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Wednesday, 30 April 2008

More on Coming Out

Even as I wonder about how to deal with new acquaintances, there are old friends and classmates who are still using old pronouns. I need to write some sort of general coming out letter. Telling everybody individually is too much stress and I can't rely on the grapevine. So I'm writing a general form letter than I can customize to, say, send to my entire department.

Here is a draft. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, that would be good. Mostly, I want to lay out what I expect from people and a tiny bit about what they can expect from me.

I am transgender. For me, this means that although I used to go by female pronouns and titles, I now go by male ones. When people talk about me, they should use male pronouns: he, him, his, etc. My correct title is now "Mr." although hopefully that will change to "Dr." within the next 3 years.

I'm currently in transition, which, for me, means taking male hormones. These have already lowered my voice and caused small changes to how I look. They should continue to change my appearance such that I give off male physical cues. Hopefully, I'll be able to grow a goatee by the time I become Dr.

This is all working out very well for me. I'm much happier and more confident. Things seem "right" to me in a way that they haven't before. I'm very relieved to be doing it. If you run into somebody using my old pronouns, feel free to share this happy news with them.

Some people are confused as to what pronouns they should use to refer to me in the past. From a practical standpoint, if you try to flip back and forth, you will get confused. It will be easier for everybody if you use "he" throughout. Also, while I'm not "stealth" (which is to say, silent about my trans status), I do want some agency about coming out to new people. So, especially if you've known me a year or less, please go by "he."

I want everyone to know that I'm "he" now. I intend to be honest about my past, but it's not necessarily the first thing I want to come up, as you can probably imagine. Everybody trips up sometimes, but please do make an effort.

The Uni has an information page about this online. If you have questions about transgender issues in general, you can start there or on wikipedia. If you have questions about me specifically, then you can ask. Sometimes people are concerned about what questions might be inappropriate. Fortunately, there is a very funny video about this issue. (The gist is that normal rules of politeness apply).

That video is so damn funny. The first time I saw it, I thought some of her boundaries were stricter than ones I want to draw. But it's funny how experience changes things. Anyway, it's pretty obvious that close friends get somewhat different rules than acquaintances. I'm not really close with anybody in Brum, so this applies broadly. I should probably take it out of a form letter, though.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Don't be offended when I ask you this, but...