While I was “out,” part 3 – coming backPosted: April 21, 2014
This is the last part (for now) on the topic of being “out.” It was starting to get really long, which is why I broke it up into segments.
This is more about how I’m finding my way back. How was I involved in the LGBT community before it started feeling overwhelming? Mostly, I was connecting on personal levels with people, whether that was through a group (for example, I was in a gender identity group therapy dynamic from 2004-2006), at conferences (I went to a handful between 2004 and 2006), or just hanging out one-on-one and talking about difficult stuff. I did an AIDS walk, I volunteered for the local LGBT film festival, things like that.
In my late-teens / early-twenties, I would say I was only partly out of the closet, while being very involved in the community, because I was not specifically hiding anything, but I wasn’t vocal in the least, either. It’s easy to not really talk about who you are when you rarely talk at all to begin with. And this, specifically, is what I’ve been working on, because my ultimate goal is to feel comfortable as a social person. I don’t talk much at all, on a daily basis. I have a handful of people who I talk to a lot, (just ask my partner!) and beyond that, I don’t talk to people – not about the weather, not about myself, not about local news, etc. I am slowly, slowly, trying to change this.
So when I say I want to come out, what I mean is that I want to be comfortable talking to any and everyone, to varying degrees, about my life, about what I’m doing, and about my take on who I am. I’m a pro at hearing all about this stuff from everyone else, but I have a ways to go. I want to stop filtering. I want to be able to just casually say, “My partner and I did _____ this weekend.” And actually use her name and her pronouns. In more advanced situations, I want to include more about my gender identity. I started to come out to some family members recently, but there’s a whole lot more to do.
All along, there’s been one way I’ve always been “out,” and that’s been through my appearance. I never compromise on that; not while growing up (and I was fortunate to have parents who didn’t meddle too much), and certainly not now. I appear how I want to appear. I wear what I want to wear. And people can come to assumptions easily based on that. The assumptions are probably pretty far off from how I actually identify, but I can live with that. It’s much better than feeling uncomfortable with how I look. In retrospect, I think that the fact I’ve been so uncomfortable in my body is the reason why I’ve always given myself a lot of leeway on the things I can control: clothing, shoes, accessories, hairstyles. Essentially: gender presentation. I have rarely cared what others think, in terms of the way I look. And I’ve been fortunate to have never gotten too much flak about it (or, perhaps, I’ve been oblivious…)
Why do I want to come back to the LGBT (specifically the T) community? Some of the reasons are selfish. I started testosterone, and the community now feels more relevant to my life again. But another way to phrase that exact same notion would be, “I’ve finally found where I belong, in a positive way, and it’s within the trans* community. Now that I’ve gotten through the bulk of the personal struggles, I want to give back.” I’m not sure how, exactly, yet, but some pretty safe bets would be:
– through writing
– through connecting personally with others
– through local community involvement
-And specifically, one day, I’d like to present at conferences and/or be a gender identity youth coordinator. We’ll see…