A month or two ago, my bestie told me he had some gender issues. About a week later, he sent me a text that basically said “Wow, it just hit me like a truck. I’m a trans man.” His new name is Jack. All of this is pretty awesome. =]
Jack and I have been friends since.. 7th grade? Ish? Probably about seven years, now. We were friends with another person who came out as trans while we knew them and Jack didn’t handle it very well at the time. So, when I realized I had an atypical gender, I was worried I would lose his friendship. (I sort of did, for a few months.) I asked him about this after he came out to me recently and he said he had been bitter at us for coming out and taking the leap that he couldn’t. It blew my mind a little that Jack’s been aware of a gender dysphoria since way back then, but also made sense in a way.
Amusing anecdote: I used to call Jack “lady” in some contexts, like ‘Hey, lady, what’s up?’ About six months ago I stopped doing so; I would start to in a text and then delete it because it seemed off. I told Jack that story and that my spidey-sense picked up on his transness. Which he thought was funny. :p
Anyway, it’s kind of weird to be on this side of someone coming out. And having it be my best friend of seven years.
Not in a bad way, of course. Just strange. I think I’m the first person he told, which makes me feel awesome. I’m constantly steeped in gender issues on the internet, so I consider myself fairly well-informed on trans* issues and the broader topics of LGBT+ and feminist politics. I’m proud that I can use this store of information I’ve accumulated to be supportive of my trans friend.
I would have killed to have someone like me around when I was coming to terms with my gender. I’m fortunate for having had a vaguely supportive social framework and the internet, but it would have helped to have a well-versed, informed trans* person in my life to talk to. My friendship with our other trans* friend had disintegrated by that point, so talking to them wasn’t an option. I actually worried that they would spread rumors that I was a poser or that I was faking it to try to get in good with them again. (I did try, futilely, to mend that bridge many times before and after coming out as trans*.) Gotta love high school, right?
It hasn’t been very difficult for me to switch the way I think about Jack in my head, which is surprisingly surprising. (Meta: It’s surprising that I switched so easily and I’m sort of shocked at myself that I’m surprised because I think about trans* stuff all the time, duh.) I’ve been thinking about this post for a while and about Jack in general since he is my best friend, so I’ve had plenty of opportunity to practice using the correct pronouns. I still accidentally think of him using his old name, but it’s just going to take a little time to transition since I’ve been calling him the same name since we met.
There’s a lot of little stuff that I “get” which I didn’t realize was so great to have solidarity with. Like, we had a sit-down meal at Perkin’s a while ago and the waitress addressed me and Degon using gendered nouns when she took our orders, so Jack addressed her before she had the chance to misgender him. I commented after that it was a good save on his part and it just felt good to share that moment.
I know a lot about what hormone replacement therapy does and how it affects FAAB bodies, so I can share that information with him. When he first came out to me, he said he wasn’t sure he was comfortable identifying as a man until his body matched the description and we talked about the term agender and what hormones actually do.
Basically there’s just been a lot of little stuff like that. Making jokes about gender roles with more flavor and depth than previous ones. It’s just really nice in general to have a close friend who fits under the trans* umbrella with me. And I’m super excited for whenever he gets to come out to everybody and when he starts hormones and seeing that transition through with him and when he can just live as a man without having anyone question his gender.
I love my best friend. And I’m super happy to be part of his support network through this.