The decision to come out (or indeed not to come out) and of course who you come out to is a highly personal and potentially fraught decision with a range of consequences ranging from the overwhelmingly positive to the potentially disasterous.
Nobody should ever dictate this decision to anybody else and obviously ‘outting’ someone without their express permission is a big no-no. It is also worth remembering that once you ‘ring this bell’ it cannot be ‘unrung’.
You should therefore give this decision a lot of consideration before doing anything rash. It is of course hugely liberating to no longer hide in the shadows and being true to yourself is arguably the greatest form of self actualisation. But there can be (and almost always are) some consequences. I always say you should therefore plan for the worst and hope for the best. I also think it is always a good idea to consider the other person’s, as well as your own, needs in this regard. Tailor your coming out message to the audience. How and what you tell your parents will be different to how and what you say to your friends. Ditto for work colleagues and especially employers. Be sensitive. Be empathetic. Be considerate. This will increase the chances of a positive outcome.
It would also be a good idea to get the input of other people, especially allies, who may know you and your target audience. Consider their advice, adopt the good ideas they have, but remember that ultimately this journey is yours and responsibility and accountability lies with you.
The good people at My Transgender Date recently published an article on the coming out experiences of ‘trans women and trans-oriented men’. There are some commonalities and some interesting take-aways from this. Here is a summary of the seven findings, but you should probably give the article a read.
- Finding 1: Trans women are 3 times more likely to come out than trans-oriented men
- Finding 2: Friends and mothers are favorite persons to come out to first
- Finding 3: One in ten closeted respondents declare wanting to come out to their spouse first
- Finding 4: Trans women come out at a younger age compared to trans-oriented men
- Finding 5: There are negative consequences to coming out (for some)
- Finding 6: Closeted respondents have high fears of coming out
- Finding 7: Coming out is not as bad as people expect
Good luck! Feel free to contact us should you want more advice, ideas or just want to chat about something…