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‘Coming out’ is a term that is mostly used by LGBT+ people to disclose their gender identity or sexual orientation to the world around them. That disclosure consists of understanding and accepting the identity yourself and then disclosing it to others. There are 6 stages of coming out according to Cass identity model which explains beautifully how, the coming out process works from identity confusion to identity synthesis.

It took me a long time to gather courage when I came out to my father as a transgender man. I called him, showed all the documents: my GD (gender dysphoria) letter, surgery letter, and hormones prescription. I told him what I feel and how long I have been feeling it. His first question was, “How is that possible?” As my father previously worked in Indian Air Force, he was very adamant to take me to the Army hospital for “treatment” and try to convince me and pay for top surgeries available to “correct” me.

I agreed to go to the Army hospital. I was referred to a psychiatrist and a gynecologist. I could avail health care from the Air Force by the birth name/dead name, and it was devastating for me to keep hearing the same name I was burdened with and the consequent female pronouns. However, I was still confident about the way I felt and expressed.

I agreed to go to the Army hospital. I was referred to a psychiatrist and a gynecologist. I could avail health care from the Air Force by the birth name/dead name, and it was devastating for me to keep hearing the same name I was burdened with and the consequent female pronouns. However, I was still confident about the way I felt and expressed.

I went to the psychiatrist there who turned out to be supportive. Then, I went to the gynecologist who insisted on doing an ultrasound and karyotype test, both of which I denied explaining him that I do not need them. I clearly stated that I am a transgender man. Then I was referred to the plastic surgeon, with whom I got into a heated argument over ‘normal’, ‘abnormal’ and the hidden legalities which he was not sharing with me when I mentioned that I am aware of NALSA judgment, WPATH, and others. Eventually, my father and I went to the doctor I had my surgery from. I made my father watch a few videos and after vigorous convincing, both by my sister and me, he finally “accepted” my identity.

Image Source: LGBT Ireland

Also read: 7 Tips On How to Pass As Masculine For Trans Men

I have been in trans activism for quite some time now and most of the time I get to hear the same question, “How to convince my parents for the transition?” Or “How to come out to my parents as a transman?” Transmen find it very difficult to come out to their parents as there are many aspects that affect our lives. Being assigned female at birth, most of us have to face the patriarchy and the effect of patriarchy which a cis-gendered female has to go through, although there are some differences in the experiences of a cis female and a transman. Keeping that into consideration, here are a few suggestions that might help you in coming out to your parents:

Transmen find it very difficult to come out to their parents as there are many aspects that affect our lives. Being assigned female at birth, most of us have to face the patriarchy and the effect of patriarchy which a cis-gendered female has to go through, although there are some differences in the experiences of a cis female and a transman.

  1. Father or Mother: Always choose someone who you are close to and you think they can understand your feelings. Before coming out, try to bring LGBT topics into conversations and observe their reaction to figure out who might be supportive.
  2. Plan: Before coming out, it is very important to plan how you will be coming out. Plan everything that you think might happen if things go downhill or even if everyone accepts you. They might ask some questions so be ready to answer those. It is also important to read a lot and gain knowledge about the different aspects of transition before coming out so that you can make informed decisions in order to live a dignified life. 
  3. Share your feelings: It is very important to share your feelings. When you have understood your own feelings it will be easy for you to make them understand. You can then tell them what words hurt you and what makes you feel comfortable. It will help them to understand what you are going through.
  4. Legal and Medical Documents: If you have any documents like Gender dysphoria letter or anything from doctors or even an affidavit or gazette document, you can also share them with your parents to help them understand the legalities and medical procedures involved and also that it is not a phase that will pass overnight.
  5.  Safety: It is very important to consider your own safety. If you are financially dependent on your parents or living with your parents then think again before coming out. Only come out to your parents if you feel that it is safe enough. I understand that many transmen feel suffocated and want to come out. However, it is important to keep your respective safety in mind. Also, be aware of other options you might have in case anything goes wrong and plan accordingly.
  6. Videos and Articles of Other Transmen: You can always collect and share the videos and articles of other transmen with your parents, so that they know that there are other people like you and also that these things are not wrong and that there is a future to live a life just like anyone else.
  7.  Be Patient: After you come out to your parents, their reaction can be anger, frustration, loss etc. Be ready for all kinds of emotions. Try to be neutral and patient as much as you can during the process.
  8. Coming out is a process: Last but not the least, understand that coming out is a process that never ends. You might have to come out twice to your parents or maybe even more than that. Be patient. Help them understand your feelings as well as try to understand where they are coming from.

Please note that these are just some suggestions that might help you in coming out to your parents. I personally do not guarantee that these will always be successful. However, do not lose hope and always remember the most important thing is that we have to give our parents time to absorb and the information which you have shared and space to process it. Do not keep poking them about it. 

Also read: Being A Trans Man And The Pressures Of Masculinity

Individuals do not move through the coming out process at the same speed. The process is very personal. It happens in different ways and occurs at different ages for different people. Some people are aware of their gender identity at an early age, and others arrive at this awareness after many years. Coming out is a continuing, sometimes a lifelong process. So be patient!


Featured Image Source: Buzzfeed

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