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Easier to come out to new acquaintances than old friends


Vidanjali

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Something I've been thinking about is it seems easier to come out to new people I meet than people I've known for a long time. I actually have not come out to many people at all. But I have from time to time surprised myself at the ease with which I've been able to matter of factly state to a new person, "I'm nonbinary". It seems much more intimidating to come out to someone who's been in my life for a long time because I feel like I'll have so much explaining to do; I want coming out to be a celebration of freedom, but instead I begin to feel so guilty like I'm asking too much when considering asking for full acceptance. It's occurred to me that in my relationships I cannot enjoy the full potential for intimacy because I'm engaged in a relationship as someone who is not being themselves. I'm really sick of performing gender as I become more aware of it. I wrote an email in July to an old friend who lives out of state and came out to her. She just wrote back the other day and although there was some supportive and loving language in her reply, the comment that stuck out was, "but I've always seen you as a very feminine woman and a role model for me" (this goes on the list of things to not say when someone comes out to you as trans). Coming out therefore often comes with all sorts of footnotes explaining the tendency for someone in the closet to overcompensate and the social pressure to perform normative roles. I'd like to feel more confident in myself so that I don't feel crushed by cishet expectations. Thanks for listening. 

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personally I don't even mention it to new people, I just introduce myself using my name, but since I am changing it maybe that's just a lucky circumstance I have that you don't?  I do find it much easier to introduce myself to new people than when I try to reintroduce myself to old friends or acquaintances though.  for example I'd been seeing an aesthetician for about a year and she had met me using my deadname and I never brought myself to change it at the salon or correct her until just recently when she left to pursue another career and they assigned me to a new person.  I figured it would be much easier for someone to meet me as Kelly from the get-go rather than try to meet as deadname and then have to retrofit the new info.

 

All that said, I have found some old friends have easier times than others.  some rock it pretty seamlessly and some just have a harder time shifting gears from how they've always known you. just depends on the person.

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I agree with you on this. Since I had to go on Medicare, and changed all of my doctors. My first meeting with them and everyone who needs to know. I'm transgender, and will be asking them for help lining up my transition schedule as well as referrals.

 

Hugs,

 

Mindy🐛🏳️‍⚧️🦋

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These days, being five years full-time, I don't even bother mentioning it to new people I meet.  If they figure it out (it ain't rocket science), good for them, but I have already set the lead in not mentioning it, so most act accordingly.

 

It is a little more involved re-meeting people from my past.  I am a member of a group for pilots of the aircraft I flew in the air force.  Every now and then, I will come across someone I flew or worked with.  My favourite tactic is to say nothing.  They all knew that there weren't any female pilots back then, so when they read my dates, most can figure it out.  Occasionally if someone appears confused, I'll PM them, and explain.  The nice thing is that, within the group, my situation is pretty much common knowledge these days.  And yet it has never been mentioned in a group post.  All the reactions I get are positive.

 

Here is how my former CO responded to my PM: "Hello Kathy, your response puts my mind at ease. I could not figure out who you were. Glad to see that your life eventually turned out OK for you. Life is too short to be someone you do not wish to be. Being safe and happy are keys to enjoying life to its max."

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I don't bring it up with new new people. There's no reason to. It's not like I'm out dating people so it's non of their business. So far no one has asked me any follow-up questions but if they did I would take it as a red flag that they feel my history is more important than who I am now.

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I don't mention it to new people either... mostly. I've broken that rule twice. Once was when a friend came out as trans and I joined her in solidarity. The other was when a woman in a group I'm part of said, "I only know two trans people." Without thinking about it, I said, "Three."

Well, I also tell doctors and employers because it's legal to discriminate against me and refuse medical services where I live. It's easier if I make sure there's not going to be a problem before we proceed.

 

Hugs!

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Its always easier to tell new people you meet (if needed) because they don't have the baggage of familiarity that old friends do.  

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I have had TERRIBLE experiences with my old friends so I know what you mean. My high school friends all ignore me these days, just as an example. This is what they do even though, depending on their clique, they keep in contact with each other. I have no idea what's up with this. I also know for a fact that several people from that time in my life are unsafe to talk to about my gender. I remember pointed, unwelcome, offensive, and prejudicial remarks that I just cannot forget right now. I think the saying 'familiarity breeds contempt' has application here because if people from a certain time in our lives can be so unlike us then it's not just necessary, it's actually a blessing, to meet people who don't have a past and only have a present with us.

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I don’t mention it to new acquaintances. Old ones prove a bit more difficult because it takes time to explain. I have very few people who I consider as friends but they’ve been pretty easy. I do find that there is only a certain amount of coming out I can do before my emotional tank is drained.

