Saturday, 20 October 2012

Big milestones - the ultimate in ‘coming out’

Do you set resolutions at the start of the year?  This year one of my pledges was that I would finally tell my mother that I was trans.  Like most of us, these promises, set up in the celebratory glow of New Year’s optimism, are normally, to quote Mary Poppins, piecrust.  Easily made and easily broken.  Except this one.  About two weeks ago, I kept the promise to myself and did it, I told her.

It started really when she was visiting for the weekend around my birthday.  I turned 38 this year.  Yes, I know I look much older.  Its been a hard life.  I guess for 10 months I’ve been looking for the right timing to get it over and done with and had not had the opportunity.  Back in the Summer there was a window of time when we were alone together and I nearly did it.  We were watching television and one of those terrible daytime programmes, had on a very effeminate man reviewing fashion items.  He was dressed in a very feminine style and my mother remarked, with amusement, at what a weird bloke he was.  Needless to say, that made me run for the hills rather than say anything.

But back to the plot.  A few weeks ago, she had been at our house for the weekend and by the Sunday, I thought this was going to be another missed opportunity.  Except then it happened.  As you may predict, dutch courage can be very helpful sometimes.  We both had been drinking wine steadily and were in a very frank mood.  Which meant that the conversation started.  Lightly, on a different topic at the beginning.  My mum really really likes Mrs A.  They get on incredibly well, friends almost.  I made a comment about struggling somewhat in my relationship.  My mum countered, dismissing my comment as a joke.  I set my face a bit more sadly and made it clear that it was true.

And then something very weird happened.

Seeing a recognition on her face, that she knew, deep down that it was true, I said, “you know why I am so unhappy, don’t you?”  The whole world stopped turning, every part of my body stopped moving as for a split second I waited.  I urged once more, “You’ve always known haven’t you?”  She looked me in the eyes and nodded.  I have never felt such relief in my whole life.  So the whole story tumbled out and I told her absolutely everything about who I am, how I feel and how I’ve felt my whole life.

In fairness to her, I don’t think she did know everything, but she’d guessed some.  But her response was extraordinary.  She is quite simply a champion woman.  She took a lot of time to reassure me that she absolutely still loved me.  In fact, she said that she loved me even more now that I’d told her because she had felt that for my whole life, I’d been holding something back from her.  The ‘worst part’, that I won’t dwell on, was that she said that I should have told her years ago.  In looking at my photos, she told me I looked beautiful.  She said that wherever this leads me in life, she will stand by me and that she would be proud to go out alongside me however I was dressed.  We hugged a lot.

At the time, a big part of me was in shock.  In fact, one or two friends got texts and one a phone call because I needed to know if I should pinch myself.  But the next day, I wasn’t quite sure how to respond.  I did what felt like a ‘walk of shame’ into the kitchen where she was reading.  I didn't really know what to say.  We’d had wine and there had been a heat of the moment nature to the conversation.   I wondered whether she really felt like that and if she was still the same today.   I tentatively brought the subject up again and she reiterated word for word what she had already said.  Phew.

I guess that’s one big hurdle jumped.


  1. Let's hope we can both forget that word shame and move to a happier less guilty place.

    Isn't it weird that we so often incorrectly call peoples reactions to our news.


    1. Guilt is an interesting thing. It is not my predominant emotion. Extreme unhappiness about my size and an inability to see where I go from here in the years to come are more playing on my mind.

      Shame was definitely there from a "I've told my mother - OMG, what if on reflection, she hates it now" point of view. Such a relief that she hadn't changed her mind!

      I wish people would wear a sign saying, "if you are trans, feel free to tell me, I'm ok with it" Why can't people do that one simple thing for us...

  2. Wow, that is a massive hurdle indeed. If I may say, your Mum is a top lady for accepting you as you are and still loving you as (IMO) any parent should. That's really good news!

    1. Thank you Lynn, I'm really impressed with her too! :o) x

  3. Wow! Good for you! And good for your Mum too!

    A random person on the internet also felt moved enough to comment on this whole story - that is a most excellent thing. Seriously, you have my respect for jumping that hurdle and your mother has my respect for her, well, motherly response.

    For what it's worth, I am happy for you!

    1. Thank you Joanna, it does mean a lot - I'm really proud of reaction and I'm pleased (and relieved!) that my blog conveys that. Thank you so much for taking the time to read it :o) x

  4. What a gratifying story, Rhi, and well told. It's hard to imagine a better reaction from a parent. I hope this empowers you to move forward, maybe towards happiness.