- October 6, 2015
For those people whose gender identity or innate sense of their own gender doesn’t match with that assigned to them at birth, unraveling and expressing it can be complex and difficult. HRC’s Transgender Visibility Guide was designed to help you and your loved ones through that process in realistic and practical terms.
In honor or National Coming Out Day, here are five tips to know when coming out as transgender:
Give yourself time to prepare: When you’re ready to tell that first person — or even those first few people — think through the options and make a deliberate plan of whom to approach, the right time to do so and how to do it.
If you’re looking for a doctor, do your research first: Even doctors who have had transgender patients in the past may not be experts on transitioning. Many websites and advocacy groups can offer guidance on medical transitioning. It’s important to be your own health advocate. For more information on health care and providers, you can visit the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association.
Put yourself in their shoes: It’s common to want or hope for positive reactions from the people you tell, but that may not happen immediately. It might help to try to put yourself in their shoes to try and understand their likely reactions, potential questions and next steps.
Find a community: For those who identify as transgender, it is important to find others who share similar experiences and emotions. Finding a community of peers can help us feel less alone on our new paths and can answer questions we might have about next steps. If you live near a major city, you may find support or social groups nearby. For those living in suburban or rural areas, finding a formal group might be more difficult. But transgender people live in every corner of the world, and you are not alone. One place to start is the Internet.
Know the law in your city or state before coming out at work: Coming out on the job has the potential to affect your livelihood, since there is no federal law that explicitly protects you from being fired because of your gender identity. However, many states, cities and counties have laws or ordinances that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression. Additionally, federally and at state levels, many courts interpret their existing non-discrimination laws to protect transgender people.
Remember, there's no right or wrong way to disclose being transgender or to live openly. It may not mean you have to be out at all times or in all places. You have the right and the responsibility to decide how, where, when and even whether to share your identity with others, based on what's right for you.
To read the guide in full, click here.