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On 1/5/2022 at 11:00 AM, KathyLauren said:

"Hello Kathy, your response puts my mind at ease. I could not figure out who you were. Glad to see that your life eventually turned out OK for you. Life is too short to be someone you do not wish to be. Being safe and happy are keys to enjoying life to its max."

 

That's beautiful!

 

On 1/5/2022 at 11:15 AM, Elizabeth Star said:

...I would take it as a red flag that they feel my history is more important than who I am now.

 

Well put. Your history is history. Who you are now is obviously most relevant and important.

 

On 1/5/2022 at 1:18 PM, Jackie C. said:

Once was when a friend came out as trans and I joined her in solidarity. The other was when a woman in a group I'm part of said, "I only know two trans people." Without thinking about it, I said, "Three."

 

That was your intuition, for sure! You are a good friend and ally!

 

14 hours ago, Artpetal said:

I think the saying 'familiarity breeds contempt' has application here because if people from a certain time in our lives can be so unlike us then it's not just necessary, it's actually a blessing, to meet people who don't have a past and only have a present with us.

 

I was not previously familiar with that saying. I had to give it some thought. That is a sad consequence when it applies - that rather than growing in genuine intimacy with a relation, that closeness and experience would instead give license to carelessness and taking relations for granted, or increasingly microscopic focus on a person's perceived flaws, or identifying the person ever more strongly with some perceived enviable quality thus allowing resentment to fester. These things happen. But, I believe it is better to know the truth about people. Nonetheless, I remain fearful to come out to most people with whom I have established relationships. Thinking about it, I need to contemplate how my not being my true self in relationships may contribute to deterioration or stymying of the relationship. A lot to think about...

 

6 hours ago, Erica Gabriel said:

I do find that there is only a certain amount of coming out I can do before my emotional tank is drained.

 

I get that!!

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I see there are distinctions between coming out trans binary and coming out trans nonbinary. Or, rather coming out while transitioning, transitioning only to some small degree, having had transitioned, or not transitioning at all. (Here, by transitioning I mean in physical presentation.) I recently read something by a nonbinary person referring to their transition as a transition away from the gender associated with their sex assigned at birth, rather than a transition toward a particular target gender. This was illuminating for me because previously I thought of transitioning as a nonbinary person as rather ambiguous. So, say you are a trans woman and you are presenting as a woman. It's completely understandable that as part of your presentation you would not be apt to qualify to people that you are trans. But when someone sees me, unless their radar is attuned to being familiar with enby people, they're going to clock me as a binary gender, and most likely as female because I'm afab. Therefore, in order to be acknowledged as nonbinary, I would have to disclose that information. It's a balancing act between dysphoria and the drain on the emotional tank, as @Erica Gabriel put it. 

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Nonbinary can be tricky. I have a friend. I love them to death and they are on my list of favorite people. However, while they are NB, they present and read as female-typical to me so I'm forever tripping up my pronouns. I don't mean anything by it. I absolutely don't want to hurt them, but my brain is being tricksy because it's seeing a woman despite the fact that I know better.

I suppose it's that there aren't a lot of visual cues that you've met a NB the same way there are with meeting someone on the gender binary. People can look at me and say, "Oh, bright colors, boobs, purse. I am talking to a woman." They could look at someone who identifies as male and say, "Oh, beard, bulge, boring clothes. I'm looking at a man." In our society there isn't really a third option for quick visual short-hand to tell me that I'm looking at someone who identifies as non-binary. We should probably do something about that.

 

Hugs!

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6 hours ago, Jackie C. said:

In our society there isn't really a third option for quick visual short-hand to tell me that I'm looking at someone who identifies as non-binary. We should probably do something about that.

Well, we all wear bowler hats . . . and there's the secret handshake, of course. Wink, wink.

Davie 

DavieBowlerHat.jpg

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6 hours ago, Jackie C. said:

In our society there isn't really a third option for quick visual short-hand to tell me that I'm looking at someone who identifies as non-binary. We should probably do something about that.

Well, we all wear bowler hats . . . and there's the secret handshake, of course. Wink, wink.

Davie 

— I agree it's confusing. We've requested our own planet. Still waiting . . . .

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8 hours ago, Davie said:

Well, we all wear bowler hats . . . and there's the secret handshake, of course. Wink, wink.

Davie 

— I agree it's confusing. We've requested our own planet. Still waiting . . . .

 

It's not really fair to assume the person in the room with the best fashion sense is NB either. All my non-binary pals have AWESOME clothes, but that by itself is not proof of their gender identity.

