Posts tagged: coming out

“You know I’m trans, right?”

By , August 12, 2010 10:37 am

I was talking with some coworkers this week, B who has been there almost a year and K, the woman I’m training to be my replacement. We were joking about a number of things, and B made a self-deprecating joke about being gay. I followed up with a self-deprecating joke about being trans, and turned to K, saying, “You know I’m trans, right?”

That’s been my general coming out tactic lately, and I think I’ve mentioned it once or twice before on this blog. Today, K paused (awkwardly, I felt) and said, “Oh, yeah.”

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Coming Out Surprises

By , July 24, 2010 5:45 pm

Last night, I went on a bit of an adventure. First, I went to see Queertopia again at About Face. It’s part of their youth theatre program, and is very much worth seeing. I went with some of my high school students (though a bunch who said they were going to come didn’t show up…) and it was great being able to expose my students to very different work that other kids their own ages are doing.

Then, I met up with a friend for her trolley party.

Rebecca on on a trolley

Not a great picture, but undeniable proof of trolley-hood

I’m not totally sure why she was having a trolley party – I think a friend of hers was in from out of town, which is as good an excuse as any – but a bunch of people I knew from Northwestern were also there. One of whom hadn’t seen me since I’d transitioned, and clearly didn’t remember who I was.

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You don’t get to out me

By , March 31, 2010 8:48 am

I did end up sending an email to my friends, along the lines of what I discussed in this post:

Hey friends!

This is kind of an uncomfortable email for me to write, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about and need to address:

Please don’t out me. That is, please don’t tell people I’m trans.

I love you all. I’ve said this over and over again: I’m privileged, blessed, and really fucking lucky to be surrounded by friends like you. In a world that isn’t too kind to people outside the norm, you all pretty much shrugged your shoulders when I came out. Not because it wasn’t important to me, but because it didn’t change our friendships.  I really value that. I love being able to have conversations and debates, to share joy and sorrow, with people who I’ve known for years, and who have known me.

But staying in Chicago after high school and college has also made transitioning occasionally more work than I’d like. To pick a really easy example, I went to the bank yesterday and the teller was the mom of someone I went to elementary school with (and not someone I particularly cared for, at that). She knew she sort of recognized me, but totally didn’t know how to respond to my presentation as Rebecca. It wasn’t a problem, and she was respectful, but it kind of threw me out of my stride to have to say, “Yeah, I’m going by Rebecca now…”  Even though I love Chicago, and am glad I’ve stuck around, having to be reminded of that pre- and post-transition disconnect takes its toll.
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Who gets to out you?

By , March 30, 2010 12:25 am

One of my roommates, Alice, had a friend over last night, Bob. The three of us were joking about Passover and Easter, and how none of us really practice what are ostensibly our respective religions. Alice was saying that she attended church enough at her (Catholic) middle school, so doesn’t need to attend now: she’s built up a quota. Bob replied, “Nope. You’re going to hell.” (He was joking. Don’t worry.) I laughed and said, “Well, I’ll be there too: I’m Jewish.”

Bob, chuckling, gestured to me and said, “Right. He’s going to hell because he doesn’t acknowledge the big JC…” And continued talking, using the incorrect pronoun, to the point where I started to wonder if he maybe wasn’t referring to me; most people catch themselves earlier than Bob did.

But no, I finally had to correct him, “She. Not he.”

He apologized, corrected himself, and the conversation moved on. Shortly thereafter I left and went to bed.

And realized I’d never actually told Bob I was trans.

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Questions on being trans, from highschoolers (pt 2)

By , March 16, 2010 11:09 pm
  • How did you know you wanted to be a girl? – what influenced your decision to transition?

That’s a tough one to answer. How did you know you wanted to be a girl, anonymous questioner? (Or wanted to be a boy?)

For me, it wasn’t so much that I wanted to be a girl that I knew I wasn’t a boy. I imagined being a girl was better, I hoped it was right for me, and I wished I were a girl. But I wasn’t positive that it would be until I did it. Maybe a good analogy would be the question, “How do you know you’re hungry?” Well, because you’re hungry! It’s a state of being, something you know you are or you aren’t. I didn’t know I wanted to be a girl because I liked dresses or makeup or dolls. I knew it because it was true.

  • What do your family and friends think?  Did anyone give you moral support in making your decision?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am spoiled, blessed, privileged, and thankful that my friends, family, and coworkers have been so supportive during my transition. I’ve had people (family, mostly) react in a confused way, but I’ve never had anyone who was important to me act in a negative or intentionally hurtful way.

My experience, however, is the exception. It’s (unfortunately) not the rule. But I’d like to work toward a world where my experience – of the people important to me being supportive and enthusiastic of my transition – is the norm.

Coming Out

By , October 21, 2009 1:52 pm

This is an excerpt from the script I’m working on for Trans Form, which is going up this December. Enjoy!

I’m fourteen, sitting on the chair in my therapist’s office.

