In an event, this entry is about how I just came out to my Aunt. Oddly enough, I'm pretty virginal at this whole coming out thing (maybe I'll write an article about how I think coming out plays a really different role in the lives of tans people than in the lives of GLB people).
Anyways, here's the interaction (My aunt's responses are italicized):
Are you going by Andy?
Do you remember when you said I looked like a boy in the picture I took of myself at the bus stop? That
probably had to do with the fact that I've been using a binder instead of a
bra for the past six months to flatten my chest. I like how it makes me look and
makes me feel. I was finding that people responded to me with confusion when I
introduced myself as Chlirissa. I was also feeling more and more uneasy with how
girly the name was. I felt like it shaped people's expectations of me in
ways that made me uncomfortable. When I introduce myself to new people as ANDy,
I feel more confident and honest. I've been gradually asking more and more
people in my life to do so as well. I would appreciate if you coudl try to call
me Andy too.
Thanks for asking,
HI Chlirissa ( Andy, I am trying, it will take awhile):
I dont recall saying that you looked like a boy, but evidebtally I did. I checked my sent emails and I'm not finding the conversation in there. Reguardless it really doesnt matter. I will try my best to call you Andy (no guarantees, but I will try).
Andy, the discissions that you make in your life are totally up to you and no one else. For me to say that you need to live differently, would really be none my business or anyone elses. I did think that you were waring some type of binder on your chest, not that I could see anything, but one thing I do know is that your not flat chested (so for me that was a given) and again if thats what you want to do, than thats what you should do.
I feel rediculas in asking this.. but you dont know unless you ask,,, right ! Are you gay?
My guess would be yes, but different people do different things, and it doesnt mean that their gay.
I will say that for the past 2 years I have thought that you were... my innerself telling me. Now if I am wrong, please dont be upset.(at least you know if you ever were gay that I would be willing to accept it) It would not matter to me if you were straight, gay, blue, green, short, tall, rich, poor. Really when it comes down to it, your sexuality would have no bearing on how I feel about you,,,, that will never change. You find out how people really are when their "out of their comfort zone (family)". The LOVE I have for you is uncondituional and will always be.
Nothing would change, I may have a few tear drops, but would it be possible for you to still keep my middle name as one of yours (Alana). If your not comfortable with that I'll understand, it's just always meant a lot to me. But again that would be your decission.
Thank you for emailing me back, I have to go...I'm starving or at least I think I am.
Be safe and take care.
I'm very proud of you ackcomplishment, and determination "in Making it" in this world.
The comment about looking like a boy was something you said in passing
when I came for a visit and showed you a picture on my computer. I
mostly remember it because I had already stopped wearing bras but I
decided to buy a sports bra expressly for the visit because I didn't
want anyone to notice and ask about it.
As for the gay thing. I'm not sure how to answer. In general I don't
really have sexual attractions or desires. I've only had about two
crushes ever, and even then, they weren't really strong enough to act
on them. Then, about eight months ago I met someone named D. We fell
in love pretty quickly, and then started dating. She graduated from
Smith College and then moved back to where she was from. We dated
long distance for about six months. I spent Thanksgiving and some of
Hanaukah with her family. I mentioned it to Mother but she didn't
inquire any further about it. We actually just broke up over New Years.
It was mutual, and we agreed that we wanted to be friends. However,
she's asked me to not call her for a couple of weeks to give her time
to process, so that's been pretty hard. I mentioned all of that because
I didn't want to avoid the question of sexuality, however binding my
chest and changing my name are about gender, not sexuality.
I do not identify as a lesbian, although I understand if that is how
you see me. One of the things I loved about being with Dane was that
she was really supportive of me in terms of my gender identity. She
encouraged me to go to support groups and talk to people who I might be
able to identify with and she helped me test out some other names
before I decided on this one.
But it's important to say that my decisions weren't because of her by
any stretch of the imagination. We actually started talking at the
Transgender Pride rally, something I was involved in organizing. I
identify as transgender. That word probably calls to mind the pregnant
guy who went on Oprah a while ago. It can mean a lot of different
things, but for me it means I don?t? feel like a typical woman. I don?t
feel like a man or a woman most of the time (the word for that is
genderqueer), but I do tend to prefer being treated like a guy over
being treated like a girl. For the moment I do NOT plan on starting
hormone therapy or having surgeries. More important than altering my
body is altering the way people perceive and treat me. For the moment,
I am in a place where I can ask people to call me Andy or make other
requests in order to be treated how I would like to.
I have attached some excerpts of an article from the New York Times
that I really related to. It was originally about transmen at women's
colleges, but I trimmed it down to the most relevant parts.
I understand that this is probably confusing and surprising to you.
Many times when family members learn about it they are uncomfortable
because they are uncertain how to react. You may be scared or relieved,
skeptical but wanting to be supportive. It will probably take time for
you to sort out those feelings. What I want you to know is that I am
safe and happy. I have a supportive community near by, and I feel great
about the changes I am making in my life.
Let me know if you have questions or concerns I can address.