Preparing to Come-out
One of the major steps a transsexual goes through in preparing her or
his new life, in the target gender is telling family members, relatives,
friends, employers, coworkers, and anyone else who has a need to know. How
one approaches this task can make the step easier to take. On this web
page, I shall give some thoughts to making the step easier.
The time has come to tell your family and you need to tell them within the very near future. Maybe the changes that are occurring to you physically or emotionally are starting to show. Or, maybe you are ready for another step but that step makes it necessary for others to know. Whatever the need, the task of telling your family must occur.
Let’s start with the obvious scenario. You call a meeting with all the members of your family present. They are sitting in the living room or around the dining room table and you are standing or sitting, preparing to make the great revelation. The moment arrives. You have their undivided attention. You scan your crib notes. Everyone is waiting for you to make the announcement. You look around at their faces, staring at you. Your nerves cannot get any worse, or so you hope. You stumble out the first part of what you are going to say. You might make a fair start at your come-out speech, but then it happens. You freeze. Words desert you. The rest of your family are wondering why you have stopped. Try as you might, you cannot get anymore of your speech out between the downpour of tears. Your carefully laid plans collapse. You cannot go on. But you know that, since you have started, you cannot stop now. What do you do?
That was not a pretty sight, was it? Sorry, it’s part of being human. You are probably asking yourself, "How can I prevent the freeze-up?" or "How do I get my message out without croaking?"
The next obvious scenario is videotaping or tape recording your come-out speech. Then you could call the family together to hear your tape or watch your video. You would not be plagued by choking or by tearful emotions. So, you sit down, with the equipment prepared to record your grand words. You push the record button and start into your speech. As you are recording your speech, you mind drifts to thoughts of how the family might respond to the revelations. The tears well up. Your throat betrays you. You need to break for a while to regain your composure. You stop the recorder. After a suitable rest period, maybe a few minutes, hours, days, or weeks, you sit down to record some more of your speech. You start off okay but the tears and the lump in the throat return. You stop again. Come back later. Eventually, you manage to record all of your come-out speech. You rewind the tape and push the play button. Listening intently to your recording, you realize that the stops and starts are overly distracting from your speech. Do you re-record the tape? Or, do you proceed to call the family meeting and play the annoyingly distracting tape?
The problem with the last scenario’s technique is that, although you have removed the family from your speech making period, your thoughts are reeling, pondering how your family will interpret what you are saying. The scenario is better, but far from easy enough to be happy with. There must be a better way to get your message across. The message must be received, but how do you get it over clearly to your audience?
The direct speech-giving has the problem of emotions causing a freeze-up. The recorded speech-giving reduces the problem, by giving you the opportunity to record the message over a longer time and thereby allowing you to take time out to recover from the tears and emotions. However, the recording is so poor, due to the stopping and starting, that you may as well resign to finding another way to relay your message. How can you achieve the same as the recording, but without the problems of stopping and starting the recorder?
Hang on! Didn’t you write out the speech so that you could read it either directly to the family or into the recording? Since you have a set of notes to use, why not write a letter? If you choke up while writing the letter, then put the letter away, take a rest, and come back to the letter when you are ready to write some more. Once you have a letter written, you can review the letter and make edits to make it sound better. Once you have your letter in sufficient good shape, then you need only make a copy for each member of your family. Then, do you call the family?
Would it not be good if someone in your family members already knew? That way, he or she could be at the main family meeting as your emotional support person.
In my case, I staged the come-out to my family over a period of a month. First, I came-out, through a letter, to my brother and his wife. I gave them two weeks to "digest" the revelation. Then, my brother and I visited our sister. While our sister was reading her copy of the letter, my brother was there as an emotional support person to both our sister and me. Then, two weeks later, my brother and sister joined me at our father’s home. This time, I did a verbal come-out (no letter) to Dad. I was able to do the verbal come-out with my brother and sister, who both knew the news, present to provide support to either Dad or me.
One other point that I would like to make is once you have prepared a good letter, you can then tailor it to the nature of each recipient. (Using a word processor, such as Word or WordPerfect, really helps.) By the way, if you start early enough with preparing your letter, you can take your time putting the polish to your letter. I took over a year of reviewing and editing my letter to rework it into something I thought would be the best way to state my news.
If you decide to follow this path, writing a come-out letter, why not start with someone else’s come-out letter? My friends Tamara and Melody, plus myself have posted our come-out letters on the web. Feel free to use them as a starting point or as resources for your own come-out letter.
Cassie’s Come-Out Letter
Tamara’s Come-Out Letter
Melody’s Come-Out Letter
Please click here to see my list of recommended books and movies. These should provide information to assist in preparing for your come-out or to help others understand.
All you have to decide is what to do with the time
that is given to you.
From JRR Tolkien’s "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring".
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Last Updated: 22 March 2009 (site moved to new server)