The Soft Sell, Part 2Posted: February 10, 2014 Filed under: Passing | Tags: androgyny, coming out, family, gender identity, genderqueer, lgbt, lgbtq, non-binary, testosterone, trans 2 Comments
A couple of days ago, I decided I was going to be more direct in coming out to some people. I’ve had a tendency in the past, to soft-sell the way I identify and my preference for pronouns (in the situations where I have come out), and I wanna change that. So, the next day, I had a conversation with my parents! Definitely not the first of this nature, but this time I asked them specifically to use male pronouns, and I talked to them about some steps I might or might not take in the near future. My mom was supportive, but I have an idea she will have difficulty remembering to use male pronouns. My dad was evasive. His body language told me he was uncomfortable. He would have stayed silent the whole time if I let him, but instead, I asked him, “Dad, what do you think about this?” And he replied, “It doesn’t matter to me.” Which is so vague as to what he means; in the moment I decided to spin it positively by saying, “Yeah, I mean I am still the same person.” Ultimately, it’s exactly how I expected them to react, and I’m not really phased by what they might think. I would just like to see them try. We’ll see.
I feel like now that that conversation is out of the way, I can plan to spread this news to other relatives. I’m thinking of emailing some aunts and their families in the near future because it might be cool to finally talk about myself, haha. Basically, my dad has 4 sisters, and they all have families, and I don’t know much about them, and they don’t know much about me. Even though I see them all at least once a year. We just don’t talk about our lives. I don’t think they even know I’m married, or that I’ve been in this relationship for the past 7 years. I’ll probably start thinking about it more concretely and drafting an email this week!
Oh, also I told some friends who didn’t yet know, that I’m on testosterone. That was fun! They were super supportive (of course) and also pretty curious. And! I just emailed the volunteer coordinator at the local gay alliance (where I have recently started volunteering in the office) to let her know my pronoun preference and to ask her to help me spread the word if pronouns come up in conversation. I felt like I’d really like her (or just someone) to help me with this because 1. I am very reserved and 2. I don’t see many people during my shift, don’t have many opportunities to bring it up in person. I think that she will be a good person for this – she’s super friendly and outgoing and non-judgemental as far as I can tell.
So far, this is pretty fun!
I recognize myself as being way to much of a “soft seller.” And, my partner is just as bad. She will just defer to whatever pronouns anynone else is using for me, because she doesn’t want to offend them. So, over the last few years, I have identified a few friends who are delighted with the whole thing, and just love to call me by my proper pronouns. They are my real social supporters. When they are around, everyone starts using the right words. Social pressure is a powerful thing.
I really need to start sticking up for myself in some environments, I know.
Good luck with your parents. Family is a whole separate thing from the rest of the world.
Yeah, it’s really hard every time, even when it’s a situation I know I’ll only be met with support and respect! The only thing I can think is that it’ll get easier with practice, so I’ll start with those safer feeling situations till it feels more natural. I love how you’ve deliberately identified a few people who will do the work for you!