Coming out is something you never stop doing. Coming out isn’t a one time event. When you are other compared to society’s norm, you will be forced to come out over and over for the rest of your life. Eventually, coming out is easier and the process becomes streamlined and second nature.
I have come out as just about everything there is to come out as. I’ve come out as kinky, polyamorous, bisexual, lesbian, pansexual and now finally as non binary transgender. I have been coming out, or just plain out, as so many alternative sexual and relationship orientations since the very beginning of my dating experience so you’d think I have it down by now. The truth is that each new facet of my experience brings with it new complications and challenges.
I posted recently about the unexpected transphobia I have experienced recently, but what has been harder than anything else has been the transphobic comments that have been made by people in my family. Some incidents have been as a result of me calling out transphobic “jokes” and memes on social media, others have been directly focussed at some of my binary trans friends. I don’t feel safe coming out to these people. I don’t feel comfortable discussing my hormonal landscape with them and I certainly don’t feel safe putting any of my trans friends in a situation where they would be in contact with these people.
At the last support group meeting I attended, I asked the question “Is it okay to not come out to unsafe people?” Coming out to people is a very personal choice. There is no right way to handle coming out or not coming out. For me I decided a long time ago to not put myself in a position of emotional vulnerability with these specific people because of the fact that they are fundamentally unsafe people. I don’t need anything from them and am not beholden to them in any way. Being out to them would unnecessarily open me up to bigotry and abuse. In my case, coming out to these people would be damaging to my well being and as such I have made the decision not to tell them about me being on HRT. I have some trepidation that I may at some point be outed by the fact that I am so open about my transition online, but should that ever happen I will deal with it then. The fact that there is a potential that I will be outed is far less stressful than having to deal with their bigotry directly. I call them on racism, I call them on sexism, I call them on homophobia, I call the transphobia… none of the activism and education that I have engaged in with them or openly online in their presence has stopped them from making racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic comments in my presence anyway. I wonder if me being trans would make the issue of transphobic comments personal and thus make them think twice about their words. I have been queer identified and in a same sex relationship for more than a decade and that hasn’t stopped the bigotry so why would this be any different?
Perhaps I am just buying time and will have to deal with the issue eventually. Perhaps I am just too chickenshit to deal with the fall out and don’t want to do so until the issue becomes unavoidable. For now, not coming out to these people feels like self care. For now, they are blocked/muted/ and put on restricted lists on social media to limit my interaction with them. For now I will see them once every 2 to 3 months as life requires and hope that they leave me alone otherwise.
The dichotomy of this situation is percolating on the back burner of my mind and I am frustrated by the lack of clarity. I am resentful of the fear, and general cautiousness which I have always had to employ when dealing with family. Some times I wish I had cut them out of my life years ago… in a way I guess I have.