So why did I say I should have started posting 5 months ago? Well, just over five months ago I joined the online Transliving TG support group and, almost to the day, five months ago I started properly venturing away from my house as Andrea (not counting a few times prior to that when I just went out in the car, and the couple of occasions in late 2013 I stupidly wandered around late in the evening in the dark when hardly anyone was around).
My confidence and courage started at zero, and have grown quite a bit over the period. My voice is still a bit ropey, but has improved since end-March, alongside is a photo of me from March 2014.
So what kind of things have I done out as Andrea over the last five months? The following are the main things, starting at the top with baby steps, gradually increasing in size:
- Parking at my local supermarket in the dark and getting some cash out the machine.
- Posting a letter.
- Walking round (but not going in to any) shops in my local outlet on a Sunday afternoon.
- Popping into Sainsburys for a couple of things… but paying at the self-service.
- Joining my local TG support group, called The Belfast Butterfly Club (BBC).
- Went out for dinner at a gay bar with the first TS friend I met at BBC, and also met a number of her (non-TS) friends.
Since then my activities have mushroomed and I have now done all of the following:
- Numerous full supermarket shops.
- About as much clothes shopping as my credit card can stand.
- Dropped bags of unwanted clothes (especially Bobs!) at charity shops.
- Sat in my local library surfing the net.
- Been out to lunch, and for coffee, on my own.
- Gone to gender-counselling.
- Been out for dinner twice with my lovely new local TS friend Kirsty, and also out for coffee once with her.
- Reported a hate crime to the police… and then met them to discuss it.
- Joined a walking club (yes, as Andrea)… and so far all the people I have met and chatted to have been lovely.
- Also been walking at country parks on my own.
So, in five months, I think I have done quite a bit… although of course there is a lot more I can achieve, such as going travelling as Andrea, knowing that I am accepted at my walking group, going to my GP and getting referred to a gender clinic…. and going full-time. And all of this will take some time. Originally I had an ultra-conservative timeline for coming out as 10 years from now (based on financial security)… but when I mentioned that timeline to my counsellor I burst into tears, and so I have set myself the following targets:
- Change my job ASAP, so that I don’t have to commute so far and (hopefully) will end up somewhere a bit more accepting than I know my current place will be.
- See my GP and get her to refer me to a gender clinic by end-September 2014.
- Come out as Andrea to all, and go full-time, by 1st September 2016
Hmm, we will see how I get on!