Coming out is never an easy task. And it never gets easier as you tell more people. But sometimes things go better than expected.
At first of course, I had to figure it out for myself. I always knew there was something different about me growing up. That I didn’t fit where the world wanted to put me. Around 11 I knew the term for it, and my heart leapt at the possibility. But no! I didn’t want to be even further ostracized; didn’t want to be bullied and harassed and shamed. I didn’t want my parents to hate me. Inevitably, I even managed to hide the truth from myself. Everything became sort of gray. I was happy, but moved through life like driftwood.
Coming out to myself took a long time. What really helped was being here in the FFXIV community. When I started my Twitter account, I’d claim it didn’t matter what people called me. A lot of people, including ol’ Grandpa Saga, used feminine pronouns for me. Some people in my Free Company were genuinely surprised by my voice when they first got onto TeamSpeak, hearing radically different than what they expected.
Eventually things just clicked. I remember driving on the way to work, stopped at a red light, I said the words to myself. I told myself what I am, and I don’t think I’ve cried harder since. Tears of relief, of joy, of both pure bliss and harrowing fear. What now?
To My Heart
Coming out to Nikki was the next logical step. I’d told her before that I used to feel that way, but had over time figured I could just be myself and that’d be fine enough. Hooooh deary. This was a very emotional period for us both, in trying to figure things out and what they meant for ourselves and for us. I made it a clear point that each step taken, any decision made, would involve both of us. We still never did find that therapist.
Over time, we’ve come a very long way. We’re still going strong together and I want to improve that each day, and do my best to see us both as happy and healthy as can be. She’s such an amazing, wonderful woman and I’m proud to be by her side and supporting her however I can. She’s going to be starting LPN school next year and that’s definitely a big focus. And hey… if she becomes an RN someday doesn’t that mean I can retire and be an adorable housewife?
I kid, I kid I kid. I’ll keep on working! ?
To my Mom
Between my parents, while growing up my Mom was always the more progressive and liberal one. And by that I mean she wasn’t the pure definition of bigotry, fire and brimstone religious authority, and a general dislike for others. I never exactly had the greatest memories of my Dad growing up! Telling him was absolutely out of the question, I figured.
One day my Mom invited me to lunch with her at Chik-Fil-A. Imagine coming out over Jesus Chicken? That’s pretty surreal. I was shaking hard, in my hands and my voice. At first, my Mom thought I was gay. “Not… the way you think…?” I told her. She wound up being alright over it, and made a few lighthearted jokes, confirmed my name, asked if I wanted help learning makeup and such.
My Mom’s been really supportive throughout, even if she couldn’t quite piece any clues together from growing up. And even if she’d come to me with all of her questions, including, “will you get like, a period? Will you bleed from down there?” Oiiiiii Mom please. One thing she noted was that my Dad had always wanted a little girl before I was born, since he’d already had a son. I didn’t believe her.
To Our Friends
Coming out to our raid team at the time was probably the most anti-climatic event ever. I was expecting at least a few hard questions or something. Nope! They were like, “Oh, neat thanks for telling us. How’s your weekly tomes coming along?” Ryan and a few others did ask for name and such to make me feel right at home, which was a fantastic step in normalizing everything for me.
And coming out to Twitter… I mean honestly, this is FFXIV. It’s no doubt harder to not know a trans person here. I received a lot of encouragement and support, and still do. I hope that as I share tidbits of my own experiences here and there, I can give a shard of that support I gained towards another who needs it as well.
To Family and Officemates
Frankly, my external family doesn’t need to know. One of my Aunts is convinced that her children will someday rule the world. Her son didn’t want to move out and have responsibilities, so she bought a new house and gave him their old family home. She just knew her daughter would end up popular on broadway and find a nice man to settle down with. Instead, she’s a successful artist and seemed quite happy with her girlfriend last I knew.
There are only two relatives I’d’ve cared to know, and one of them died last year. The other is a career truck driver and I barely hear of him. The Aunt is too highly competitive and finds success only in continuing the family lineage. And the whole other side of the family detests me and would rather have me cut off so… yeah they don’t need to know either. And as for my officemates, even though things have drastically improved around here it still feels on a “need to know” basis and they don’t need to know.
