You’d think I’d have this down. I think I’ve come out to my family at least five times about the whole “gender thing” (they keep “forgetting”). I’ve also come out to various people over time as bisexual, a lesbian, and finally as queer. I’ve been coming out for practically a decade – maybe more. I should get a platinum toaster at this point.
Why then do I find coming out to both my half sister and my nephew (whose really more like a brother than a nephew, or at least as close as I have to one) so difficult? They both know I’m queer, and they’re cool with it. What’s the deal with saying “please use male pronouns from now on” then?
This comes up now because I’ve just confirmed that I’m going to my nephew’s high school graduation next weekend before he joins up with the Army Corps of Engineers. It’ll be a fun weekend of negotiating family, possibly some local friends, and my old hometown (Sacto). I’ve already agreed to a “family mediation” for part of it – in fact, I instigated it – so I’m guessing I’ll get another round of coming out as male-identified (just male to them) and maybe transitioning to my folks. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Why not add a little more?
The crux of the matter is that I don’t want to have to explain things to him in a letter while he’s off in Iraq or something. It makes the most sense to do it now – or much later. I already have to start the conversation with my half sister off by mail because we’ve only met in person twice, and I don’t see travel to Hawaii in my immediate future. So – does anyone have any great ideas? Or maybe some not-so-great ideas?
Some basic info: I haven’t seen my nephew all that much over the last few years since I went away for college. Before than, we’ve been pretty close at varying points. He’s totally cool with being queer, but I have no idea what his exposure is to anything related to gender identity. I have told him to call me Moe; however, I never explained why I’d switched to a gender-neutral name.