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...

3 comments:

  1. If only one could be certain in every case what the reaction would be...

    I agree that caution is justified, but sometime, somewhere, you will be accidentally outed to a client or a family member by yourself or in company, and it's best to prepare for the fallout.

    So far as work goes, it might of course be possible to build up a parallel list of clients who know you only as Rhiannon and eventually they would be your main source of commissions. A trans friend of mine, who is co-director of a software development company, had huge qualms over telling clients about her new identity, but they didn't care two hoots - they were more worried about losing her as a service provider. Perhaps that's the thing: if you provide a unique or bespoke service, there is nothing to fear; but if you are just one of many identical and competing service providers, your position is vulnerable and if they wobble over your transition, you might lose out.

    Lucy

    In the

    ReplyDelete
  2. +1 on the not being ashamed.

    Lynn
    x

    ReplyDelete
  3. One approach is the concept that "If you are not living on the edge you are taking up too much room". There remains an element of excitement that goes with the concept of peace and affirmation that I get while out and about while dressed.

    I think that the more that the civilian population interacts with anyone on the gender spectrum the better it is for all of us. When I go out while dressed all I really am looking for is to be treated with the respect and dignity that would be normally afforded to a person of my age, stature, demeanor and comportment. I recognize that I am a very large man and that most people would not expect someone of my age and size to be anything other than a guy in a dress but I do my best to look as nice and neat as I can. Without exception people have been both curious and courteous. That is fine with me.

    I am not out to anyone who knows me other than my wife. She has asked that I not become known to anyone that knows us both and I am prepared to honor her position.
    Good luck on your journey forward.
    Pat

    ReplyDelete