When I tell people I didn’t come out as trans/non-binary until I was 35, people’s reaction that its 'a bit late' and that I've 'missed out on so many years' is so off the mark. I came out at just the right time.
Whilst ONS surveys show people are coming out at a younger age than ever before, there is a large part of the community, us older queers, who are still figuring out our journey. And that's OK.
We all know the story: growing up questioning your sexuality or gender in the ‘80s/’90s was not as easy as it is now. More conservative and small-minded families, internalised homo- and transphobia, no positive representation, more anti-LGBTQIA+ laws. There was a lot to overcome before coming out.
Does that mean I have missed out? Coming out is personal; we are not all ready at the same time, and for me, a few things needed to line up before I could say the words out loud.
That’s why waiting until my 30s was the perfect time for me! I knew who I was and I was secure in myself. I finally reached a point in my life where I loved myself more than I believed that erasing who I was to fit into society was the right thing to do.
Spending years hiding who I was actually helped me build the armour that I could use to protect myself.
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I was mentally strong enough to deal with possible rejections and unkind comments, to not falter in living as a trans/non-binary person and parent.
On top of that, my family was ready. For me, this was the biggest factor. My spouse, my kid and I were in the perfect place in our relationships to move forward together.
We put a lot of work into our relationship and into bringing up a child in a loving and accepting environment.
It paid off; educating ourselves on issues we were privileged not to have experienced or had been secretly dealing with helped us overcome the changes that hit our marriage and parenthood like a freight train.
Finally, I’d built a supportive network of friends - ready to support me when the time was right for me. People who have, since then, become a chosen family and helped me through my journey.
I never had queer friends before. I was too scared or worried I would get found out.
Being surrounded by people like me, who accepted me and made me feel safe whilst also helping me question my internalised homo and transphobia, was pivotal to my coming out. It would have probably taken me a lot longer if I did not have them as a safety net.
I didn't come out late. I am exactly where I need to be.
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