Coming Out

2021/5/10 Update

After I posted this, I started drafting my coming out email for work. I was out and had my name updated before Monday morning! Nice! Good job me!

Original Entry

I've been thinking a lot about how I want to handle coming out to people I'm not close with (coworkers, semi-distant friends, etc.). I think the timing is about right, but I'm getting cold feet. I keep coming up with reasons I should wait a bit longer.

For example, I wanted to wait until my name was legally changed so that my name in the employee directory would match my preferred name. I can only change my first name in the directory. My last name can only be updated when it is legally changed. Since I know I want to change my last name, I figured I could minimize disruption for other people if I just do both at the same time. I've also thought about telling my team my preferred name but continuing to use my deadname with more distant coworkers. When my name is legally changed, I'd come out to everyone else. I don't want to put my coworkers in the awkward position of trying to juggle two identities for me. Also, it seems like a quick way for someone to slip up and out me before I was ready. I've got plenty more excuses along those lines, too!

Its absurd. I'm putting slight discomfort for other people above the pain I experience from continuing to hide. I can logic through it and say that the perspective is warped and that I should ignore those concerns… but I still feel apprehensive. If I keep digging into my own mind, I find that I'm really just worried about the same thing I've always been afraid of. I'm afraid of how other people will see me.

I don't want to be a bother. I don't want them to think I'm weird. I'm afraid that once I come out I'll need to start meeting expectations that I'm not ready to meet. If I stay inside the pattern of acceptable gender expression then it'll be easier for me to fly under the radar! Its always the same issue: I'm trying to keep everyone else comfortable at the cost of my own happiness. I did it in my previous relationship when I desperately tried to find a way to make transitioning acceptable to my partner, and I'm doing it now with my coworkers.

I want to be brave enough to just own it. I want to just walk in there and be like "yep, I'm trans!". I mean, with COVID-19 and all, I'm not going to be walking into work any time soon, but I think you know what I mean. I've never really been that way. I can summon up that courage sometimes for specific things, but I always revert back to worrying about being accepted and keeping other people happy.

This isn't going to get any easier if I wait. Well, I mean, I do think it will get easier if I wait. If I look a bit more feminine then people might have an easier time remembering my preferred name… but that's just another example of me trying to make things easier for other people! I'm trying to avoid needing to correct people who use my deadname because its socially uncomfortable. That's something I need to get over. Its going to happen, and I'm going to need to get used to pointing it out.

So, where does that leave me? Every reason I have for delaying coming out is fundamentally about making other people happy at my expense. Yes, sometimes we both benefit in a way, but I end up way behind once you factor in the discomfort I feel from staying in the closet. That seems extremely fucked up, and I am not going to let it happen any longer. It doesn't matter if I'm still a bit uncomfortable with it. My reasons for feeling uncomfortable are terrible and they don't count. Its time.