MY TOP 8 TIPS ON COMING OUT AS TRANS BY LEWIS HANCOX – EASY READ VERSION

15 Jul 2018

MY TOP 8 TIPS ON COMING OUT AS TRANS BY LEWIS HANCOX

WHAT IS COMING OUT?

Coming out is where you tell people about a part of yourself that was not previously known. For example, you may tell them that you are gay, bisexual, lesbian or trans.

Although people are assigned their sex at birth, they may not feel like they belong to this sex. For example, someone born male may feel more female, and this may mean that they want to transition to become a female which matches how they feel.

TOP 8 TIPS

I’m Lewis Hancox – filmmaker, comedy writer, aspiring actor and a trans advocate. This means I’m passionate about seeing more trans representation in the media. I love creating comedy sketches and films, writing, directing and acting in them. I’m co-creator of the >My Genderation documentary project, telling the stories of the trans community. I’ve worked with Hollyoaks, Lucky Tooth Films, Channel 4 and All About Trans. My work has featured on BBC3, Latest TV, The Guardian, DIVA Magazine and more. I’m an ambassador for All About Trans and patron for the National Diversity Awards. Coming out is different for everyone, all I can do is draw from my own experiences and if these nuggets of advice help just one person then my job is done!

1. ACCEPT YOURSELF BEFORE YOU COME OUT

Accepting that you are trans can be harder than coming out as trans. Accepting yourself is the first step towards living your life as who you really are. You should feel good in knowing that you’ve accepted yourself and this will lead to a much happier life.

2. CONNECT WITH OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE TRANS

By making friends with other people who are trans, this can help to make sense of your own experience and help you towards coming out as trans. There are video logs on YouTube and plenty of support groups on Facebook.

3. HAVE A MEETING WITH YOUR FAMILY

You can gather your close family and friends and explain how you are feeling. By doing this, you reduce the amount of times that you have to ‘come out’. There will be many questions, but it is important you answer all the questions that you are comfortable with answering, honestly. Try to remain calm and explain yourself as best as you can.

It might help if you show them video logs of people who are trans. By showing them people who have come out as trans and live a happy life, you are showing them that transitioning can lead to a happy, healthy life.

4. BE PATIENT

There may be reactions which are not-so-positive. Not everyone is going to understand your experiences straight away, and it is important to give people the time to get used to the idea.

People may say that you are confused, but the fact that you are coming out as trans shows that you are no longer confused. If you give them time and they still don’t accept you, then maybe they aren’t worth being in your life.

Even some of my best friends struggled with calling me by my new name and male pronouns (he / him / his) at first. It’s not only people you need to be patient with – it’s the whole journey. As soon as I discovered that I was trans, I wanted to snap my fingers and be fully transitioned! The reality is it can take a few years to get hormones and surgery. Not everyone wants to medically transition of course – you are who you feel you are, regardless of the physical body.

5. CHOOSING A NAME

My first thought was that ‘I’m male’… Only later in life did it hit me that in order to ‘live in society as male’ I’d have to change my name. You may have a nickname, or you may be happy with your birth name and not feel the need to change it at all – if you have a gender-neutral name (a name that can be used both for a male or a female, for example: ‘Alex’), that’s ideal! If you do want to change it, however, you can do this for around £30 via deed poll online. But do take your time in choosing a name! It could be something similar to your original name, to make it easier for others (and yourself) to adjust. I went from Lois to Lewis… not much of a change there! Some people want to change theirs to something completely different. Why not ask opinions from friends and family to make them feel included?

6. TELL YOUR DOCTOR

Physically transitioning begins at your local GP. They can refer you a local psychologist who can then refer you on to the Gender Clinic. I hadn’t been to my GP in years before that all-important appointment. I was terrified and didn’t know how to explain myself. If I could go back in time, I’d say it with confidence and make sure I got what I needed. More often than not doctors aren’t so clued up on trans issues. They need to respect that this is not a lifestyle choice – this is how you were born. There are even studies that show that a trans man’s brain resembles that of a biological male’s (born as male) brain, and vice versa for trans women. But let’s not get too scientific… just get that referral!

7. THE PEOPLE HELPING YOU PHYSICALLY TRANSITION WILL ASK FOR PROOF THAT YOU HAVE BEEN LIVING AS THE GENDER YOU NOW IDENTIFY WITH

When I was first told by the Gender Clinic they needed proof in the form of documents I was ‘living as male’, I was shocked. I answered that I’d lived my whole life as male because I WAS male! Looking back now, I do understand why they need proof. It’s helpful that they push you in that direction because that’s generally the aim anyway, to transition in all areas of life. So, you need to make sure that once you’ve changed your title (Mr, Ms, Miss, Mx etc.) and name, you alter your ID and also inform your school, college or workplace so that they can change your details there too. This doesn’t mean you need to come out to the whole world, just tell those who are in charge and can sort out the documentation. Take it all at your own pace and remember there are laws in place for discrimination, so no need to be scared.

8. LIVE YOUR LIFE

Many people do not live life to its fullest and feel like they can’t live properly and achieve their dreams until they have come out and transitioned.

If there were only one bit of advice I could give to someone trans, it would be to not let transitioning stop you from achieving your dreams. Foremost, I’m a filmmaker, writer, actor, boyfriend, best friend, son, coffee-drinker, doodler, daydreamer… being transgender is such a small part of who I am and the same goes for you. So invest your energy into something worthwhile. Why not get creative, use your experiences to inspire you – write a blog, a song, a script. Make a film, a comic, a collage. Keep positive and don’t lose yourself. Yeah, it can be a difficult and frustrating journey but everything is hard before it gets easy.

For more inspiration and to keep up with Lewis, don’t forget to follow @LewisHancox on Twitter.

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