‘Coming Out’ as a gender-diverse person

It is unfortunate that people who have a diverse-gender often get grouped with people who have a diverse sexual orientation, especially when there is little connection.

The two group became paired due to phobia and discrimination. There was safety for both groups when socialising together, at a time when society was not wise to the differences and both were viewed as deviant.  This often leads to a confusion between what a drag queen is and what a transgendered person is, and homosexuality and gender.   The general person (gay or straight) view gay bars as having ‘drag queens’ and ‘drag kings’ (gay men and women dressed up as the opposite sex), and gay equals same sex attraction, so people who are diverse-gendered are homosexual or bisexual.  This situation can result in a diverse-gendered person having to not only having to explain their diverse-gender, when they come out, but also explain the sexuality.  Where words aren’t said then they are confronted by the assumptions of others around their sexual orientation.

The ‘coming-out process’ can be much more difficult for people who are diverse-gendered, in comparison to people who are sexually diverse. If a diverse-gendered person, presents, and lives their life in society as they identify and naturally feel, then their ‘diverse-gender’ is going to be obvious to those around them due to blurring the behaviours, attributes, mannerisms and personality traits that have been assigned to 2 genders (male and female).  Therefore this exposes the diverse-gendered person to possible discrimination and violence, regularly.

For many same sex attracted people, they can present in society without exhibiting their diverse sexual orientation, resulting in being able to avoid standing out and attracting possible discrimination and violence. This view does not ignore or underestimate the many same sex attracted people who have been discriminated and violated due to being themselves in society, however these differences can negatively affect the ability to safely explore a person’s gender, as well as the freedom to be themselves when engaging in everyday life.

Some common experiences that can affect gender diverse people when coming out, include:

  • feeling ‘different’ from other people around you
  • phobic bullying about your gender identity, whether verbal or physical
  • feeling pressure to define or deny your feelings regarding your gender identity
  • feeling unsupported or worried that your gender identity will not be accepted by friends and family members, along with the possibility of being rejected or isolated
  • feeling stressed and anxious in relation to the pressure to conform with your sex assigned at birth.Feeling these pressures can be stressful, especially with all the other stresses in your life such as managing school or university, job hunting, forming relationships and making sense of who you are and your place in the world. It is important to add that sometimes therapy is required for others who are outside of the person who is coming out as diverse-gendered. In many instance the diverse-gendered person has re-played the coming out scenario a thousand times in their head and are confident with their processes and fears. Sometimes planning or researching for the coming out event, the person requires support.Dave Wells has worked extensively with people who are diverse-gendered and is also knowledgeable and empathetic about the societal barriers and difficulties that can present, as well as the necessary psychological and medical referral pathways required, if the person presents with wanting re-assignment surgery, hormone therapy or hormone- blockers.
  • Many people are very comfortable and confident with being diverse-gendered and experience other difficulties outside of how they identify, however finding a professional who is ‘safe’ to talk to without judgement and basing everything around a person’s diversity, can be difficult to find. Dave Wells will give you this respect.