Coming out to your family and friends can feel like the most daunting thing in the world to do. You wonder how people will react to what you tell them, you often fear the worst thinking that their reaction is going to be totally negative and they will not want anything else to do with you again. But to live as your authentic self and to be able to transition it is one of those things you are going to have to bite the bullet and do.
There is no right or wrong way to do it, nor is there a right or wrong person to tell first. Everyone will react to the news differently and some people will totally surprise you with their reaction. Some of the people who you think will be negative about it can surprise you a lot and be supportive of it. Other people it can take time for them to come to terms with it. While some other people can have lots of questions for you regarding it.
There are many different ways to tell people too, you can do it face to face, you could write them a letter/email or you could tell them on the phone. Each option has its benefits and its drawbacks. Doing it face to face can leave you not knowing what to say it or how to get the words out in the right order, but it also has the upside of allowing you to see how they react to what you are telling them.
Then there is telling them via a letter/email, this allows you to put it down in words and to get the wording exactly how you want them to. But equally it then leaves you waiting for them to respond which can cause you anxiety while you wait for them to get back to you. This was personally how I told my parents as I thought it was the easiest way to tell them. But it might not be the right thing for you to do.
Then there is telling them over the phone, this method allows you to get yourself in to a place where you feel comfortable and relaxed so you feel less anxious telling them. It can have some of the draw backs to telling them face to face but it also doesn’t have the ability to view how their reaction to the news is.
Only you can decide which is the best way to tell people, you mighty tell everyone the same way, or you might decide to tell different people differently. The order you tell people is a big decision to take too, starting with someone you feel close to and at ease talking to about anything might be the best way to do it. But again there is no right or wrong way to do it.
Then there are two places that you have to tell too. If you are in work there is your employer, and if you are in school then there is the school to tell. When it comes to this there is legal protection under the Equality Act 2010, which provides you with protection from discrimination on grounds of gender identity.
If you are in employment, then the best person to start with is your boss. Make an appointment to see them and explain the situation to them. Then you can work together to come up with a plan on how it will be dealt with in the work place. You could have it so that your boss tells your co-workers in small groups about it, or you could tell them yourself.
There are plenty of guidelines online published by groups like Acas, Stonewall and others. It may be handy to have one of these to take with you so your employer knows the law and can put in place guidelines on how they will treat you and put in place an anti-bullying plan, and if any bullying or harassment does happen don’t feel scared to report it as it’s harassment and is not something to be tolerated.
When it comes to transitioning in school, it is best to make an appointment with the head of the school and go to the meeting with your parents to talk about it and to come up with a plan on how to handle a social transition in a school environment.
Making a plan with the head is a good thing to do, and normally letting them tell the school and relevant teachers is the best way to do it. Having things in place for use of toilets and changing rooms for PE.
Cover image: by John Petalcurin via Pexels, Pexels licence.