Well, my world has gotten bigger once again. A week ago yesterday, I came out to my entire police department. The Friday prior to that, I told my Chief. I initially told my chief in order to offer myself some measures of protection, given his previous opposition to me being promoted due to my sustained HR complaint where I was forcibly outed. I wanted to disarm his ability to deny knowing I was transgender if he ever retaliated. Unfortunately, as I was speaking with him, I could see the gears turning in his head. He was immediately trying to figure out how the department, i.e., how he could benefit from my coming out.
I work for a liberal University, and if he were to pop up with one of the first or THE first transgender police officer in the state, as well as one of the first transgender employees at our university, he would be able to leverage that to his benefit. As soon as I finished speaking, he began to toss ideas at me, if I were open to them, that we might be able to do in order to further the agency, university, and the transgender cause. I knew his motivations, and given that I’m not out to my entire family or all of my friends, I opted to take time to sort out my feelings on that.
In the meantime, I decided it was time to come out to my entire agency. Since I was forcibly outed, I’ve told a few people here and there; trying to get a feel for their responses, and to also give myself latitude so I did not have to filter myself all of the time. I found that the more people I told, the more Cadence came out. I was able to talk, act, and think like I needed to in the open, and my stress began to evaporate. Over the course of that weekend, I decided to come out at our pending department meeting on that Monday.
At the meeting, my promotion to Sergeant was announced, and the Chief gave the other new Sergeant and myself a few moments to make a speech. When my turn came, I stated that over my time there, I’ve come to Love and respect my various co-workers as family. That being said, I felt it was time for me to tell them a bit more about who I am. I told them that I was transgender, and all I asked was that for the time being, until the possibility of transition becomes clearer for me, that we keep it amongst the family, or the police department; that this knowledge was not for the purview of the university as a whole, despite a select group of individual university staff/ Faculty outside of the police department knowing. I went on to describe the difference between a secret and a private matter, demonstrating how this was a private matter, and I was making the personal choice to let them into my world, that they were worthy of knowing. This implied of course that they would hold my private matter in quiet, and not disclose.
Thus far, my coming out was rather uneventful. The few male officers who had been quite vocal about transgender issues leading up to my forcible outing were relatively accepting, and handled it very well. My girlfriend told me she had noted that one of our civilian administrators had looked at her Link’din account; presumably to try and piece together what a trans-woman would want in dating a woman. I’ve fielded a few questions about semantics such as that, been able to correct a few notions that were off or wrong. In general I’ve been fortunate to be able to use my coming out as a teachable moment, and so far, I’ve been rewarded by it. The amount of freedom I feel, the ability to speak my mind, and not filter what I say, think or feel, has been utterly amazing. I’ve found that Cadence comes out in my mannerisms and choices in words far more now that I do not have to filter.
One downside I found was that my girlfriend was dismayed at my coming out in my office, since we work on the same campus. She was worried that word would spread throughout the campus despite my wishes, and that it may color how people view/ treat/ interact with her. I’ve tried to explain to her that it’s a liberal university, that they will be very accepting, and if they are not that liberal in their mindset, they really cannot treat her poorly due to her relationship with me, or run risk of generating a complaint from one or both of us. I tend to believe that a lot of our peers will be very supportive and even congratulatory of my coming out and her progressive stance on dating me, and not giving up on our relationship due to my coming out. But she is hung up on the lesbian label she worries will be affixed to her. I on the other hand embrace that lesbian label; it would affirm my femininity, as well as hers! But at the same time, I’ve always tried to frame things so that she sees me as a woman with a penis. Because the logical jump of conclusion would be, that keeps me from being a lesbian. And if I’m not a lesbian in the usual context, she is not a lesbian. But I do believe she may be getting into a better mindset, and that can only be a good thing.
In the past several weeks, she has said several times, in several different ways that she feels like our relationship has hit new levels of strength and maturity. At the same time, during very private, nearly intimate moments, she has referred to me with feminine pronouns. She is very cognizant of how important these things are to me, and how important they are to our relationship, having voiced as much in as many words. We’ve also begun spending time with other couples, and she has seen me interact with people whom are important to one or both of us. This was an important thing for her due to previous relationships she has been in. She has also seen me interact with other couples who were aware of my feminine nature, and how much more freeing life and those experiences are when I can be more me. She has seen Cadence come out more and more in social situations where everyone knows, and I think that is a healthy thing for her. It’s also a healthy thing for her to see the level of acceptance that other people are capable of, and that alienation is not as prevalent as she may worry that it could be.
After one of our most recent outings with another couple where both of them knew of my feminine nature, we were on our way home, and we entered into one of serious conversations. It started with me detailing a conversation I’d had with one of my dispatchers, and where my dispatcher had commented that my girlfriend was so lucky in how I approach and value our relationship, what I do to further our relationship, and what I do to protect our relationship and treat her right as well as how my girlfriend has what so many women want from their man or partner; that she was fortunate to have me as a partner. My girlfriend and I value these conversations, they are usually so validating as far as our Love, and we cover a lot of ground. This conversation was no different. We were talking, and she revealed to me that she was now able to frame me in her mind as a woman with a penis. I was overjoyed. Since I am not pursuing bottom surgery; that is how I frame myself in my mind.
For her to be able to look at me that way, to give up a masculine pronoun and visual of me; that was a huge thing. She still adores my masculine façade, and I’m doing all that I can to make sure that she still has that masculine element. Despite it tripping up my dysphoria, when I have time off, I try not to shave my face. Because I know that gives her what she needs. I’ve tried to suggest that were I to transition that perhaps on my off days or during time at home, I could make attempts to have masculine days for her. But so far the word transition creates her own version of dysphoria; she has a lot of angst over that word, and I try to do my best to respect her in that regard and not mention transition if it is avoidable.
I’ve tried to do my due diligence in figuring out if transition scares my girlfriend because she believes I want the bottom surgery, which I do not. From what I can determine, the idea of me living as a woman is simply where she is having problems coming to terms with it all. I respect her wishes, I do all that I can to demonstrate that, but I do wish she were able to feel more at peace about that. Maybe in time she will; but if she cannot, I’m resolving to do what I can to work around that. I’m resolving to find balance, to live dual-gendered. It breaks my heart, I want and need so much more. But I can only do what I can do. I sense in her potential to be so very happy. It truly feels like she was made for me. I just hope she is able to catch up to me and see the beauty of what Im trying to accomplish.
Ever & Always,
A truly saddened