Question: Outed? Or not….

Leigh asks…

My mum found my binder. I don’t want to lie about it but she doesn’t know about my gender things (except that I stopped shaving my legs). She isn’t the most accepting of people, so what should I say to her?

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on October 12th, 2010 at 04:00 pm

Category: questions 24 comments »

24 Responses to “Question: Outed? Or not….”

  1. Frances

    If she doesn’t know anything at the moment, it will be quite a surprise to explain it off the back of a binder. Maybe say it is a sports bra? Damn these decisions are hard, but you have to make sure you don’t feel pressured to come out to anyone. Hope it all goes ok.


  2. Jay

    Oooh. I’m with Frances, I think. Best of luck, and if you don’t feel safe telling her, don’t.


  3. Sean

    Same thing happened to me, and I also said that it was a sports bra. I didn’t want to lie, so I didn’t exactly say that outright – I said that it was, if I recall, ‘like an extreme sports bra, but more comfortable’, or something. (psychologically, it WAS more comfortable …)


  4. Morgan

    I explained mine as a. “like a sports bra” and b. “means my shirt buttons don’t gape”, both of which are true and thoroughly mother-approved, if not the entire story.


  5. jean c.

    “it means people pay less attention to my boobs, and notice me as a person more…” my mom seemed to understand that pretty well. and it wasn’t untruthful!


  6. kendall

    yup yup I said jogging bra, I said so the band logos on my tshirt don’t warp, and that I plan on getting a reduction and that it was helping me get used to what that’ll look like, and she doesn’t like it because she thinks it’ll crush my lungs and break my ribs, but I said if they sell ’em they’re safer than tensor bandages, and she made a face but still.. Lying isn’t a good thing but if you’re simply stating how it changes your comfort level and changes your shape into one you like more, then that’s not a lie, is it?


  7. Dazza

    I guess you could go with “it’s a sports bra”

    but if you bought it with your own money, it’s your own business.

    Does your mom already notice that you bind? Mom’s notice more than we think. My mom knew. I told her it was the safest, healthiest way to bind. She just wanted to make sure I was doing it safely, ’cause ace bandages and stuff can really hurt your ribs.

    Don’t let her finding it disarm you or stop your progress, if anything, use it as a chance to share some of your feelings with her.

    But if you’re mom knows nothing, I suppose it must be a sports bra.


  8. Leigh

    I’ve never bound at home, because she’s… really Adam and Eve and gender=sex and all that jazz. Breasts mean husbands and dresses and pink and frills and stuff.

    And I just flat out refused to answer her. Which felt like a lie but at least I wasn’t LYING lying. Self preservation while I was stranded in her house.


  9. D.B.

    I’d say: “It’s a thing that is doing my life in this world more comfortable”.


  10. Jessica

    Honesty is usually better in the long run, although it can be tempestuous in the short term.


  11. JezebelMalice

    my mother is the same, but she knows because she asked. i told her outright “i don’t believe in gender so i am not conforming to either”. seriously, you will feel better if you are truthful.


  12. RaeRay

    It might be a good idea to tell a white lie about it at first just to ease the tension of the moment, then later go back to her and explain the situation further in detail and explain why you weren’t truthful at first.


    Jessica replied:

    I disagree… white lies have a habit of snowballing. Face the problem head on. You shouldn’t be ashamed – if you are, maybe you should examine yourself more critically. Now you may not want to give her both barrels at once and be a bit more tactful in how you tell the truth, but tell the truth.

    Example: Mother, this is hard for me, but you always raised me to be truthful and of all the people in the world, you are the person I want to be totally truthful with most. It is important to me what you think, but please take some time to think about this. What I am doing is about me and about finding my true self. It is not a reflection on you or a judgment about you. You’ll probably not agree, but this is a binder that I sometimes wear when I want to appear less feminine and more androgynous. It is not that I hate my body but that I want to explore other aspects of who I am other than just being a girl. It’s not a destination really, more of an exploration. It would mean a lot to me if we could talk about this openly and without hurt feelings. I know you have lots of experiences I don’t have and having someone to talk to who has a different perspective can be really important in properly understanding things.

    Naturally, I am imagining talking to my mother and when you talk to your mother you’ll have to say things in a way consistent with her personality and outlook. Hope it helps.


    Leigh replied:

    Thank you.
    I really appreciate this idea, and I think I might use your posting as a general thought base for my dialogue when I do tell her. In a while.

    Thanks to everyone who has responded to this. I really appreciate the ideas and the support. Y’all are the best.

    Lots of love to you,
    (The guy who asked the question in the first place.)


  13. krzgrlboi

    I told my mum it was because I had to be a guy in a performance for a class and was keeping it because it brought back good memories, the gender-closet sucks :(


  14. Jessica

    The difference between a moral person and a person of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught. — H. L. Mencken

    I don’t like lying and in consequence I avoid anything that makes me want to lie. Lying is at once so easy and so hard to do. It is an essentially human qualifying act.


  15. kendall

    I don’t LIKE lying, but we also didn’t know if the original poster was like a 14 year old kid who lived at home and required funding for the parentals and would wind up on the street, I think that self preservation is not always about denying ones tre intentions but not having the crap kicked out of them and making themselves an easy target and creating hostile environments, if the truth set everyone free we wouldn’tve been hearing about these glbt suicides the last few weeks. Leigh I’m not saying any of these things will happen to you, and I hope that everyone can come to an understanding and even laugh about it later and everyone hugs and its a beautiful moment that shapes how you approach things in the future…But since we knew so little about you, I wasn’t going to say, get yourself as vulnerable as possible, considering we didn’t know your financial situation, I still stand by my post, which was, I told my mom it was a type of jogging bra, to flatten me out, since I hate my chest, and will eventually get surgery…and that its an aesthetic thing because I hate tshirt warpage…But I do hope you’re able to be honest and that fate rewards your valor and virtue, instead of blowing up in your face, but I think, that if you look out for number one once in a while, it makes you no less a man, no less a woman, but a creature that doesn’t want to be a victim.