To Nikki’s Family and Officemates
Some degree of heading separation is handy! Anyway, we tend to interact with Nikki’s family and her friends from the office a whole lot more than mine. So telling some of them was pretty important, as eventually they’d figure something was up. One of our friends came out to us as bi, and it seemed she had the same gut instinct I normally do: that it’d be this big shocking news.
Nah, we thanked her for telling us and reinforced how important it was. Just we also let her know, this is normal. Liking who you like, however you like, is normal… as long as there’s adult consent between all parties involved of course. After that we went to a balloon festival with another friend, this being my first uh… girl’s roadtrip? I guess. I told her as we all waited for the hot air balloons to fill.
After that, the flood gates kind of opened up. I’d come home and learn that someone else knew now. While this was fine and all, I did at least want to know prior so I could keep all my pages correct! The one person we forgot to tell along the way was apparently Nikki’s Uncle, who found out probably by seeing Nikki’s Aunt’s facebook feed after I came out there. Given how tightly locked down I have it all, that’s really the only logical assumption. I still don’t know if we’ve heard from him since, cause he feels like we couldn’t trust him.
To my Dad
I’d been thinking about this a lot for several months. The trans care manager at Planned Parenthood let us know that a strong support network was crucial. I let her know I had that in Nikki and our friends both offline and in XIV, and my Mom. When she asked about my Dad… yeah. I knew that couldn’t happen. She mentioned, and Nikki agreed, that telling him eventually was going to be important. Regardless of the result, he some day had to know. I feared that day more than any other.
After coming out on Facebook, my Mom freaked out. She wondered who could read it, if anyone could since “it was on her page”. I know she’s not technologically savvy, but not trusting the knowledge of her daughter who has a degree in this sort of thing hurt a bit. Seems like her biggest concern is really on others finding out and judging, and maybe judging her too? The jury is still out on that one.
I calmed her down a bit and after hanging up, realized the biggest key here: I needed to tell my Dad. Good or bad, he needed to know. I needed that burden lifted, my Mom needed someone to confide in… it was time. On that Monday, thank goodness for a three day weekend, I went over to their house. Mom had left “grocery shopping”. Nikki was at work. Both texted me asking to let me know how it went. My Dad and I sat down on opposite sides of the living room, literally showing the distance we had generated over the years.
“There’s nothing you can tell me that would make me think any less of you.” He said. Yeah, right. I’m sure a lot of kids have heard that. So… I ripped the bandaid, and just let him know. “Oh. Yeah, so?” What? “Is that all?” What? I… hold up huh?!
He went onto tell me that while he knew there were parents who threw their kids away over this, he couldn’t imagine doing so. That he’d always figured this was the case, that he’d had his suspicions but didn’t bother confirming because it was a private matter. Instead of being direct, he had been watching trans information shows and reading things online to learn everything he could. Just in case I was, and if I ever told him. I was beyond words, but still managed to eek out a few in texts to my Mom and to Nikki.
Religion wise, he says his belief is that the original intent was man and woman. But by eating the fruit, ‘the door to all possibilities was opened’, and he believed God had accounted for all of these. That your gender, your identity, your sexuality–these are all characteristics of what you are, like the color of your hair. And that none of that comes between you and your faith, whatever it may be. This was a drastic turn from the Fire and Brimstone Dad I grew up with. Apparently this was the answer he had come to in his heart while learning more on how he could help support me.
Finally, while Mom was coming back to their house, he confirmed for me without me asking that he had, in fact, always wanted a daughter. We both joked a bit that I can’t go being a little girl at thirty, but this was still the first time both of us felt any real connection together for more time than I can figure.
Over the past week, my Mom and Dad have been going over scrapbooks together. Pointing out events of me growing up and realizing the obvious signs together. Coming closer together than ever before. And my Dad’s even been texting me more than the simplest of necessities, which has been super nice.
I always loved those comics, where the adult version of yourself would go back and tell the child self that it’s gonna be okay. Never could I have imagined that it’d all be okay for me, too. That I’d eventually want to write my own letter to my past self, telling her how great life was going to be. That the gray hues would be dazzling colors, that her parents would find love for each other again and see her for who she is: their daughter.
There’s no doubt, I know how fortunate I am in all of this. Not everyone gets to be this lucky, not everyone has an easy experience with family. And I’ve got my own fair share of concerns, worries, and issues. Nothing is perfect but… it’s still pretty daggone great. And I hope y’all know that at least those of us here are happy to know you and be a small part of your life too.