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Tory Aoi

Are my parents too old for me to come out them?

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Tory Aoi

It's a question that I've been waffling around with for a while now.  They are old, and while they are in relatively good health for their respective ages (my dad is in his early 80s, my mom late 70s) I really don't know for sure how many years they actually have left.  I guess a big question on my mind is do I really want to burden them with the strain of coming out as a transgender woman to them?

 

To counterpoint that, will there be a situation that comes where I'll have no choice but to come out?  Currently my stance is that unless I feel there is an overwhelming need to tell them, I should not.  Sounds simple, and yet my thoughts keep coming back to this and I'm conflicted.

 

One thing I do know for certain, however, is that I should not hold off on my plans to move forward in my transgender journey just to wait for them to pass away so that I can avoid the issue entirely.  I know that would be doing a huge disservice to myself and I've already lost so many years just from struggling with denial and fear.  Not that I think I'm completely over those emotions, I don't want to give fuel to something that could cause a regression for me.

 

Other factors to mention, along with being old they are also quite conservative and I've seen them react negatively to these sorts of things in the past.  I think this will hurt them, it will make them angry and beyond that I don't know what it will do to them.

 

My question is, what would you do if you were in my situation?

 

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Carolyn Marie

That is such a personal thing that I don't think I should offer an opinion.  You might be doing them a favor by not telling them, but on the other hand you may someday regret not doing so.  It's a tough decision, but you know them best.

 

Carolyn Marie

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Tory Aoi

@Carolyn Marie yeah that is the conundrum.  I'm really hoping that as I continue on my journey that some answer becomes more apparent to me over time, but it's likely I just have to decide which is the least worst alternative.

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Susan R
15 hours ago, Carolyn Marie said:

It's a tough decision, but you know them best.

I read this thread last night and have been thinking about it.  What a difficult choice! Normally, I lean heavily toward full disclosure at some point when it comes to family...especially if you plan to see them periodically and keep a healthy relationship with them.  But in your situation it’s a bit more difficult.  You don’t really have the luxury of time if it’s needed to sort things out with them, to get them to some point of understanding and acceptance.  If they live close, see them very often, and feel like you can spend a little extra time to guide them along, you might be able to do this. Ultimately, you’re going to have to choose.  I don’t envy the situation.

 

Best of Luck,

Susan R🌷

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KathyLauren

I can't offer an opinion on what you should do.  But I can tell you my experience. 

 

My in-laws were in their 90s and in frail health.  My wife and I hesitated telling them about me, because they would worry one way or the other, and we figured that was one thing they didn't need to worry over.  So we didn't tell them.  But, as their health deteriorated, we realized that, sooner or later, there would be a funeral, and I could not very well refuse to attend: it would be an insult to the survivor.

 

So we told them.  They were so gracious about it!  When I went for a visit, my mother-in-law gave me a lovely gold necklace.  They tried very hard to get my name and pronouns right, only slipping up once or twice.  Given their ages, I was happy to give them a break on that! 

 

Eventually, my mother-in-law passed away.  My father-in-law called quite frequently after that, to speak to my wife.  Any time I answered the phone when he called, he made a point of addressing my by my name.  It was such a lovely gesture from a true gentleman.

 

They are both gone now, but I have fond memories of their openness and generosity towards me.

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Jackie C.

That can be a very difficult choice depending on your relationship with your parents. Here's what happened to me:

 

Egg Donor (68, Trump supporter, Veterinarian). Disowned me entirely. Said that she found my appearance disturbing. Other quotes include, "I'm not paying for his surgery," and (later) "Am I the only person that has a problem with this?" We haven't spoken in about two years now. Honestly, I think I'm better for it, but she's a terrible person. I don't know your mother, she could be a saint.

 

Father (72, Home Depot Night Shift). Said that he'd love me the same no matter what. Contact has been limited, but we didn't have a great relationship before. We have a good time when we're together, but we don't have a lot in common. Obviously we can't hang out more because that would set off the Egg Donor and I don't want him to have to get that on him. This one makes me a little sad. I find I'd like a closer relationship, but I don't see that happening so long as the Egg Donor continues to plague him.

 

Father-In-Law (90, Retired). We haven't told him. My wife and my sister-in-law both said that he's too old and wouldn't understand. I respect their wishes. This has in no way prevented me from presenting as myself in front of him. I cooked him breakfast on Father's Day last year. We get along as well as we ever did.

 

This isn't how I expected things to go. I thought going in that my egg donor would be supportive while my father might be dangerous (He has a temper). So my advice here is seriously think about what you think your parent's reactions might be. Really think about it without the rose-tinted glasses we put on when we generally think about loved ones (Hint: There were signs, I was just burying the memories deep). Then think about what you could lose if they take things badly and what happens if you don't tell them (Hint: Your breasts might be a giveaway). Sometimes being trans means taking risks and making sacrifices to be our authentic selves. You're the only one that can really decide if the potential consequences are worth the risk.

