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"This is who I am!"

Is coming out as transgender (maybe bisexual or pan-sexual) in the LGBT community, coming out at all? Or is it just an affirmation of the trust that one has for the same community? Or just about a mixture of both?

A hint of reality: I’ve learnt that coming out as transgender to your gay friends can be just as nerve wrecking as coming out as gay to your straight friends.

“We are at a place now where more and more trans people want to come forward and say this is who I am.” Laverne Cox.

“I first had to come out as gay, then I could finally have the courage to say, yes I am really transgender.” Hearing that from a friend is breathtaking and I have had the privilege to to be among friends who are transgender and who have been able to come forward to their friends, families and community and say, “This is who I am.”

In perspective, one still faces an ordeal when coming out in the LGBT community, you never know what to expect, Its a journey of probabilities: acceptance or rejection. I can only imagine the thought process that it requires leading up to that moment when you boldly make that Facebook post or wear your first dress or suit before everyone.

That is inspiring!

The hardest part for me, and I have to admit, is getting use to the new pronouns. Having known a person for a very long time, it does take time before you can fully embrace that person’s new identity. But as I reflect on this, I realize that your friend (whomever he/she is) requires your enduring assurance to affirm their presence for whomever they are.
As humans, one way in which we remember names is by associating a person’s name with certain essence of their personality and as such navigating new identities can be difficult (that’s human) but when you get it right – it builds mutual trust and enduring relationships.

We can always remember that “Its the same person, but different pronouns.”

Taking from fictional Albus Dumbledore but just as real, “It doesn’t matter what someone was born but what they grow to become.”

Growing up, the concept of being transgender was especially foreign to me until I learnt about Laverne Cox, a few years later, that has changed. Today, it is just a part of who I am as my transgender friends – more so my brothers and sisters.

Recently, I came across one of my schoolmates from high school online, who transitioned a few years ago. For a Jamaican, or any nationality for that matter, it is revolutionary!
She is not only out to her family but to the country. She shared her story through her YouTube videos and though now living in New York, she is an active LGBT activist for LGBT youth throughout the country.

I reached out to her just to let her know how I feel about her passion and her response was just as heartwarming. These small moments are inspiring and the unprecedented opportunity to transcend social standards and expectations is incredible.

To see my friends come out on Facebook and luckily, the support that they receive proves so much about the spirit in our community. Sometimes there are hundreds of hugs and kisses just waiting to embrace you for simply saying the words:

“This is who I am!”

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