Coming out in the real world was quite daunting and will probably be a long term process. I’m constantly amazed how many people who know me despite living a relatively quiet, almost reclusive life and as a consequence how many people will eventually need to be told.
The first people to be told were close friends. Everyone was accepting, most of them positively thrilled by the news and genuinely happy for me! A recurrent theme was anxiety about getting my name wrong but like I explained it’s the intent not the content that matters – mistakes are fine, not trying or being deliberate is not ok. Mrs G was especially nervous but then I guess I was too when we went round to see her. It was awkward for the first thirty minutes or so but then I think she realised that I was the same person inside that I’ve always been and began to relax – just like old times. She seemed particularly upset about my Christmas present – a beautiful handmade cushion with a squirrel on it. Her main concern was that “you don’t normally give a man a cushion”, I replied, “men don’t normally have vaginas either so let’s not get too hung up about normal right now!” She asked questions and I was happy to answer them. I showed her pictures of me in a skirt versus the picture above. It was at that point she truly ‘got it’ and I was really touched when she said she thought I looked handsome.
Only one person was lukewarm which was both disappointing and a bit weird. The lady in question has always been super supportive of both of us for nearly twenty years but was questioning whether transitioning was really what I wanted. She thought Chris was very brave and was worried about the whole thing. I don’t think it’s a prejudice thing but more like concern that we’re making life harder than it needs to be but I’ve never been happier. Just making the decision to embark on the process and being open about it has been like a great weight being lifted off my shoulders.