The interesting thing about “coming out” is each person’s experience is different. For me, coming out as bisexual and coming out as transgender were two entirely contrasting experiences.
I came out as bisexual with a simple comment on a post I made about being in a relationship. I said, “She is great” in the comments, hinting to everyone at the time I was a woman dating another woman.
That was it.
I never outright announced it to anyone, and for me, I had no second thoughts about the matter. I had no worries anyone would disown me or hate me for my sexual preferences.
On July 22, 2015, I came out to everyone as female-to-male transgender, a year and a half after I came out as bisexual.
The experience of just trying to post the coming-out video was a whole lot different, and a hell of a lot more difficult than when I came out as bisexual.
The night before I posted the video, I found myself wide awake at 4 am, unable to sleep, tossing and turning with anxiety and excitement.
At 9 am, I was running off five crappy hours of sleep, and my heart was beating incredibly fast.
After 15 minutes of staring at the filled in information to change my name on Facebook — cursor hovering over the “save” button — I finally pressed it.
I took a deep breath.
I couldn’t change my name again for 60 days, which was a big motivating factor.
I copied and pasted my video link to the status space, wrote a few things and quickly posted it before I could scare myself out of it.
My brother ordered me to go downstairs and eat breakfast to try to get my mind off of it all.
Without anyone seeing the video yet, the experience was already very different.
My “in a relationship” come-out didn’t give me the fear of rejection the video did.
I was asking people to call me by a different name, different pronouns and their whole view of me was going to change with these simple requests.
Though sexual orientation has an important place in society, what is even more deeply rooted is what people believe about a person’s gender.
For so long, we have simply said that because biologically-born females have boobs and a vagina, they are girls and women. And the same went for biological males.
Coming out as bisexual did not rock the solid view society held about women and men as much as coming out as transgender did.
Coming out as Hayden Reid, I challenged everyone’s belief that because I was born biologically female, I was a woman.
Instead, I showed them that yes, I am biologically female, but I am very much a man.
And because society created these strict, standard categories of what constitutes male and female, it became so much more of an “issue” per se than coming out as bisexual.
A few days, many messages, comments and likes on my video later, I was overwhelmed with the love and support from everyone I knew.
One thing you do when you come out to everyone — whether you are bisexual, pansexual, gay, transgender or what have you — is prepare for the worst.
You prepare to lose each person you think might have an issue with it, and you run and re-run constructed conversations in your head with your most religious or conservative friends because you know the most plausible thing in your head is they will disown you.
What I find particularly interesting is that though I have received so much love and support already, I’m still on edge about it all.
And here is again one of the main differences in my two coming-out experiences.
The majority of the time, I feel I have to be on edge because I know a lot of people are transphobic in the world.
I hear news story after news story about transgender men and women being murdered all over the world. It’s absolutely terrifying to think about.
So, what ends up confusing me more than ever is that while there is a lot of transphobia in the world, there are so many other people who just come out of nowhere, saying I am so cool and brave for being myself.
And it's so hard to respond to because it's always so unexpected.
I think what people don't realize is when you are transgender, you are always waiting for people to finally voice they think it's disgusting or wrong.
And so when they don't, it's just mind-blowing.
I have spent 20 years of my life as a woman, thinking I had no choice in the matter.
I grew up constantly noticing the two shades of society: blue and pink.
I knew I was supposed to love all that was pink, but I couldn’t help but enviously look over at my brothers in all their blue.
Society holds so much importance on these two shades and the definite separation of the two.
It has a hard time accepting purple, or anyone who decides to switch sides.
So, while all of the people surrounding me seem to be extremely supportive so far, knowing society, I have already mentally tried to prepare for the backlash of pink, while my soul bleeds blue.