So, you’ve realised you’re trans. Your gender identity doesn’t fit what you were told you were at birth. Congratulations! Coming out to yourself is the first step on the journey.
But… What do I do next?
Make sure you remember that you are totally normal. There is nothing wrong with you because you are trans, and although it may feel like it sometimes, you aren’t going mad. You’re not even the only one! There are lots of other trans young people.
There are also loads of ways to be trans – don’t worry if you don’t fit the stereotype.
What if I want to tell someone else?
Cool! It might be a good idea to pick someone you feel confident will have a positive reaction. That way, they can support you when coming out to others. Here’s some ways that our young people have used in the past:
All these ways have different pros and cons. If it’s face-to-face or over the phone, you have the advantage of phrasing it exactly how you want based on their response, and it’s more personal. If you do it by letter, email or text, it means they can have space while reading it and time to create their response. Facebook status means that everyone knows at once and don’t get the info through gossip. It also saves you the hassle of coming out more than once to all your friends, but it does mean it is then out there for everyone to know. People may comment on your status – in the past, most people have had great responses which have set the rule for everyone else seeing the status, but if you have negative responses, others will be able to see.
Will they understand what I mean?
Hopefully. Here’s some common misunderstandings just in case:
Being trans is not the same as being lesbian, gay, bi or any other sexuality. Your sexuality is who you fancy. Your gender is who you are inside your head, and how you choose to express that in your clothes etc.
You can realise you’re trans at any time. Some people know from ever since they can remember. Others only figure it out when they’re 60. Some probably never realise. Whatever age you’ve figured it out, we promise you it’s not uncommon and doesn’t mean you’re not trans.
Help! I’ve come out to someone and they literally just don’t have a clue what I’m on about!
Then try giving them a copy of the genderbread person, or get them to spend a bit of time on YouTube looking up what being trans means.
Am I going to be a different person?
Generally no. This is a big worry for many people who have someone come out as trans to them. You are the same person you have always been, you are just more able to express who that person is. Some people will need some time to adjust to this, so just make sure you stick with them, and if they sometimes say the wrong thing, try to cut them a bit of slack as long as they are trying to understand.
The person I’ve come out to is convinced I’m having a phase or making a mistake
Some people find it really hard to believe someone they know is trans, because even though it’s not uncommon, it’s a very taboo subject. Bear in mind that this is something you’ve probably been thinking about for a long time and so you’ve had chance to get used to the idea of being trans. The people that you tell will probably not have given it much thought so it’s likely to be a big surprise to them. Most people come round in time. If you can, spending time with them often helps them to realise you’re who you always were, just with a different identity.
“It took my mum over a year. She saw the change from a terrified, anxious, depressed ‘girl’ to a shy, slightly awkward, but happy man, and she has to get used to calling me her son, but she got there.” – Robin