In my opinion, if my first coming out story was turned into a picture film, it would’ve been a snoozefest. In comparison, my second coming out story would’ve been that unexpected salitcous sequel that not only makes up for the poorly portrayed first movie, but makes you second guess if you even watched the preceding film to begin with!
Now, like many trans people, having a “second” coming out story isn’t exactly unique. Our sexuality and our gender are two very different things. Growing up, we’re rarely given safe spaces to truly explore our sexuality – and just forgot about our gender!
Raised in a small Indiana town in rural America, I learned quickly to keep my head down and my opinions to myself – even my personality. I thought, “someone can’t hurt me, if they don’t truly know me.”
And I was right: by only showing the kind, calm, and intelligent aspect of myself, there were few people that outwardly bullied me.. but it was a lonely existence. When I came out for the first time, it was less of a statement to the world and more as a statement to myself. At that point, I just. Didn’t. Care.
If I was going to be bullied, then let them bully. I felt weak all the time – hiding parts of who I was. But the moment I came out; I felt strong. Nothing could touch me by my 11th year in high school, and my confidence was apparent. I was never bullied again.
My second coming out story, wasn’t quite as straightforward – but when are they ever?
Going to college in NYC was by far, one of the greatest decisions I made in my young life. Being able to explore who I was in a city so utterly diverse was an experience I wouldn’t trade the world for.
But with that freedom, came constant reflection. There came a moment during my early years in college, when I realized I didn’t feel as comfortable in my skin as I let on – that I actually never felt comfortable to begin with. Exuding confidence on the outside, only to hide a deep sense of insecurity on the inside.
I honestly didn’t know what was wrong with me; until one fateful spring break during my sophomore year of college when I was misgendered – or in hindsight, appropriately gendered.
This wasn’t the first time I was “misgendered”. I’ve always been effeminate looking, all of my best friends in high school always complained about my small waist and long legs, but I never considered myself pretty: let alone pretty enough to look what is traditionally deemed feminine. But this time stood out. This time, even in typical heternomative male fashion, I had been “misgendered”
I clearly was wrong.
From that moment on, I gradually asked my friends and peers to refer to me with she/her pronouns and call me by my new name “Cäcille” – or for them “Celi” as it was similar to the nickname they used to call me by. What I initially thought would be a difficult process turned out to be weirdly easy. Even though I wasn’t confident in my body or my voice quite yet, my mind just clicked. It felt like I reached enlightenment.
As always, what ended up being truly difficult was telling my family.. my mother in particular. I kept this part of my life secret from them for 2 years – the rest of my time in college. The terrible part is, I wasn’t afraid of them not understanding, I was afraid of our relationship changing. My family, particularly my family in Connecticut, meant the world to me and I just wanted to enjoy how we were for as long as I possibly could.. before it all disappeared and changed.
Of course, after finally coming out to them – via Facebook which I’m not all too proud about – it’s just as good, if not better, than how it was. It did take time, and there are family members that I don’t speak to now, but I never really spoke to those family members to begin with.
In essence, what I really learned from my second and final coming out, was that life is too short to worry about what others think of you. In the end, it’s your life to live. Don’t waste it making others happy: make yourself happy first and foremost.
Published on October 7, 2019 | OutRight Action International an LGBT human rights organization