Honestly, I don't even like hurdles. Or any sport for that matter. And yet here they are. A couple gigantic hurdles directly in front of my path and looming ever closer. So what are these final coming out hurdles? My in-laws. My partner Kath's parents and her family. Thus far this is the trickiest of them all. Previously, I came out to my sister and then to my mom. Both of those went really well and I feel like in both cases the relationships got a little closer after that.
Of course I haven't come out to my dad and my extended family on their side. For the most part I've already distanced myself from them quite a bit. Generally, I never really clicked with my extended family. Growing up, I was kind of an oddball, and I felt less loved and more tolerated at best. As I grew older this chasm grew wider until the point that I was actually quite happy to have a chasm there. I haven't seen them in probably ten or twelve years and I haven't spoken to my dad in over a year.
For the most part they are ultra-conservative, crazy evangelical religious and I'm, well, neither of those things. My aunt, for instance, works for Focus on the Family and is a quiverfull (a crazy Christian fringe belief that encourages having as many children as humanly possible). All my cousins were home schooled, as was my half-brother, so that they could be spared from unholy things like facts. You know, facts about biology, astronomy, cosmology, geology, climate change, history, etc. They are young earth creationists, they believe all the Founding Fathers were Christian fundamentalists who tried to create the US as a Christian theocracy, and they believe that climate change is a communist hoax. I grew up being told that people of all other religions were worshiping Satan, up to and including Catholics. My family, in a word, is fucking crazy. I'm happy to have nothing to do with these garbage people.
A part of me has considered coming out to them, just in case one of the many, many kids on that side of the family turns out to be LGBTQ. Then at least they would know that there was someone else in the family. Then again, I haven't actually been to a family gathering in over a decade, so I doubt they really remember me anyway. That side of my family is just not important to me.
My inlaws and my partner Kath's family are another matter. I feel like they are closer to me than my own family. I've spent countless holidays and important family milestones with them, I see them multiple times a year and I like them. What's more, while they are Christian, they showed me that not all Christians are crazy, bigoted assholes. That's important. My inlaws have accepted me into their family and I don't want that to change. They're good people and I like my partner's family a lot, including her siblings and their partners. I don't want to mess up my relationship with any of them.
Also, I don't want to hurt their relationship with their daughter. I don't want them to think their daughter was tricked by someone who misled her. I don't want them to see her as somehow suffering through this unbearable gender transition or see her as some failed woman who can't manage to land a "real man." So, this is super nervewracking because I'm not just outing myself as transgender, I'm also outing her as dating a transgender woman.
Thus, I find in my path, a gigantic hurdle, far larger than any I've faced before. Even worse, the inlaws are planning to visit in May and we're planning to visit them in June! So there's a deadline to this. It's been hanging over my head and I'm so terrified. Kath has been gently nudging me to come out to them because of the upcoming visits. Yes, I'm scared senseless, but I've been here before and one thing I've noticed is that all the moments I've been nervous for; coming out at work, to family, have all gone well in the end.
So here I stand. I've drafted a letter. It's similar to my others and follows this outline:
- Your daughter is the most important thing in the world to me.
- I very much treasure my relationship with you. You are closer to me than my even my own family.
- I very much want our relationship to continue or grow.
- This makes me nervous.
- I’m transgender. Yep. I know it’s weird.
- I’ve been this way my whole life. Transition is not an easy decision.
- I love your daughter more than anything. I love our life together. I treasure every moment with her. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me. She’s smart, funny, silly, adventurous, responsible, caring and all around wonderful.
- I hope you can accept me.
- You are very important to me and Kath is very important to me.
- Love, Faith!
It's typed write now and saved. Before I send it I'll write it out on some nice stationary. Last year I actually went out and bought nice stationary and envelopes specifically for my various coming out letters. This one may end of being the final coming out letter I ever write. It would make me super happy to be able to let them see me as who I really am and to still be able to be a part of their family. And then I could totally get some great Millennium Park pictures in Chicago this June. Fingers crossed.
Good luck with your hurdles - I can see how scary they are to you. For what it's worth, I think your letter is well written and explains the situation clearly. You have highlighted your concerns and have shown how much you value Kath and your in laws. This, unfortunately, is in stark contrast to many trans people I have known.
It is a shame about your own family but I guess you are doing the right thing - in the unlikely event that they ever decide to contact you then that might change things, but then you can play it as you see it.
By writing a letter you are giving them time to come to terms with the situation and discuss it amongst themselves before they see you. I am confident that once they have done this they will accept your new persona (to them at least) and appreciate your openness and honesty and also the fact they are getting a new daughter in law.
Good luck and best wishes - and that's to Kath and her family, too
Thank you so much for your thoughts and wishes. But, I am wondering what are the other trans people doing?Delete
Other trans people (since you ask)... I know one who got dressed en femme and then waited for her wife and young children (none of who "knew") to come home and find her. Amazingly, they stayed married.Delete
Another was invited to visit a trans friend and his wife in his male person - but thought it a good idea to wear a bra and falsies under his shirt for the visit. His friend had also invited others who know nothing about his friend's alter ego. I'm not sure what happened there.
Let us know how you're progressing with your hurdles, Faith. Again I wish you well
Yeah, I could see those being not quite the best ideas in the world. Maybe one day I'll write a guide to coming out. :)Delete
Wow not only are you beauitful outside but inside too.ReplyDelete
Your love for Kath is so out there. I would add that in your letter someplace.
i wish you the best. I want you to know there are many Christians that believe loving one another is very important and also sharing God's love. Ours is not to judge but love one another. i bet this goes well and all will be just fine. If it matters to you i am praying for both of you to be happy and healthy. Its all about the love we share for each other.
Thank you, Missy. I know there are a great many wonderful religions people out there in the world (including you). The sad thing is that some people who are just jerks like to dress their jerkiness up in religious trappings. Those are garbage people. The other religious people are good.Delete