Stopped feeling ashamed.

Someone wrote…

Stopped feeling ashamed of my gender-confused identity right after it ceased to be a secret.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?


Posted by on October 31st, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 14 comments »

14 Responses to “Stopped feeling ashamed.”

  1. Jesse

    I felt this sense of release when coming out to certain close friends and my mom. But I’m yet to trust that this would be the case were I to come out to everyone. The stigma is still holding me back from my small community. I ask myself ‘what if I come out fully and the shame remains?’ I think you have to be very brave to take that plunge and I hope I’m getting there, all be it slowly.

    [Reply]

    J.D. replied:

    I’m from a small town, and I can sympathize with those fears. I won’t promise an immediate release from the shame, because I’m not you and don’t know you so I can hardly expect the same results. Admittedly when I first came out a certain insecurity remained for a while, but there was an immediate removal of the burden I’d been carrying. After all, those kinds of secrets can really weigh a person down, and sure enough, over time my insecurities have been pretty much completely alleviated by those same people I was afraid to come out to. Not all of them will likely be supportive – I have a few friends who still refuse to acknowledge my gender identity – but the ones that are were amazing about the whole thing. They backed me up, helped me find out the more confusing aspects of my identity crisis, and I’ve even been requested to be the best man at a friend’s wedding.

    Again, obviously the results will vary depending on your exact situation, and everyone needs to come out in their own time at their own pace, but I can promise you that things are hardly ever as frightening as we imagine them to be. In fact, often times the opposite is true. Take your time, don’t stress, and above all just be yourself as often as possible. Live your life for you and there will never be a reason for you to feel ashamed.

    Peace and Love,
    Joey

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  2. Jessica

    There are few fears as pronounced and immediate as the fear of being found out. It’s like walking along the edge of a cliff, if you have a great fear of heights. It can be an acquired taste. But it is not my taste. Will somebody say something? What will the consequence be? Will I get fired? Will my friends be angry or (worse) will they think I finally got what I deserve? And it’s so isolating, too. If the spot light gets turned on, it’s just on you. Talk about stage freight! Best way I know to age five years in a week.

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  3. sam

    Love this. It’s so true. As I have started owning my relationship to gender a few things have happened. First although I have encountered the contempt of others, for some reason it feels more clear to me that that’s their problem, not mine. Because I’m not hiding anything . . I feel proud of what I’ve been able to own . . and most of the people who would want to harrass me, I suspect have a lot of their own stuff hidden. So actually, I’m the one coming out on top in that encounter. But the other crazy thing is that I have started meeting people in public who out of the blue express appreciation for what I’m up to. There are gender queers just walking around . . if you are living your genderqueerdom then it makes it easier for your people to find you! Halloween night I had a few big “my people!” moments . . it was rad.

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  4. jules

    How do you get there, though? I’m too ashamed/afraid to talk about it unless I’m drunk. I really want to come out to people, but I don’t think I’ve accepted it within myself enough yet. And I don’t know how…help?

    [Reply]

    Eli replied:

    I’ve also done the drunk confession a little bit. And it’s always a scary thing, I find. I’m also trying to find a way to come out, but it’s like hopping into swinging double-dutch ropes.

    You just gotta trust that you’ll see the opening when it presents itself. Feel the rhythm and jump in!

    [Reply]

    Jessica replied:

    That’s the hard part. There’s no simple, easy answer. Some people move to a place they think safer. Some people live in stealth. Some people live with it for as long as they can and something snaps and they blaze forth like flares. Some people get smacked down so hard and fast they never come back. Some choose to resign.

    There’s nobody else’s answer that will work for you, exactly. The only general truth is that it’s better when you’re not alone. Fine someone. Someone you can talk to. Someone you can confide in and be wrong with and well just about anything… it’s a lot to ask of someone, so be prepared for them to require (and deserve) a lot in return. And I don’t mean a lover – specifically not someone with whom you are otherwise emotionally involved unless your life partner is coming with you for the ride. And even then, I’m hesitant to suggest it. Probably because that’s what I did – am doing…

    Don’t be in a hurry. Don’t burn bridges when you don’t have to. Understand that mistakes will be made and you will be the person making them. Relax.

    Good luck.

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  5. jules

    Thanks for the encouragement. I do have a partner-it’s been two and a half years and she supports me, and loves me no matter what. But I’m always hesitant to talk to her because she hasn’t been through it. I’m just really afraid. Of what, I don’t know. But I’ve grown up and am still stuck in South Carolina, at least for the next two years, so it will probably have to wait until I go somewhere that nobody knows me. I really appreciate the advice. I really do love everyone on this website-it’s the only place that feels like home right now.

    [Reply]

    sam replied:

    Get a copy of Kate Borstein’s My Gender Workbook and leave it around the house? It’s a blast. Maybe your gf will have fun with it. If she spends time looking at her own gender identity, it will give her something to talk about with you. I have grown a lot in relationship to the trans-ness of my ex. Incredibly much. Your experience might be a gift for her. I didn’t know how interesting my own gender was until I encountered my gf’s transness. It required her to be really incredibly brave but then it felt like a gift to both of us. One of the most beautiful things she left me with.