    Jessica replied:

    I will agree that if your parentals are Glenn Beck fans or card carrying Neo-Nazis or Fundamentalist Religious bigots (like you live in Texas or Saudi Arabia) who will commit you to a mental hospital or sign you up for horrific medical experiments in the event that you even suggest having a non-conformist gender identification – avoiding the strict truth may be the order of the day.

    I had a dear friend in school, who was a bright young poet who had earned a full scholarship to Yale, when he admitted to his parents (half way through his junior year in high school) that he was a homosexual. After the looked up the word in the dictionary, they committed him to a mental hospital where he was given electric shock therapy. He was cured of his aberrant sexual identity by having his sexuality erased and he was gotten a job placing the rubber surrounds around wind shields of golf carts. He had an IQ of about 50.

    His mother drank herself to death in two years and his father shot himself dead in his study. Such was the result of my friend’s honesty in the late 1960’s.

    If you really feel yourself threatened with this kind of outcome, then I suggest extreme stealth (may involve extensive lying) and as early an escape to the company of sane people as you can engineer it to happen safely.


    Anonymous replied:

    I really don’t think it has to be a matter of life and death in deciding to tell the mother or not, right now. The big thing is whether or not Leigh is mentally prepared to open this discussion with the parents. I don’t know what I would say if my mom found my binder, but I know it wouldn’t be the outright truth. Not yet. My mother is an American Southern Baptist, but she is as far from a religion monster as she could be. I can’t even talk to my closest friends about it just yet. That’s my situation, and I’m just not there yet in the process.

    Obviously, honesty is the best policy, in all matters. But at the same time, you can’t know this person’s life, nor their relationship with their parents. It’s not so clear cut as you make it seem here. If Leigh is planning on fully transitioning, then of course, the parents will know at some point. But this could just be him trying it out for a while, to see how it feels, to see if it’s right. It’s not necessarily about honesty being right and dishonesty being wrong.


    Jessica replied:

    Oh how I hate the last bit ” It’s not necessarily about honesty being right and dishonesty being wrong.” It is precisely what it is about. But sometimes the evil of the world makes liars of us all for survival sake… otherwise we’d all be Sir Thomas Moore, honest and dead because of it (he would not lie and swear to an oath and was beheaded as a result).

    It is important to be sure within yourself and ready to make a commitment to whatever transness you want/need to manifest… there is no virtue in burning bridges just for drama.

    Levi replied:

    I have to disagree about honesty, Jessica. My mom recently asked me “if there was anything I wanted to tell her” in a context that hinted she thought I might be transsexed.

    A year into questioning, I’m still feeling so lost and tangled that I can’t talk coherently to my girlfriend about the confusion. I don’t know what I want with respect to gender, and I haven’t found words that describe what’s going on in my head. The jury’s even still out on whether or not I’m cis.

    So yeah. I lied. And I’ll probably lie again. Because as much as I am grateful for her openness and her willingness to ask (God knows how few parents are that accepting!!), I just don’t have the words to talk to her about this. Wrong and right have nothing to do with it. She’s not being hurt as it stands, and trying and getting things wrong will only cause more pain all around.

    I think it’s far more important that people take their time and feel safe, and not feel like they’re rushing into anything they’re not ready for. (Whether that’s coming out, transitioning, or anything else.) That’s way more damaging than “lying.”

  16. kendall

    Well I know a person, decided to come out as trans, and everyone was SO supportive that now he doesn’t know how to tell people he wants to go back, he isn’t on hormones yet but everyone calls him by his chosen name, and I think its almost crazy to just be like, I woke up and decided to come out to everyone at once as a concrete thing! I think yes of course tell people, but exploration is important, do some drag, go to another town for the day and see if you can be perceived as the other gender, think about things long and hard… Because now he’s a mess because he was so afraid of disappointing everyone by transitioning that when they were still loving and proud he’s now afraid of how they’ll feel if he flipflops. I just think giving yourself a few months to be sure isn’t the worst thing if you’re going to live out the rest of your life differently.


    Jessica replied:

    How very sad. I could have easily done that, at first. My partner was supportive, but critical. Living with a person who cares enough about you to tell you straight to your face that you’re full of shit is a wonderful thing.

    What a shame that your friend has just changed cells in the same gender jail.


  17. Jessica

    @Levi There is, of course, a time for all things, even honesty. If you are honestly unable to speak your condition, then you do your loved ones no good service to share your confusion and inner conflicts with them. Yes, you should take your time and feel safe.

    I have done more than my share of lying, which probably accounts for my dislike for it as a pursuit. The older I get the less i like it, too. Perhaps I am just bad at it, but I have never had lying result in anything more than temporarily superior to the probable consequence of honesty. From this, you may also decide that I have lived a life of substantial privilege and safety where honesty is a luxury well within my means.

    I also want to apologize to all and sundry – I have an unfortunate habit of pontificating as if I knew what I was talking about. Sometimes I am confusingly complex and sometimes I am overly simplistic. I only hope that some people occasionally find some comfort from my verbosity and that everyone always approaches everything I write here critically.


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