One of the hardest thing you’ll ever do!

| Sep 12, 2016
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Coming out!

That is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It’s one of the hardest things all LGBTQIA people will ever do. It’s fraught with emotions, fear, uncertainty and much, much more. We all have our experiences and most have horror stories also. I’ve thought more about it in the last few weeks than I have in a long time. What prompted my remembrances is a book by Timothy Kurek, The Cross in the Closet. I was intrigued by him after he presented a TEDx Talk. He, a straight male, as an experiment in walking in the shoes of others, came out as a gay man in a very conservative Christian community and talks about how he was treated when he did. The TEDx Talk is 18:11 long and well worth the time and so is his book.

What he experienced and learned

His experiences can and have filled a book. He discovered how easy it was for former friends to ignore and isolate him. Anger filled the hearts of many whom he thought loved him. Sadness, depression and fear was always close at hand. Even though his “experiment” was only going to last a year, he discovered what many of us will experience for a lifetime and cannot quit.

It’s easier coming out as gay

A few years ago, I made this very statement to a dear friend, who happens to be, among other things, gay. Bob and I have known each other for a long time and find it easy to say even the most absurd things to each other. My premise was on the day he came out and walked to the mailbox, the neighborhood didn’t stop and yell, “OMG, Bob’s gay!” The day I came out and walked to the mailbox, the neighbors did say, “Did you see ‘old what’s his name’ in the dress?” We argued for a while, like good friends with nothing to hide, will do. We ended by agreeing it is extremely difficult and we both have similar and unique challenges.

Could someone pretend to be Trans*?

These thoughts went to their logical conclusion; could someone pretend to be Trans*? I would imagine so. I pretended to be male for a very long time. However, I don’t think a true experience could be had without many of the things we Trans* people endure: sitting on a therapist’s couch, hormone therapy, hair removal, a couple of clothing and shoe purges, trying to find clothes that fit, the repercussions of coming out to family, loved ones, friends, associates, employers and the many more you have to face. Throw in name change, Department of Motor Vehicles, Social Security and all of the legal hoops that need to be jumped through. Could you have an “experiment” to see what it’s like to come out Trans*? I’m sure, but I don’t think the experimenter would invest all of the time, procedures, changes and experiences to get the real picture.

It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do!

I’ve learned much from reading Timothy Kurek’s book and watching his TEDx Talk. He gives insight in the Gay Community I will never know and much I never imagined. The most important thing I’ve learned is that it’s difficult for all members of the LGBTQIA community and no one has it easier than the other. It’s hard to come out, no matter who you are. We share common and unique experiences. Hopefully, we learn from each other and also share what we know with those people not in our community.


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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Opinion

CateOMalley

About the Author ()

I am Cate, a mature transgender woman. I am a writer, blogger, parent, grandparent, sailor, activist and happy. I am a widow, and live with my yorkiepoo, Belle. I love music, reading, cooking, outdoors, DIY, theater, antiquing and flea markets, home brewing, and seeing what is around the bend in the road or over the horizon. I own the MatureTransgender.com website. It is an outreach, support and resource for mature trans* people and especially for those who, like me, came out after fifty.

Comments (1)

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  1. Emily Emily says:

    Great article! I have often thought about the similarities and the differences between coming out as gay vs trans*. One thing I know is that, for me coming out has been the best thing that has happened to me in many, many years. My only real regret is that I waited so long. That fear of what others would think, the internalised stigma so many of us older women grew up with, the fear of lost relationships, all this and more keep me in the closet for decades. When I finally opened the door it really was just intended to be a crack. But that crack let the light into the darkness and it was a matter of months before I could no longer live in shadow. There have been some costs, my eldest daughter has cut off all contact unless I reverse my decision and detransition, this is something I cannot, will not, do. For the first time in my life I know contentment. It is as though all the years before I was living in black and white and now life is in colour. Thanks also for mentioning your own site, as a 60 year old trans woman I look forward to exploring it.