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Coming out to transphobic family before the holidays

Discussion in 'Coming Out Advice' started by rhizomerhubarb, Nov 13, 2021.

  1. rhizomerhubarb

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    Hi, 19-year-old transgender guy here. I’ve been transitioning since starting college and am completely out to everyone at my school. My parents and extended family are in another state, and next month I’ll be flying home for Christmas. It’ll be the first time I see them since I’ve started T. Now, my entire extended family, save one uncle, is extremely transphobic, conservative, and Christian. Because everyone’s really religious, Christmas is a big family holiday. So I can expect to see pretty much everyone there, including my many cousins.


    I haven’t come out to anyone officially in my family except my parents—they’ve known all through high school and have sent me to many therapists in hopes of fixing me. Needless to say, high school was extremely rough for me. I told them that I would begin transitioning in college.


    Now, having been roughly 3 months on T, I’ve gained a lot of muscle mass, my voice has dropped, and I completely pass as male. So I can’t hide any changes. I’ll be flying back the week before Christmas.


    I’m thinking I should come out to my two closest sisters (who are both bisexual) a week or two before officially coming out to my parents. And when I say come out I mean insist that they use the correct name and pronouns, and tell my younger siblings to do the same. After that I plan to come out to my grandparents and uncles/aunts. I definitely don’t want to be around if they deadname/misgender me, so I’m wondering how I can handle that with the most tact.


    Should I say something like, “Please call me _________ and use my correct pronouns, or I will not associate with you anymore.”? I’m trying to communicate in a way that draws the least amount of attention to myself and is as undramatic as possible. I’m also trying to minimize the level of transphobia that will be said to my face or behind my back. I don’t want my parents accusing me of being selfish or hijacking Christmas. I just want to gauge if my extended family will use the correct pronouns/name in advance so I can plan accordingly (either a friend’s house to crash at or some other place).


    How much time should I give my family to digest the news before I fly out? And how do I make it clear that referring to me with the correct name and pronouns is uncompromisable while not being too callous?


    Thanks.
     
  2. chicodeoro

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    I'm confused. Have you come out to your parents or not?

    If you haven't I would prepare the ground, possibly through a letter. I'd detail all the steps you have taken and all the changes, which in all probability will shock them if they aren't forewarned.

    My advice, for what it's worth, would be to avoid confrontation like that. In my experience, the longer you have had a relationship with someone, the more gently you need to ease them in. Sure, if they ask about a name and/or pronouns tell them. But don't demand that they address you by your new name. I can't think of anything that is more likely to make for an unhappy Christmas for all concerned.

    I'd make sure they have two weeks to digest the news. That way you can get any difficult conversations out of the way, on the phone, before you see them in person.

    Good luck!

    Beth
     
  3. Rayland

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    If you have dropped hints for your parents beforehand, then I would also reccomend giving them two weeks notice at least. I think this is a good way to come out fully like this, then no one can stop you, if you have already transitioned, but do give them time.

    And also if your sisters themselves are bi, then I think they will be supportive and you have some backup support. Writing a letter is a very good idea too.

    But I do think it's a bad idea to confront them during holidays, when it can be already nervewrecking enough to get everything ready and have a happy holidays.

    Be gentle and take baby steps. This is something everyone needs to get used to.

    I hope everything works out very well and do please keep us updated, if you want to.

    I was thinking of coming out like this as well, transitioning slowly, starting with my looks and easing my family into this, when I'm hopefully not much home next year and slowly drop them hints about it and write them a letter, so I truly hope this works out very well for you.

    Best of luck.
     
  4. rhizomerhubarb

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    Yes, I have already come out to my parents before, which caused my high school years to be miserable as they just transferred me from therapist to therapist in hopes of fixing me and controlled nearly every aspect of my life. I had told them that I was going to transition in college, but I don’t know how seriously they took that considering they still misgender me in texts and such. Honestly I don’t like my parents much at all—I’m much more concerned with how my younger siblings will take the news. Already my parents are brainwashing them with homophobic and transphobic rhetoric, so if anything I want to help them come around.

