Emma’s Coming Out Story
In this post Emma talks about coming out, first at a young age, and then later as an adult.
I came out to my mother one crisp autumn evening just before she left for work. I was fourteen years old, sitting in my childhood garage playing Mario Kart, and thinking about the skirt I bought from the Asian gift store down the street from where I lived (I did weekend work, and had a little money of my own). I thought something along the lines of, “I want to be a girl all the time. What could possibly be different? I mean, I already feel like a girl, right?”
I went into the shared guest bathroom and took the skirt out from my under the sink hiding place. Armed and determined to demand more me time I walked boldly into my parent’s bedroom and held the skirt out to my mom, “I feel more comfortable as a girl than I do as a boy.” As dry and uncreative and impulse driven that statement was, I spoke the truth, and I expected more than the simple dismissive not now I got from my mom. I essentially went back into the closet for 12 years following that event.
Coming out requires a near perfect storm for the heavily closeted transgender person. Layer upon layer of complication can hinder the process: Marriage, family, the workplace, legal matters… If you’re old enough to be reading this and you haven’t yet busted out of your closet, more than likely some HUUUGE obligation is holding you back. Stress, depression, anger, anxiety, secrecy, confusion, they can all fester up inside of you and put you over the edge. Not wanting to take it any more gives you some options: Harmful active suppression, coming out, or a third, essentially unspeakable option.
When I finally decided to come out again I was married with a child, and was set on a rocket speed blue collar career path that netted me enough money to eliminate my need for a college degree. Unfortunately I was not happy, and towards the end they could tell. I spent time on and off in therapy and a mental hospital. I made terrible financial decisions because I didn’t care enough to take care. I decided to come out just before the economy fell apart. Instead of offering to move me up in the company when the warehouse closed down, they laid me off and gave me a severance. I was angry, I burned up my bridge and was not given any good referrals by the only bosses I ever knew. I was out of the closet, determined to live as a woman, and being honest later in life, not sticking to my guns when I was young, those things created my perfect storm of difficulty, one that cost me my marriage and the status quo.
With that said, I gained friends. Old friends, new friends, a network of support, and the respect of my family members. My situation was unique, in that my brothers, sister, and parents all knew I was trans before I came out as an adult. They wondered if my so called “problem” would ever surface again, the truth of the matter is it never left. I carried my secret with me and it was damaging. I know that I did not improve my situation by coming out, but I did find the will to live an honest, long, and happy life – one that my child can admire, one that I can look forward to. Totally worth it.