How Do I Come Out as Trans?
by Ashley Adamson on Aug 17, 2022
I’ve made a couple of videos about this, but I keep talking about it because it is so important.
Where are you in your social transition journey? Have you come out yet to friends, your family, and your coworkers?
If you haven’t yet, do you want to so that you can be yourself, rather than being someone everyone else is used to seeing? It can be a freeing experience to embrace your true self in public.
However, coming out doesn’t always go well, and I don’t want to see you get hurt. How you approach it can make a big difference.
How Do I Come Out as Trans to My Parents?
The dynamics of coming out can be different for friends, family, and coworkers, but let’s just look at family first.
Before you rush into anything, set your expectations. What do you think will happen when you share that you are trans with your family? What would make the conversation a success, and what kind of pain are you hoping to avoid?
You change how you approach the conversation to increase the likelihood that you’ll get a good response that you find affirming and validating. Nothing is ever guaranteed, but you have at least some power to enter into the conversation in the right way.
In my experience, and from what I’ve seen, expecting immediate acceptance and joy from parents is sometimes a little bit unrealistic, even if they love you and want you to be happy.
If you are getting ready to come out, you’ve already been thinking about this for weeks or months - maybe years. You have had lots of time to think about who you are and reflect on that.
Your parents are probably blindsided. They didn’t have any warning, and in the moment they might have a lot of feelings. Expecting immediate acceptance is placing a lot of pressure on them.
You also don’t need to cover every aspect of being trans, from hormones to surgery, right away. Some of these details are stressful for parents. If you start with your name, your pronouns, and your feelings, there will always be more time to explain further.
Instead of focusing on the immediate “battle”, think about the longer “war”. If you approach the conversation in an accepting, loving, and caring way, you might still not get the immediate acceptance you want, but you’ll plant the seeds for a better long-term relationship.
How Do I Come Out as Trans to Friends?
Your friends are your support network, so it can feel almost as vulnerable to share who you are with them as it can be with your parents.
Just like it is with parents, some friends might be really surprised at the moment to hear that you are trans.
If you start these conversations off with an ultimatum: you need to accept me, immediately, or else we’re over - the conversation might not go as well as you want it to.
If you explain to friends that you trust them and that is why you’re sharing this sensitive information with them, and create space so that they can have whatever feelings they have in the moment, you are more likely to get the understanding and acceptance you want.
How Do I Come Out as Trans at Work?
The relationships you have with coworkers are different than family and friends.
The first step is probably to have one-on-one meetings with your boss and supervisor, as well as any coworkers that you work closely with. Having a simple conversation about your transition, your name, and your pronouns, is enough in most cases to break through to people who value you.
If you work in a wider company and have a lot of acquaintances at work, it might inconvenient or impossible to have a meeting with everyone. In this case, it might be better to send out a mass email that explains your new name and pronouns, along with some answers to commonly asked questions.
It’s important to remember that your manager and the HR department where you work are not your friends. They are ultimately more concerned with your work than they are about your transition. You don’t want to be too suspicious and automatically shut them out, however. Sometimes managers and HR people will help you as much as they can.
When I was starting my transition, I went up to the CEO of my company directly and explained that wasn’t comfortable using the women’s bathroom or the men’s bathroom, and that no gender-neutral options were available. He wasn’t just interested in hearing that opinion - he actually made a change and created an option for me.
Coming Out as Trans
It can be scary to have these conversations, but they are essential if you want to share who you are with your friends, coworkers, and family.
By approaching these conversations the right way - with acceptance, kindness, and patience - you’re more likely to get the reactions you want.
If you want to chat about topics like this with me and other cool trans people, check out my discord server where we have community discussions about everything trans. Sign up for my email list, so you’ll always get my latest content, and remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel and hit the bell so you’ll always be notified when I release a new video.
Coming out is scary, but worth it. You can do it!