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  6. Jude

    Hey…Know what you mean. And I’d also add that one of the things which causes shame in me, (and this applies to all sorts of situations), is not allowing myself to feel what I feel. If I start to think that I’m doing something wrong, and I can’t permit myself to experience and be okay with the emotions I’m experiencing, then it’s like turning and swimming against the current. Regardless of whether or not you’re “doing the right thing,” it’s important to be true to yourself and okay with yourself as much as you can. Roll with it…Take care :)

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  7. Levi

    I hate to be a downer, but… I wish.

    Now I feel guilty for not knowing what I want (in terms of names, endearments, and—god forbid—pronouns) and confusing the people I’ve come out to. And now that they know, I notice, painfully, whenever I say something that implies I feel one way or the other.

    I keep thinking about telling them that I’m dropping the whole thing and pretending it never happened. I can’t bring myself to do it. But I feel stalled and sinking.

    [Reply]

    Jessica replied:

    Whoever said progress was unidirectional? And even if it were, people are notoriously unable to divine the direction they’re traveling in. Be yourself.

    If you’re a man, there’s no shame in that (well not much), nor is there any more shame in being a woman. If you want to let the whole trans thing go, do it. Are you really trying so hard to please somebody other than your self?

    I know several people who felt their transness as teens but buried it deep inside until their mother or father died and then it came to the surface again. Nothing to be ashamed of. Just be you.

    And if some trans friends call you a gender traitor or some other nonsense, help them to understand that they’re being just as bigoted as those awful people who hate them for being different.

    It’s not a contest. There is no prize for getting here or going there. You are who you are and that is a very changeable thing. Good luck.

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  8. kendall

    Not everyone knows I even date women, I’m sure they suspect, I have tons of guy friends but no boyfriends, I do talk about marriage [legal in canada] and say I would love to get married when I talk to the +50 year olds at work but add “trust me, I need to get dating down to a science first…” and “they’d probably be tattooed too and with the stuff I do, its the least of my problems” I still play pronoun games when its no one’s f-ing business just like I call my future spouse they..I call myself..person, don’t ask don’t tell but when they ask they get an earful–and thus far mom and I have a beautiful arrangement worked out: I can keep any hair I can grow without hormones. If I want to throw away all my razors and never shave my legs again, she’ll bite her tongue…if I get science and medicine involved and change my hormones and give myself cancer to get a beard, then, we’ll need to talk. She understands wanting to be more like a boy, but not being a man. More like doesn’t bother her, act like, look like, why not…becoming and changing government paperwork and changing how my body operates, that seems extreme to her. She called me Kenny last week, just to try, just once and I thought I imagined it “Kenny we’re out of cereal, I’ll get whatevers on sale but do you like cheerios?” and I felt dizzy for a minute and said “whatever is fine” but if its a nickname when I’m with my cool gay friends downtown fine, if its to keep my supervisor from adding me on facebook while I bitch about hating my job, fine…if it shows up on my visa statement she would be saddened, she’d love me and get over it but I have always wanted to just push female as far as it will take me before making things official, trans in spirit for sure, the days I overhear someone ask if if she’s taken her son shopping and she hesitates and says “gotta get socks..two new puppies” instead of screaming CAN’T YOU SEE SHE’S MY BEATIFUL DAUGHTER WITH SPARKLING BLUE EYES AND A DIMPLE WHEN SHE LAUGHS CAN’T YOU SEE SHE’S JUST 6FT TALL AND IS TRYING TO BE JUSTIN BEIBER like her basic instinct wants, she will not correct them more than needed. She hates my binder though calls it ‘that thing you wear’ and says to just go to a doctor if they’re bothering me but to not break my ribs or squeeze my lungs when I have options, to do surgery for cosmetic reasons when I have surgeries I’ve skipped and need for physical reasons is still scary for me. When I come out its fine but hasn’t made things feel freer, it just makes me hope I’m not lying to her when I say…I like to be called he…but…I would never ask anyone to do it…I’m your daughter [right now] But with dad I’ve crawled up in a ball after disappointing him and texted my exgf to say “I just wanted to be a good son” I’ve told him “when I am in drag I look just like you, cept I don’t have brown eyes…more like you than my brother does..do you want to see?” and he says “no..not really..no” So I don’t hide it but it doesn’t hurt much more and it doesn’t help much more…Basically my mother knows to stop questioning why I can no longer own anything with cleavage, and why I take the sequins off the pockets of my femme cut jeans…but she likes the days where I mix it up

    [Reply]

    Jessica replied:

    We don’t see eye to eye on everything, you and I, but who cares about that? I think you’re spot on here. Yeah, life’s a confusing process. Hormones and surgery are extreme and your mileage may vary. While it is nice, occasionally to be out in the straight/cis world without stupid looks and questions, fitting into any stereotype better isn’t my objective and it sounds like we have that in common.

    My hat’s off to you, Kendall. May you find whatever it is you want and may be be even better than you thought it could be.

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