Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Coming out - when is enough enough?

The 'coming out' journey continues.  I don't wish to limit myself and to force myself into doing something because I have blogged about it, but I'm getting to a saturation point.  The number of people who know my secret has reached probably 40-50 people I really trust.  I don't mean to blasé but I'm nearly at the point where I'm thinking that everyone I who I wanted to know, knows.  I am also starting to wonder, based on the response I’ve had to date about whether I would mind if it came out more broadly now.  I read Alice's blog regularly and she has recently taken the move to tell her Facebook friends about herself.  Brave decision?  Probably, but part of me wonders if there is an inevitability to it.  And most of you will be acutely aware of the crushing weight of keeping secret something you don't think of as a negative anymore.  You start to wonder whether the crush is worth it?

If I'm honest, the people who don't know about me, don't know for one of two reasons.  The first is where it might affect my professional standing and by extension my chances of getting work.  The second is that in my limited ability to judge these things, there is a danger that it might lead to my kids being told.

The first is a practical one.  I'm self employed.  The people I work for may well be ok with it, or they may hate and feel uncomfortable with it.  In most cases, I don't know either way and I'm not yet ready to take the risk of finding out.  I'm not on the route to transition currently, so them knowing adds nothing except risking my livelihood.  If I decide to transition, then it doesn't matter - they would need to know.  As I'm highly highly unlikely currently to turn up to work for my clients in Rhiannon mode, they are better off in the dark.

The second is simple.  I really don't want my kids to find out before I think they are ready to cope with it.  That's a personal judgement I guess, maybe a better way of saying it is that I don't want them to know until they HAVE to cope with it.  Again, I'm not likely to start dressing in obvious girl mode with them around, so why is it necessary?

The thing that you can't control is what people do with the secret you place into their hands.  So far, so good.  But the more who find out, the more chance there is to lose control.  Nothing new, I've blogged on this before, but it is heightened by the fact that half a dozen people recently have passed on my secret when they've been told.  Mostly that is to other trustworthy people, but the effect on me is that I move inch by inch towards the mass inadvertent outing I have always feared.  But strangely no longer dread.

All this sounds very matter of fact.  Like its an operational exercise and to a degree it has been.  But I’m no longer ashamed of feeling like a girl and not being open about it, to a degree makes me feel like I still am embarrassed.  In some ways knowing that there is an inevitability to it being public knowledge makes me think, ‘just get on with it.’  Don’t worry, I’m not going to act rashly, but it all makes you wonder...

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Cathartic TED talks...

Normal blogging service will resume soon, but I saw this a couple of days ago and its been gnawing ever since.  It really is worth watching.

It is the 'Most Beautiful Way to Stop a Bully I've Ever Seen':

Friday, 5 April 2013


This is a really short blog that is more of a marker for me in my Rhiannon journey.  I have been working hard on improving my make up skills, developing my look, undergoing painful waxing etc so that I can see what I want to see in the mirror.  So I can look at myself and be truly  happy for the first time ever.

Earlier this week, I was looking at a photo of me that I'd taken of myself and apart from slightly flushed cheeks (I was next to the radiator), I felt the start of feeling happy with myself.

I'm not suggesting I'm an oil painting (yet), but I was so overjoyed at just how much progress I'm making.   To boot, I've been really working hard on dieting and weight loss over the last week - I'm determined to get my weight down for lots of reasons.  So when I got on the scales and they said I was half a stone lighter, I was a very happy bunny.  And I resisted having a biscuit to celebrate!

Verdict: still a long way to go, but today, I'm smiling. :o)

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Do we pick them well, or is the ground fallow already? Where is the line?

Over the weekend, I told an old school friend (its 20 years since school, not that she’s old, because she isn’t) about Rhiannon.  True to form, she was absolutely amazing in her response.  After the ‘are you pulling my leg question,’ she quickly took it in her stride, said I look fab and that she wouldn’t have recognised me.  When I was surprised at how ok she was with it, she made an interesting comment along the lines of: its 2013, why would I be bothered.

Clearly from the newspapers, certain ones in particular, there are some people who think its 1813, not 2013.  But its got me wondering.   I’ve told a fair few people about me now and they have all been very receptive and kind when I have delivered the message.  Up until now, I’ve been putting it down to the fact that I am good at choosing people to tell, that I have an instinct (self preservation?) for it, if you like.  But I am starting to wonder whether actually, the reality is that actually most people, these days, are just actually not bothered any more.  If you are trans, you are, its no biggie?

Reading this, I think that this is probably the case really.  But I have in mind a test.   A fair chunk of the people I have told have been either women who are quite open minded already or are men who are my age or younger (I’m 38).  Tonight, I’m meeting a older man who I used to work with, who I haven’t seen for a while. I know that the subject is very likely to come up.  I’m not sure where he stands on such issues, but I’m interested to see how he responds on the basis that he is outside of my ‘norm’ group.  He is a great chap, so I’m sure it’ll be ok, but it’ll be interesting.

Maybe this isn't the question I need to ask anyway.  Of course people are more responsive in general now, especially as they think, what harm can that news be to me.  If anything, its an interesting conversation.  Instead what I maybe need to ask is where is the line that changes open minded people into being more reserved?  Is there a point where general societal positivity reaches its limit?  Is it when they see some of my photos?  In the group of people who know about me, some draw the line there and don't want to see them.  Or maybe its meeting me in private when I’m dressed.  Is the line there?  I have noticed that when I tell people, some offer to go out with me when I'm presenting as Rhiannon.  To me, those are the bravest, but even some in that group avoid me afterwards. I feel that maybe their spur of the moment offer, once considered, is where they found their line.  Everyone must have a line somewhere?  Or have they?  I have found two people who seem to genuinely seem to have no line and go beyond the pail compared to others.  In fact, they are the people who push my line forward rather than the other way around.  They cause me to be brave.

If people, in general, are open minded and liberal about this, why is it that in a crowded room when I’m dressed, I think that all eyes are on me?  I know part of it is that I'm insecure, but it is probably for most people, that seeing a big fat man in a dress has already crossed their line, whatever amount of effort I've put into looking my best.  Maybe society is ready for so much, but in the future, hopefully, will be ready for even more.  But not quite yet...?