This section is meant to be a preamble to the actual blog and explains where things were with my family and friends.
I came out to my family in June 2002. I sent two letters via Fedex - one to my parents and one to my sister and her husband. I sent them on a Wednesday afternoon such that they would arrive on a Friday afternoon, thinking it would be easier for them to take the news over a weekend.
I sent the letters because I was going to be visiting for a family reunion about a month later, and I knew I would be starting hormones within the next 2 months. I wanted them to know from the beginning, and after talking with friends who disclosed to their families after they had started their way along transition, they thought it was best to let the family take everything in baby steps.
Anyway, I arrived home from work that Friday night to find two messages on my answering machine. My parents called first and told me they loved me and that we’d get through all of this. I could tell that both of them had either been crying or were very upset. My sister called about a minute later to say she loved me as well. It was nice to get that type of response right off the bat. A lot of my friends have said that they never get a call or message from their parents after they disclose to them, or that their concern is more over how to fix them or get the old person back.
I sent a book, True Selves, along with the letter. My mom read it. However, it’s really hard to relate to non-T people just what all of this Gender Identity stuff is all about.
My sister notified us that same weekend that she was pregnant with her first child...my parent’s first grandchild. So, the family got some strong news that weekend, both quite ground shaking.
Because I was mentally tired from coming out to just my direct family, I let my mom disclose to the extended family before the reunion. Most took it OK. The rest just didn’t like to talk about it.
For Christmas 2002, my family met at my sister and brother-in-law’s place. I ended up getting a few female gifts, mainly from my sister, who seemed the most positive out of all of them. We would even talk on the phone about different parts of our lives...and it seemed like we were growing slightly closer than we had been in quite a while, even though you can only do so much over a vast distance. After Christmas, though, my sister and I had a misunderstanding and our relationship grew worse.
Dad was also having a hard time with my transition. He was losing his only son, and he didn’t like it. He was still trying to grasp why I was transitioning, as well as everything else in my life. He thought, along with my sister, that perhaps I had been influenced by a group of transgender people to transition. This is not an uncommon thought that friends and love ones have of people transitioning. My sister and dad suggested that I see a therapist that didn’t specialize in gender stuff, but I told them, "why would I see a therapist without any knowledge of the GID matter...It'd be just like seeing a podiatrist for a heart condition." Thinking about it though, I told them I would see any accredited therapist they wanted me to see, as long as one of them went with me. I wanted them to hear what the therapist said. My dad thought about my proposition.
Mom has remained supportive since basically my initial disclosure. Unfortunately, her support, my dad’s indifference, and my sister’s hesitance of support has caused a rift in the family....one that hopefully can mend with time.
My first attempt at disclosure was to my friend Dawn who still lived in Missouri. I sent an anonymous email to her in early summer 2001 saying I was transgender and was a friend of hers. I didn’t receive a response. I sent another one. Still nothing.
My first face to face disclosure was to my friend Lorri in the summer of 2001. She laughed initially because she thought it was a joke. It’s not an uncommon response. Lorri and I kinda had to go our separate ways after we realized that our personalities were too conflicting.
In the fall of 2001, hijackers attempted to fly 4 planes into targets in the US. Three succeeded. After this time, I think a lot of people analyzed where they were in their life. I know I did. I started realizing that it was more important to live my life the way I knew I would be happy than worry about what others thought of me. Perhaps it was the final kick in the pants I needed.
I disclosed to one of my best friends named Jamie. He’d been a close friend since we both met in college way back in early 1990. He took it extremely well, and said he would be there for me.
In 2002, I disclosed further to my friend Joe and his wife Susan before I visited the area.
In a social group I belonged to, a few friends were inquisitive of some of my other dealings. I would mention activities, but I wouldn’t talk about specifics. I hated lying, so I would talk about everything except for the mentioning of T related items. I could tell my friend Kathy was developing a little bit of a crush on me, and her questions became a little more frequent. Finally, just after a little new year celebration to bring 2003 in, I disclosed to her. She initially had a hard time with the news because she was losing this male image of who she liked. It bothered her for a while and she was a little afraid to see me in girl mode. After stopping by for dinner one night to say hi as Kara, she saw me in a little different light and said, “Well, this isn’t so bad.” She was expecting far worse. I asked her not to tell the rest of our friends because there were connections back to work that I thought would be hard to control.
In May 2003, I was in a play called La Cage Aux Folles. I played basically a transvestite. I invited both friends and coworkers to the play, both of whom showed up. I thought this would be a good baby step for them, and possibly help them see my upcoming transition. I had a lot of funny comments like “You make a really pretty woman” and “How did you learn to walk so good in heels” but none of them clued in on me being a TS.
In June 2003, I disclosed to my old coworkers along with my old college teammates. There was mixed reaction to my news. The messages I got back were all pretty positive, but Jamie and few others would tell me more of what was going on behind the scenes. Some had a hard time with the news, saying I was basically dead to them now. And then, there were some who sent messages back who I had never really had many conversations with before. They were good messages saying they were glad to see I was living my life.