Written by anon
So I just tried to come out (again) to my Mum. I say ‘tried’, in that her response was simply to tell me to “stop worrying”. How else to combat my dysphoria, than to simply forget it’s there? If only she knew i’d been doing it all my life!
Yet it’s symptomatic of her generation to brush any question of identity straight under the binary carpet. When I managed to come out as “not straight” 3 years ago her response was one of delight at being able to have a personal relation to her solidarity with the gay movement. Any perceived ambiguity was merely a placeholder until I would later consolidate my sexuality as gay or straight. At least that was how my own questionable father saw it. And why I still have no idea how to approach the issue of gender identity with him. He did manage to walk in on our conversation, it was just a shame he chose to do so naked, having just been about to get into bed. At least he has no bodily shame.
Despite multiple attempts to explain the particularities of my dysphoria, my mum chose to take it as hatred or disgust of my body. But it’s not that, not quite. Really it’s feeling as if the outer appearance of my body doesn’t match with the inner perception of my body. I don’t have to hate the way I look to feel this. Yet she continued to give tales of how she felt unattractive or disdain for the idiosyncrasies of her own body. God knows we all experience this, but it’s far easier to learn to love your body when you don’t think it conforms to society’s aesthetic expectations rather than your own inner identity.
Beyond the classic closeting sentiment that she was worried for my safety, she expressed concern that I’d be somehow ‘limiting my options’. Sure, I’m a “passable guy” but I would be an “unbelievably unattractive girl”, (her words, not mine guys). And who wants to fuck a guy in a dress anyway? Apart from your Dorian Grey kinksters and ‘curious’ creeps on Grindr. But screw it! I’ve already wasted my adolescence fawning over the precise orientation of my sexual identity to realise that gender had nothing and absolutely everything to do with it. The rare feeling of self-worth I get from displaying my gender identity is more liberating than having sex with my dysphoria.
Having come out twice now I just wish it was more of an ecstatic moment. Instead I’m left with the bittersweet relief that I’ve said it out loud to another human being. And while they might not fully understand, they are at least aware, making existence just that little bit less lonely.
But the reality is that coming out is not so much a one-off conversation, but a daily repeated ritual. A kind of performance that’s made every morning when you get up out of bed. A decision to accept yourself and be open to the world. Getting the words out to those you love is only part of it. Really we are constantly coming out, in every location, in every moment and in every step we take. I came out at 17 in the kitchen to my parents, at 19, drunk and afraid in a bars in Camden and Soho, and at 20 in Boots with some cheap lipstick in my hand. And I’ll always be coming out until there is no longer somewhere to come out from.