Coming Out

Someone wrote…

I really feel the need to come out, but I don’t quite know what I’d be coming out as. I don’t know how to pick the right word. All I know is I’m not cisgender, and I want that to somehow be recognized.

I feel like I’m stuck between doing nothing, which effectively closets me, or intentionally coming out, and what I really want is to just authentically exist.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on June 3rd, 2013 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 13 comments »

13 Responses to “Coming Out”

  1. Anonymous

    Wow. This is nearly excatly how I feel.


  2. C

    I know exactly how you feel, sort of where I am right now too- existing authentically can be so difficult when so much of it feels wrapped up on other people’s perception.


  3. Taylor

    Feel a lot the same way. I don’t feel like a transboy, but I want to be identified as masculine, but how do you make people understand that when you don’t plan to do hormones or have SRS?


    radical/rebel replied:

    I identify as trans masculine and I’m not interested in transitioning. I ask people to use gender-neutral or male pronouns for me. I openly identify as transgender. Dean Spade and Rae Spoon are two of my role models for non-normatively gendered trans people. I get a lot of inspiration from their work, life, and words.

    radical self-determination,


  4. Anonymous

    wow, I read this and was like “I feel exactly the same way!” and then I remembered I wrote it, but forgot because I haven’t been on here in awhile…. Thanks for your thoughts, folks. I’ve started using they/them in one of my social settings and it feels amazing, but I don’t know how to incorporate that into the other areas of my life. I can’t handle someone asking why or what when I can’t quite answer that question myself.


  5. Jesse

    I identify as homo sapiens. It took me a long time to reconcile myself to that mundane identity. I wanted to be special, different, out of the ordinary, queer and exciting. I cam out as trans and most people I know said, “that’s nice” and let me know in all kinds of subtle ways that they didn’t want to spend a lot of time in their lives on my transition. So now I am just the same old weird person, perhaps a little wiser – with some regrets over the shitty ways I treated people I care about when I was too focused on myself to see the harm I made for them.

    Gender as a lifestyle choice reminds me of a Sheryl Crow lyric “He was high on intellectualism. I’ve never been there but the brochure looks nice.”


    radical/rebel replied:

    your comments seem pretty hurtful, and like you feel comfortable spouting off about reasons why trans people are bad, or trans people are petty, or trans people are “obsessed with gender” or trans people make gender “a lifestyle choice.”

    if you were talking about sexuality, I think it’d be clear that you’re being really homophobic, and after reading several of your recent comments on Genderfork, I think you’re being incredibly disrespectful toward trans people, dismissive, and oppressive.

    people’s struggles are real, whether it’s with gender, race, sexuality, or anything else, and people deserve support, love, and care, while they figure out what they need and how they want to proceed in their lives. that’s a bottom line.



    Jesse replied:

    Some people, you for example, take what I say personally. I certainly did not mean to be hurtful. I think that people who are not trans find many trans people pretty tiresome – not because they are bad, but because they are focused on an aspect of their lives that non-trans people are not very interested in (and that many non-trans people find threatening to examine in depth). It is cis people who think trans folk are obsessed with gender. Just like people who don’t play tennis think that people who are mad about tennis are obsessed with tennis. It is a point of view, it is an opinion. It is not a condemnation.

    I say what I think about me. I explain my experience. This is not everyone else’s experience. What I say about me and my experience may be totally wrong for you or completely irrelevant. I do not think that disagreement and dissent from prevailing opinions is disrespectful, dismissive or oppressive. I think it is honest.

    I agree that people in transition need and deserve support, love and care. But when they are full of it, they deserve honesty. Transition is a difficult, confusing and difficult time and many people (myself included) frequently get wildly off track and the best way to deal with that is not kind platitudes, caring dishonesty or pretended agreement masquerading as support.

    Also, it is unfair to drag things I said to make a point in some other post into the current post.

    Genderfork is not about you and me sniping at one another. I will try to take the good sense of your comments to heart and try to exercise more reserve in expressing my contrary opinions. Thank you radical/rebel for giving me the benefit of your opinions, but I won’t reply to additional comments about my posts, if any.


    shaedofblue replied:

    You called people attempting to be consistently honest about something society is in active denial of a “lifestyle choice.”

