I am slowly coming out to more of my friends, and close family I have not seen in a while. It’s scary not knowing how they will react. So far, those who have reacted at all have been accepting. What’s been disconcerting, though, is the total lack of reaction at all from people with whom I thought I was close. Admittedly, I didn’t specifically ask for a response.
But what I don’t get, is how you don’t reach out to someone who is making such a scary move, and assure them that nothing has changed in your relationship. Unless, of course, something has changed, and they simply don’t want to associate with me any more. Do I sound a little doubtful of some of the relationships in question? Well, walk a mile in my high heels, then tell me you wouldn’t be worried. And these aren’t even the relationships that were already strained. Or the one that determines if I end up homeless and hungry. Nope, I still haven’t come out at work.
I know that I have a serious advantage over many of my trans sisters and brothers as far as work is concerned. I make a decent middle class living. (It was upper middle class before the recession, but that’s another post.) I work from home, so I don’t have to come out to my employer yet. Many of my sisters and brothers, if they are employed at all, have retail, fast food, or worse sources for their income. They must deal with outing themselves as soon as they start RLE (Real-Life Experience), where I can hopefully wait until I get my legal name change.
But that day will ultimately come for me too. I fear deeply that when it does, I will find myself unemployed very soon thereafter. Even the current version of ENDA, should it pass, would do nothing for me. It only protects people who work in companies of more than 15 employees. I know, I have written about that before. I bring it up now because I have just come out to a confidante who knows my boss fairly well, and his initial impression was to believe that my boss would accept my transition. I am not by any means convinced he is right. Coming out is, pretty much by definition, fraught with terror. When your livelihood depends on the reaction of the other person, it becomes greatly more so.