With the exception of my wife, I’ve only come out to people I’ve met since I moved to Chicago. When I talk to my older friends, I haven’t found much to say when they ask, “what’s going on?” Because until recently I haven’t had the willingness to come out to them, and coming to terms with being trans is so much of what’s going on for me.
Changing that began during my recent beach vacation. One of my dearest friends, L____, vacations with us every year in May. I’ve actually known L____ longer than I’ve known my wife. I didn’t have the courage until the second to last day of our trip to tell her. Finally I realized that it would be disrespectful to my love for her if I continued to keep silent.
It went well I think. Her immediate response was, “I’m surprised, but not any more surprised than when you became Catholic.” She said she knew I was never comfortable with being male in any of the traditional ways of being male. She always thought that I was comfortable with being a male in untraditional ways, though.
I have cis woman friends who look to me as the man who gives them hope for the sex. I prove that not all men are like (fill in the blank). Honestly, I worry (in my co-dependant way) that coming out as trans is going to re-enforce male stereotypes for some of these people.
L____ is the only person in my life that’s ever described me as masculine. She brought that up in fact. She said she never meant that I was macho. She explained what she did mean, but what she said eludes me. L____ wondered how many men are not comfortable with being traditionally masculine. She imagines a lot are.
I went on to explain that I’m not an essentialist and questions of masculine or feminine is not what I'm talking about when I say I’m a trans woman. I’m describing a gender orientation. People whose gender orientation matches their assigned gender don’t ever question their gender orientation. They may question their gender expression which is different.
In other words, I imagine many males question their masculinity. However I think not many males think about having a sex change operation or constantly imagine what it would be like to have been born with a female formed body. She agreed to that.
I concluded by saying that I was telling her this because I loved her. At that point I touched her leg (she was sitting next to me). She took my hand. In my insecurity I was afraid she was taking my hand off her leg because she didn’t want me to touch her now. But and squeezed my hand and said, “I love you too.”