A couple weeks back, some friends from college came to visit me. It was a pleasant visit, but it reminded me of a question that I have been trying to ignore: “When should I come out and who too?”. This question causes me great distress as there seems to be no good answers. Originally, my plan was to ghost everyone and move. I would get a new job somewhere else once I could reliably pass, move away without telling anyone, and then never acknowledge or reveal that I was transgender. I ultimately concluded that this plan was unrealistic. There were too many records of me as a man to ever completely conceal it. Not to mention mundane concerns like job references and background checks. So now, I don’t really have a plan for coming out. I always get stuck at the same two questions: When to come out and who to tell.
Deciding when to come out is difficult, because I need to juggle several concerns. The ideal situation for me would be coming out when I can reliably pass as a woman. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. If I wait too long waiting for the “Perfect” time to come out, my body may come out for me. A day may come where I will be unable to hide my changing body with oversized jackets and jeans (More importantly, I don’t know if I can do another summer in that outfit. The heat is killing me.). I am only a few months into HRT and the changes are already slightly noticeable if I am not wearing a jacket. I may not be able to wait 2 years for the perfect moment. Second, there is no guarantee that I will ever pass. I could wait forever for a milestone that never occurs. Unfortunately, the other options are not any better. I could pick an arbritrary date, 9 or 12 months of HRT for example, but that system is not much better. The date I choose is ultimately meaningless and I run the same risk of getting outed by my own body earlier. The last option is just to wait until I can no longer hide it and then come out. That option is completely unappealing to me. It leaves too much up to chance and relies upon other people asking me about the changes (not to mention that I can influence how visible the changes are.). Ultimately, I still have no idea what the best time for me to come out is. Every option seems to have a lot of negatives and few positives.
Even if I knew when I wanted to come out, I would still need to decide who to come out too. My original plan was to only tell people who would not react poorly, which is why I was not going to tell anyone. I don’t trust any of my family not to be transphobic and I know that my friends will react even worse. I don’t see a point in coming out to people who will immediately end our relationship once I tell them. However, I also feel guilty about being so negative towards these people. If I ghost them, then I never give the chance to demonstrate that they are not transphobic. It doesn’t seem fair. I also feel bad about ending relationships that have lasted for 5+ years by just disappearing, like I owe these people more than that. The same extends to my family. It feels wrong to break off relationships like this without explanation, but at the same time, what is the point of coming out if I know they will only react poorly.
I am currently enamored with the idea of just never coming out. Theoretically, I could just never socially transition. I could continue presenting as a man to the world while transitioning medically and perhaps privately. It would not be much different than what I am doing right now. I like this idea because it solves almost all of the issues of transitioning and coming out. You don’t need to worry about discrimination if no one ever knows you are trans. You don’t need to lose friendships or family because of it. Unfortunately, I just don’t know if it is possible. The changes from HRT could become to evident to hide or dismiss with weight gain. And perhaps even worse, it means I could never live authentically. I would have to deceive everyone I come into contact with, forever. I don’t know if those kinds of negatives are worth the few positives.
Why can’t being transgender ever just be simple?