say most of what I planned, because what followed was the most incisive (my other description would be “ruthless”) psycho-analysis I’ve ever experienced. Except as insightful as my friend was, he wasn’t a therapist who could spot trouble. To have myself picked apart was not what I wanted…or gave permission to. I listened to his every word, then politely left, and started crying as soon as I was in my car. For the first time, I contemplated driving off a bridge.

I have no doubt that he meant well, but well intentions can’t guarantee that I won’t be hurt just the same. For many months I completely withdrew from my social circles. It took a lot of courage, at least a lot of convincing, that not all my friends want to analyze me.

Reflecting on that night, I wish I could say I’m glad that I didn’t drive off the bridge that night, but I couldn’t. I’m not the same person I was any more. I missed my bubbly outgoing self, but while I willed myself to stay on the highway that night, that Kate nevertheless died, and she will never come back. I still find myself insular when it comes to sharing my thoughts and feelings with people. I excuse myself from social gatherings even at the hint that he’ll also be there. My other friends have surely caught on already. “Luckily” for me, he’s so busy that he almost never makes it.

My high school mentor once said of my first break up, “recovered but not healed.” It’s an appropriate description of my recent state of mind.

I know that I’m not alone; many trans people go through much worse. if you’re one of them, know that my thoughts are with you, and even though many of us will never be healed from all the hurt levelled at us, whether intentionally or unintentionally, but in time, we can still recover.

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