So how does one tell friends, neighbors, and family that their child is transgender? That their child is biologically one thing but mentally another. A concept that is 100% foreign to 99% of the population today?
How do you share, with people who literally know nothing about it, years worth of research you’ve done in one single conversation, phone call, or email?
The answer is that you do it in many ways. We had individual conversations and phone calls. We had meetings with the school. We sent emails to family and friends with a letter attached (I’ll share that letter later).
Fortunately I had 2 strong resources at my finger tips: my awesome “moms of trans kids” Facebook group moms who have shared ideas and my grad school experience of presenting ideas concisely. I knew that masters degree would pay off in the office, but who knew I’d use it so much in my personal life! LOL
TN is all about just being blunt and straight forward. His thought is that people can just take him or leave him. He’s got that fearless teenager brain. I admire that though. While I hesitate, plot and plan, he just walks into a local restaurant to apply for a job and says “By the way, I’m transgender and go by xxx for my name. Will there be an issue with that?” I mean, for real. This kid did just that at the ripe young age of 16 and the restaurant manager was totally cool with it.
One of the next things TN did was go in for a haircut. We all go to a locally owned salon – the owner has done my hair forever – and both TN and his younger brother go to a male stylist who is covered in tattoos and, frankly, is one of the coolest and most sincere guys I’ve met. You can sit
and talk with him for hours. So TN went in for a haircut. The stylist knew there was something going on over the years since TN kept getting a “boy” haircut even though TN was being referred to as female. TN made the appointment without my knowing under his male name. He showed up and the stylist was a little take aback by the name (he wasn’t sure who was coming in for a haircut) and when he looked at TN a little bewildered like, TN just said “Yeah, so, I’m transgender and I go by xxxx now.” The stylist was totally cool about it and called me later to talk and let me know that he’ll always have TN’s back. And that if any kids at school ever gave TN crap, the tattoo covered stylist (who does tend to scare people sometimes just walking down the street even though he’s a sweetheart!) offered to meet TN at school and chat with any means kids. haha. I love that guy!
There are other stories where TN has just come out to people and they don’t even bat an eye. I think when you present it in a matter of fact and confident fashion, that makes a difference.
So back to my masters degree and mad “coming out” letter writing skills…. I wrote a letter that was pretty concise, pulled together facts, and made it clear we were open to questions as long as they were thoughtful. I sent it via email to probably close to 40-50 people. Friends, neighbors, acquaintances, church friends, etc. When I clicked Send on that email, I felt like I was going to throw up, I was so nervous. I had no idea how people would react or what kinds of replies or calls I would get.
The results I got from that were pretty amazing. It was a major outpouring of love and support. Like, lots of it. Like, I was crying reading all of the email and text replies I got after I sent it. It just goes to show we chose the right friends because even if they didn’t understand or agree, they were all there for us. The actual letter that I sent is in my coming out letter post.