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Coming Out to my Children
I knew this day would eventually come. As the kids were growing up I figured they would eventually stumble across my stash of women's clothing, wigs, etc., probably snooping for Christmas presents, and I'd have to have a conversation with them. I also wondered if maybe there would some day be a situation where sharing my private hobby with one or more of the kids might be of benefit to them. A similar scenario has occurred a few times when Nikki's friends that have marital challenges and ask how she and I can have such a perfect marriage. She has shared with a few friends our unique situation and how we manage it. Our kids are all grown up now and neither of those things have happened. I always stood by the idea that if sharing this knowledge about their dad would benefit them then it was ok to tell them but if that info would be a burden to them (growing up is hard enough) or if sharing the information was for my own benefit then I should not say anything.
Certainly, I have left them hints: shaved legs, neutral colored painted toenails, clothes shopping with my wife... But conversations with them have revealed that none of them have any suspicion about me. They see me as the manly, hiking, camping, hard working, loving husband and father. That's wonderful but kind of scary when considering the eventuality of a revelation that could disturb a really good relationship. Over time we've subtly probed their opinions on transgender topics both to gauge their perspective as well as prepare them if they ever found out about me.
I have always stood by the mantra that what I do isn't hurting anyone.
A neighbor's 20 year old child came out on facebook that "they" are non-binary. That prompted one of those conversations where my wife asked my daughter what she thought about it. Our kids have always been pretty accepting of others but having a childhood friend, or maybe a family member on the TG spectrum might be a little different. Pressing the issue a little my wife lightheartedly asked, "What if one day your brother put on a dress and said 'I feel like being pretty today'"? My daughter got kind of moody and gave an abrupt answer.
Later that day I went for a walk with that daughter and she vented that she doesn't like the way that Mom seems to make fun of TG people.
First, my daughter was mistaking my wife's casual questions as mocking. Second, was my hobby causing a rift between my wife and daughter? I struggled to get the words out but I said to her. The reason Mom said that was ..... I sometimes like to feel pretty...
She looked at me to see if I was kidding. Then when she saw I wasn't she said "Oh. cool" (which could mean anything). "That makes more sense". I briefly told her how my wife has always known and although it's been challenging at times everything is really good with us. Mom has been trying to balance protecting the kids with protecting me. She said that must be hard but she didn't ask any questions (there were other things we were talking about as well) and our relationship has been the same as always since then making me wonder if she really understood what I was telling her.
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