'I'm So Much Happier': Discussions on Coming Out as LGBTQIA+
Two strangers, Noah and Buffalo, open up about their gender identity and the impact of coming out to their loved ones.
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A Conversation with Noah and Buffalo
In this episode, Noah and Buffalo sat down to discuss their experiences with coming out as members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Noah, a transgender man who has already undergone medical transition, dispensed advice to Buffalo, who is still questioning their gender identity.
Over the course of this discussion, Buffalo revealed that they are afraid of what their loved ones might think if they decide to transition. Noah had a similar fear before he came out, but ultimately decided that he needed to prioritize his own happiness over the approval of others.
Noah also discussed the impact of transitioning on his relationship with his girlfriend. The hardest part, he said, was the mood swings. When he added testosterone into his body to help him transition, he went through a second puberty. This physical transformation brought conflicts in his relationships, but also gave him a sense of inner peace in being physically closer to his truest self.
As a result of this conversation with another member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Buffalo felt inspired and carried themself with a newfound confidence. The discussion made Buffalo, "feel like there's hope on the other side."
Have you come out to your family?
I've like, softly suggested a lot of things, and I've also had people in my family like softly suggest to me they're like, "Are you sure that…you know, maybe…?" At least with sexuality. The gender thing's like a whole other. I'm like "I don't even know if I want to open that door. But with sexuality, they definitely kind of been like "Hmm, maybe you're not straight." I'm like, "Maybe I'm not straight."
I'm also afraid to finally breach that because I worked so hard for my family to be proud of me and to appreciate what I do in general. With schooling, I made sure I got my degree because that's what they wanted. I made sure that I tried out working an office job because I thought that's what they wanted. I hated it so much. I had to leave. But I tried it because I thought that's what they wanted. And so like in my head, I'm so obsessed with their approval that the idea of doing something that would change their perception of me is so terrifying. I'm just not even sure if I can do it.
Do you think that you have to come out?
I don't think I do, but I also want it to be very clear to everyone that I'm not straight.
Yeah I feel that. I think the whole sexuality thing is much easier and like society's like "Oh, cool, you're gay. That's so cool." But then as soon as you say that you're trans, they're like—
"Wait, what's that, huh?"
Why is it such a big thing? But I understand too. I'm personally not close to my family, but if you're close to your family like they're supposed to love you no matter what and then you don't want to disappoint them. But if this is who you are, this is your vessel. You have to live with yourself every day.
That's pretty much where I'm at now. Even with like the schooling thing, I was like, "I can't keep doing stuff because of what I think they might approve of."
Yeah, definitely. Gender seems to be a whole lot harder to come out, and you seem at least now, depending on where you are in your transition, you're constantly coming out.
That's what it's been feeling like bit by bit.
I've just been doing this slowly, like stop shaving my legs, stop shaving my armpits. It's just slowly doing little things. It's like, "Hey, just letting you know." I'm slowly becoming myself outwardly that I've always been on the inside.
So for you, I know you mentioned that you're not super close to your family. Is it related to your identity and you coming out or?
Yes and no. I moved away from the East Coast when I was about 16. So then once I became an adult, I kind of just did my own thing and I didn't loop anyone in because I knew I have to live with myself. So I transitioned—or I am transitioning—and I told nobody. I just did it.
I'm this close.
I just did it. I had a stable job to where I can pay for my surgeries and pay for everything medical that I wanted to do. And I'm like, "Let's just do it."
If there's one thing that I can say, I would never have changed getting top surgery and transitioning. Words cannot describe. As soon as I woke up from surgery, I burst into tears because I I just felt better. I knew from that second that I just feel better, and that's the whole point. So if you can get to that point, you should go and do it. But it's hard. It's hard when you can't separate yourself from close friends and family.
Yeah, I'm also very codependent—at least mentally. I'm working on it, but I think that's a big reason why it's so hard for me to separate the idea of myself from what I mean to other people. I'm like, "Well, if I do this, then maybe I'm going to lose the relationship you have with, like my siblings and stuff." The fear of them not wanting to be around me anymore when my whole life has been building up to how it can have a better life with them. That's what scares me the most.
