Last Sunday I came out to my parents. Finally. And what a relief it is to not have that burden anymore! Yay!
Earlier I had asked my brother and his wife if they would accompany me for moral support. So, from their house, I texted my mom asking if they were home as there was some stuff I wanted to talk to them about. She said yes and the three of us drove there, me understandably nervous.
"So," my mom said, once we'd been there a few minutes, "what is it you want to talk to us about?"
"Well, uh," I stammermed, "The thing is, I'm pretty sure I'm transgender."
(That was a lie: I know I'm transgender, it's not something I'm "pretty sure" about. But somehow it felt easier to sound a little uncertain.)
Then followed a very long, rambling explanation from me in which I clarified all the usual stuff: that I'm not currently planning on having any medical intervention, that I've felt this way my whole life, that it's not a choice, that I'm still attracted to girls, and so on. I tried to make it clear how much happier I am now that I've stopped supressing this part of me. Lastly I said something like, but not as concise as: "I'm telling you this because I love you guys and want you to know me as the person I am, not the one I pretend to be."
"Well," my mom said slowly, "I don't know what I'm supposed to say. Of course we still love you. But I'm worried— won't this make your life more complicated?"
"I'm sure it will," I responded, "but I'd rather have a life that's complicated and happy than one that's simple and miserable."
It was clear right away that they weren't surprised. In fact, they had guessed that that was what I was going to tell them when I sent the text. My dad said it had been kind of obvious for a while. "We've always known that you were... different," added my mom. She put the word different in air quotes.
This was something I hadn't realized. If they've known since my childhood that I was "different," (to use my mother's word), than they've known for longer than I have. Suddenly it occured to me that maybe every anti-LGBT thing they said when I was growing up was not spoken out of idle bigotry, but intentionally for me to hear, in a vain hope that I might somehow turn out straight. That's probably silly though, and even if it were true, there'd be no sense in dwelling on the past now.
My mom asked what expectations I had of them now that I was out. I was confused by this and asked her what she meant.
"Well, for example, I somtimes call you son."
"Ohhhh... yeah," I said, "I guess I'd prefer something more gender-neutral. Like child."
"Okay, I'll try. But I'll probably slip up sometimes."
"That's okay," I said.
I didn't ask for female pronouns; I am, after all, still living primarily as a male.
I suppose the whole experience went about as well as I could reasonably have hoped for. It was obvious that my parents aren't happy about this, but they're willing to accept it, so that's good. Considering that some people are literally disowned over this stuff, I guess I should be grateful. Even so, I wish they could be happy for me that I'm beginning to feel comfortable as myself, or proud of me for making an effort to live authentically.
But maybe those things will come with time.