Growing up, some people discover that their gender doesn’t correspond with their biological sex. While not all people come out, due to many factors such as the stigma, more and more people are coming out as trans* as more and more people are learning about trans* people. As more and more people are coming out, their friends and relatives are given a chance to understand them so the relationship between the two – more people coming out and more people understanding – are neatly intertwined. More people are also coming out because there is more support and help for trans* people.
As with coming out as lesbian, gay and bi people, trans* people also come out to varying degrees and that while there is advice on coming out there is no perfect way as it is up to each individual to come out when they are ready. Rushing it is a bad idea and you may want to discuss this with a friend or someone you’re close to first.
There are many ways in which people express their gender identity which is exemplified by all the sub-categories of transgender which ranges from cross-dressers to transsexuals as well as those who categorise themselves outside of the gender binary (male and female).
One of the first steps of “coming out” to yourself might include trying to find a way of dressing, talking and behaving to find something you feel comfortable with.
The trans* banner also includes those who are questioning their gender identity, for those and other trans* people you should be able to ask your GP for advice and may be able to get advice from a gender specialist.
As well as the usual things to consider when coming out, you should also be aware that transitioning is a lengthy process and that the results from hormones (Hormone Replacement Therapy) and surgery may not entirely suit the image or feel you have in mind.
As has been mentioned, coming out to friends is often easier than coming out to family because your family has known you the longest. Remember that, whoever you tell, they will only now be seeing you as you’ve seen yourself for a while and that it will take them time to understand this part of your identity as it has for you. Hopefully with reassurance you’ll be able to comfort them and inform them of this part of your identity.
Coming out to partners may also be difficult because of the fear of rejection. With your current partner, if you intend to transition while with them you should inform them of your decision. Many partners are supportive of transitioning and others just need time. If they aren’t happy with your transitioning and aren’t willing to understand your decision, then it may be wise to reassess your relationship as they may feel the same way down the line as you’re transitioning.
For those who are thinking about dating, it may be worthwhile considering when to tell the prospective partner that you are transitioning. Try to think about how they might feel if they find out without you knowing some time later on. If you already living in your desired gender role and consider yourself to have been fully transitioned you should also consider how a prospective partner would react to finding about this.
Many trans* people have happy and long relationships. It takes the same effort, determination and support as any other relationship.
Coming out at work may also be tricky, and while many trans* people don’t feel the need to come out, the same care and consideration needs to be taken if you wish to come out at work. It is against the law to face any discrimination based on your trans* identity and so you should feel comfortable with whatever decision you make about coming out. Work places must also allow you transition while you are there (e.g. provide uniform changes if needs be).