Do you really think that your family would drop you?
My heart says no, but my brain says, "Absolutely, absolutely."
What's your gut say?
With time, I think that they would be OK with anything. I think they love me, and I think that they see value in me as a person in our relationship. I think ultimately that's what would matter.
A lot of people ask, "Why did it take you so long?" I'm like, "Well, I came out to myself years ago, years before I came out to other people," and that was probably the hardest part. Have I lost a lot of family members? Yes. Have I lost a lot of friends? Absolutely. But I have to remind myself that it's their loss. The soul of my being—I have not changed. If anything, I'm more happy. I am such a completely different person than I was five years ago. So much happier. Wouldn't you want that for people?
That you care about
Right. And it's so simple.
It's such a simple thing. Yeah, acceptance and knowing there's hope outside of coming out, that's like the scariest thing. But seeing you, I do feel like there's hope on the other side.
Yes, that's awesome! Thank you. I appreciate that.
Are you dating anyone?
No. Do you want to be dating someone?
Right now, no.
Okay, good. Good for you! Who are you attracted to? What are you attracted to?
I don't have like preferences other than like—this is I sound so stupid. I realize that for some reason, anyone of any ethnicity and any gender expression, if they have a mullet, I'm attracted. I don't know why. I think it's because of lost boys, probably.
Yeah, but I have so much to figure out. I can't imagine bringing another person on board for that because I don't even know what's going on.
Mmhm. I'm personally in a relationship and my girlfriend is like, way too good for me. She's so patient. She's been with me through a good chunk of my testosterone time. So she's seen me before my surgery, to now, to six months ago when my voice didn't completely drop. It's nuts. I'm constantly going like this and you have to be so vulnerable when I realized, "Oh no, I do have to explain things." There's some things that I do have to explain, like when it comes to sex. There's certain things that you're just like, "I'm built differently."
I know many trans guys who date different girls and they're all about it until they find out that they're trans and they dump them. That's why it makes it hard for people to come out because they're like, "Am I going to be alone forever?" Because that's my number one thing that I thought about. I'm like, "I'm going to do this because I need to do this for myself. But I know that I'm just going to end up having three dogs and be alone and I'll be OK with it."
Just be on my boat.
Yeah, this is me and myself. That's one of the hardest things easily—to find someone that's actually on this crazy ride with you. But it's so much easier when you do.
What's been the hardest things that you've had to deal with within the relationship, including your transition?
Definitely the mood swings because I'm on testosterone. So you have estrogen and testosterone constantly fighting each other. So me personally, I end up just being very quiet, but I know that I don't have to explain myself, but I should explain to you why I'm randomly very quiet. You're not doing anything, but it's just because I don't know how to deal with myself, so I'm putting myself in timeout and you're coming along with me.
Even now, I still wonder if my girlfriend gets any hate if we're out together, if like they think that we're a straight couple or if she tells people like, "No, my partner" and they're like "Oh, partner." So then that's automatically outing me, but it's not the same time, because if that was just the norm, no one would know.
No one would know, and no one would care.
Or even little stupid things like if we're out in public and I have to use the restroom. Which restroom do you use? And sometimes she'll just watch people give me dirty looks and she's like, "Are you OK?" I'm like, "Yeah" I'm so desensitized about it. But yeah, it's things like that that you don't think that may be weird, but then it does make you feel like you're different.
It's scary. Yeah.
My girlfriend's like, "You're not allowed to stand in front of the mirror" and I'm like, "I agree." There's certain things that I'm so proud of myself about and then certain things that I'm like, I know I'm just like Frankenstein's child. The front half of my body is built one way in the bottom half is built another way.
At the end of the day, I have to live with myself and it's very hard when people say, "Love yourself before you love other people," and I think that's very bold of you to say, because why not let other people help you find the love that you have for yourself? You know? I didn't fully love myself when I found my girlfriend. Oh my God, no, absolutely not. I think I was at my most vulnerable when I met her, and she has helped me find the good in this, constantly reminding me, "You're doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing. Every day, you turn more into who you're supposed to be."
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