Trans People Are Sharing Their Advice And Experiences About Coming Out As Trans
"Gender isn't what makes you. You make YOUR gender."
Recently, we asked trans people of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what advice and words of encouragement they would want to give trans people who are thinking of coming out. And, well, they shared some heartfelt advice that is empowering and will help remind anyone who is looking to live as their true selves that they're loved, valid, and have a wonderful journey ahead.
"Many people will tell you to go for it! Live your best life! But sometimes the safest decision is just to wait. If you have any doubts at all surrounding your safety, security, or living conditions, it may be best to wait. But no matter what you do, it doesn't change who you are."
"My advice is only come out with people you know are okay with it. If you aren't sure, start by mentioning someone in the media who is popular and trans and see how your friend(s)/family members react. If you feel like it's safe, come out to them. Most importantly, no matter what ANYONE tells you, YOU ARE FUCKING VALID! YOU MATTER! YOU DESERVE LIFE AND THE BEST! Don't forget to love and take care of yourselves! Even though I don't know you, I love you! YOU are amazing! Live your life how you want (if it's safe, obviously) and take care!"
"I came out at 15 and am now 30. It's been a heck of a ride so far. My advice is that it's okay and normal to feel weird when someone uses your real name or genders you correctly at first. Some folks think it means they're 'not really trans,' but that's not true. Like any major change, there's going to be an adjustment period. Also, if you realize after a while that another name suits you better, don't be afraid to change. A lot of us go through multiple names before settling on the perfect one."
"I've been out as trans for almost 11 years. Some things I've learned are: You are not responsible for people's reactions; some may hurt, but they are not your fault. Coming out is a process, and it never stops. I first came out as a trans man, then as bigender, then as genderfluid, and I currently identify as agender (you learn, grow, and change in every other aspect of your life; gender is no different).
I did a lot of activism and brought about lasting change on my college campus, that said, I now rarely engage in those activities. You do not have to advocate for everyone, but you will always have to advocate for yourself (when it is safe to do so). Surround yourself with positivity. A good friend once told me, when I came out to him, that 'those who matter won't care, and those who care don't matter,' as an absolute, that's not always a rule we can follow, but if you rally supportive people around you, essential people who are ignorant and hurtful will be easier to stand."
"It can sometimes be very difficult. I tried to be 'normal' for far too long. Find a good therapist that understands gender identity and dysphoria. Also, when you are ready, tell a small group of friends and get a good support group in place. Not everyone will be accepting...from friends, to family, and significant others. Some may surprise you, both good and bad. I started HRT and seven months later I transitioned to full time as female and haven’t looked back! Thankfully, I had very supportive friends and coworkers and a company I work for to make it very smooth."
"Go at the pace that you are comfortable with. This is your journey. I've legally changed my name and gender multiple times over the last six years. I've been on and off HRT, and then back on again. Every one of those steps was the right choice for me. Listening to myself and my needs, and addressing them with kindness, is what has made me happiest.
Trans joy is a very real thing, move through this journey in a way that connects you to it."
"Coming out is personal, and no one else has the right to help voice any part of your story for you without your permission. You may choose to come out in bits and pieces or all at once. I am 'out' to many, but to some I’m not for varying reasons.
I have a neighbor I’m not out to yet, specifically because of anxiety. I can’t seem to bring myself to correct this person when he dead names me, because of hang ups and fear I have about how they will see/treat me in the future. Because they live within close proximity to me, I have to weigh the pros/cons. The emotional weight of them not knowing is hard for me to carry though, and in the end I have to do what’s best and safest for myself. There’s no right or wrong way to be trans/non-binary and how you share that with those you want to know. If anyone is pressuring you, that isn’t ok. This is your journey, not theirs."
"You are not obligated to come out to anyone/everyone. It’s scary and hard and you don’t owe it to anybody to come out to them. (In my experience, it does get easier.) You don’t have to transition in every way possible. If you have a preferred name, or not, or if you prefer different pronouns, or not, or if you want to medically transition, or not, it’s all your choice. Do what makes you comfortable! You don’t owe presentation to anyone either. Your gender is your gender and nobody else gets to dictate that.
For those questioning, it’s perfectly okay to be confused. You might someday figure out exactly what label fits you best, and you might not. Just do what makes you comfortable and don’t be afraid to try things out. And it’s okay if you change your mind.
You are valid. You deserve to be respected and loved. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. <3"
"People — even queer people — will tell you that being trans is binary and polar. Don't buy it. I'm here as a gender fluid woman to tell you that being trans isn't just about switching or going from x to z. It's accepting that you are not your gender, and your gender can be anything or nothing. You don't have to be gender fluid to be flexible about who you are. And you don't even have to stick with something.
Gender isn't what makes you. You make YOUR gender."
"Take your time. Don’t feel pressured to choose a label, and feel free to just sit with a word for how you feel for some time. What helped me was that I made a chart determining who I needed to physically tell, who I could let know in a massive email, and who I could just let figure it out on their own. I kept a journal noting about the process — as I started hormones and got my top surgery. Also, I tried to be open about how I was feeling with my friends."
—Trent, transgender man
"It really does get better. Deciding to share my authentic self with others drastically improved my mental and emotional health. Not immediately, not instantly. But with time, it gets better."
"Don't come out until you're ready. Don't come out until you've accepted yourself first. Work to let yourself be fully comfortable and confident in your identity, and if/when you do decide to come out, make sure it's because you WANT to, not for the external validation of others around you."
"Finally getting to become who you are, transitioning socially, medically, or both, is the single most exalting experience of your life. It's a journey that means you'll learn so much more about yourself than you imagined possible, and that self-discovery is so rewarding. Find a good system of people to back you up, and it can be the most incredible gift."
"Own your identity. In the beginning people will clock you because you're terrified that you'll be clocked. By not hyper-fixating on what others are thinking you are more apt to slip passed their radar. I spent years over thinking how I was being perceived, but it was doing more harm than anything. The internet creates a false narrative of victimization, and it leads us to be paranoid. We focus on whether someone knows we're trans, and whether we must steel ourselves against a possible verbal or physical assault. While it is important to be vigilant about one's safety, believing that an assailant lies around every corner will steal your joy. Don't doubt yourself, and those around you won't either."
"Your gender is not a performance for others. Out or not, you have to do what’s most comfortable for yourself (and your body). I spent a lot of time worrying whether I came across masc enough to other people. Cis people are gonna think whatever they want about your gender presentation. Your gender does not belong to anyone but you."
"There may not be a template easily accessible that reflects your experience. You might feel uncomfortable or not legit because what you're going through isn't the most-heard story. This does not mean that you can't be who you are or that you shouldn't get just as much right to question and explore as other people in the community. It's okay to have doubts and it's okay to change your mind. None of these things take away your inherent value as a person, and they also don't mean you're not trans. You don't have to prove anything to anyone or fit a particular mold. Your story could help a lot of people."
"I'm trans and I’ve been on testosterone since 2017.
All I can say is wait until you’re ready. Everything changes when you come out, so surround yourself with accepting people. You’re going to change drastically throughout your transition, so you have to be mentally ready to take on whatever life has to throw at you. The system is against us. We didn’t choose this life, but it’s not going to be easy, so you have to be strong and ready to grow stronger.
Know that you are going to lose a lot of people that you thought were permanently in your life. Be ready to let them go.
Know that you might lose yourself for a very long time and it may feel extremely difficult to find that person again. But also know that you will find them again.
Know that once you are living life accepting and feeling like the person you’ve been suppressing your whole life, you will realize that you are the happiest you’ve ever been in your entire life.
I’m excited for your next chapter in this life. Be strong."
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Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.