Total Disclosure


Liz to my right at the Picnic
from the Jessie Hart Collection

Total disclosure of our deepest gender secrets often comes at a huge cost to many transgender women or trans men when we choose to let others into our authentic life. 

Losses are well documented, such as losing everything from spouses and family to employment and friends. Sadly it all happens when we simply decide to tell others. Plus, not many realize we trans folk never really had a choice of whom we just had to be to live. Then we have to go through severe nervousness  we decide who to tell and when. 

In my case, I decided who I needed to tell and ranked them in order of importance to me. I chose telling my only child, a daughter to tell first. Total disclosure to her was rough. I couldn't believe it was my words telling her I was transgender and then waiting for a totally negative reaction. It turned out she was shocked and then a little upset. She asked why she was the last to know. Truth be known, she wasn't the last to know. Her Mother knew I was a cross dresser or transvestite back in those days but thought it was a fairly harmless side "hobby" of her husband. She (or I) didn't know how deep my gender urges ran and how much I put in to denying who I really was. 

The only other person my daughter could be referring to as far as people knowing about me was my second wife, her step mother. Since she is deceased I will never know how many people (if any) she ever told. As with most cis-women, I feel as if she may have confided in her closest friend because of how the friend started to treat me. So all in all my daughter, who made my coming out process so incredibly easy essentially spoiled me. Next on my list to tell was my only brother because my parents had long since passed on. 

As it turned out, as well as my experience with my daughter went, my brother's was just as bad. Mostly I think because of his fear of dealing with right wing Baptist in laws, he wouldn't/couldn't accept me. To cut the only real tie we had as family, he pulled my invitation to the annual family Thanksgiving dinner back. That was close to a decade ago and we have sadly not spoken since. So much for brotherly love when total gender disclosure was involved. It seemed with the total disparity between my daughter and my brother was involved, destiny had taken a moment to show me both sides of disclosing my authentic self. My daughter just wanted me to be happy, while my brother just wanted to ignore the entire matter. 

I waited so long to let others in to my world, most had passed on. Also with the help of my remaining and new supporting friends and family, I was able to build new support systems without the worry of total disclosure. Since the new people already knew me. Which was quite the weight off my shoulders as you can imagine. 

Sadly, as transgender women and trans men face total disclosure, we still face too many obstacles to live as our authentic selves. Many end up living lonely lives although I believe social media is beginning to provide connections within the trans community. Until the problem is totally resolved for the benefit of all, we have a long way to go.