Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Outing to the Darling Boyfriend’s Mom – part 1

So, tomorrow’s the day that the Darling Boyfriend and I tell his mom (and, by extension, his family) about my medical history of transsexualism. We’ve decided that it’s time to tell them for a few reasons. Our relationship has reached a point where it makes sense for us to be planning for a potentially long life together. We’ve both starting to seriously consider the possibility of growing old together. This, as the Darling Boyfriend says, is a way of increasing our level of intimacy. There are also day-to-day practicalities. I’m annoyed that I can’t share with them the joys of the camp for trans youth that I volunteered at this past summer, or the Laramie Project panel of which I was a part, or, more so, that my ex-wife is reduced to being labeled as “one of my best friends.” As much as that is true, she is a best friend, it changes the context to know that she and I were married. Finally, and I guess the deciding element is what has been happening to Nikki Araguz. When that story broke I joked with the Darling Boyfriend that I wanted his family to sign an affidavit saying that they know about my history. I do not ~ever~ want to be accused of deceiving anyone. To say nothing of it being just in my nature to be fully open and honest about my life with the people that are close to me. I’m getting closer to his family, so it’s time.

I confess to being a bit apprehensive about this decision. This is the first time I will be outing myself to loved ones in quite a while. I out myself all the time, but nowadays I seem to be outing myself more and more to strangers, and their opinions naturally mean less than those of people I care about. So the stakes are higher than they’ve been in some time. Also, the Darling Boyfriend has never really outed himself about anything, so this is totally new territory for him. He has cutely thought that it might come up in conversation the other times I’ve visited his family; to which I’ve asked the question: “How often do your parents ask about your girlfriend’s genitals?” It just doesn’t come up,and so it hasn’t. So we’re taking the bull by the horns and doing this as an intentional act.

I expect it will go fine. His mom is a lovely and intelligent woman. His family is quite liberal and supportive of gay civil rights. They are open-minded and not bigoted in any way that I’ve seen. Blah, blah, blah. And yet, I’ve been surprised before. The thing I’ve learned through all of my experiences with coming out is that it is unpredictable. People will have their reactions to knowing about my trans experience; sometimes the reactions are visceral, emotional. The Darling Boyfriend has two sisters and a brother. Each of them have a son. His nephews are every conceivable age: 2, 12, and 18. It’s quite possible that could color his family’s reactions. Still, we have to do the best job we can of telling my, and our, story, and then let them react as they will. That is what it is, and I can’t help that. I can only be me.

It’s possible that they will wonder why we waited so long to share this news with them. I guess to that I would say that, as the Darling Boyfriend says, this is about my personal medical history, and that’s not always something that people reveal instantaneously. The Darling Boyfriend feels that now is the time, and as this is his family, I have been letting him drive the bus on the timing of this decision. It’s also possible that they will wonder why they needed to be told at all, and I guess I feel like I addressed those reasons in my first paragraph.

Now’s the time.

There is also the irony of October 11th being National Coming Out Day. We’ll be a day early.

So, wish us luck.



  Nora-Adrienne Deret wrote @

Best of luck on that conversation.

  Véronique wrote @

I can understand why you want to be open with your BF’s family. I could also understand if you did not want to, but this is a choice that makes sense to me. I hope it goes very well!

As for outing yourself all the time, that doesn’t really make sense to me, but it’s your choice. I don’t myself. My choice!

  pickypenelope wrote @

It’s sort of necessary. I’ve ended up doing lots of outreach and education. In that context it silly no to out myself. Also, for me, if I truly believe that there’s nothing wrong with a history of transsexualism, and I’m working to make the world recognize women like me as real bona fide women, it seems like talking about my history is part of that.

But I have absolutely no problem with people who choose to live more privately. It’s just never fit me. I’m pretty open book. Heck, my blog sure attests to that. 😉

  Véronique wrote @

I’m all in favour of individual choice. 🙂

It seems to me, though, that the world (in general) is not going to recognize that women born transsexual are bona fide women, at least not any time soon. I hope you can help make a difference, but I think the way to be recognized as a bona fida woman is to be one. And that means telling only select people about one’s medical history. Otherwise, they will see you differently — with an asterisk, so to speak.

I can see the logic in what you’re saying if you’re doing outreach. Maybe that’s one reason I don’t do outreach.

  pickypenelope wrote @

Then perhaps we live in different worlds. I have no sense whatsoever that I have an asterisk from anyone in my life. And I have enough contacts and friends and what-not that I really think I would know if I did.

And besides, the only way for the asterisk to go away is to be a bona fide woman while also claiming my authentic history.

And again, this is totally only what works for me, and it’s certainly not like I out myself at the grocery or anything.


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