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Not sure how to approach this

Misery

Photo-Negative
V.I.P Member
Okay yeah I'm making another one of these blasted threads, sorry.

Related to the same bloody topic as before. Gotta do the awkward and scary "hey yeah, guess what, I'm a girl, actually" transgender reveal with family pretty soon. Already explained that.

I'm hoping to do it by Christmas, particularly as my father's mood has been improving a lot (I dont want to do it when he's still overly stressed out from his injury). But as he's getting better, I know the time to do it is approaching.

Which is great and all, but a particular potential obstacle has presented itself. Well, not entirely unexpected, but...

See, I've been over to visit my mother and stepfather a bunch of times recently (they only live about 15 minutes away). Which has been nice enough, but as always, I'm carefully observing everything that is said while I'm around, which is just something I constantly do for no reason. And there have definitely been certain problematic comments from my stepfather. Not towards me, but they dont need to be towards me for me to catch onto the potential problem in them.

Like, earlier today I was over there, and my mom was showing me her new hobby (crocheting, and she'd like NEVER had a hobby before, so it was pretty exciting), and she was talking about how maybe she'd make a stuffed animal for my brother's kid, who is about 3 years old. She also made a wistful comment related to my stepfather's grandkids, mentioning how she might have made something like that for them back when they were younger.

Cue the odd comment from him, which was something like "well, no, they probably wouldnt have really cared for that sort of thing... boys really dont like stuffed animals much. Boys are really different from girls, you know", which... ugh. Yeah, it was THAT type of comment. Incidentally, I had like a bazillion stuffed animals as a kid myself, because of course I did.

Every now and then, there's been some comment from him, something that is... I guess you could say a verbal reinforcement of gender stereotypes and stuff like that. Nothing hateful, nothing directly bigoted (that I could tell, I'm not always so good at catching deeper meaning), but just statements that were a bit... off. A bit worrying, in the context of what I need to do.

There isnt any avoiding telling them about it. My brother will likely be told within a day or two after I tell my father, and when he's travelled over to our area to visit, he's often at my mom's at the same time I am, and... yeah he wouldnt just outright tell someone something like that without permission (he always means well), but any use of "she/her" related to me (on accident, I mean) around them is all it's going to take. I know them well enough to know that they WILL catch that, it aint gonna go over their heads. One way or another, it'll slip eventually. So there's no point in trying to hide it (also I'm just freaking tired of doing that).

Thing is though, I've no idea how to approach this possible conflict. My stepfather isnt like, a violent guy or anything, nothing like that, but still, we've clashed on many occasions, particularly back when I used to work (because I was incapable of holding a job, and so I had to hear the whole "BE A MAN AND GET A JOB" rant often... not the only thing we'd fight about, mind you). He's mellowed out a lot over time, though he and my brother still go at it every now and then.

Put all that together, and... yeah I'm not sure what the result is going to be. Everyone else, I'm not worried about... only real problem with them is honestly my own lack of self-confidence and tendency to get embarrassed easily. Him though, he's a bit of a wildcard in this situation, and I cant avoid that particular interaction.

And... yeah. I've no idea how to approach this. I'm very non-confrontational... quiet and passive, always have been. Usually, I'll simply avoid potential conflicts... it's very rare there's a need to enter a situation where a conflict may break out with someone. So this is not exactly something I've experience in dealing with. And, the whole autism thing... I struggle hard with the idea of being assertive and standing my ground, while of course having communication issues...

The silver lining though is that I'll at least have my brother's support in the situation, and he's the super-protective sort (which is actually something those two used to fight about... my stepfather yelling at me over some stupid thing was usually enough to get my brother to step in with a defensive role). Still though... I dunno.

So... yeah. Wondering if any of you here might have any advice or thoughts on this. Have any of you gone through something similar, the need to do some sort of difficult reveal with someone who could get mean over it? What would you do?
 

Knower of nothing

Well-Known Member
Definitely scary. But I'm not sure you need to do anything. As long as you can present it as undeniable matter-of-fact reality and don't try to argue or justify you'll be fine. Anything thrown at you at that point will make the person in question become the one with the problem. It's theirs to sort out and you don't need to be involved in that and can go live your life. Not pleasant still, but hey.
I've had to do a few awkward reveals but I have godly luck so all things turned out positive beyond expectation. I did once make the mistake of treating it like something I have to argue for, but this suggests their approval stands higher than your reality, shouldn't apply if you're an adult.
 

Alexej

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Related to the same bloody topic as before. Gotta do the awkward and scary "hey yeah, guess what, I'm a girl, actually" transgender reveal with family pretty soon. Already explained that.