 

Best of luck sweetie!

 

Hugs!

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Jani

My parents were 82 when I told them.  My mother has remained as she always has been, loving and caring.  My dad accepted it at first but has had a harder time as time went on.  We do talk and have gone to visit them (out of state for us) and gone on family vacations too.  All in all good.  

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SallyWi

If you are transitioning I would suggest coming out because at some point they will notice.  You want the ball to be in your court, so plan well.  Sometimes coming out will reduce your anxiety because once it is done, it is done .

 

I came out to my parents, very similar to what you describe.  It took me 6 months to do it.  I had had a very difficult relationship with them, cut off contact for years and was attempting to reconnect when I went through divorce.  They did not take that well and so when I told them about me a year later , I expected them to bail.  They surprised me. They said they don't understand, but knew something was bothering me my whole life and they supported me. Dad asked if he could tell the rest of the family.  I said yes because it would save me coming out multiple times .  He emailed the entire family tree, close family friends and all. I wasn't ready for that, but in the end it was the best idea because my father is respected in the family and he broadcast that they supported me.  So all relatives have been good to me and the ones who didn't support me have not contacted me.  It all depends on your situation, I know someone who did not come out to family and they have been leading a very stressful and troubled relationship with their family members.  You should do what is best for your sanity in my opinion.  All the best. 

 

...to add.  My Mom has had a difficult time, refuses to put a lot of effort in to it, but also is not outright abusive most of the time.  She thinks it is a choice.  ...less education on her side of the family tree .  Dad is university educated and more open minded .

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Tory Aoi
23 hours ago, SallyWi said:

If you are transitioning I would suggest coming out because at some point they will notice.  You want the ball to be in your court, so plan well.  Sometimes coming out will reduce your anxiety because once it is done, it is done .

 

I've certainly thought about these things and I agree.  And who knows, perhaps they could actually surprise me.  They may already know something, but I"m not sure if it is helpful.

 

I should perhaps give some context, things I plan on talking about in more detail in my diary blog, but when I was in college I came out to my girlfriend who I was living with at the time.  Long story short, things didn't work out between the two of us and I was forced to live with my parents again.  I had a small cache of clothes that I was keeping in my dresser and private.  My mom for some reason went into my room while I was away at classes and found clothes and then threw them out.  She did confront me about them, and feeling trapped as I was I just simply said "oh yeah, that was just a phase I went through but that's over, pay it no mind!"  That began a very long spiral into the abyss of denial.

 

Fast-forward to now, I rarely make time to see my parents except perhaps 2 or 3 times within the year.  I distance myself from them because of how they make me feel, and I think it confuses them both because they don't know why.  My mom often says at the end of our phone conversations that she loves me, and that generates even more awkward feelings and conflict within me.  My dad is classically stoic and it is rare if not almost unheard of for him to call people on the phone, so I am not sure exactly what he thinks or feels.

 

I suppose, the more I think through it, if I want to resolve these anxieties and move forward, the best thing for me to do is to tell them.  Not if, but when.  They will either accept me or not, but at least I am in a good point in my life where I don't feel like they can hold my life hostage if I start telling them things they don't want to hear.  I feel what it comes down to is if my parents sincerely want a better relationship with me, then that is a challenge they'll need to work with me on.  It certainly won't happen right now, not with the current pandemic crisis, but maybe sometime soon after that.

 

How will be another matter.  I've always envisioned that if I tell them, it should not be in a letter.  Maybe it's easier in some ways to just shoot that off and hide under a rock until whatever storm it produces blows over, but I'd be suffering through so much anxiety during that time.  I do have a letter written, probably needs some revision, but I don't plan on sending it to them.  I'd rather read it to them so I can make sure I have said all that I need to say and not let the emotions hinder that too much.

 

It is scary, though.  Maybe with the right amount of time and preparation, I can overcome that fear and do what I must.

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Jackie C.
14 hours ago, Tory Aoi said:

It is scary, though.  Maybe with the right amount of time and preparation, I can overcome that fear and do what I must.

 

Yes. Yes it is. However, is it scarier than not living as your authentic self?

 

Hugs!

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TammyAnne

Just as an aside. My parents are both deceased.

So I will never be able to have this conversation with them.

TA

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BrandiBri

My parents both died without knowing that they had two daughters, not one of each. My sister is older than me and while I wasn't sure whether to tell her, I decided that since, as was mentioned, they were bound to notice, especially since we only see each other maybe twice a year. She did not take it well and we don't talk about it at all, but I do not regret telling her because it would have haunted me not to have told her.

That said, I hope all goes well with your circumstance and that you stay strong. Transitioning has a lot of bumps and bruises, but living as your real self outweighs all the negatives. btw, HRT is a real roller coaster ride!

