I Came Out To My Parents!!!
It’s been thirty-one years now and I’ve finally done it; I have finally worked up the courage to come out to parents – well technically. And coming out about what? Sorry, where are my manners? I’m not gay if that’s what you’re assuming.
No this is about me finally sharing my childhood struggles and telling them how much I was hurt by things as a child. A few years ago, I was still living in a world of secrecy and pain, I had concealed my feelings and rarely spoke on my much more feminine likes and dislikes. The first person I ever shared this with was a friend of my spouse, then it was my spouse just a year later. After getting married and moving out, I began a long strenuous adventure in search of healing for my problems – which I look forward to sharing in another post. However, it wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that I began growing out my hair and (trying) to wear more feminine clothing and makeup. And for the record, I’m not trans and presently do I intend to become as such, this merely is an exploratory time in my life.
Two years ago I was visiting my parents back in Chicago and after my mom had made a criticizing comment about effeminate boys that bothered me on several earlier occasions, I finally broke the silence and told her everything. We didn’t get to talk long, as I had someplace to be, but she at least heard what I had to say. She didn’t seem very understanding (or at least willing to understand) and I left it at that.
I felt entirely better about everything after that but I had made it a mission to one day also talk to my dad about it. Well, unfortunately, that didn’t happen until New Years 2018, last month. My dad invited me out to go see the new Thor Ragnarok movie. Since my talk with my mom, my family had also moved to Kansas City as of last year. My mom was then back in Chicago packing, preparing to sell their house sometime this year. My dad gets bored easily and wanted company. Well, long story short, we went out for lunch right afterward, which I had used as an opportunity to finally have my long overdue conversation. I hadn’t originally intended to discuss my childhood but when my dad made a criticizing remark, I decided enough was enough and I needed to speak up.
But let’s go back to the week prior; my spouse and I went to the local mall for my birthday, a thing I like to do each year. During such trips, one place we stop is the American Girl store, our reasons for doing so vary but moreover, she’s been promising me that doll I never got as a child, as a birthday gift for a couple years now. As usual, we walked about the store, looking at the new dolls and left without buying anything. But one thing that caught our attention was the recent addition of a line of boy dolls. The first of which is a boy that was a friend of one of the new main girl dolls. They also had the addition of the boy dolls in the TrulyMe line. As we stood to admire them, one employee told us that a few main boy characters were in the works and should be due sometime this year. I thought this was a great idea and I’m open to seeing if the books are going to be any good. (I got into AG for the books, honestly.) I had my reservations about the idea, such as hoping the first boy isn’t going to be trans or gay or whatever else, which I feel would be a disservice as a launch character to a boy doll line. I’m perfectly okay with these dolls being bought for and played with by boys, not just girls, but I digress.
Anyways, I told my dad mostly that. I shared how awesome I thought this was and I wished this sort of thing existed when I was a child. And the first thing that came out of his mouth, was the trigger that got me talking. He immediately said under his breath, “Oh, great!” I didn’t get the chance to start talking about it until we had ordered food and sat down. If this was a few years ago, I would have likely ignored the comment and shut up, being afraid of their judgment and opinions, however, their habit of being quick to judge and making negative remarks was growing thin on me.
I first called him out on the comment and then reiterated my wish that acceptance of boy’s having dolls was a thing when I was a child and that I had wanted one. He soon volunteered his opinions about why he made the comment. He “claimed” that AG was only doing this to become more politically correct and to include trans and gay children. I right away understood why he had made the comment, however, I highly disagreed. Our conversation went on for some time and probably diverged more than I would have liked it too. However, the short and sweet of it was I came out to him and said, “As a young boy, I wished with so much of my heart that I had been born a girl.”
And what was really sad was he mostly responded much the same way my Mom did two years earlier. He said that he wasn’t at all surprised nor were my struggles. He confirmed the experiences I had with adults in our church and family being commonly cruel towards me for unspecified reasons. He even went as far as to tell me a story I never heard. He told a time when the associate pastor at our church told him that he felt sorry that my dad had a son like me…
“A son like me…” those words still echo in my head from the conversation. Fortunately, they don’t carry the same pain as they once did, I’ve been mostly dulled to it by now. As we drove home, I continued to share what I believed about gender-identity and the wrongs of putting children in gender colored boxes. I was very stern that I didn’t want to see my children treated in anyway the same as I once was. And this is when things sort of derailed and upset me. He agreed that people’s words and actions and especially their infliction of gender stereotypes was not at all healthy for me or any other boy in retrospect. And that’s the key word, retrospect.
He then conveniently somehow cleared himself of any wrongdoing and claimed that my memories of my childhood were skewed and that those things didn’t happen the way I remembered. My mom responded much the say way and also didn’t walk away considering how they could prevent another boy from going through the same hurt as me – likely a future son or daughter of mine. Once we had arrived at my house, my dad dropped me off, leaving with this comment: “If you have a penis, you are a boy!” Again, I’m understanding of his perspective but also very much against it.
The good news is, I was relieved to see that my goal was accomplished. I set out to talk to my parents about my childhood and if they chose to deny it then it’s no beef off my ribs – I’m intentionally “butchering” that saying. I also now knew mostly how they see the situation and I can walk away happy knowing that if they see me in a dress one day (they’ve seen me in skirt lounging around my house) or whatever else, they at least know it’s nothing new.
I’ve had a couple of people, including a pastor, try telling me that I didn’t need to talk with my parents to feel liberated, and I very well understand that – I never expected they would understand and change their opinions. If they did, great, if not, so what. However, comes the question, what next? I’ve struggled to come up with answers as of late. I’ve tried to educate and better myself to debate gender topics in the future, however, so much of it is either preaching to the choir or wasn’t written for me. I have a unique point of view that doesn’t fit the typical Christian narrative but it also doesn’t fit the Pro-LGBTQ+ narrative, and that just makes me feel sad and hopeless.
Anyways, I’ll save the lecture for the next post, I had an interesting experience recently that I want to share my thoughts on.