I'm hoping to do it by Christmas, particularly as my father's mood has been improving a lot (I dont want to do it when he's still overly stressed out from his injury). But as he's getting better, I know the time to do it is approaching.
its good to have a deadline for yourself - but dont be hard on yourself if you dont make it. The way things are on a day to day basis are the reality of your situation.

All the best in judging the right time to speak - may you be given wisdom to speak well, clearly and appropriately
 

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Anything thrown at you at that point will make the person in question become the one with the problem. It's theirs to sort out and you don't need to be involved in that and can go live your life.
So true. I have had similar friction in the past with over something far less substantial. Once out of the blue my mother started questioning me about being homosexual. I thought the line of questioning intrusive but was too taken aback to shut it down with predjudice. So, I used your stratege of stating things matter of factly: I did not have the resources to date, I knew no girl who was interested in me, yadda, yadda, I was just not ready to date though the interest was there. That stopped any such prying into my life.
 

Thinx

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
It's interesting to think how his comment about how boys may feel about crocheted toys fits with your gender as a girl though. Maybe as a child, as a not yet out to yourself girl, you did bypass the way boys get conditioned to not want or like whatever society deems to be for girls? And/or maybe you just didn't notice the cultural pressures to conform to gender norms. School makes that harder though, I think.

I'm not sure what to say to you, because I do remember coming out as gay, for example, as surprisingly exposing, becoming a stigmatised minority, I was surprised by, and felt the weight of that prejudice, despite knowing it existed, feeling it as directed at me was disturbing. It just felt so unnecessary and unfair, and I was surprised how strongly some people felt, it did come over quite strongly in my workplace from some senior people, and I hadn't anticipated it.

But having said that, this guy does already know you and you don't exactly go around being a typical person so maybe he won't be surprised. I really hope he won't be hurtful to you but seems like he's quite invested in gender norms. I don't think there's a way to come out into a stigmatised minority position where one gets accepted or understood by the majority of people, honestly, because things would already be different in society if that were the case. But I hope the majority of your own family and friends will be accepting.
 

Stuttermabolur

A psychologist said so
V.I.P Member
Can you speak with your mother 1 on 1 first? I think it might be useful to have backup. I understand that coming out with something like this is difficult, so I just want to Echo what @Alexej said. Don't be hard on yourself for finding this difficult. I also haven't found the confidence to tell my father and grandparents whom I live with that I'm quite sure I'm autistic, even though I know they will be accepting and probably suspect as much (you can't live with me for long without noticing how odd I am).

I know you know this, but still, I don't think it does any harm to restate that me and others on the forums support you fully in doing what you know is best for you, and gaining a better understanding of who you are. Even though it doesn't really make sense, as ultimately we are strangers, I still feel proud of you for the steps you have taken recently to reveal to yourself and others who you really are. I know it is very far from being easy, and totally get struggling with clicking on the "post reply" button.
 

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
>
It's interesting to think how his comment about how boys may feel about crocheted toys fits with your gender as a girl though. Maybe as a child, as a not yet out to yourself girl, you did bypass the way boys get conditioned to not want or like whatever society deems to be for girls? And/or maybe you just didn't notice the cultural pressures to conform to gender norms. School makes that harder though, I think.

I'm not sure what to say to you, because I do remember coming out as gay, for example, as surprisingly exposing, becoming a stigmatised minority, I was surprised by, and felt the weight of that prejudice, despite knowing it existed, feeling it as directed at me was disturbing. It just felt so unnecessary and unfair, and I was surprised how strongly some people felt, it did come over quite strongly in my workplace from some senior people, and I hadn't anticipated it.

But having said that, this guy does already know you and you don't exactly go around being a typical person so maybe he won't be surprised. I really hope he won't be hurtful to you but seems like he's quite invested in gender norms. I don't think there's a way to come out into a stigmatised minority position where one gets accepted or understood by the majority of people, honestly, because things would already be different in society if that were the case. But I hope the majority of your own family and friends will be accepting.
@Thinx , nothing would please me more than to topple gender norms and tapdance on its corpse. You must remember the unremitting propaganda we were taught in the 50s and 60s? One could not escape gender norms and the pervasive nationalism that invaded even cereal boxes. I did not feel part of that society.
 

Gracey

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I don't really have anything to offer.
Not because I've never done anything like you're going to but because my truth is my truth.

The opinion from others is precisely that.
An opinion.
They're as entitled to theirs as I am to mine.
Their opinion doesn't make me 'less than' in any way, shape or form.

I am. Full stop.

Don't be afraid of step dad's rejection, if indeed that is what will happen. It may not.

You're never going to know for sure what his reaction may be until it happens.
Own your truth Misery. Believe in yourself.
 

