Ask Gabriel: Coming Out and Binding

Ask Gabriel is an advice column series where you can get your questions answered about being transgender, coming out, changing your name, hormones, sexuality, representation, dating, etc. These are questions that have been submitted to me by transgender and nonbinary people! You can read my last column here.

Hi Gabriel,

How did you come out to your parents as transgender? – Anonymous

I didn’t come out by my own choice. I was forced.

Well, let’s go back roughly 3 summers ago. It was my birthday and we were celebrating it along with Father’s Day at a Mexican restaurant. My dad and I had a silent treatment going on. My uncle, once again, made unwelcoming comments towards the way I dressed and that I was “too pretty” to be wearing only denim jeans and a T-shirt. I endured that kind of talk for many years but hearing it again basically put me in a foul mood and I was in no shape to be around people. I ignored my uncle for the rest of the night but it did not go unnoticed by my parents. After we came home, my mother wasted no time trying to find an answer. i kept telling her it was NOTHNG (I was a bad liar then) but she was unrelenting. At some point, I cracked and blurted out I was transgender and didn’t appreciate the comments my uncle made. My mom’s reaction was “Oh, that’s it?” but she wasn’t supportive about it. I never came out to my dad because of the aforementioned silent treatment but my mom thought it was best to tell him right away and she said he didn’t want me to do anything to my body. I went ahead against their wishes anyways.

3 years later, I still wouldn’t call them my biggest supporters. 😦

Hi Gabriel,

How did you become recognizable in the trans community? I would one day like to be a trans advocate and help other trans people but I don’t know how to really get started. I know YouTube is a good place to start but I’m not really comfortable making videos even though it is something I’ve always wanted to do. Any advice for getting out there in the community or starting videos? – Anonymous

I’m not recognizable, not by a long shot. And I’m fine with that.

I did start on YouTube but I didn’t get recognized as a result of making videos. There’s way too many people trying to do it now and it barely gets noticed unless you have something unique to offer or sets you apart aside from the generic “How I Came Out” and monthly testosterone update videos. What got me noticed was my personal transition journal on Tumblr and my Facebook group for transmasculine and nonbinary people that has 12,000 members and is continuing to grow. I have attended the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference for the past 2 years and met many great people as a result. This year, I will be doing a workshop!

You have to find something you like doing, pick a social media of your choice, stick with it, use the right hashtags and, most importantly, make friends! I personally chose Instagram for that.

Hi Gabriel,

How dose one cope with a having a boobs without having access to binders bc of being an in the closet trans boy? I pass pretty easily but only if something is blocking my chest. – Jordan

Depending on how big your chest size is, you can divert attention away from it with some tricks. Wearing sports bras can help manage them and keep them from bouncing up and down. Dark colored pullover hoodies (or ones with big graphics on them) can help visually reduce the chest size for onlookers as well.

I would try and find  a local LGBT center and see if they have a binder donation program or know other places that offer this. You could always keep that binder in your backpack or put it somewhere you know they’ll never check and periodically change the hiding place every so often.

Got a question for Gabriel? Submit them here and they will be answered in a future post!

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