Zachary has shared his amazing story to what it is like coming out as trans. Thank you for sharing this truly inspirational story!
Coming out can be a huge thing to do and it can often be a very emotional draining situation to be involved in. It can always be unexpected in both good and bad ways. I am going to share my coming out story, well, my coming out stories – I didn’t just do it the once, I think I have come out about five times since understanding my gender identity.
The first time that I came out was when I was 18/19, I was in my first year of uni and living away from home for the first time as well. I remember telling my close friend whom I was living with that I was going to come out to my mum (I had come to discuss me being trans with him) and he told me that once I had told her then he would be next door if I needed him. I think that really helped me as it gave me the reassurance that I wasn’t alone. That is a very key thing to coming out, to have a support network around you, either in the physical sense or the metaphorical sense. I was lucky that when I told my mum she was very supportive and suggested I tell me sisters who also understood and even though I didn’t start transitioning till I finished university, they still were there for me. I remember writing an email to her and then she rang me to inform me that she already knew it but just wanted a word for it. You can only imagine my relief when I heard her laughing, not at me, but just at how frantic I had been previously. I guess I was also happy that I still had my mum after the conversation.
The second time that I came out was when I was 23. I had been living as male, officially, since 2014 so nearly three years. I had been attending a gender clinic and was awaiting HRT when my dad rang me. I hadn’t spoken to my dad for some years and I was afraid he would take it wrong but I was the wrong one, he took it really well and asked questions about what processes I was going to go through and that he would support me as his son. Soon after he informed my siblings on his side of the family and this year, 2017, my extended family have all been referring to me as their nephew, brother, uncle, etc…and it’s been a real eye opener for me. I should note that my family on my dad’s side grew up with an Irish catholic mother in the north east of England so I had this fear that it would be a ‘Billy Elliot’ situation but with being trans instead of ballet. What I forgot was that at the end, Billy’s father accepted his son’s dream and casted away all his internal stigma about what his son wanted. Since that phone call my dad now refers to me as Zach and as his son and I haven’t heard him slip up once, not even in the beginning, I guess he also expected something like this but didn’t know the word for it. I am somewhat glad that I have been very transparent. The transparent transgender.
Now I am 25 years old, on hormones and awaiting to hear about top surgery. I never thought I would get to this point and I always feared that somebody would try to stop me but instead I have been helped up when I have felt down and people have given me a shoulder to cry on when I have needed it. Having a supportive network is so key to transition and it is important that if you are not trans but know someone who is, let that person know that you are there for them. Let them know that you are not just there to pat them on the back but are there to fight with them when they need extra soldiers.
The most important thing about transition is that you do it your way. If someone questions you or mocks you or tries to dishearten you then remember that it is YOU transitioning, not them. They can keep their thoughts to themselves while you strive ahead and become the true version of yourself.