Moogwizard

My mind is my own church
V.I.P Member
I don’t know what to offer to help for this . Because personally I have nothing to relate it with . I admire what you are trying to do .
 

Luca

charm & chaos
V.I.P Member
I don't have any better advice than you've already been given (which is very good advice so far) but I will add that I know what it's like to have family members who force gender stereotypes on me, and I think I need to make a thread about it because it's that time of year again.

You are welcome to message me privately to talk about this situation any time you need to. I have been there, and it sucks. But I am here for you, and I know you're stronger and braver than you think you are.

And I agree that you should have a one on one talk with your mom beforehand.
 

Ken

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I can certainly relate regarding your step father. I believe I probably had the worlds worst father. Probably not really, but I have several permanent, disabling PTSD's directly inflicted by him. I also live in a community and family that is not friendly to anyone not "normal". That added even a few more PTSD's due to the fact that I could never figure out what normal was much less how to be normal. It wasn't until 2019 that I discovered that my abnormality was autism. And it wasn't until this year that I became brave enough to reveal to anyone (other than my wife) that I am autistic. My fear of revealing is that no one knows what autism is. Everyone believes it a brain damaged disease and that autistics are mentally retarded, stupefied and moronic. I was sure that revealing that I'm autistic would only strengthen those opinions. Well, so far it hasn't. Instead it has just opened a dialog of questions.

I don't know your family, but perhaps if you reveal that you are a girl, I'm guessing they may react differently than you fear they will. They may even shrug their shoulders and say, "yea, we already know." I say that because there is a member of my wife's family that is gay. My wife and I were there visiting when he finally got brave enough to announce it and that was the reaction of the family. So, for the rest of our visit, he (she) was in a state of total bliss - no more "masking"; she could be herself.

Regarding my father, I finally decided that he was total hell and nothing I said would ever change him and I realized that nothing made him better or worse. So, I stopped trying to appease him and sure enough nothing changed. He just remained the same awful person he always had been. Indeed, his words and reactions are traumatic for me, but revealing anything to him that I know will set him off is just more of the same. He is what he is.

Without any assumption that I know what I'm talking about, I would just suggest mentioning it in a very casual off handed way, like talking about the weather. Making it like a major revelation, might set the tone as some devastating news. I don't know, just a thought. I just think it should be presented in the tone of a very normal news - which in reality, that's exactly what it is.
 

Misery

Photo-Negative
V.I.P Member
Maybe as a child, as a not yet out to yourself girl, you did bypass the way boys get conditioned to not want or like whatever society deems to be for girls? And/or maybe you just didn't notice the cultural pressures to conform to gender norms.

I definitely noticed, there was no avoiding it back then. My mom always sorta tried to enforce that (though not super strictly, and not specifically because of gender traditions)... I'd had a lot of social issues of course (though I wouldnt get my diagnosis till after I'd graduated college), which meant I had trouble making friends. So, in her mind, it was important to fit in, because that's how you make friends, she thought. So, she'd enforce certain things due to this reasoning. And I'd resist, though I was not *really* sure why.

I see now that the signs were all there from the start. A big one was getting my hair cut. Used to have short "boyish" hair... you know the sort of look, it's darned common. But I hated that. I always got agitated and angry anytime it was time to have a haircut, and my parents always thought it was because of me being too sensitive (as my negative responses to touch were very well established).

That wasnt the reason though. I remember, very clearly, every time I'd have to get a haircut, a thought would come into my mind: "girls are supposed to have long hair". Now obviously that's a bit of a gender stereotype in and of itself but that concept would have flown way over my head back then. So my thinking on that was darned simple (also most of the girls at school did in fact have long hair, and I was jealous of that).

I always put that thought out of mind quickly though (which just made me even more angry). It was "not normal" and sounded crazy to me, so there was no way I was going to voice that. So I'd just go along with it... wasnt exactly good for my mental health.

Didnt grow it out until I wanted to do the whole cosplay thing the first time, which was also the first time the mask started to really crack (since that was an exploration of this, though I didnt quite grasp that early on).

I know it is very far from being easy, and totally get struggling with clicking on the "post reply" button.

I can at least say that it's gotten easier each time. And talking about it here has helped my mood & mental state way more than I could have expected. I'm not crying as often as before (it was getting real dire before I made that first post, like every other day or so) and that general self-loathing has definitely lightened up a bit...

It was tough to post those first few times, but very worth pushing through it. I hope more people in "tough to talk about" situations can find the strength to make that first post, it really does help a lot, but of course helping anyone get to that point is very hard...

I think I need to make a thread about it because it's that time of year again.

I say, go for it! We'll all try to help if we can.
 

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