Coming Out–Resources for Friends and Family

agender, ally, coming out, gender fluid, genderqueer, non-binary, privilege, pronouns, transgender

TRIGGER WARNING: coming out to and educating family, people asking shitty ignorant questions that are all objectifying and stuff

 

 

So, when I first wrote coming-out letters to my parents, I was entirely upset at the idea of including resources for them, or a list of do’s and don’t’s. It was saying, OK, I’m trans, here’s how to treat me like a person. It felt degrading and undignified and I felt like my whole body screamed against it, like it was a betrayal of myself. A friend told me, “I totally get that. Also, don’t be afraid to give people the resources they need to treat you right.” As I nodded, my insides were all, “Ahhhhhhh nooooooo!” (After being more out in the wider world, though, I get what he means: not everyone is an ally-in-waiting, and there also usually no allies in waiting to correct people or come to your defense when people start talking about trans people’s genitals. My feelings and his feelings, as all feelings are, were both so legit and real.)

I was also afraid to tell them that I was angry that they assigned me female at birth without so much as asking me about it, and to tell them different things they’d done to gender me or express prejudice made my life harder. I was worried that it would mean they wouldn’t be able to hear what I was saying. But I was aching to tell them this as much as I was aching for them to understand transness on their own.

In the end, I told them all of it: I told them about my anger and I gave them resources. In the end, even though I very much support rainbowgenderpunk’s idea that just coming out–no, just existing–is enough, I spent a long time handwriting letters and decorating the envelope with glittery drawings and stickers (it’s now hanging on their wall) and making a piece of art that said, “Celebrate with me!” and had a lists of do’s and don’t’s underneath. I eased my worry about telling them about my anger by concluding with a paragraph on the reason why I was telling them all of this, including talking about my anger, was because I love them and want them close to me. Ending with love helped me a lot, because it was true and I needed that reminder.

Well, I am happy to say that as soon as they got the letter, they called me to tell me that they love me, and I bawled. There is definitely still more journeying to be had, and some of it will come as they start to digest these resources. Yesterday, I came out to a lot of my extended family, and I organized this long, disorganized list of links into something more user-friendly. (The part of me that shrank at giving resources to people a month ago is cringing a lot now that I’m making them more user-friendly. :P) I know a lot of people already have lists like these they give family and friends, but I had trouble finding anything comprehensive as I was collecting resources. So I’m sharing this with you all in the hope that it will help make someone else’s coming-out process easier. When I first did that foraging for the right sites for me, I was so grumpy that I was looking for resources for them at all. Hopefully this will save somebody else that time and effort. Of course, you don’t need to share resources at all–this stuff is so Google-able. For myself, I decided I’d rather be the one exposing them to the resources I chose.

Without further ado, here they are:

Resources & Reading–Please check it out at your leisure! I’m putting in bold the ones that I recommend reading most, or starting out with. Read this article if you don’t have the chance to read anything else. It talks about ways to be a trans ally: http://thismongrelland.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/this-is-what-support-looks-like/
 
Basic information on the trans community:

Information on being genderqueer:

Ways to support trans people–these resources are really informative and helpful:

Resources focused on significant others, family, friends, and allies:

Pronoun use:

My favorite readings and websites for my own process:
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3 thoughts on “Coming Out–Resources for Friends and Family

  1. I’m so glad that your coming out went well! 🙂

    I resisted the urge to include directions to resources when I came out to my own parents; I went with a long email all about my thoughts and feelings (in my case, I’m not mad at them for the ways they gendered me, and I rarely felt boxed in by birth assignment, so there was no negative feelings directed their way at all.) The only thing I did to try to tell them how they could respect me was to give some basic idea of the kinds of language I like used to refer to me (“call me they, and your kid or child” and the like), and they still blew up and interpreted the whole heart-pouring as “a list of demands” and how dare I, and I don’t even.

    But then, I am now at the point where I am probably never going to speak to my father again in any capacity, for completely unrelated reasons, and at this point it’s clear to me that probably there wasn’t any way I could have avoided them feeling like I was having my gender *at* them, because everything I or my siblings have ever done in our lives has always been interpreted as being done at them.

    Damn. My point is still, I am happy for you! I’m glad that people can come out as genderqueer and have it be ok (and I mean, everyone else I have come out to has been fine, so.)

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    1. I am so sorry to hear that that was your family’s reaction. 😦 I wish that it wasn’t, and that your father still chose to be a respectful part of your life. Your courage in coming out and sharing that with them had nothing to do with their reaction. I wish that I could just get rid of bigotry in every parent everywhere.

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  2. Reblogged this on Le Dame Steps Out and commented:
    The Captain has done it again — compendious and well-considered material on a crucial issue.

    Capt. G’s writing is cogent, graceful, as followers already know. The CaptainGlittertoes blog has great overlap with LeDameStepsOut, while being focused on trans-g concerns.

    Here it is appropriate to mention that crossdressers are not typically interested in a transgendering program. Nevertheless, we have somewhat similar coming-out problems to solve.

    All the best, as always, ma Capitaine.

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