Getting to the point: I am transfeminine. Before I was a man because I thought it was the only way I could be, and now I realized that I can be more comfortable in my own skin (though not necessarily comfortable with others) as a transwoman. So far, quite a few of my friends know about this, a few of my lovers know about this…now it’s just a matter of telling my family bit by bit. Maybe I’ll be disowned, or maybe people won’t give a shit. So far, I haven’t necessarily been greeted with a lot of acclaim upon coming out, but the people who are with me now gave me congrats and support, so that matters.
Now it’s just a matter of addressing my past, and I choose to do so by saying that I’m not going to try to refute it. All of my writing here will still stand, and while I have referred to myself as a cis black man in my past writing, I am still the same personality, flaws and all. I am just choosing something that fits me best. I will probably be in more danger than ever because I am black and a transwoman (at least in the society I live in as of this writing). I may have to navigate a more difficult path now that I am out. Hell, when I still thought of myself as cis, I thought that I had to stay so because I did not qualify to be anything else. I wasn’t good enough to be a man, but I felt that I wasn’t necessarily a good fit for being a woman, either. That’s not even getting into the self-appointed gatekeepers of those respective identities. Despite that, I wouldn’t choose to be anyone else except myself.
I want to stress this again: I am still myself. I am just out of the closet now, in a period of time that is very contentious for people like myself. I am sure that I will not fit anyone’s idea of a what a woman is or how they should be. I will be crude, I will be forward, I will come off as a know-it-all, and the former friends/lovers I had will most likely not re-enter my life just because I came out. If anything, they will probably resent me, and I may deserve every inch of that resentment. Such is life. All I can do is ask that you take me at my word, and be as honest with me as you can. I hope that you enjoy what I have to offer, as a transwoman, as myself.
As for what I would recommend for those who may be in the same position as I was before I came out…well, it helps to be introspective, or to at least have moments where you can be yourself. Use a diary, journal, blog or whatever medium you have. The internet may be a home for disinformation and ugliness, but it is also a home for people unearthing themselves, connecting with others, and helping others. Whatever site you go to, use it to reach out to other people who are in a similar position as you. It also helps to read some books and use some workbooks. I highly recommend the book, “You and Your Gender Identity” by Dara Hoffman-Fox, because it gives you the power to have your own story in regards to your gender, with an all-encompassing writing style that allows for multiple paths and interpretations. It can be intense, but I think it’s worth it. It even has a forward by Zinnia Jones!
BUT, and this is the key thing, understand that you do not have to conform to anyone’s expectations. Will you share some traits with others? Of course. No one is truly unique, even in these segmented times. But that does not mean that you have to conform to things that harm you or make you uncomfortable all to, “earn” the right to be yourself. Just as long as you don’t hurt other people in the road to being yourself, you are all right. You don’t have to be hateful towards yourself or others in order to affirm your identity.
I can’t promise you that being trans (or any gender identity that best describes you) will bring you a better life. I can’t promise you that your gender identity will bring you absolute happiness or be the most liberating thing you will ever experience. Your gender identity, in the words of Dara Hoffman-Fox, is only one part of who you are. So you will still have to work on your social skills, your personality, your life philosophy, your relationship with your community…all the things that makes you a person. All I can say with certainty is that your gender identity can be a solid block that you can use to go into other areas. After all, you have to be yourself before you get to be a good wife, a good friend, a great husband, an excellent co-worker etc..
So go ahead, take the plunge…or, if you are, keep going. Keep searching, keep probing, and keep yourself in the company of people who care about you. They matter a lot more than you think.
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