To me, Coming Out can best be described as climbing a mountain. You can see where you want to go, but the closer you get the harder it becomes. As you climb the air gets thinner, your body gets tired, your mind starts telling you it is impossible. The emotional struggle and pain of coming out is so similar. You can’t breathe, your body begins reacting to the anxiety or depression, and your mind creates reasons for you not to follow through. Once you reach the top though, and are looking out over the expanse in front of you, the views are beautiful. The views are endless. Once you come out and allow yourself to be truly open and authentic, the possibilities in front of you are endless and life altering.
Coming out is a “rite of passage” for anyone identifying as LGBTQ. I have come out in varying degrees so many times in the last 10 years I have lost count. I only come out as much as I need to, to satisfy the requirements of my audience. Some of my acquaintances only know me as a Lesbian. Some people have known me as Bisexual. Very few people know my entire story.
I believe that when we come out to someone we are giving them privilege to intimate information. This is why I only give people the information they need. The people that know my truth, that know the intimate details of my journey and experience; those are my closest friends. So, While coming out is stressful and can be difficult, we do have control over the amount of information we share. We do not have control over other peoples reactions to that information.
I remember the first time I came out to someone. It was my parents. I was 12 and had been arrested for shoplifting makeup, from a Kash N Karry… I obviously left out the cash part. My parents were furious and disappointed. As I was trying to give them an explanation my father was tearing my room apart. In a panic I let loose all the things I was feeling inside. It went horribly wrong….
Since that time I have come out to my family. I have come out to friends. I have come out to people I was dating. I have come out to coworkers. And I have come out in support groups and therapy. No experience has been the same. Some people have not taken the time to know me. Others have embraced me and become my best friends. Each one was a risk. Yet, coming out to them was a necessity. Just as coming out to you now is something I must do. I can not in good faith coach you and work with you towards becoming the most authentic you without doing so. My story, my experiences, they are the one tool I have that no one else does. They are the one thing that sets me apart from the others. My story and experiences are the gift I can give to all of you and use as a tool to help you on your journey.
At 12 years old I told my parents unequivocally that I was not a boy, that I was actually a girl. Now I am telling you that I am a Transgender Female. My name is Christina and my pronouns are she and her.
I am the Transgender person next to you in the grocery store. I am the Transgender person you work next to. I am the Transgender person you pass on your way out of the bathroom. I am the Transgender person that is right there, but you never see.
This is the first in a series of posts that will not only tell my coming out story, but will also discuss the importance and the challenges of coming out.