Anonymous asked: How would you explain to the people around you, that knew you before you transitioned, that it is not okay to out you. I have tried and tried. The person in question is my mother. She seems to have this idea that I want to be open about it and I don’t. Our ideas or openess different. Mine is tell the people who I will be around that knew me before I transitioned, hers is tell anyone and everyone, because I shouldn’t be ashamed. She doesn’t seem to want to censor it even though I tried explaining to her. She feels like this is a want and not a need so I should be willing to blurt it out at anytime. I have tried to explain it as a need considering I had severe anxiety for years because my atypical gender behavior always got me in trouble and I didn’t want to lose my family. I had to wait for them to come around. Now, on a daily basis I don’t deal with it anymore. How do I tell her not to out me and to leave up to me? I am just a normal guy, who wants to be viewed as such and I feel shame at times for being transgender. Which I am trying to deal with.
Answer: The most difficult thing to understand and accept in life is that you cannot control other people’s behavior. You can talk to her and hopefully help her understand where you are coming from and encourage her to change her behavior, but there’s no surefire way to make her change. Have a talk with her where you explain that, while you’re happy that she is accepting and not ashamed to be open about it, that it is ultimately your thing and up to you who you share it with. Remind her of the potential consequences of being out, including the anxiety you feel about being treated differently. She may feel that she is being helpful by outing you or encouraging you to be out, and so it might be good to tell her very clearly that it isn’t helping you but is in fact hurting you that she is doing this. It might help her get the picture if you tell her that your transition is something you view as very private and personal to you, maybe relate it to another thing that you don’t talk about in public but aren’t necessarily ashamed of like your sex life or medical history.
You may have to have this same conversation over and over with her until she gets it, or she may never understand. Hopefully what you say sinks in and things improve.