Transitioning is not a simple or an easy process – but then, nobody said it would be – and coming out is one aspect which may occur off and on throughout one’s transition, at various times and places and for different reasons.
Regardless of how transgender people live our gender identities, transitioning may be a very public coming out. We may need to disclose to family, friends, employers and healthcare providers.
By its nature, for many (but not all) transgender people, transitioning isn’t something that that can be hidden.
Some may choose to live ‘in stealth’: they may disclose their transgender status to healthcare professionals, but do not discuss these matters with other people. Whereas other transgender people may be far more open about their transitions.
There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in any of these decisions. For many of us, the degree of choice may be quite minimal: certainly for me, one of the most fundamental aspects of transitioning is survival. Under those circumstances, it has been my experience that choices tend to become fewer and more stark. I’m very open about my gender dysphoria and subsequent transitioning – but that’s my choice.
For transgender people, coming out requires us to make decisions on a daily basis about where, when and how to come out – or where, when and why not to.
Ultimately, this is an ongoing journey and ideally, for the most part, it should be up to each of us to decide how to take that journey.
It is important to remember that, no matter how it may sometimes seem, we are not alone. Even if families and friends are unable or unwilling to support us, there are many other resources available.
For anyone thinking about coming out and transitioning, or simply wishing to learn more, a useful first step may be to look at this page on the GIRES (Gender Identity Research and Education Society) website – it contains many links to useful resources for adults, gender variant young people and families of trans people as well as medical and other information.