Being Youself Can Take Bravery
I'm transgender, FTM, and struggling to tell my family. My mom, formerly dad (MTF herself, I do use male pronouns/say dad when around strangers) knows and is very accepting of me. My stepmom is also MTF and supports me as well. I'm planning on starting testosterone soon, but my mom and sisters are very transphobic, completely cutting off my mom (MTF) from their lives. To them, my mom doesn't exist anymore, while I still talk to her daily. I would love for my other mom and sisters to see me as a son/brother but am terrified they'll want nothing to do with me. If they want me out of their lives, then I'm also going to lose touch with my two year old nephew who I just adore. I can't stand to keep pretending to be someone I'm not around my family, but I can't stand losing them either. Any advice on how I can start coming out?
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First of all, count your blessings that your mom and stepmom are in the same boat and supportive of you. It’s vital that you have at least some people on your side as you transition. As for the rest of your family, rejection is very common in life because many people are brainwashed about social standards of “right” and “wrong” that they don’t use the one measuring stick that is the only thing that matters: love.
Whether it is being trans, bi, gay, furry, or even simply a different race or religion, people the world over are faced with rejection simply for being who they really are. This is why almost all of us wear masks that we present to the world, hiding the true us. It’s a sad fact of the human condition.
Some people will go through their entire lives being who they are not. Others, the brave ones, choose to be themselves.
When you choose to be brave, the implication is always that some sacrifice is involved; otherwise, it would not be a brave act. It is brave for a soldier to face enemy bullets, knowing he or she might be seriously injured or killed. Likewise, it is brave for people to admit who they are to a judgmental family, even if they stand the risk of losing people they love such as your nephew (in my case, it was losing my wife to divorce, though we are, thankfully, still friends).
As with the soldier comparison, the best way to face the future is preparation. Really, choosing to march into the battlefield is not longer a choice because you have already decided you are going to start hormone therapy. Once that starts kicking in, there’s no way you’re going to be able to conceal what’s going on. Therefore, be prepared.
There are a few things you can do. First, do some research in the library and the Internet on being transgender, the process, and living your life; there is material out there on how to talk about this, too. Second, sit down and write out your thoughts. This will help you organize your thinking and make it easier to talk about. Third (and you have a little knowledge of this already because of your moms), play out the arguments in your head as to what your family might say and how you would respond. In fact, it could help to do this with your moms. Do some role playing, rehearse.
The best, last hope of getting acceptance from your family is to educate them about transgender people. This by no means guarantees success because, like religion and politics, people usually have their minds made up and are not easily swayed, even when faced with cold, hard facts. That’s people; they can be stubborn to the point of stupidity.
In the end, the most important person for you to please is yourself. If you sincerely believe to the marrow of your bone that this is what you must do, then you have no choice but to do it. Yes, there might be some sacrifice involved, but the alternative is far worse: sacrificing yourself.
I wish you luck and happiness,
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