Coming out is different from the idea of telling everyone you meet about how you are LGBT etc.
Coming out is sort of different for transsexual and transgender people than it is for gay and lesbian people.
But as I have said about narratives all coming out stories are the same and only the details are different.
Coming out is about first and foremost coming out to yourself.
You come out the moment you say to yourself, “This is who I am, I accept myself for being who I am.”
Many LGBT/T people come out to themselves years before they ever come out to another person. Once we become self-aware we struggle with guilt and shame. We are forced to deal with superstitious believers in imaginary beings condemning our very being.
Coming to self acceptance is the hero’s journey that Joseph Campbell writes about. Coming out is something different for those of us who were obvious transkids than it is for someone who served in the military and was in a heterosexual marriage where they became a parent.
Was I coming out when I was a toddler begging for dolls and other ‘girl’s toys’?
Was getting busted at thirteen for dressing in my mother’s clothes an act of coming out?
At fifteen my parents found my collection of clippings telling the story of April Ashley. The demanded to know if I wanted to be ‘like that’. I answered, “This is what I am, isn’t it?”
Perhaps the ultimate act of coming out happened on the cusp of 1969. 1968 had been a rough year and I knew I had to take the risk or else I would explode.
I trusted my friend Morey and the other guys in my commune to be there for me.
He told me that any friend who would withdraw friendship because I was open about myself wasn’t really my friend.
Then he was blown away because I told him I was transsexual.
You see he had been prepared for me to say the word, gay, all my friends had been prepared for that.
But he hardly missed a beat and caught up a few bars on, saying, “That sort of makes sense.”
When I told people they said things like, “We were tripping when we first met you and thought you were Morey’s girlfriend.”
So perhaps that was when I first “Came Out!”
Or maybe going to the Center for Special Problems and telling the doctors there that I wanted to change sex and would like to take hormones.
We all have different stories. We all have the same stories.
Maybe “Coming Out” has been turned into this Kodak Moment instead of a lot of little acts that put us on the path to self.
I saw a bunch of comments on one Facebook page today about stealth.
Stealth just sort of happens like being post-transsexual just sort of happens.
You know you are post-transsexual when someone in early transition ask you for a surgery recommendation and you realize the best you can give them is Andrea James’s TS Road Map.
Stealth just happens too, like when you go to a Day of Remembrance and the people in transition thank you saying how nice it is to have the support of lesbians or cis-folks.
Coming out is important as a way of proclaiming self.
It marks a major turning point in life and seems so important to those first doing it.
After many years it becomes like Pride Day events. Something you have done so many times it no longer seems like something you need to do again.
Something that it is nonetheless important for each new generation to continue to do.