Friday, January 20, 2017

A Transgender Girl Comes Out to Her Mom

While I certainly don't mean any disrespect to my mom, the letter I sent her cribbed a lot from the one I'd written my sister. Mostly that's because when I first thought about coming out to family, I sat down with a Google doc and started thinking about what I wanted to say. What I came up with is this outline:

Dear Person,

1. You are important to me. I don’t want to lose our relationship.
2. I’m transgender.
3. This is something I’ve been dealing with for my whole life and I need to have the courage to come out and be myself.
4. I’m still me. (though people tell me I seem much happier)
5. Your support for me is invaluable.
6. Please call me Faith from now on, female pronouns, etc.
7. I’m still me.
8. You’re super important to me.



While I certainly changed a few things up between the letters, it was mostly the same letter. It took me a lot longer to build up the courage to send a letter to my mom. In fact it had been in the back of my mind for a while and it took some gentle reminders from my partner to make sit down, write this and mail it to my mom. And since I'd already come out to one family member, I didn't bother to film it or make a big deal. One morning, on the way to work, I just dropped it into the mailbox on the corner. That was it. 

Unlike my sister who took a good month to respond, I got a response from my mom only three or four days later. It was a text. 

I wrote back that I was thankful for her note and that we could talk soon. The next day she sent me a friend request on Facebook and I accepted. A few days later we finally got around to having an hour long phone conversation. In that time, I answered three questions. Yes, her first and thus far only three questions about her kid coming out transgender were: 
  • 1. How did you pick the name? 
  • 2. Is your partner okay with this?
  • 3. Are you coming out at work? 
A million questions condensed down to three. You'd think she'd have enough questions to provide me with podcasting fodder for ages, but nope. Just three. Ah well. She's still processing.

Well, I told her how I picked my name by selecting from the list of most common girls' names for my age cohort and how my middle name was an homage to a historical woman who'd always inspired, impressed and intrigued me, and I told her how I was keeping my last name because it's so unique and weird. I told her how amazingly supportive my partner has been throughout this whole thing, though I didn't mentioned our podcast. I still don't want my mom to be reading my blog or listening to my podcast. And I told her that I had come out at work, and everything had gone really well.

And I think my biggest surprise was that my mom told me that she had had no idea I was transgender. None at all. I asked her to confirm that growing up she'd never noticed anything. She said no. To me that was so bizarre, because I can think of lots of incidents that should have made it fairly obvious. Ah well. At least I thought it was obvious growing up. Maybe not so much. 

Both her and her husband were super supportive and told me that they'd even gone to a PFLAG meeting in their area. PFLAG for those who don't know, is a great organization (full name Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). It's a support organization and also does outreach, education and activism. I couldn't believe how utterly supportive both my mom and her husband were. It was amazing. 

Seriously, I used to imagine that one day, I'd be a woman in a pretty dress and I'd go meet my mom for lunch somewhere and she'd treat me like her daughter. I had this entire fantasy pictured in my head (though was blonde in the fantasy). And now it seems like it is going to happen at some point soon. While they do live in a red state, I have traveled to red states before without any issues, so I might visit or they might visit.We'll see. 


  1. I am so happy that it turned out so well.

  2. Wonderful news Faith. And your mother's responses robbing you of blog material? No. I think her response, what she said and what she didn't say would be subject material for years. I am a parent and I can hear her unconditional love for you dripping from her response even though the fear she was feeling.
    Ain't human beings just wonderful?
    And a lot of the time, families too.
    Hope you can just be very grounded and appreciate this important time in your life and in hers.
    This is a time you will both remember for the rest of your lives.
    So pleased for you and your wonderful partner.

    1. Hi Geraldine, don't worry - I think I'll have blog material for years!

  3. How cool and sweet. Love your Mother's response. so very happy for you.
    May your life be filled with more wonderful surprises.

  4. That level of support is great. When I came out a few months ago to my kids their response was "...whatever you want is fine..." I did not have three questions just one. What name will you buried by. That was because my late wife and I will share side by side graves and the headstone already has my male name on it. My response to that was my soon to used female name will die with me because my late wife was married for almost forty years to my male name so that is what the headstone will continue to read. It was the right response to the one question. My kids are totally supportive and so is the HR Department where I work. Now if only Trump doesn't mess things up.

    Keep up the great blog and podcasts. Thanks.

    1. Hi JD - it's great that your own kids are so supportive! As for headstones, I put in my will (which I still need to get notarized) that I'm only to be female at my funeral, obit, etc. But then again, I guess if you're dead you don't really notice being misgendered right?

      Yes, and hopefully the Republicans won't screw up everything. Now is the time where we gotta stand up and say "hell no!"