Coming Out | The Proud Trust

So, you’ve realised you’re trans. Your gender identity doesn’t fit what you were told you were at birth. Congratulations! Coming out to yourself is the first step on the journey.

But… What do I do next?

Make sure you remember that you are totally normal. There is nothing wrong with you because you are trans, and although it may feel like it sometimes, you aren’t going mad. You’re not even the only one! Recent studies on students suggest that around 4% of people are transgender or unsure about their gender (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24438852). Many of these people will not choose to physically transition, and many others who do just carry on with their lives without others knowing. There are loads of ways to be trans – don’t worry if you don’t fit the stereotype.

What if I want to tell someone else?

Cool! It might be a good idea to pick someone you feel confident will have a positive reaction. That way, they can support you when coming out to others. Here’s some ways that our young people have used in the past:

  • Face-to-face
  • Letter
  • Email
  • Phone call
  • Text
  • Facebook status

All these ways have different pros and cons. If it’s face-to-face or over the phone, you have the advantage of phrasing it exactly how you want based on their response, and it’s more personal. If you do it by letter, email or text, it means they can have space while reading it and to create their response. Facebook status means that everyone knows at once and don’t get the info through gossip. It also saves you the hassle of coming out more than once to all your friends. Remember that comments on it are visible though – in the past, most people have had great responses which have set the rule for everyone else seeing the status, but if you have negative responses, others will be able to see.

Will they understand what I mean?

Hopefully. Here’s some common misunderstandings just in case:

Being trans is not the same as being lesbian, gay, bi or any other sexuality. Your sexuality is who you fancy. Your gender is who you are inside your head, and how you choose to express that in your clothes etc.

You can realise you’re trans at any time. Some people know from since can first remember. Others only figure it out when they’re 60. Some probably never realise. Whatever age you’ve figured it out, we promise you it’s not uncommon and doesn’t mean you’re not trans.

Help! I’ve come out to someone and they literally just don’t have a clue what I’m on about!

The image below is quite basic but might help you to explain to them. Your gender identity is what you feel your gender is in your head. Your gender expression is how you show it in your clothes, how you walk, talk etc. Your biological sex is all about your physical body and chromosomes. Your sexual orientation is who you fancy. Every human being is somewhere different on each of these spectrums. Usually, someone is trans when their gender identity doesn’t match up with what other people expect based on their biological sex.

For example: if someone is male, society expects them to have the gender identity of a man. If they don’t, they might describe themselves as trans.

The website linked to the picture has plenty of other useful stuff on about trans issues, so you might find some other resources there for you or someone else.

Am I going to be a different person?

Generally no. This is a big worry for many people who have someone come out as trans to them. You’ll always be the same person they met/gave birth to/made friends with. Lots of trans people don’t want to use hormone treatment or have surgery, but if you do, that won’t change who you are – just like getting a piercing or tattoo doesn’t make you a different person.

The person I’ve come out to is convinced I’m having a phase or making a mistake.

Some people find it really hard to believe someone they know is trans, because even though it’s not uncommon, it’s a very taboo subject. Bear in mind that this is something you’ve probably been thinking about for a long time and so you’ve had chance to get used to the idea of being trans. The people that you tell will probably not have given it much thought so it’s likely to be a big surprise to them. Most people come round in time. If you can, spending time with them often helps them to realise you’re who you always were, just with a different identity.

“It took my mum over a year, and the change from a terrified, anxious, depressed ‘girl’ to a shy, slightly awkward, but happy man to get used to calling me her son. And I don’t think that was too shabby!” – Robin