Today is October 11th. National coming out day. Today it has been almost 8 years since I first came out as trans and began my transition journey. Through this time one of the constants has been having to come out again and again. This year for Coming Out Day I will recount an incident in which I sort of came out. It was, for me, the only high point in a university course from hell.
The first week of class in the course began with the usual administrative and housekeeping stuff. Given the small class size, fewer than twenty students, introductions were made. The instructor introduced herself. She was, and presumably still is, a good Roman Catholic woman. She introduced herself, talked about her degrees and how she’s a mother and wife, including how many children she had. This makes sense, for parents children and grandchildren, if any, are often an important part of life and identity. The others in the class then introduced themselves and why they had chosen the course. Given that the average age in the class somewhere in the mid-thirties there were people in the class who also had children. The introductions then got to me. I had some warning bells from the instructors introduction of herself and some things she’d said. I decided to have a bit of fun.
When I introduced myself I stated my name, that I was Jewish, and some other information. Maintaining a completely straight face and in a deadpan tone I then said, “I have no children that I know of.”
The response was priceless and hilarious.
A look of confusion came upon her face. Complete bewilderment.
“Surely you would know?!” she replied. As she said this she was making hand motions to indicate a child being born from the body.
Managing to maintain a straight face and tone my reply was, “Not neccesarily.”
It was a possible opportunity to come out once more. I made the choice to do so in an oblique way. I laughed about it afterward, particularly with others in the class who had known me for a while at that point and got the joke. I am glad I did not come out fully to that particular instructor. I have my doubts if I would have been given fair marks given how she treated some others in the class.
In many situations coming out is still a risk, whether we like to admit it or not. Other times, coming out with humour is a fantastic way to go. My saying, “I have no children that I know of” provides this in a fun way and requires that people think about their assumptions. I do still say it when introducing myself in situations where number of children is part of the general introductions.
For those who are having to constantly come out I suggest having fun with it when you can. Take some of the tedium away from the process. Take some ownership of it. Confuse some mundanes.