Over the past years I came out to a number of friends. I knew that I had to tell my children eventually, but I kept postponing it as I was unsure how they would take it.
We have four children in the age of 15 to 20, two boys and two girls, and all of them are studying from home. In an earlier post I told you my oldest had found out earlier about the existence of Liv. After he found out I decided, I didn’t want our other children to run into Liv. Instead I wanted to make sure to tell them, when time felt right.
The situation with COVID-19 doesn’t make things easier as we are all at home and there is no space for Liv. A while ago one of my daughters asked me if she could use my ipad to get some photos of our holiday for something she was creating. Of course she could use it. But that night I found I had left one photo of Liv in the photo library. Unsure whether she had been able to see it or spotted it, I really worried. There was no way to be sure about it, unless I talked with her. If she had seen it, I could not let her in the dark and worry about it. This was not the way I planned to talk with my daughter about Liv, but I felt I had no choice and this was definitely a moment to come out.
Our daughters are very close, so if one knew, I could be almost certain the other knew as well. I had to tell both of them. I talked with my therapist and asked his advice. He told me the best would be to create a situation where I would be alone with them, and they would be able to do something else. For example walking the dog, such that they could focus on the dog, when they would process what I said. Or during preparation of lunch or dinner in the kitchen. The kitchen is often a place to talk and where enough is available to take your focus away.
I started to think about creating an opportunity and felt I had little time. They could be thinking all kinds of things. In the end it took me some time to build my courage, but then something happened. My wife was away, our boys upstairs were deeply concentrated on their computer games, and I was alone with the girls. One of them jumped up and said she liked to create club sandwiches and went to the kitchen. My other daughter followed quickly. As if it was taken from the script I had talked about with my therapist. I walked to the kitchen, scraped my throat and said I wanted to tell them something. They felt I was serious and looked at me. I think I held a too long of a pause, because one of them said, “what is up, tell us…”.
In one go I told them I am transgender, and I am trying to figure out things. Then I paused to see their reaction. They were both smiling and told me they find it cool. One of them mentioned, she found it funny that she knows me for so long and now learned something very new about me. Taken by their amazing reaction and how casual they were about it, I asked if they found it strange. And both said that as a family we have been always open minded, and that it is absolutely ok.
Then they started to ask all kinds of practical things, like, “do you use another name?”, “so you know about makeup?”. I am blessed and thankful about their reaction and it seems I am making it more difficult than they do.
What I learned, is that although I expected they would accept me, I couldn’t have foreseen this wonderful embrace. I have been spending so much time on thinking how they would react, but in the end the only way to learn is by telling them. If you ever do that, I can advice you to do it in a casual situation, as it takes away some of the stress for yourself as well and you give them the space to take it in.