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There are a lot of changes that happen to trans people over the course of their lifetime, but some of the most difficult or impactful ones can come at the very beginning of their transition. The experience of coming out is a unique one for every person who has to go through it, but it can be a very happy or relieving time as well. Here are just a few examples of the very long list of things that can happen to trans people when they come out.
1. Social Norms Change In Many Ways
Society projects expectations of masculinity when you come out as a trans man.
Whether you come out as a trans (binary) person or nonbinary, you should know that your social norms will change in many ways. The world, especially in western culture, is unfortunately very binary when it comes to gender and aggressively forces these concepts upon anyone. When you come out as transgender, you may begin to notice those around you who are supportive (and sometimes even if they aren’t) will start assigning you roles matching your presenting or identified gender—whether they do this intentionally or subconsciously will vary widely.
For example, noticeable changes for transgender males can look like many of the things that we had previously been exempted from. Shaking hands instead of giving hugs as a greeting, the unspoken rules of the guy code, and a noticeable effort to try to mold into a more culturally masculine role. This is not to say that you should be expected or have to do these things, but it is definitely something that is noticed and almost seems expected after coming out.
2. Confidence Levels Will Boost
After you come out as trans—and especially if you have a sound support system around you—you'll be able to live a more authentic you! As time goes on, you will notice that confidence levels were boosted dramatically due to gender affirmations socially, emotionally, and physically.
This can happen in a lot of ways for transgender men. You may have started to speak up more often, given a new wave of pride and confidence in yourself. This may also be partly because societal norms expect men to have something to say, but it can also just feel more comfortable speaking your mind in front of people and showing them your true self for the first time. For others, this could be manifest in wearing that outfit you thought was daring, or maybe it's walking with your head a little higher because others are seeing you more as you have seen yourself. Whatever it is, own it! You didn’t spend all of that time in the closet for nothing!
3. Mental and Emotional Health Changes Will Occur
Find friends who will support you as you come out as trans.
One of the very fluid things that happen once you come out is your mental health changes. This one is truly dependent on your unique experience coming out of the closest and the people you have around you. Many transgender people experience A LOT of backlashes; not only from family and friends but from the community legislatures and politicians alike.
But many are able to build a strong support system around themselves or create a new family they truly connect with and feel like they belong in. Doing this will help your mental health in many ways: you no longer have to feel so alone and you do not have to bear all the weight of your coming out experience alone. There were definitely things, people, and situations where your mental health could plummet, and you'll have to rely on others to be strong for you as well as encouraging. Other times you could be so relieved and affirmed because of your coming out that you think nothing could ever stop you from being so happy.
However your coming out experience goes, and no matter the ups and downs that come along with it, always find and lean on those who support you.
4. Awkward Questions Trans People Were Asked
Questions like the following lead to painfully awkward conversations that felt more like interrogations. And yes, these are all real questions that have been asked to transgender people. One thing you should prepare for is all of the absurd, awkward, and straight-up dumb questions people have the gall to ask you. Granted, some of them will be very respectful, such as which pronouns you prefer to use or what name you’d like to be called, but most are pretty ignorant.
- “Why did they call you she/he/they instead of _____?”
- “Wait, I thought you were ___ gender?”
- "What name did you choose?” or “Why did you choose that name?”
- “What do your parents think of you coming out?”
- “Wait, so are you lesbian/gay now?”
It is always shocking to get asked these questions when you come out to them, even if they were trying to come from a good place. The thing trans people have to keep in mind is that most cis people haven't spent hours on YouTube scrolling and watching transgender content to understand all the lingo and processes. Hell, many of them have probably never even read about a transgender person or anything related anywhere. They weren't doing such in-depth research to find ourselves in the mess of humanity.
So, keeping this in mind, remember there are going to be a lot of awkward questions as soon as you come out as trans because people are clueless. You may be the first out transgender person people you know have ever met. Many people don’t even know someone who knows an out trans person. It’s a sad reality, but education and experience just aren't reaching the general public.
With that said, it’s not your job to be the educator—whether you will or won't be is your decision—and anyone who makes you feel like you have to is not really there for you. There are plenty of resources that anyone can access, just like you probably did, to learn more about the ins and outs of what it means to be trans. They can put in the effort just as easily as you did. But, if you feel safe and want to engage, educating a friend or family member about your specific situation can be helpful.
5. Inappropriate Questions Trans People Were Asked
Questions that make us facepalm are as old as time—and they're unfortunately common when you come out as trans.
In addition to all of the awkward things that people are going to ask, you will definitely have someone (or more) around you who has no sense of social boundaries. You’ll also probably have someone around you who thinks that because you’re coming out to them, then they immediately get to know every small, intimate, and personal detail about you. These will be harder to deal with, not just because of the content but because it truly reveals the type of person you are talking to, which can cause problems.
- “So what’s in your pants?”
- “How do you have sex?”
- “When are you going to have surgery?” or “How are you going to have sex after surgery?” or “What are your genitals going to look like?!?”
- "When do you plan to start hormones?”
- “So if you’re not a transvestite, what’s the difference?”
Again, these are all very awkward and, this time, inappropriate questions that have actually been asked to transgender people. Again, even if they are well-intentioned, inappropriate questions can and will come with terrible timing. When someone was forced to come out to their mom, she immediately asked them if they were going to stop shaving their pubic hair. Because that’s the most important thing she needed to know at that moment. It is a terrible feeling to be put on the spot and feel like you have to think of an appropriate answer, even when there is none!
The best advice to be given regarding this is to tell someone they are being inappropriate, and it’s not your job to educate or explain why it’s inappropriate either. If they can’t understand why questions like those are inappropriate to ask anyone, not just you, then there is a lot more going wrong on their end that they need to work through. But overall, don’t let the complete idiocy of people get you down when you come out as trans.
Love Yourself and Come Out on Your Terms
While this is not an exhaustive list of all of the experiences and changes that a trans person will be faced with during their coming out, these are a few good things to keep in mind and prepare for when deciding when and how to start to come out as trans. It’s also good to remember that everyone has a completely different and individual perspective on life. That means that some of these things may not be applicable to a trans person during their coming out or that it may be a lot more or less extreme than described. Just remember that you should never be ashamed to be yourself—and make sure to come out when and how it's best for you. Coming out is difficult, so be proud of yourself for starting that journey, even if it's only with yourself right now!
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Healthcare is a hot topic for many Americans. No matter your stance on it, most of us can agree that it’s not easy for everyone to access affordable medical care. If you’re in the LGBTQ+ community, you might face another obstacle – discrimination.
It can be hard to believe you would be discriminated against or even turned away based on your sexual identity, but it does happen like so many other injustices in this world. If you already have a healthcare provider you like and trust, you might be worried about coming out to them.
Will they treat you differently? Will your care be compromised?
Let’s cover some of the common barriers people within the community can face in the healthcare industry, why your doctor should know if you’re LGBTQ+, and what to look for in a provider that won’t discriminate.
What Challenges Do LGBTQ+ People Face in Healthcare?
There are a variety of underserved populations in healthcare, including minorities and those in traditionally underserved or poverty-stricken communities. Those in the LGBTQ+ population are often underserved because of discrimination. Think it doesn’t exist? Consider some of these staggering statistics from a 2017 national survey:
- 8% of respondents said a healthcare provider refused to see them because of their sexual orientation.
- 6% said a doctor refused to provide them with care.
- 9% said a healthcare provider used abusive or harsh language while treating them.
- 7% said they received unwanted physical contact from their healthcare provider.
It should come as no surprise, then, that fewer LGBTQ+ are getting the healthcare they deserve. These statistics are more than numbers. They are people. They are stories. If someone you know had a negative experience with their doctor and told you about it, you’d be less likely to go. Maybe you even had a bad experience yourself, and have never trusted the medical industry again.
Several things need to be done to serve the LGBTQ+ community better, including:
- Federal initiatives
- Smart devices that make it easier to access public health care
- Education on inclusivity within the medical field
Unfortunately, it will take time for this kind of reform and restructuring to happen within the healthcare industry. In the meantime, what can you do to get the care you deserve, whether it's from your current doctor or someone new?
Why You Should Talk to Your Doctor
Building up a trusting relationship with a healthcare provider can take some time. Maybe you’ve been working with your doctor for years, and you trust their medical knowledge and like their personality.
However, maybe they don’t know your gender identity or sexual orientation. Maybe you’ve thought about telling them in the past but have been worried about discrimination.
While it’s always a risk, it’s important to come out to your doctor for medical purposes, if nothing else. Certain health issues affect higher proportions of the LGBTQ+ community, including:
- Mental health issues
- Sexual assault
HIV is still a problem among members of the community, too. According to a 2010 study by the CDC, 63% of new HIV infections impacted men who had sex with other men.From a mental health standpoint, telling your doctor can be both freeing and can get you the help you need. It’s not uncommon for those in the community to experience extra stress, anxiety, and depression due to discrimination and constant worry. Because LGBTQ+ people are also at a greater risk of sexual violence, finding the right mental health treatment for the aftermath is crucial. Medical attention is needed to document evidence and identify any injuries or long-term risks, as well as to set up a mental health treatment plan that will help you process what happened.
Finding the Right Healthcare Provider
Whether you’ve experienced discrimination from your doctor or you want a clean slate in a place that will give you the care you deserve, there are a few things to look for in an LGBTQ+-friendly healthcare environment.
- First, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Shop around, and set up consultations with providers you’re interested in. Ask them about their experience with the LGBTQ+ community. You’ll get a lot of information from that answer, and can probably trust your “gut” with whether they’re comfortable or not.
- You should also do your research. Seek both online and offline resources for LGBTQ+-friendly physicians in your area. Read reviews, look for doctors who offer a safe and inclusive practice for everyone, and consider asking your friends about their personal experiences and where they go. Thankfully, despite the obstacles you might face in finding a doctor, it’s not impossible. Even if you live in a rural area or far away from a doctor who is willing to give you proper care, nowadays, it’s easier than ever to connect with the right provider.
- If you can’t find someone nearby, consider choosing telehealth services for your general well-being and for regular checkups. While they can’t cover everything, it can help to have a physician in your corner who you trust, even if they’re hundreds of miles away. Don’t let discrimination in the healthcare industry get you down. With a little bit of time, research, and doctor-shopping, you can find a provider who will give you care without judgment.
You’re young. You’re impressionable. You’re eying your sister’s scarves. So your parents suggest you read more. Something to keep your hands busy! Little do Dad and Mom know: Books are the gateway drug to being gay.
I know the drill. I was this orphaned kid adopted by Texas fundamentalists. Not the kind with cool bands on stage. The really serious kind that worry about the end of the world. But I found worlds that end without CGI effects.
I read books… a lot of books. My list was super weird. It started with The Stepford Wives and went in all directions from there. But there are better ways to try and distract your mind. I know about them because I once had a psychotic break from reading too much. Talk about being gay!
Now that I’m on the other side of that, here are five well-loved books to read to get you out of the closet. Or to celebrate being gay all together. From literary classics to self-help trends, my inspiration comes from my recently released memoir Bookmarked: How the Great Works of Western Literature F*cked Up My Life, which flips the script on western literature and its false narratives that brought me to question my sexual identity.
1. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter
Shorter: Dude slides into your DMs, you hook up a few times (forest sex! hot!), and the Puritans leave you alone for the rest of your life. Plus, you get to wear designer clothes. (Monograms!) And you even get a kid out of it. (Auto follow-back from the Brooklyn Instagays.)
2. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Cocktail parties! Morning coats! Great Neck! Sure, Jay Gatsby’s a bootlegger. Okay, he’s really from North Dakota. But aren’t all the best gays from states with ninety-degree angles? And those super witty friends of his. That big lawn on Long Island. You always wanted a place in the country. Okay, he’s married. They all are. But his wife has the hots for another guy, this jock Tom. That is, when she’s not in for electro shock. So, a possible threesome!
3. Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain
Straight people are straight-up boring. This book will prove it. They yammer on about sweet potatoes and mumble shit about cornbread. Plus, they walk the hell all over creation just so they can be a dirt farmer in Georgia, rather than stick around the mountains of North Carolina, where all those hot otters in flannel own espresso bars in Asheville. No way you’d leave that scene. (Although, if you stay in the closet, Nicole Kidman could play you in the movie, so there is a serious trade-off.)
4. Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
This is the other thing straight people do: They love to buy great stuff, then feel guilty about it. They can shit on the best brocade, the finest velvet. Not you. This Japanese clean freak will clear the malls so the halls are wide open for your next spree. Besides, you spent years in the closet working on that collection of antique whisks and dough hooks. Read this book and you’ll realize it’s really a short step from those to a tragic hook-up off Grindr. Welcome to the family.
5. George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones
This one’s more advanced, for when you’re sort of out, just not enough for a real gay. Start with any book in the series. Doesn’t matter which one. They’re all a zillion pages long with leather daddies and lipstick lesbians talking like frat boys think Shakespeare would. Once you’ve read the tome, you can get into fascinatingly long, late-night conversations with that hot straight bae you’ve been eying for weeks. A few beers in, he’ll be talking about some chick riding dragons. Casually mention Renly or Oberyn and before you know it, he’s curious. Downside: the crying afterwards. Keep a box of tissues handy.
About the author
Mark Scarbrough is a New York Times bestselling cookbook author, half of the duo with Bruce Weinstein who've written such titles as THE INSTANT POT BIBLE and THE ESSENTIAL AIR FRYER COOKBOOK.
Before all that, he was an academic who lectured on lit until he lost everything because he couldn't stop living the plots that had been put in his head.
BOOKMARKED, his memoir, is the first book he's published on his own and a guide to the ultimate question: how can I be who I am when others are always telling me who I am. Learn more on his website markscarbrough.com.
Josey Greenwell, who had previously positioned himself as a gay role model for kids coming out of the closet, disappeared from the music scene after his publicists attempt to remake him into Nate Green, a straight heartthrob marketed to teen girls.
Recently, former Nashville bartender, gay cover model, and musician Greenwell released a new single "Cowboy" from his forthcoming album, City Games, released last year. Greenwell released the Dave Audé remix of the single, which is available to listen to across streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, and more.
Josey Greenwell - Cowboy youtu.be
On the new remix, Greenwell shares, "Dave is a legendary DJ, and I was lucky enough to meet him a few years ago. Once the opportunity came up for a 'Cowboy' remix, I knew I wanted to collaborate with Dave on it. I reached out and he immediately was into the record! Dream come true. He put such a fun dance beat to it, that was so different from the original."
According to his publicist, "Growing up in Kentucky, a passion for music led Greenwell to Nashville in pursuit of a career as a singer/songwriter. After years of honky-tonks and unfulfilled wishes, he set the guitar down and turned to his next love, fitness, and made the move to the Big Apple. Now, as one of the city's most prominent fitness instructors, his love for music and songwriting prevails as he steps back into his artistry rhythm and gears up to release his first full length album in over a decade. Fueled with city inspiration and slick pop production, the sound behind the upcoming record, City Games, is almost as surprising as Greenwell's return."
Back as Greenwell, Josey just might make it in the music game this go 'round! Good luck!
Greenwell is set to embark on his 2022 World Tour. Follow him here.