    So, in summary, yes, my parents have known for awhile, they have just buried their heads in the sand about it and have refused to listen before. That’s why I’m considering being more upfront about how I should be treated.
     
  5. rhizomerhubarb

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    Thanks for your support! I will definitely give them two weeks notice! I hope your transition goes well also!
     
  6. chicodeoro

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    Oh, I see. I'd still write to them upfront, detailing the changes that have happened and maybe underlining the fact that this isn't just a 'phase' (which is probably what they're still hoping).

    Getting your younger siblings onside is probably a good idea too.
     
  7. quebec

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    rhizomerhubarb.....I have a few questions...are you dependent on your parents for your college expenses? During the Summer when college is not in session, will you live at home? Are you thinking of going to college year round? I ask because your approach is what I would call very up front, actually pretty blunt. I can understand that, after going through what happened to you in high school, you want to be very clear about how you feel and how you want to be addressed. Perhaps being very blunt is the only way to make your point with your family. However, most people would take what you said you planned to do as a kind of an attack and would respond with an attack of their own. If you are dependent on them financially you could easily lose that support...you'll have to be ready to handle that situation. This conversation, especially at Christmas when there are other family members present would put your parents in a very difficult position. They could be extremely embarrassed in front of family, so I doubt that you would get a good response from them. I sound like I'm defending your parents...believe me - I'm not. I'm concerned that you will be able to come out in a way and in circumstances that will result in the best possible result for you. Someone has already suggested writing a letter. That would be a great idea and I would suggest that you do it as soon as possible. Be careful with how you write the letter. There is no doubt that you have years of anger and resentment
    built up as a result of your treatment at the hand of your parents. However, if the letter is all negative, if you attack them and use language that demands they treat you in certain ways, you will make the situation worse. It sounds to me like there is already tension between you and your parents and I can easily see why. Try to phrase the letter in such a way that it "calms the waters" instead of "stirring up a storm". You want the letter to help open the door to a constructive conversation with your parents, so keep that in mind. Your parents will need time to adjust to the "new you" even though they knew it was coming. It's not uncommon for someone in a situation like this to push it away...to pretend that it's not really going to happen, and then it hits them square in the face and they're not prepared. If you write, email, whatever to them now they will have time to understand that this is real and that it IS going to happen. Getting in touch with your two bisexual sisters for support is another must do. They will be able to help you with the rest of the family and this way you won't be alone when you discus this with the family. Please consider using the letter that you write to your parents as a "script" for your talk to the whole family so that you don't ramble on. Also, and this is quite important, there will be questions... i.e. How did you know your are trans? When did you know? Are you going to have any kind of surgery? etc. If you set down now and think of 5-6 potential questions that people might ask and prepare answers to them right now...when the time comes you will be in a much better position to carry on the conversation about your transition. You will also come across as more mature and serious and that will count for a lot. This is a serious thing that you're doing...I'm sure you realize that! So please keep us updated on how this continues to unfold. Remember, you are a part of our LGBTQIA+ Family and we do care.
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
    #7 quebec, Nov 14, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2021
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  8. xerixio

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    If you're safe, then coming out should be great! Family will always accept you. If they don't, they aren't your family.
     
  9. quebec

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    zerixio.....It would be wonderful if all families were accepting of our LGBTQIA+ Family, but they're not. Far too many people have been made homeless just for telling their family about their sexuality. The problem is that they are our families...the people that we have known since birth, the people who should love us the most. So when they do turn their backs on us, the pain can be horrible. That is one of the reasons that the suicide rate is so high in our community...especially among our youth. So we often find when coming out that we have to hope for the best, while preparing for the worst. Would that it was different, but it is not.
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
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  10. xerixio

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    As someone who personally is in that situation at the moment, I know how that feels. I apologize if my first message was worded poorly. My intent was to display that you have other people who will care about you, regardless. That, to me, is true family.
     
  11. quebec

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    xerixio.....And you're right....those that truly care are your real family.
    .....David :gay_pride_flag: