Having declared myself to be a writer, I now need to develop this into a business which will allow me to write for a living. Currently, I am not quite sure what that will look like. However, it helps me to remember that I have a lot of experience. Although deciding that I am a writer has taken a long time, being a writer, I realize now, has been ongoing since childhood. In school my strongest subject was English. I loved writing stories, my Teachers often remarked on the imagination of my writing. There was even an incident where my Dad was called into school, as I had described in blood-curdling detail how my parents were killed in a shipwreck. It seems when a ten-year-old writes, “My Dad’s flesh was torn from his body as it was hurled against the jagged rocks,” is a bit of a red flag to a school Teacher.
I’ve also kept detailed journals since I was very young. I loved writing about my life, about my feelings and reflecting on the world around me, and I still do. My YouTube channel and my Blog writing, are also not the first time I’ve shared creatively about my life on a public forum. I began in my early twenties, on My Space, that wonderful retro social media platform where all the cool kids hung out, before Zuckerberg’s empire took over. There, I shared poems and short pieces about living with mental health.
I have always secretly dreamt of having a book published, and indeed started many yet never finished. Over the last few years, I have had lots of chance encounters with writers, who have encouraged me to write. I feel like the universe has been telling me for a very long time that this is my path. I have listened, but I haven’t believed it. I haven’t believed in my ability and more importantly, I realize now, I was waiting to become a writer, rather than declaring myself to be one
I am still marveling at the series of events which have brought me to this point of realization. I greatly thank the friend who emailed me the link to an LGBTQ writing competition. It was in writing a short story for that purpose which then set off a chain of events and here I am, declaring myself to be a writer.
Where I go from here I am not entirely sure, but, at least I now know my path. As long as I keep writing, I am a writer and that is the most important thing. The places my writing goes to, I believe, will evolve naturally as I find my voice. Whatever the outcome of the story competition, the seemingly simple act of entering, has burst open the backlogged dam of creation and beautiful crystal-clear water is, at last, running free!
I find myself torn between pride and concern on National Coming Out Day. On the one hand, I love that our society has evolved to the point that we now celebrate people coming out, on the other hand, I wish it just wasn’t a big deal. I look forward to the day where it doesn’t matter what our sexual orientation is and we won’t need to define ourselves into narrow, static boxes of gay, straight, bi, pan etc. We just fall in love with someone, and their gender is not an issue. I can dream.
The other reason I find national coming out day troublesome is that when talking about the LGBTQ community, trans people are frequently overlooked. For the majority of trans folk, our coming out is far from celebrated in society. When we come out, we face being cut off from our families, sacked or discriminated against in the workplace, harassed on the streets and all too often being the victim of violence and murder.
Those that are newly discovering themselves to be transgender, have no choice but to come out. In early days, before cross-sex hormones change our appearance, we suffer the humiliating dysphoria inducing event of being incorrectly gendered many times a day. The only way to counteract this is to ask people to use the correct pronouns for us. Of course, as soon as a trans person who is not yet being read correctly does this, they automatically out themselves as being trans and place themselves at risk.
There is the additional issue that once fully transitioned (in whatever way that means to each particular trans person), we can often blend into society and not have to disclose our trans history. Those that do this, then, in turn, feel pressured on National Coming Out Day to make themselves visible and feel as though they are letting the community down if they don’t or can’t do so. The fact that not disclosing is described as “going stealth” highlights how much shame is involved in not revealing a trans identity.
I am a very proud man with a trans history who on most days is more than happy to shout it from the rooftops and face the inevitable backlash that still so often happens. However, many trans people have no control over their being outed or feel unsafe to come out. These people are no less proud, they just do not have the same freedoms and choices as the rest of the LGBT community does in being visible LGBT people. Therefore I ask you please, to spare a thought for trans folk on National Coming Out Day