Rel­a­tive VAL­UES

IN THE LAST IS­SUE OF PRIDE LIFE RE­BECCA MAN­NING TOLD OF HER DE­CI­SION TO CHANGE GEN­DER FROM MALE TO FE­MALE. WHEN SHE CAME OUT AS TRANS* SHE WAS BOTH DE­LIGHTED AND DIS­AP­POINTED BY THE RE­AC­TIONS OF SOME OF THE PEO­PLE CLOSE TO HER

Pride Life Magazine - - FEATURE -

We all have our com­ing out jour­ney. I say jour­ney as it isn’t just one event, a party, and then it’s out there. We all know that in a hetero-nor­ma­tive world we come out on a daily ba­sis. I sup­pose we can al­ways pin­point the time in our lives where we had the first mo­ments, the peo­ple in our lives to whom we put our heart on the line and hoped it wouldn’t get bro­ken.

Of course, com­ing out as trans* has its own unique set of prob­lems. We have to ac­cus­tom our­selves to a whole new wardrobe and a new way of act­ing. Ac­cep­tance has to come ev­ery day as we dis­play our mem­ber­ship of the rain­bow crew; we know that it can lose us jobs, friends, fam­i­lies and safe pas­sage in the street.

Your friends and fam­ily are vi­tal in ac­cep­tance, love and safety, and you never know how the com­ing out con­ver­sa­tion is go­ing to go.

As my “cir­cle of trust” grew, the re­ac­tions had all to­gether been pos­i­tive; in fact, one or two friends really sur­prised me. They had been on the edges of my friend­ship, the peo­ple whose sta­tus you check now and again, say hello, that sort of thing and that’s about all. When I changed gen­der, Claire, in par­tic­u­lar, be­came a BFF overnight. She helped me with out­fits, make up, gave me her old clothes and helped shape who I am to­day.

Then there was my friend Sam, who came to all my ap­point­ments, who had been there through­out my trans* jour­ney and had sup­ported me in my de­ci­sions. How­ever Sam had, as it turned out, “mas­cu­line” fea­tures and when we ar­rived at some ap­point­ments to­gether, she would be the one they ex­pected to come in to the of­fice! Oops! And the uni­sex name didn’t help! But she was al­ways there and still is, six years on.

I paint a pic­ture of all be­ing well, yet, just as I was sur­prised by the pos­i­tive, it’s the neg­a­tive that stays with you. My long­est best friend had known about my cross-dress­ing and I nat­u­rally thought he would be on-board and an ab­so­lute rock. He was there as a wit­ness when I eloped with the woman who would be­come my wife and more im­por­tantly pre­vented my self-de­struc­tion when she took her own life a year later.

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