Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Coming Out

I want to tell you that, ever since coming out of the closet, far from having mobs at my doorstep, my husband throwing me out, my family disowning me, my employer sacking me, and the whole world turning against me, absolutely everyone, without exception, has welcomed me with open arms!
I want to tell you that but it would be a fairytale and, as we all know, life isn't a fairytale. The reality of my life is a little more complex.
So, whilst it's true I've not had mobs at my doorstep, my husband throw me out, my family disown me, my employer sack me, or the whole world turn against me it is not the case that absolutely everyone, without exception, has welcomed me with open arms.
For example, my dad didn't know whether to call me "Him", "Her" or "It" for a while; amongst the first words my husband told me when I told him I wanted to transition were, "If you take hormones, I will have to reconsider things"; my employer did make me redundant but it had nothing to do with me being trans; and some people in this world did turn against me - I've been shoulder barged in Debenham's, I've had people shout things at me in the street, and I've had people sneer at me as soon as they noticed I was trans.
But these have been transitory things. The only constant is that I have been happier since I stopped hiding the fact I'm a transsexual.
And, yes, OK, I still find much in life to depress me but nothing compares to the depression that self-loathing and shame brings!
So, if you find yourself hating yourself and being ashamed of yourself, then I would encourage you to do what it takes to rid yourself of those feelings.
For me, the first major step towards that was coming out of the closet. Saying, "I am what I am" and daring people to like and love me regardless.
But I can't help thinking it would've been better if I'd not had to come out at all.
That instead of feeling it necessary to hide away "in the closet", I should've felt that my gender identity and sexuality had no bearing on my worth as a person. After all, my gender identity and sexuality are not things that should ever have been open to negotiation!
But I feel society's attitude towards these matters will not change for as long as society remains unchallenged and uneducated.
And I believe it's my job to do just that.
It is no good hiding away "in the closet" hoping the world will change around me! How can I ever hope the world will treat me differently if I don't tell them what they're doing wrong!
So, in conclusion, perhaps a better way of looking at this is that coming out isn't so much about being "loud and proud" as it is about taking responsibility for your own happiness and how you are treated.