National Coming Out Day
Coming out was a bit of a strange experience for me. When I was very much questioning, I confided only in my partner and a very close friend. I think I was very lucky that I had that support from both of them, especially the former. It helped me so much, especially as my mind was a mess at the time. Slowly and methodically, when I was ready, I let a wider group of people know until I eventually changed all my social media profiles and let everyone else know.
Questioning and coming out to yourself is a hard and lonely enough experience without the isolation from doing it during a pandemic. Normally you’d at least be able to go to queer events and make some friends and build a support network of folks who’ve been through the same thing.
At times, I wish I’d figured things out years ago and built these support networks and done so many things sooner, and there’s a constant feeling of missing out on everything going on in the wider community. It’s not something I can fix, but I’m also really grateful that amongst all the horribleness and hate online, there’s some really amazing people who I really look up to, both in and out of the tech industry. And rationally I’m glad I waited until I was ready, as I was in an environment where it felt, while still extremely scary, quite supportive. Especially within my workplace and close friends.
Coming out is never going to be a binary in-or-out situation. It’s an ongoing experience, from friends, family, online communities, and further down the line, trying to deal with the bureaucracy of changing details with your bank or utilities companies. Or trying to change your email with Deliveroo, which is surprisingly hard. Having to deal with multiple personas, being known to different people by different names, pronouns and appearances, is exhausting and can really take a toll on you mentally. I got fed up very quickly and came out to everyone else relatively quickly. Some people need longer. You should just do what feels right and comfortable for you, and go at your own pace as much as you can. Take time for yourself and your mental health, and be kind to yourself. Some people are using today to come out. And maybe you want to, but you don’t feel ready. That’s always fine! It’s never something you have to ever do. You know what’s best.
Things may be quite scary online and especially seem worrisome for us trans folks in the UK. But the friends, opportunities, confidence and love in myself gained ever since I’ve come out have made all of it worth it. There’s always so much to be hopeful for.