Yesterday I read this article on Transgender Universe by Mila Madison (I love her writings):
Is It Safe to Come Out?
You see, yesterday was National Coming Out Day. On reading the article it occurred to me that for most people the definition of "coming out" is a single event, coming out of the closet, letting others know ones true/authentic nature (sexuality, gender, etc.), and then it's done. That stirred up some thoughts for me as I considered that I came out all of the past year and see myself continuing to come out for at least the next year and maybe beyond. i added a comment to MIla's article that I've edited below:
I think a point can be made that coming out isn’t binary, all or nothing. For example, I started coming out to selected friends, family and professionals one year ago. I kept a list on my phone, marveling as the number slowly grew from single digits into the teens. I told them, mostly in person, that I am transgender and had been since my earliest memories. All were more or less supportive.
About six months ago I couldn’t wait any longer and wrote a long-ish email to about 50 colleagues and friends. I then forwarded it to others as I thought about them. Most answered very positively, a few didn’t answer, and no on disparaged me. My number had grown to about 100.
About six months ago, very tentatively, I started dressing and going out in public. What fear and anxiety! Buying clothes on Amazon, afraid even to return those that didn’t fit for fear that the UPS guy would discover my secret. I started by attending all professional meetings (therapist, doctor, stylist, etc.) presenting fully as Emma.
Thankfully I have a supportive network of friends. One girlfriend took me to Nordstrom Rack and Sephora for shopping a few weeks ago. We left loaded down with bags like the women in Sex and the City. Another suggested I go to a local woman’s consignment shop; they were wonderful. Last week I ran errands, first to a lumber store to buy a bunch of wood for basement shelves, to Nordstrom Rack to return a jacket (and yes, buy another), Trader Joe's, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond... all as Emma.
Yesterday I went to pick up some sheet metal to fix a door, presenting as a woman. Talk about a bastion of testosterone. No one batted an eye. I also went out for coffee with a male friend whom I had told I’m trans but had never seen me dressed.
As of yesterday I’m starting to dress all or most of the time, authentically as myself, a woman, Emma. I take the public transportation downtown, go grocery shopping, the bank, you name it. I agree completely that we need to be visible so that our sisters and brothers behind us will witness our progress while the cisgender population learns that we’re just out and about, living our lives in peace and harmony with everyone. So what's left?
There are more bridges left to cross, such as:
- Using my feminine speaking voice that I'm taking weekly lessons on. I'm nervous about that. Thank goodness my next door neighbor liked the way my "Good morning!" sounded to her this morning and volunteered to make herself available for me to practice as needed.
- Go for a bra fitting. I'm waiting for my breasts to bud more before doing that. I imagine that one of these days my breast forms will feel even more uncomfortable riding on top of my natural breasts. Oh, and then I'll be wearing a bra all the time, too.
- Select and wear a women's swim suit out and about. Likely next summer.
- Go to Macy's and places like that for a makeover. I could really use professional help with my makeup.
- Get my fingernails and toenails painted. Gosh, once that's done there's really no way to present as anything but a woman, is there?
- Get my hair styled and maybe add some highlights. My hair will be long enough in 4-6 months, I think, so I have some time.
- Change my legal name, drivers license, passport, etc. That's probably for 2019!
That's all I can think of for now but I'm sure I'll come up with more! Hey, that's part of the fun isn't it?