It’s almost a week since my last T-shot and my voice continues to crack as my upper-lip collects more dark hairs. I’ve been wondering how I am going to tell my family and gran and if I should tell them. The reason why I wouldn’t say anything is because I have such a huge fear of them abandoning me and/or disappointing them. It is so huge that their decision sometimes overrides my needs and desires. Things like piercings, tattoos, holidays and curfew took on enormous proportions as I struggled through adolescence and adulthood living with someone in their 70s and 80s.
My partner is trans and my gran has accepted them with open arms, asked questions and come to really love them. I’ve used my partners story to start conversations about trans stuff, hormones, surgery and genderqueer, but they’ve all ended with frustration in being unable to say what I am wanting, together with confusion from my gran trying to grapple with the term genderqueer. I’ve let it go and as I’ve started T I’ve rationalized that I don’t need to tell anyone (and in a way I don’t have to). But as I notice changes in me more and more I want to just tell those close to me so they know and don’t become concerned or surprised at my change.
I received a letter in the mail today from one of my sister’s. She was updating me about family, one of my nephews, moving house and general news. She ended the letter by saying/asking “I hope this is ok to ask but are you my brother or sister?” – something I have been avoiding has suddenly surfaced. On Facebook I’ve managed to keep my profile neutral, neither male or female, and have been quite open with my involvement with the trans and genderqueer community. I don’t expect to reply to this part of her letter, but as I handed it over to my gran I knew it would do some of the ‘coming out’ for me. As I prepared for work this afternoon my gran said how strange my sister asked me if I was her brother or sister and urged me to set her straight and tell her I am a woman. I tried to brush it off by saying I didn’t care what anyone thought to which my gran said of course I should be, I am a woman after all and I wouldn’t want someone mistaking me for a man. I explained that I sat more in the in-between and wanted to be seen as more masculine and male than feminine and a lesbian. She got confused thinking I was saying that I wanted others to understand that I preferred girls to boys to which I corrected her about sexuality and gender identity. In short I said I had been thinking of starting hormone therapy but I was scared of her reaction. My gran replied that I was silly to ever think she would disown me and that she wouldn’t be around for more than 5 minutes so why did it matter what she thought? There I said it! I feel a little better but on the other hand I have a huge headache building because of the tension, anxiety and thinking. She doesn’t know I have already started T and at the same time she is worried when I said I wanted to start hormones. She said I shouldn’t do anything ‘like that’ and that I really needed to talk to someone who knows what they are talking about (e.g. a doctor and psychiatrist). I told her that I had and as I was getting ready to leave for work things were left there.
So now what? When do I tell her that I have decided to start? Do I inform her of the risks and worry her even more? How do I tell her?
I am glad she knows because it is now in the open, but I have to move quickly as I am already changing before her very eyes.