This is Me, Coming Out
Sara Jason Bradford

Hi “Sara”,

I hope to give you some comfort- in affirming that you are not alone in your feelings of fluid gender, and in experiencing the painful chaos of trying to manage cultural gender norms that are embedded so thoroughly in family relationships, and the fabric of the ever larger circles of community around us.

I’m on the other side of the looking glass of gender, and trying to find a hair style that indicates my feminine streak, and the details of coming out so I can, at twice your age, FINALLY just be myself the way I experience myself.

We can take comfort in the fact that most people actually understand the misfits of gender norms, but they have internalized the cultural game- (you have to join one team [male or female] and then compete under the team and league rules). They feel reasonably successful and it is in their interests to keep everyone playing by the rules that work for them, taking comfort in the idea that ‘everyone’ is doing it, so at least we all suffer together.

That said, people most often make room for us when they have to choose. I’ve seen it in my extended family- after grumbling and attempts to ‘correct’ others who came out, who married other ethnic groups, who left the family business, etc.

I can say as well that when I put on a dress that matches my internal idea of what becomes me, I feel gates open for emotional healing, and my real- meaning more fully expressive personality, starts to show. The natural person I am is a much more well rounded and valuable friend.

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