Question: Coming out woes

J asks…

I feel physically sick when thinking about coming out as GQ to my mum. I’ve came out as trans to her once, FtM, and she was amazing with it. But I fear this will be too much, we’ve done so much activism together, I don’t know if she’ll be able to cope with me being radically gender variant. How does one do it?

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Posted by on March 7th, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 10 comments »

10 Responses to “Question: Coming out woes”

  1. Dharma Kelleher

    If she’s been supportive of you being transgender, I’m guessing she won’t have a problem with you being genderqueer.

    That said, you don’t have to make it a formal thing. Just live your truth. Your self-confidence will allay the majority of her fears.


  2. Sarah Dopp

    I have to disagree with half of Dharma’s thinking here: a mom who can accept trans doesn’t necessarily accept GQ. One’s still relatively binary — the other breaks that structure completely.

    But I *completely agree* with the other half: “Just live your truth. Your self-confidence will allay the majority of her fears.”

    *That* is *absolutely* how it goes.


  3. Sarah Dopp

    (i should add: my first point there is from experience with my own mom. when i tried to explain my particular flavor of GQ to her, she heard it as a middle-ground step toward being trans and prepared herself to accept that i’d be changing pronouns, etc. i didn’t play out that way. she continued to love me, but couldn’t wrap her brain around what i was trying to say. now, a few years into this conversation, she’s starting to get it.)


  4. William

    I’m just doing the living my truth thing. My mum doesn’t really get how her tras son can want things that she thinks of as “girly” but I point out that she would never (and indeed, did never) deny those sort of things from her cis sons so why the heck should she deny them to me?

    I don’t know how to tell her I want to be a drag queen though. Or how to get her to stop calling my genderless partner “she”.


  5. Keiran

    So far a lot of people have mentioned not making it a big deal, and that’s a good point. But do make sure she knows you’re serious about this. As Sarah said, your mom might not necessarily accept your being GQ quite so easily. From my own experience, my mom has denied all of my queerism simply because she either didn’t want to believe it, or brushed it off saying it was some sort of phase I was in. If you go into it with the confidence of who you are, you’ll forget all about being nervous.
    Also, choose some place you feel comfortable sitting down and talking to your mom. It’s important that you are as relaxed as possible and can maybe have some one-on-one with her. It might make things easier.
    I wish you the best of luck!


  6. nick

    People who are generally accepting can be surprisingly openminded if faced with something that challenges a prior black-and-white idea, like gender.
    So hey, she might take it really well.


  7. Chris

    Can you let us know how it goes? I could use some tips too.


  8. J. Sandy

    Be who you are!


  9. Marion

    I have the same dilemma. My mum is entirely supportive of my MtF sister, but on the whole she still thinks in terms of the binary. I agree with what Sarah said above — trans still pretty much fits into the binary, whereas with GQ you have to define whole new perimeters. I have yet to go into detail with my mum about the twists and turns of my gender identity. I don’t think she can quite comprehend that yet. But I did simplify it for her in a short sentence: “My gender identity is foppish dandy.” For a while I thought she had forgotten all about it or thought it was a joke, but more recently she’s been saying things like “You’re looking very foppish today” and occasionally referring to me as her “offspring” rather than her daughter. She doesn’t entirely get it yet, but it’s definitely a large step in the right direction.
    So, my advice would be to drop heavy hints. If your mum is anything like mine, it’ll most likely feel like you’re dropping the hints into a black hole, but if you persist she’ll eventually get a basic idea of what’s up. And like Dharma said, live your truth. My coming out philosophy: act like you’re out to everyone, and you soon will be without all the messy “I have something to tell you, please don’t judge me” nonsense. It’s worked for me so far.


  10. Chia

    J, your mum is pretty amazing. I have a feeling she’ll get it, and I have a feeling she’ll be just as great as she was when you came out the first time.


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