How to Come out As Trans*
Coming out as trans* is different for everyone. However, some tried and true methods have been used with some amount of success by many people coming out.
- Look at your audience. For some people, it may not make sense to come out. For instance, a person under the age of 18 may have a harder time with this process due to being a minor and still being dependent on a family member, so it may be smarter to confide in a trustworthy friend or two before going to the parents. Some family members and friends may be more willing to be your allies than others: start with a brother, cousin, or a friend whom you can trust.
- Do some research. Arm yourself with knowledge in case a loved one has questions and to make your coming out methods as informed as possible. There are plenty of sources online – search YouTube for explanations or stories of other trans* people.
- Write a letter. Composing a letter to your family, friends, and loved ones can help ease the tension created by perceived rejection. Be clear on why you are transitioning and reaffirm the importance of this process. This can be used to come out to family members you rarely talk to or see. Use letters from others to get ideas on how to address your loved ones.
- Provide reading material. The literature on the trans* community may help those whose loved ones are drawn to the reading material. This can give a lot of information to a person without you having to interact with the individual a great deal. Many organizations have brochures and pamphlets full of information. Contact your local Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans* organization to ask about procuring a few to give as support material. Quite a few books have been published on the trans* community. Review a couple and pick the one that’s best for your situation.
- Sit down and talk about it. Being open and direct is a tactic that can earn many points with relatives and friends. This gives them a chance to ask questions and, while you may not always have the answers, you can be honest about your desire to transition or identify as trans*.
- Be patient. This isn’t going to all happen overnight: coming out is a long process that may take a lifetime. You can get the important people notified, but you may always be running into acquaintances and people from an earlier time in your life.
- Be confident. Knowing that you identify as trans* and may need to take action in some way, shape, form, or fashion is a position that you need to be clear on. Speak clearly and firmly, but be responsive and flexible.
- Don’t rush.
- Choose your friends wisely. Coming out to an untrustworthy friend may make the process harder than it needs to be.
- Read literature ahead of time. Marking in the margins of books or highlighting may help you collect your thoughts and show you are serious.
- Plan your discussion time accordingly so you won’t be interrupted and will have ample time for questions.
- Search for example letters to get a good idea of what one may look like. Use the letter as a framework and tailor it to your needs.
- This may cause some family and friends to not want to talk to you. Unfortunately, this is a byproduct of ignorance and resistance to change.
- This may be an ongoing process.