I started going to therapy by choice, because the year before, at thirteen, I still couldn’t get past the panic attacks and separation anxiety that had kept me from sleepovers and overnight school trips and sleep-away summer camp for as long as I could remember. The pattern was always the same: I would get excited about staying at a friends’ house, at an overnight event at the Museum of Science and Industry, at whatever. I would go, convincing myself that this time would be different, that this time I’d be able to make it all night.

But as we started to get ready for bed, the panic would creep up. For those of you who have had a panic attack before, you know how it feels. To everyone else, it was a very physical sensation, a creeping along my arms and legs to my core, to my center. My blood would start to rush, tears would inevitably spring to my eyes, and if I didn’t go home, if I didn’t get away from whatever mundane childhood experience was driving me to a panic, I’d go into fullblown hysterics.

Finally, the summer after seventh grade, when I’d missed most of the seventh grade weekend trip to Wisconsin because of a panic attack, I decided  I would go to the eighth grade trip to Washington DC. So I started seeing a therapist. We worked for months on controlled breathing, biofeedback techniques, ways to divert my focus from panicking.

But the trip to DC is in the past. (I made it, by the way, and haven’t had problems being away from home since.) Now, I’m fourteen, sitting in the chair at my therapist’s office, across from my parents, about to come out to them.

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Middle-Class Codes and the Axis of Support

By , May 6, 2009 2:39 pm

A relative of mine passed away this weekend, and I discovered something at the shiva. Specifically, I was surrounded by a lot of people – family and family friends – who I hadn’t seen in years (in some cases, over a decade). And, as good middle-class-ers, most of them were well-trained enough to know that an event or issue which could lead to a potentially awkward interaction – say, someone you don’t know particularly well transitioning – can only be discussed obliquely. There’s a code for these things; a way to mention them while feeling secure in your ‘tactfulness.’

The middle-class code for “I approve of your transition and support you in it” is “Wow, you look great.”

Now, lets place this on the Axis of Support:

How supportful and tactful are people?

How supportive and tactful are people?

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Do I feel better or worse?

By , April 30, 2009 9:00 pm

So, as I mentioned, I was groped at a work event last weekend by someone, D, who was volunteering (and sometimes worked for us). I talked about it with my coworkers and my bosses, all of whom agreed it was super-creepy, totally unacceptable, and needed some sort of response from the organization.

Well, today the special events director, RW called the guy who did it. She started the conversation something along the lines of, “So I wanted to discuss the…incident…that happened this past weekend at the benefit. Do you know what I’m talking about?”

At that point, D responded, “Wait, are you joking? You mean when I grabbed [male name]’s fake boob?”

The full story below…

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Transitioning Games

By , April 14, 2009 8:34 pm

(Note: This post should be subtitled: “In which our blogstress proves she’s a big theatre geek!”)

A while back, right before I came out to my highschool theatre class, I was speaking with the lead teacher of the class and we were joking about posisble transitioning-related theatre games. Here’s what we came up with, but I’d love any more ideas to help the list grow!

  • Coming Out Tag
    • Spoof of: Scene Tag, where each time someone is tagged they have to go into a brief scene scene before moving on as the new person who is ‘it’
    • How it works: Rather than going into a random scene, every time someone is tagged the tagger has to ‘come out’ to them. To make it really accurate, the person who is ‘it’ – the tagger – always stays ‘it’ and has to come out over and over and over and over and…
  • MTF (or FTM) Machine
    • Spoof of: This requires a little explanation, and is very much an in-joke. Machine is a game where a group (usually 6-10) builds energy one at a time with a repeating sound and motion to construct, as a whole, a ‘machine.’ It can be a generic machine, or a specific type of machine (weather, popcorn, magic, etc).
    • How it works: Basically a normal game of Machine, but the call is to change the energy during the machine from masculine to feminine, or vice versa. (Probably would quickly become very bad stereotypes of “manly” or “womanly,” but sometimes those are fun to play with.)
  • Coming Out Fingers
    • Spoof of: Fingers is a game played by partners, where they agree on three locations or occupations. They then ‘throw’ the locations/occupations at each other randomly and, when they land on the same thing, they go into a random scene prompted by that location/occupation.
    • How it works: The partners choose a location, and each scene is a coming out scene at that location.

Any to add?

Coming out to the landlords

By , January 14, 2009 9:03 pm

My email to them:

Heya. I wanted to let you both know that I’m now using the name R, along with female pronouns, instead of J and male pronouns. I’ve been trying to catch you both when you’re home to let you know, but it’s never seemed to work out. (Although I’m pretty sure [my roommate] A’s referred to me as “R- I mean J” about a million times, so maybe this won’t come as a huge surprise.)

And their response:

That’s cool!  We already knew, so you’re right it isn’t  a surprise. P and I just wanted to respect your privacy until you told us otherwise.

I’m still feeling sort of like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop… Not a single person has had a negative reaction to the transition. Which isn’t to say family and loved ones haven’t had a hard time, but not a single “What the fuck?”

Ridiculous.

-R

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