An open letter to transgender folks who are debating coming out. – Trans Partners

I am so saddened by the predicament that you have found yourself in and I know how difficult it must be to find a way to be free. Your whole life has been about hiding, I am sure that you don’t know how to live any other way. I would like to give you a few things to think about when trying to make this decision whether or not to come out. How long have you ignored the little voices in your head that contradicted the reflection in the mirror? Who have you had to lie to? How many years have you worn those costumes? Who are you frightened to hurt? How many times did you just want to give up on life? What have you done to prove you fit in? How have you abused yourself, just because you can’t stand to be in your own skin?

“When my wife came out to me as transgender, I was not sad for myself, I was sad for her.”

If only I could sit down with you and speak to you from the heart, perhaps I could persuade you to look at life in another way. If only I could help you to see the glass half full, and to be happy everyday for the sunset. I cannot even begin to imagine the jail cell you must live in. For so long you have denied your authentic self, denied your happiness, and denied your sanity. You tell yourself that you are in hiding to save your spouse, your children, and your family from suffering, but you continue to suffer yourself. You live in a relentless hamster wheel because you think it is what everyone else wants. You were conditioned by society to live by the rules of your genitals, but I want to tell you they were wrong. Dead wrong and many of them will never understand.

An open letter to transgender folks who are debating coming out. – Trans Partners

So stop worrying about what you have to lose and start focusing on what you have to gain. Life is too short and we only get one shot at it. Each and every human in this world deserves to be happy, and the people in your life who truly love you would want that for you. When my wife came out to me as transgender, I was not sad for myself, I was sad for her. For all the years she lived in hiding, for all the time she spent depressed, for all the things that she missed out on. It would have been selfish of me to ask her to deny her true self. To stuff it all back into the depths of her brain and stop living because it makes me uncomfortable. When I tell her that I love her, I mean that I love all of her, not just the parts that I approve of. Her happiness is a part of my happiness.

“If the people around you cannot empathize with your journey, they may not be the best companions for you.”

I understand that when you have spent so much time hating yourself it is hard to just turn that around. To come out today and be able to love yourself tomorrow is next to impossible. You have to work at it; you have to make the decision everyday to exist. Nothing worth anything is easy to achieve and the road to happiness starts with one step. If the people around you cannot empathize with your journey, they may not be the best companions for you. Transition is never easy, and I’m sure neither was the previously unhappy life you were living. The difference is now I hope you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. After everything you have done for everyone else, I think it is time to do something for you.

They say that in order to appreciate the flowers you have to live through the thunderstorm first. I think your storm has lasted long enough. I think it’s time to enjoy this life you were given. I think it is time to stop wallowing in depression and start living an authentic, happy, and fulfilled existence. You are worth it; your happiness is worth fighting for. Not everyone in your life will understand and some of them will choose to walk away. Remember when one door closes, another one opens. You deserve to be loved for who you are, the good, the bad, and the magnificent. We don’t get to choose to be born, but we can choose where we go in life. So I implore you to go down the road to your happiness.

How horrible is it that I lost all those years with my wife that could have been happy?

  • Clara Barnhurst

    I wish every partner was as understanding and caring as the depiction in this article. I actually have a fascination with partners that stay because I was thrown on the street within 24 hours of coming out to my wife of 11 years. She didn’t know I had anywhere to go. She didn’t know I would be safe. I was homeless, taking refuge with friends, for three weeks but I managed to keep my job and find a room. I’m still there.

    I want what you say to be universal and the tone of acceptance to be true. But I know it isn’t. Sometimes, you shed the baggage to find you’re not welcome. That actually, it was the trappings that mattered to her.

    • Lacy Norris

      I agree with you and have the same fascination. I was fortunate that my wife of 15 years didn’t just kick me to the street as soon as she found out. She knew for almost 2 years when she said that she couldn’t do it any longer. I slept in the basement when she said that it was over and until I was able to find an apartment to move into .My son is still a part of my life. My daughter doesn’t want anything to do with me. I was happily able to keep my job and transitioned full time in December. Things are getting better but it sucks having to start all over again.

      • Clara Barnhurst

        *hugs*

        It’ll settle. I wish these stories were uncommon but that’s really how it is for a lot of folks. I love this article but I also know that the environment out there is a lot more hostile.

  • Lee Anne

    I always enjoy your essays. If they help just one marriage survive transition your time and effort will have been worth it.

  • LindaR

    Your wife is a lucky duck! Wish all spouses of trans people were so fortunate. :-/

  • Jillian

    Yup. My ex of 20 years tried for a year but she got caught cheating. She graciously gave me 2 weeks to gtfo when I called her on it. I literally lost everything. My daughter thankfully is one of my best allies.

  • ctsurv553

    I was widowed in 2013, and began my transition in 2016, following two years of severe depression and gender dysphoria. I will always wonder, as close and loving as my marriage was, would she have stuck by me had I come out to her before her death? I’ll never know, of course. Would I have stuck with her, had she been trans, in those first years of our marriage, when I didn’t yet know that I myself was transgender? It’s an ugly reflection I see in the mirror when I hold it up to myself and ask myself that question: the honest answer is, “probably not”, at least not in those early years.

  • Bobbi Dare

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. My wife and I are going through this right now and even though we have been together for 27 years and she has known I was transgender for 20 of those years, I have only recently started living full time en femme. I plan to live and work as my true self from this point on and to her this is still a surprise. I held in my true feelings for so long that find it very difficult to transition as slowly as she needs. She is supportive but worries about me out in public – she really does not want to see me wearing a dress, so I currently dress androgynous.
    I am currently trying to find support for her to turn to in putting our lives back together. Neither of us wants to split up but there are some challenges that I do not know how I can resolve (bedroom).
    I am so thankful that we never had children because that heartache would just add to the tragedy if we ended up in divorce.