    Jesse replied:

    Gender can be … it can be a lifestyle choice, it can be a fashion statement, it can be life and death, it can be a non sequitur . Life is what we make of it and sometimes we don’t like what we make it into. When we’re lucky, we make the right choices for ourselves and those we love and life gets better. Coming out is a choice. Sometimes it makes life so much better.

    Jordan replied:

    This is an interesting side discussion, and running the risk if further hijacking this thread, I want to add my two cents.

    I empathize with you, Jesse. I really do. I love this site and read it often, but sometimes I feel judgmental and resentful because it appears populated with privileged youngsters who are free to experiment with their orientation and gender in ways that I was not. I sometimes suspect (fear?) many of these lovely young genderqueers are, indeed, going through “a phase” and will reneg on their coming out and abandon us after college. I bristle with jealously because I regret closeting myself for 2 decades out of fear.

    I never wanted to cause a fuss. I didn’t want people to think I was “acting out” to get attention. And I was afraid of the repercussions. My greatest fear wasn’t even my parents kicking me out (though that was a very real fear), it was the eye rolls. And the whispers. “Oh, here Jordan goes, being weird again, starved for attention as usual…” I was afraid I was wrong about me. So I never came out. I denied who I was for 2 decades and I have never stopped struggling.

    So when I come on here, I feel a pang of envy. I feel a brush of resentment. I think “why should this kid get to come out all willy-nilly when I am *still* palpably struggling with my gender?!” But then I step back and realize these kids are helping. Each in their daily actions and struggles they are helping to normalize gender variation. They are encouraging people to think. They are making it acceptable to examine oneself. They are creating a more accepting world. And I’m thankful for that.

    So thank you, Jesse, for coming out, even if you regret how it’s going. Thank you to everyone for reshaping the mold. I don’t even care if it’s “just a phase.”

    Okay, more like 3 cents:
    Being trans is nothing like being obsessed with tennis. No one is born loving tennis. And I don’t know of any hate crime perpetuated on tennis players. The idea that these two things are comparable is part of the problem. If someone ever uttered “Geez! Why are you so obsessed with being black?! Race is just a social construct anyway! Why can’t you just get over it!?” I hope we could all recognize it as an acute reflection of privilege. Demanding acceptance as a trans person is not “being obsessed with gender,” it’s standing up for your human rights.

    Jesse replied:

    Thank you Jordan. I didn’t intend to say that being trains and playing tennis were comparable. I thought I said that non-tennis playing cis people can feel the same about trans folk and people who are mad for tennis (or football or you name it): they think trans people are tiresome because they are very interested in something that they are not personally into and think is unimportant.

    Maybe I am arguing at the wrong end of the argument. I grew up in the civil rights movement – where the point was that there is just one kind of human being and we all deserve and should get the same equality. I don’t think a person is more or less entitled because they are male, female, trans, cis, black, Asian, English, Russian, rich, poor, educated, illiterate … endless list. I think there comes a point where the concentration on the things that make us different from one another gets in the way of our coming together and working for everyone.

    People who do not want to accord trans people their rights as human beings are wrong. But trans people deserve those rights not because they are trans, but because they are human.

  6. Anonymous

    I had some of the same problems, especially as far as not wanting to closet myself by saying nothing but not wanting to have an official “coming out” because I didn’t have a word really that fit (but also because the concept of “coming out” baffles and offends me. if there was a rule like “when people turn 20 they shall announce their gender identity and sexuality” and everyone came out then fine, but if straight people don’t have to go “so… I like *opposite sex*” or “so i am cisgendered” then I shouldn’t have to do that either) so what I do is tell people as it comes up in conversation naturally. I am completely “out” but have never actually “come out”. My sister found out because we were having a conversation about how cool our parents are and I was like “yeah, I mean, I have no anxiety about being bisexual…” and the conversation continues. My friends have found out through various conversations as well. This is also nice because, it not being an official “I AM ____” coming out, you don’t need a specific word. If the topic comes up you can just be like “yeah, I mean me for example, I sometimes….” and just like describe yourself. So its a strategy to consider. It gives an impression of being totally comfortable with yourself, because you talk about these things with the offhandedness of any straight cisgendered person, it makes it into something that isn’t a big deal so people rarely (and for me have never) make an issue or a big deal out of it, it avoids the need to have a specific label, and it allows you to not be closeted while not necessarily coming out.


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