Question: Coming out to friends?

Gregory asks…

I’ve spend a lot of time figuring myself out, and have gained a lot of insight as to who I am. It doesn’t mean I have changes, I am just finally starting to live as the person I am.

But I got all my friends as I was still ‘hiding’ myself away, so to speak. Now I have to represent the real me to them, and I’ll have to face the fear that some might not be able to accept the new me.

Any suggestions as to how I should do this?

Please post your response in the comments below.

» Ask Genderfork «

Posted by on February 4th, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 15 comments »

15 Responses to “Question: Coming out to friends?”

  1. AgentRusco

    be yourself. Welcome questions. Don’t make it awkward. That’s what’s worked for me.


  2. Rebecca/Beck

    If they are your real friends, they’ll accept you. Since coming out to my friends, I’ve been able to be more open with them and we’re tighter than ever before.
    I agree with AgentRusco: be yourself.

    “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” – e.e. cummings


  3. J. Sandy

    Relax. 90 to 95 percent of the battle is inside you. If you value yourself as you are today, your friends will do the same. Focus on the beauty and wonder of who you are, which is worth infinitely more than what you might lose.


  4. Ebenezer

    Based on my own experiences, I would advise to tell them privately but not too formally. If they’re good friends, they’ll be OK with it. And coming out will make it easier to make new friends who are comfortable with it.


  5. Anonymous

    Dunno, I told them, while we were drunk… :) Not sure if that is always advisable, but for me it worked well


  6. Leah

    Be proud! It’s hard for anyone to look inside and be the person they really are.

    Don’t feel like this is confessing to things you’ve been hiding. You’re sharing something good you’ve learned about yourself, not admitting to something shameful. Your real friends don’t care about your gender identity, they love you and want you to be happy. Let them know how happy you are.


  7. Freddie Leigh

    I brought it up casually and didn’t make it seem like a big deal, because it really shouldn’t be. Privately or in a small group, and answer any questions. I managed to let the subject of sexuality and gender come up naturally and simply threw out my specifics in the middle of a conversation, that way it was more like I was just sharing some information about myself and continuing the discussion, and it felt less like a confession or anything. I think when you make it a more non-chalant sort of thing, the person you are talking to gets that vibe and is less likely to treat it like a big deal. They hear you, they say “oh, ok” and they can ask any questions or just keep on moving with the conversation.


  8. Leah

    On the other hand, lie, lie like a dog. Not about who you are, but who you pretended to be. Be yourself, make any changes (to appearance, pronouns, whatever) you want, and wait for someone to say something.

    “What are you talking about? I’ve always been openly (gender). Didn’t you notice?”

    It’s easier than scheduling a heart-to-heart talk with everyone you care about. Anyone who has questions will still ask them. You’ve ALWAYS been yourself, even if it wasn’t obvious.


  9. Jørgen

    You have probably always been more like yourself than you realise. Your appearance is a reflection of your soul, even if you try to hide it. If you start outing, there might be a big chance your friends won’t even notice much difference about you. Try to enjoy it :)


  10. Nicholas

    If they ask why they’ve noticed a change, just be honest. Tell them why it makes you happy, why it fits for you, and answer questions they might have (that hopefully aren’t too personal.) And it never hurts to make them laugh :)


  11. nick

    – Tell the one by one, starting with the friends that are most likely to accept you as who you are and least likely gossip.
    – Try to tell them in a relaxed atmosphere and keep the conversation light if you can. Joke about gender a bit to make them feel at ease.
    – Remember: If they are true friends, their first impulse will be not to say anything hurtful, closed-minded or clumsy, but they might not know how to do that. The person you’re coming out to is probably quite embarrassed because he/she/etc won’t know what would be the right thing to say.
    – If they do not know what to say, speak for them. For example, say: “I just need to know that you’ll accept me for who I am and will still be friends with me.”
    – don’t talk for too long. Change the topic after a bit, so that your friend will have time to let the stuff he/she/sie just heared sink in.

    most importantly:
    Relax. Be yourself. And just go for it. Coming out is scary every time, but it’s also fantastic. You’ll find that every friend who accepts you for who you are is like a lost friend found again. Be positive: this could bring you and your friends closer together.


  12. Samson

    One late thing to add: some of your friends may already know! I think that every so often, we’re the last to notice things about ourselves, or we aren’t doing as good a job as we thought with trying to hide them. Some of them may have “known” a long time ago and never given it a second thought.


  13. Anonymous

    This is probably obvious but I would start with whoever is most likely to be ok with it. That will help you get your courage up. Plus you will see how HAPPY and AWESOME it feels to be real with people, and that will give you the energy you need for the next steps.

    Depending on your social context, coming out might be something you do a lot over your whole life. In my imagination I would “come out” and that would take care of that. Well it’s been a year and it seems like every week I face a new coming out dilemma. It’s like, do I tell my employer? Do I tell the scary maintenance guy that the woman in my house is NOT someone he can hit on, that’s my girlfriend? Oh and now there’s a college reunion, yeehaw another coming out moment. etc etc. And next year I’m moving back to a place where everyone knew me as straight so it has to happen all over again with them. It does get a lot easier but I’m just saying, it’s a longer process than I thought it would be.

    Congratulations on getting so far with this! It’s awesome that you are at the place where you are.


  14. William

    What I suggest to a few people is to try talking to them about trans items in the news, someone else you know who is trans, trans or crossdressing characters in fiction, famous people who happen to be trans etc. etc. for a few weeks prior to coming out, partly to help you sound out who’s most likely to be accepting and partly to lay some of the groundwork and get them to think about the difference between sex and gender in general before they have to think about the difference between *your* sex and *your* gender.

    I was fortunate enough to share most of my friends with another trans guy who’d been out a year when I came out so I could basically say that I was like him.


  15. Franzi

    It seems odd, but I remember the same thing when I was “converted.” In the 9th grade I went from being atheist to Catholic in a weekend. I also freaked about how my friends might view me. Some accepted it, most did, but over time I lost many of my friends because of it. The point is, is that even when I did lose friends, there were new ones there for me, ready to accept me as I was.

    I know that this isn’t about gender, but it was a huge transition in my life, similar to how I went from wanting to be a nun to coming out as being a lesbian a year ago. Telling my incredibly religious mother that I am now dating a girl was difficult, but I know that I don’t have to hide myself anymore. I can be who I am, even if I am not always accepted by my family. At least I am not lying and they know where I stand.

    We change a lot in life. That is maybe something you can say to your friends. Like I went from Atheist to Catholic to falling in love with the most wonderful girl in the world. It is scary when the changes happen and sometimes they seems to contradict themselves, but it is a part of the journey and a part of self discovery. You can’t know everything about yourself the moment you are born and you may never know yourself fully. You may be different in the future and may have been different in the past, but you can be who you are in the present.


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