I wish I just could’ve forward an email to everyone I know; linked with Diana Ross’s ‘I’m Coming Out’ , in the first place. How simple and direct that would’ve been. Instead however, I went the route of slowly introducing myself as who I was. One at a time letting people in my life know about the important lines I had ran a permanent marker though due to fear of not being accepted for who I am and who I love. I was surprised to find that those closest to me either took to adjusting, wanting to know more and even in one case, in return, I had someone come out to me. For some closeted DSG people it can be an issue of safety when ‘coming out’ which is what drew me to mentoring, as like those around me I want to reassure others to find comfort within themselves in the near future and knowing that when things go south, there is someone to lean on to. To me coming out isn’t a one way stop, there are turns and bends, getting bogged down in some mud, rough terrain, some pitstops along the way and then you reach your stop, you may find comfort in viewing what you’ve achieved or be planning your next journey. What I’m trying to say is that there is no one way of coming out, it’s different for everyone and each person goes at their own pace. In an idealistic world no one would have to ‘come out’, there have been times where I have made the decision to explain elements of my sexuality and identity to someone who wasn’t aware and there are times where I just let out these parts of me without forewarning, in which both cases have produced some interesting reactions, but all endearing I believe. Either way it doesn’t matter; focus on your inner being and how you express yourself and how anyone else chooses to reacts in a social situation positively, negatively or even somewhere in between is their response and you don’t have to take it on board. To give you a run down this is how so far my coming out journey has turned out for me so far (note: some of it is a bit hazy)
1st Mum: My mum got the brunt of all my break downs and episodes and eventually it would lead me to the first time coming out to her sitting on my bed; balling my eyes out and having so many doubts go through my head on whether I would be loved the same as I was before coming out, saying things like being viewed as a broken individual. She was the one to pick me up and reassure that I wasn’t.
2nd Dad: for my dad (who came in an hour and a half later), it was like the relay message, which wasn’t too bad as it gave me a chance to solidify what I had said to my mum (like the VCE cliffnotes summary) Now when new information came to the surface my parents would be hearing it together for the first time. Most of the time, I mean it’s hard to opt out of a conversation with my mum when you in the passenger’s seat sitting on 80mph.
3rd my oldest brother: My oldest brother after a fight with my parents wanted to talk to me, in a state of pressure I felt obligated to tell him about being DSG, which my advice would be later after this experience is to find comfort beforehand rather than rush the process for the sake of someone else. This made the process painful, I couldn’t respond to any of his questions, as he didn’t what to hurt me by being incorrect. Later I went through with him a second time, filling him in when I was in a better position to open up about myself.
4th my middle brother and his fiancé: Through a rough period in the holidays, I was in a depressive slump and I called my brother who lived outside the city and he came over with his fiancé to aid me. When I had reached a level of calm I came out to them and they responded with ‘okay’ and then we started talking about bad sex ed classes in high school.
5th my best friend: My best friend and I had the house to ourselves one night, which was always a disaster waiting to happen as everything would end up burnt in the kitchen. We went to take my dog for a walk late at night and the words kept getting stuck in my throat, until my friend told me to rip it off like a band aid and I told her (she is the straightforward type of person; we are literally the definition of opposites attracting.) I was surprised to find though after sharing a hug on the way home, that sitting on the kitchen tiles patting my dog that she would come out to me too.
6th another friend: for me this friend I hold dear, as they have provided a safe house for me when I need a change of space to reside in. Coming out to her was made out to be not a big deal to her and her family and I now have someone to talk about these things in a comedic light and it brought us closer together as friends knowing these personal parts about each other.
7th an old friend: I was invited to meet up with an old friend and sitting in a food court I told this friend about my identity and we discussed with each other about finding out things about yourself and trying to decipher them, moving out to a garden with a terrace. I started getting the hang of coming out at this point, I could feel a weight being lifted off me.
8th more coming out to family (names, decisions and whatnot): The first time I came out I just wanted to establish the groundwork of my identity and much later came the nuances of that, which is different for everyone. In this stage of coming out I was and still seeking mentoring from Queerspace, GPs, psychologists and counselors in helping me inform my family of decisions surrounding my physical and mental health. It has provided me with a great network of supports and finding out what works and doesn’t work for me.
9th passing conversation: over the past few weeks my 2nd friend who I came out to, her and I have been having a running joke about my life within a catholic all girls school. The topic about people within the school having different sexual orientations and gender identities, cropped up into conversation and the people within my friendship circle thought there would be hardly anyone. My friend and I shared a look and we tried to not burst out laughing. Until one of the friends asked my friend if she might be within that small group (which really wasn’t as small as you’d think) and she burst of laughing and I said it was me.
10th yet to come or not; when I leave school and starting anew: So now that my friends and family know that I’m transgender and the pansexual part is still kind of mislabeled as gay (hey but at least we are getting somewhere, compared to the first time coming out) I made the decision to not reveal being a DSG person to the school, though probably a few people already know, teachers that have engaged with my psychologist and the fact that I campaign DSG issues, also probably everyone in my drama class knows. I’ve have been planning for months about my journey after high school; concerning starting anew as Caleb and making decisions surrounding my identity and moving into a comfortable environment into further education.