B.C. on Gender: On Being "Out"

When 'In' Isn't An Option(April 21st, 1998)

When I first wrote this page two years ago, I wrote "Between you and me, I'm not really an 'out' person." Wow. It's amazing what two years can do.

These days, I've been forced to come to rather hard conclusion that I can't really be 'in' any more. Years of electrolysis and hormones have had the effect of changing my appearance to the extent that my T-ness is pretty obvious to most people who know me.

Interestingly, people who've been watching the changes over the course of the last several years have been largely oblivious of the extent to which I've changed. They may have noticed when I pierced my ears, and they may have noticed the big red swellings from my electrolysis, but they've never put all the pieces together and started to see me as female. To them, I really haven't changed much. For the most part, I've been surrounded by people like that: very nice people, and (of the ones that know) really supportive of my transnature, but they really don't see me any differently than before.

But there've been a few incidents recently that made me realize that my T-ness is pretty obvious to people who are meeting me now for the first time. First up, people that I just barely know call me "ma'am". Even if I'm wearing gender-neutral clothing, people read me as female. Secondly, I was recently visited by a friend who hasn't seen me in seven years. He was in the country on a job interview, and he popped over to my place. He didn't recognize me. I took his coat, offered him tea, and introduced him to everyone in the house, and then, suddenly, it clicked.

Thirdly, I recently changed jobs. After almost eight years with the same company, I just recently accepted a new position with a different company. For me, it was important that they know that I'm TG before I joined. I made sure that the person who hired me knew about my gender euphoria before he hired me. I also sat down with my new manager shortly after I started work, and told him that I'm transgendered. His response? "Yeah, I noticed after the first couple of meetings that we had."

So, I suspect that I tend to underestimate the extent to which I think that I'm out.

Falling Out... (October 3rd, 1997)

In the last year, I've outted myself to all of my close friends. Most I told quite intentionally. A small group of friends found out when they discovered my web page. That was interesting. This process of outting myself has only recently completed, however. On a recent Friday night, I outted myself to a good friend and co-worker; I realized at a recent party that she's one of the few friends that I have that doesn't know about the whole TG thing, and I arranged a dinner with her to correct that.

She spent the whole weekend thinking about it, and I got e-mail from her the following Tuesday telling me that she's pretty much okay with the knowledge, although she did have some questions, and she had bounced the whole notion off some of her friends.

On Wednesday, I got an e-mail from her that went something like this (I've changed all the names).

The only friend I told that actually knows you was Gary (a former co-worker), when I spoke to him on the weekend. But by Monday afternoon, Mark left a phone-mail message for me, asking about it. Then Helen called because Dawna had told her; she said her whole floor was talking about it. And Robert called because Karla told him after hearing from Mac, but they wanted to know more details.

That's a paraphrase, but pretty darn close to the original message. Zowie.

It's funny, in a sense, because I was contemplating leaking the news at work. I hadn't yet figured out how to do that, aside from a few minor gestures. I guess I don't really need to, now.

I had originally told my friend that my TGism wasn't something that I felt had to be held in strictest of confidence, but, to be frank, I never in million years expected things to take off like this. I was reading my e-mail from a customer's location today, and I couldn't stop laughing, and then I couldn't stop pacing around nervously.


What About Rejection?

Until recently, I wouldn't have considered myself an 'out' person. Turning 30 changed that; I found that I really disliked the feeling that I was always on guard, afraid to that my status as a TG would become public knowledge. So I began pulling my good friends aside to tell them.

But this was never about seeking their approval -- quite the contrary. If my friends can't deal with it, okay, their loss. Dhanu River once said:

Rejection is the way people who are unable to be your friends self-select themselves out of your social environment.

Besides, it just hasn't been an issue, because the type of people that I choose as good friends aren't the type of people who usually have a problem with my transgenderism. That pattern may not carry over into the workplace, where I've suddenly found myself outted, but, hey, I'll deal with that when it comes.

And now, I'm revealing lots of things about my particular kink on the web, for all the world to see. So I'm 'out' to you as well. If you happen to know me in real life, and I haven't told you, I'm sorry that I wasn't there to explain things. But let me know that you found your way here... If you like, you can drop me an e-mail message to bcholmes@interlog.com.

So Why This Web Page?

Last year, I received e-mail from a woman in the States who has her own counselling practice and who has transgendered clients. She found my webpage after searching in Webcrawler, and decided to drop me a note.

I am in awe that I have the opportunity to communicate something to a person in such a position. And frankly, that opportunity is important enough to me, that I'm willing to risk having a few friends or co-workers look at me oddly because they, too, have stumbled upon my web page.

Pushing my Buttons

Recently, I've taken to wearing a fairly largish transgender triangle button; I purchased the button (based on Nancy Nangeroni's TG symbol) from the IFGE, and I wear it with pride. Before taking this step, I pre-planned what I would say when people asked what it meant. My first response would be: "Are you sure you want to know?"

The first person who actually asked me about the button turned out to be in a relationship with a transperson. In a sense, I feel a great deal of elation that my act of being 'out' gave me the opportunity to provide information and friendship to a TG in the beginning stages of self-discovery.

My Friends Find My Webpage!

In the past week, I've received e-mail from three different friends who "didn't know", but who "found out" when they stumbled upon my webpage. Also, in the same time, I know of two others in that circle of friends who found it, and didn't e-mail me. I must say, it was simultaneously incredibly nerve-wracking and extremely hilarious.

Copyright © 1996, 1997. Last updated October 3rd, 1997

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