Pat's Answer

How do I come out (trans ftm) to my extended family?

Your Question

Hey Pat, I’m 14 inna few days and been out to my parents as trans ftm for 8 or 9 months. I’ve been telling more people, and whenever I meet someone new that I know won’t have contact with people I’m not out to, I introduce myself as a guy. I’m getting quite comfortable in myself, my parents are opening up, and I feel I’m doing good. Recently I came out to a few people in school, and got positive reactions. I feel I’m ready to come out to family this Christmas, but I’m not sure of the reaction or the best way to do it. I also want to get my parents on board with my decision, so they can expect it, and I hope they’ll agree and let me come out without an issue on their part. Is it a good idea, or should I wait, and how can I talk to my parents about wanting to come out? I’m planning to come out at school in September 2022 when I’m in 3rd year, and then if I get a bad reaction to move in with my aunt and go to school there. I’ve discussed moving schools with my parents too, but not so soon. Help?

Answer

Hi there, you’re welcome to Ask Alex. Thanks for contacting us to chat about what’s on your mind. 

From what you’re saying it sounds like you have taken some very positive steps in becoming comfortable with your sexuality and sharing that with those close to you in your life. Coming out or transitioning, no matter what the circumstances, can be a difficult thing to do, so well done for taking those brave steps and having that conversation with your parents a few months ago. It’s great to hear that you’re growing in confidence and that you’re telling people about your sexuality in a way that feels comfortable to you. It also sounds like you are beginning to feel more in tune with your identity and introducing yourself as a male feels more natural to you. 

It’s understandable that after telling the few people you have told at home and in school about your sexuality, that you would be considering telling people in your wider family and social circle. It sounds like you are taking time to think this through and consider carefully how you go about it, that seems like a sensible approach to this personal situation. From what you’re saying, you seem to have a good relationship with your parents as you are trying to be considerate and respectful about their thoughts and feelings regarding you coming out to the rest of your family. Thinking of others in this situation is very kind and mature way to go through this process, all the while maintaining positive relationships with your parents, so well done for taking such a mature pathway. You mention that you’re considering talking to your parents about coming out to the rest of your family. Having that open and honest chat with them could be a great way for all of you to express your thoughts and feelings in a supportive and loving space and also to identify any challenges that you might face when expressing your sexuality to others in your family. 

You also say that you have given a lot of thought to how you would come out to the wider school community, and it sounds like you have a plan in place if this impacts on your happiness in school. You have the right to feel safe and happy in your school environment and no one would have the right to impact on that negatively. Although it’s great that you have an idea of how you might cope with this, taking things slowly and confiding in people you trust throughout this process seems like it could be beneficial for you. There are people out there who can support you, along with friends, family and the staff in your school, so please know you’re never alone in this. 

Connecting with others who can relate to your situation might be worth exploring, as it might give you a bit more clarity on the best way forward and hearing about other’s experiences might help prepare you for your own. You might find it helpful to look at the following websites: www.lgbt.ie; www.spunout.ie; www.belongto.org. There are lots of articles on these websites which you may find useful. The Childline website also has information about identity and our individual uniqueness that you might be interested in reading: www.childline.ie/sexuality. If you feel you’d like to talk to someone from outside your social circle you can always contact our Childline listening services. You can freephone us by calling 1800 66 66 66, text us at 50101 or chat with us online through www.childline.ie. All our services are free, confidential and non-judgemental and we don’t tell you what to do. We give young people a safe space to talk through their thoughts and feelings and these services are available 24 hours a day, every day. 

We hope this answer helps you in progressing forward and we hope you are proud of the brave steps you’ve already taken. 

Take care, 

Pat. 

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