 

Hugs, Brandi

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ShawnaLeigh
On 3/23/2020 at 9:57 PM, Tory Aoi said:

My question is, what would you do if you were in my situation?

I recently came out at age 52.  My entire family took it very well to super supportive.  
Accept my mother.  She said I had killed her son.  Now since then she has been ok but not accepting it still.  “Not in 1000 years will I ever see you as a women”. Now this being said my mother and I have always had a strained relationship so please don’t read into it.  To me I’m good either way.  
Now I didn’t tell you this to discourage you but you know your folks better then we do.  It sounds like you kind of know their reactions so I say take it really slow and just be honest.  If they take I badly then just deal with the fall out.  You are who you are and have every right to be happy too.  
I did not think my mother would take this stance nor did my sister who has had hundreds of talks with her.  It’s sad she is missing out on a wonderful daughter that pretty similar to her son.  

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Patti Anne

My parents are long gone, but I know how they would react if they were alive. My mom would struggle with it and eventually be accepting. My dad would probably disown me. But people are unpredictable, so who knows? 

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Ms Maddie

I had similiar concerns about telling my parents.  We have not been particularly close, compared to others family relationships I have observed.

 

So I figured, why bother them with it?


I visited them last Sept and communicated that i had in fact changed my name legally.  (I had for several years told her that I was living under a different name, a long story...)

 

Sometime after I told her about the court change, my mom suddenly asked if I was on hormones.  I did not lie to her, and she did not want to know any more.

I asked her not to tell my father,  as this and the name change would hurt and upset him, but she went right there, and he was indeed very hurt and upset.

 

It's hard on them because times have changed and their reactions to me as a child might be considered more harsh and wrong now.  There is a lot of denial and false memories on all sides.  They now make it more clear than ever to refer to me as "him" and by my birth name, not even using nicknames that they called me since childhood.  They never had any photos of me up in their house, nor have they ever visited me, or attended any of my life events, so not alot really changed by this unintentional "coming out".  As usual, we speak on the phone when I call them, if they answer my new # which they still do not recognize.  If I do not call, months can go by without contact.  Due to the current pandemic, I've been calling them every week.

I did not tell them to hurt them, and in fact tried to spare my father in particular.

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Tory Aoi

Yesterday I had something odd happen.  So I decided to at least make a post on my Facebook profile, not a coming out post BTW but just a general "hello, been a long time, hope everyone is doing OK in this crisis, chat with me if you miss talking with me" type of post.  And my oldest brother sends me a message saying that my mom isn't doing so well these days, having memory issues and that my dad said to him something about how she can't be left alone right now.  The weight of this put me to tears thinking about what it all meant, and that if that's how it would be with her then it doesn't matter what I say to her and nothing can ever change for her at this point.  The thought of that was very devastating to me.

 

So I decided to call my dad directly to talk to him, as my brother suggested I do, and while he was glad to hear from me last night he said they were doing just fine and as was typical for him wanted to know if I wanted to talk to mom right now like nothing was wrong.  W...T....F?!? Ok so I talked a little to my mom and I did see the memory issues creeping up, but it seemed pretty similar to what I experienced with her last time I talked.  They were both glad to have heard from me, but I really didn't want to linger talking with them much longer,, it just felt too awkward.

 

So now I feel like much of my conviction that I've been building up just got torn down and I'm wrestling with a whole other set of questions and issues not even necessarily related to me coming out.  I'm not liking this emotional roller coaster so could I get off now and get a refund please?  Seriously! 😠

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BrandiBri

I 'm sorry to hear about you mother. I can understand how that complicates things for you, but unfortunately, imho, you are stuck on this roller coaster ride for the rest of your life. Yes I suppose that you can get off, but would that make things better? I would think that it would make the dysphoria far worse than it was before. I know that it would be devastating to me if I were to try to go back.

 

I can only offer my hope that things work out for you as you continue on on this bumpy ride.

 

Hugs,

Brandi

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Jackie C.

I'm sorry Tory, I went through that with my grandfather and it was absolutely heartbreaking.

 

Big hugs sweetie!

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Tory Aoi
55 minutes ago, BrandiBri said:

I can understand how that complicates things for you, but unfortunately, imho, you are stuck on this roller coaster ride for the rest of your life. Yes I suppose that you can get off, but would that make things better?

 

You're right, I can't.  That's how life is so I just have to cope as best as I can.  Thank you.

 

51 minutes ago, Jackie C. said:

I'm sorry Tory, I went through that with my grandfather and it was absolutely heartbreaking.

 

Big hugs sweetie!

 

Thanks for the kind words.  I really needed that.

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KymmieL

I am the same boat with my mom. I know my father wouldn't  accept it at all. But he passed in 2006. My mom is 84. She is in fairly good health. But I don't want to rock said boat. 

 

Kymmie. 

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