Thursday, 25 July 2013

A big step in an out-of-the-closet direction

Yesterday evening I walked to my car, got in, and turned the key. My heart was pounding. I took a deep breath. I told myself, "Okay Ashley, you're a big girl, you can do this."

I was about to drive to my brother and sister-in-law's house. And I was going to tell them about who I am. And I was so nervous about it that I went the wrong way and got there late!

I had been wanting to come out to Carson (my borther) and Jamey (his wife) for a while now. I had had several perfect oppurtunities to do so, but I couldn't bring myself to just say it. Countless times the words "hey, can I talk to you guys about something?" died on my tongue. So I decided I would put myself in a position where I had no choice.

Thus, last Sunday I texted my brother asking if they were home and if I could stop by as there was "some stuff" I wanted to talk to them about. I hit send and knew I was committed. But the way our three schedules worked out it ended up having to wait until Wednesday. So they spent three days wondering what great secret I had to tell, and I spent three days worrying about it.

During that time I was really depressed and experieced a lot of gender stress; (I can't dress as freely as I'd like due to my roommates, so that doesn't help). I kept thinking of reasons I didn't really need to tell them: "I'm not that transgendered; is the closet really so bad?" But I knew I'd be better off with them knowing and I knew I couldn't back out now anyways.

So, eventually, I got there, we had dinner, we sat down for tea, and after a bit of an awkward preamble I simply said, "I am transgender." I then clarified that I wasn't gay and I wasn't transsexual. I told them I felt like my brain was half boy and half girl. I told them I had spent most of my life supressing and denying the girl half, and that this had resulted in a lot of depression and some bad habits I had used to help me cope. I told them that earlier this year I reached a point where I finally had to accpet my femininity, that I had started expressing my girl half, and that as a result I had been much happier and much psychologically healthier. I told them that expressing that side of me included crossdressing. I told them I felt more comfortable in girl clothes than boy clothes. I told them I was born this way. And lastly I told them "I just wanted you guys to know; I didn't want it to be a secret."

And their response was absolutely amazing. Better, by far, then I had hoped for. You see, Carson and I both come from a very conservative religious background, and Jamey, remarkably, comes from an even more conservative religious background, so I had cause for concern. But they were totally accepting, totally supportive, and, best of all, really quite comfortable with the idea. Carson told me that he already suspected something like this anyways. Jamey told me she was really happy for me. They made it clear they didn't think there was anything bad about crossdressing. We talked a lot about gender as a spectrum, unrelated to one's biological sex and one's orientation. And I was continually sursprised by how well they understood these concepts when I had spent most of my life struggling with them. They asked a lot of really good questions, too: how long have you known? which pronouns do you prefer? are you going to tell mom and dad? All in all I was profoundly grateful to have such wonderful people as siblings.

And then, as if that wasn't enough, Jamey went and got out a bunch of her makeup stuff! And as my brother turned his attention to some boring video game, me and the sis-in-law played around with mascara and liner and eyeshadow! She tried to teach me how to do a smokey eye look, but I'm really bad at it.

Jamey is the first girl I've ever told. Before yesterday the only person I was out to was a close male friend. I deeply appreciate him as well, but being out to a girl opens up a whole world of useful makeup advice and possible shopping trips! Especially a girl like Jamey, who actually works as a sales assistant at a clothing store and as such has helped plenty of crossdressers put outfits together.

One of the best parts of this whole thing is the huge boost in confidence I've recieved by having the support of two of the most important people in my life. I now feel like I could tell just about anyone! I am so lucky to have those two in my family, and I am so glad I told them, and I am so thankful they accept me as they do.


  1. There isnt anything boring about video games!!! ;) I may love the girlier things in life, but I also love popping some headshots online too! Anyway.....

    Well done on telling them! :) I know the stress of telling those close to you all too well, and it takes a lot to push past it. When I told my gf I ended up giving her a letter in an effort to jump start the conversation, and I nearly backed out so many times.

    Your even braver telling people from a conservative religious background too! But I guess you know them better than anyone and wouldnt have taken the gamble if you didnt think it was worth it.

    1. Thanks Aimee! :)

      I felt like it had reached the point where not telling them would have been the bigger gamble. They would have noticed something sooner or later and reached their own conclusions, and who knows what those would have been.