 

Hugs!

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8 hours ago, Davie said:

I agree it's confusing. We've requested our own planet. Still waiting . . . .

Planet? Request an entire galaxy! Where’s your ambition?

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10 hours ago, Davie said:

Well, we all wear bowler hats

DavieBowlerHat.jpg

 

...and mascara on one eye...oh wait, that's an entirely different look, LOL!

image.png.3b7d741302332ef932a45aad6e1696e7.png

 

10 hours ago, Davie said:

We've requested our own planet. Still waiting . . . .

 

HA!

 

17 hours ago, Jackie C. said:

We should probably do something about that.

 

In all seriousness, I think it's greater visibility and education that we need. That way, "nonbinary" will become a normal part of people's lexicon, and those who wish to disclose their identity, or correct instances of misgendering will feel freer to do so. I long for this freedom, and yet I remain 99% closeted. I want to learn to be a better ally to myself; this will likewise make me a better ally to others.

 

1 hour ago, Erica Gabriel said:

Planet? Request an entire galaxy! Where’s your ambition?

 

Yasss, queen! 

 

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27 minutes ago, Davie said:

Knowing and loving myself completely would be a galaxy unto itself.

I'd settle for that.

— Davie

 

Amen to that.

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11 hours ago, Vidanjali said:

I think it's greater visibility and education that we need. That way, "nonbinary" will become a normal part of people's lexicon, and those who wish to disclose their identity, or correct instances of misgendering will feel freer to do so. I long for this freedom, and yet I remain 99% closeted. I want to learn to be a better ally to myself; this will likewise make me a better ally to others.

 

I have gradually come to the conclusion that, precisely because I am non-binary, and because I was AMAB and started HRT two years ago at 71 and not fifty-five years ago at 18, in typical public settings, despite feminine-leaning attire, most people will continue to assume I am male. People refer to me as "he", and I inwardly cringe.  To most of these strangers, I don't wish to disclose my identify or correct misgendering. So, to them, yes, I too remain closeted. 

 

Important exception:  when I make the acquaintance of other queer people in queer-centric settings, they do not judge me, or assume what I am.  They ask me for my preferred pronouns.  In **that** setting, I can feel most comfortable.  Also, I've had a string of good luck with medical professionals since I came out. They've reacted professionally, asked me for my preferred pronouns (they/them/their), and used them correctly.

 

So, slow but determined progress. Along this journey, I've come to embrace what I wrestled with all those years before I came out to my loved ones and trusted friends:  my non-conforming gender identity.  I truly cherish the happiness that expressing it brings.  My body is changing -- to my joy.  My emotions are heightened, my awareness and sincere interest in others is so much stronger.  My wardrobe is vastly better than the drab stuff I used to wear.  And it is these kinds of positive changes that bring me happiness, enough to endure the binary-based assumptions that I encounter.  

 

Many, many of the concerns of MTF/FTM and non-binary folks are in common. But passing isn't one of them.  We're somewhere other than at either end of the spectrum, and so the presentations we choose can confuse those cis people who assess everyone from a binary assumption.  I really agree, @Vidanjali, that education will be helpful. Right now, the culture wars are inhibiting progress, but I'd like to think that trans and non-binary rights are perhaps 25 years behind the curve of progress made with lesbian and gay rights.  

 

Onward, with determination,

 

Astrid

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Astrid said:

I truly cherish the happiness that expressing it brings. 

 

And it is these kinds of positive changes that bring me happiness, enough to endure the binary-based assumptions that I encounter.  

 

 

 

 

Thank you for these words, Astrid. This is the most important thing. I need to focus on what brings me joy and less about what others think. Much love.

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Thanks @Astrid and @Vidanjali

Great discussion. While I don't identify with every point of view you made, it helps me to think about my own situation. I almost think I should feel shame here to say being called a male doesn't bother me, and if someone used a feminine pronoun, that wouldn't bother me either. I do feel a little stuck in the middle of this quandary, but it is true for me. And true is what I'm searching for. I'm also reminded I live in the midst of change as my former self (and clothes) continue to evolve. Trying to keep an open mind as I move forward and wish mainly that judgemental-ism was not part of the choice to present. But perhaps  that's too much to ask for at this point. I can't expect the world to change over night for me, so for now I'm keeping the focus on myself. How can I accept myself best . . . and let the world accept me as it wishes? I'll work on accepting the world as it is for now . . . I can live with the wink and the nod, it's the discrimination, oppression, and violence that I won't abide by. Thanks. 

— Davie

 

 

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