Six transgender women have shared how they knew they were trans and the first time they came out.
In a new episode of PinkNews original series, First Times, transgender women Nina, Lili, Raina, Ruby, Connie and Michelle opened up about their experiences of coming out online versus to family and friends.
Watch the video below to see transgender coming out stories.
Nina, 27, grew up next door to two transgender women but, at age 13, she didn’t yet understand herself as transgender.
“That was probably the first time I met another trans person,” she told PinkNews, “But it wasn’t until later on that I met trans people that I felt a community feeling, because then I understood what it actually meant to be trans.”
She added: “I always knew [I was trans] but didn’t have a label that matched how I felt.”
Michelle, 47, said: “I went to the Way Out club in London and realised I wasn’t the only one. I had an amazing night and it helped me to identify and be like: ‘Yeah, this is who I am.’”
Lili, 26, also had an identity-affirming moment while out clubbing, when she met another trans girl for the first time.
“I was 16 in the club, illegally, and I met a trans girl and I was so in awe,” she said.
“I was like: ‘I want to be like you when I grow up.’ It felt almost therapeutic, like that’s where I need to go—you’re not gay, you’re trans.”
How to come out as transgender
Ruby’s “lightbulb moment” came when she was watching a TV programme featuring a trans woman and realised she related a lot to the character’s struggle.
She said: “I was just like: ‘That’s me.’ After many years in the closet I actually just rolled with it and said: ‘This is who I am, I need to be this person.’
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“I used a Tumblr post to come out and then I just gradually shared that around with friends.”
Raina, 21, came out as trans online. Figuring out she was pansexual was much easier than realising she was transgender.
“It took until I was about 19, when I was reading a webcomic about a trans girl trying to survive in high school for the first time.
“I wasn’t presenting and I didn’t really know at the time, but just reading it I thought: ‘Wow, these are my thoughts, I think I must be trans.’
“I had all these thoughts going through my head, all these different scenarios, things could go wrong and I’m about to lose a bunch of my friends.
“But actually the reverse happened—they were all really, really supportive.”
Connie, 22, sympathised with Raina’s experience. She explained: “Because there’s not a lot of exposure and not a lot of knowledge, a lot of people don’t really know how to react—family, friends, whoever. I think it’s probably harder, if anything, with family.
“It was only after a few breakdowns that I came to terms with the fact that I am transgender.”