So, that was sort of anticlimactic.
I went into yesterday dreading what I had to do: tell two men about my transgender status. As it turns out, things went pretty okay. I know that spoils the end of the story, but it didn’t feel like an ending worth building up to. Things went fine. If you want to know some of the details, keep reading.
The first encounter of the day was with Tom, my new therapist and the first male mental health specialist I have come into contact with regarding all this. As you may recall, my prescribing psychiatrist, Dr. R, had said that she thought Tom would be “a good match” for me. And within seconds of meeting him, I knew why: Tom was gay. He was also, as I discovered during the session, the therapist whom many of the gay and lesbian patients in the practice were sent to.
I was irritated for a second. Did Dr. R not understand that transgender was not the same thing as gay? Was she just foisting me off on “the gay therapist” because she didn’t know what else to do with me?
No, I decided, that wasn’t it. I like Dr. R; she is a little clueless when it comes to Gender Identity Disorder, but she generally seems like a professional and caring psychiatrist. If she thought I would work well with Tom, I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.
As it turns out, she was right. Tom and I got along pretty well. He’s kind of cerebral; he has a tendency to reference poetry (he quoted both Frost and Yeats in the session); he used to be a Dungeons & Dragons player. We have a lot in common. So I quickly got comfortable talking to him, and the session went just fine.
That was one man down. The bigger event was going to be coming out to one of my best friends, Steve. We couldn’t find a time to meet up, so I was going to have to do it over the phone, too. Ugh.
The call happened earlier than I expected. He had taken his kid to karate class and, figuring he had nothing else to do for half an hour, gave me a call like I’d asked him to. So not only was I really going to do this, but I was doing it without getting myself good and psyched up for it. My nerves were on edge.
I kind of stumbled into the part where I said “I’m transgendered,” leading up to it with a bunch of reasoning for why I was telling him this now. I could tell that I’d caught him off guard with it, but he managed to recover quickly and be the friend I needed. He asked me to clarify — Steve’s a pretty open and liberal guy, but he isn’t well versed in the gender spectrum — and after I did he said exactly the sorts of things one would hope a good friend would say — “You’ve go to be yourself,” and “It’s cool with me,” and “Everyone deserves to be happy with themselves.”
So that was that. I’ve started to tell people outside of my intimate circle of trust. I’ve broken the man barrier. I’ve taken the next step in this whole thing. And so far, so good. Steve and I are taking our kids to Free Comic Book Day today, and I’m hoping there won’t be any awkwardness; but even if there is, I know it will pass. I’m not so worried anymore.