So as of the posting of this, I plan on coming out to my family and friends on Facebook tomorrow. I thought it might be a good idea to post some questions (and answers) I’ve been asked by others when coming out to them in person. As well as perhaps answer a few specific to those who found out from my facebook post.
Q: How long have you known?
A: This is a tricky one. I’ve had thoughts along the lines of, “I want to be a woman/girl” since I was a teenager. However, I ignored those thoughts and pushed them down. I finally accepted myself about 13 months ago. You can read about it a little here.
Q: I had no idea!
A: Not a question… No, you didn’t. When you are trying to keep a secret like this for 30+ years, you learn how to hide it, even from yourself. Hiding something from yourself is the best way to hide it from others, ask Zaphod Beeblebrox.
Q: So what do I call you?
A: Well, if you’re here, you should already know that I prefer to go by the name Nika (pronounced Nee-ka) now. I also prefer female pronouns (she, her, and hers).
If you work with me, things are a little different. Until you hear it is official (an email is in the works for when I decide it’s time to make the change at work) please continue to use my old name and male pronouns, just to avoid any confusion with co-workers.
Q: What will happen if I accidently use the wrong thing?
A: If you correct yourself (so I, or others, don’t have to), I have no problem with it. It’s going to take time for everyone to get used to it, even myself. If you purposefully use male pronouns in an attempt to hurt me or diminish my gender identity, then there is a problem.
Q: Why Nika Black?
A: Nika Black is my pen name, to make sure that I wasn’t accidently outed while writing on this site (as I know a few people who could read it, that know who I am and could piece it together). Now that I’m out on Facebook, I’m not worried about it, and may change Black to my actual last name.
Q: Do you still like…. (insert interest here)
A: Yes, I’m still me. That isn’t changing just package I come in.
Q: Does that make you gay?
A: Yeah, but probably in a way you weren’t thinking. I like women, always have. I am a woman. Therefore, I self-identify as a lesbian.
Q: But wait, you’re married.
A: Again, not a question… But yes, I am. My wife has been amazingly supporting. I love her deeply. and she loves me just as much. There may be some rough spots in the road coming up, but I’m pretty certain we’ll work it all out. Oh and luckily, we don’t have to worry about what this means to the legality of our marriage thanks to Obergefell v. Hodges.
Q: Why did you decide to be Transgender?
A: It wasn’t a matter of deciding. As I said earlier, I always have been. But, you may have noticed for a long time I have posted about Transgender rights on Facebook (even longer back than 13 months ago). One of the reasons I decided to transition (the term for the period of.. . transition between genders) was I wanted to be an advocate for Trans people and realized I couldn’t do that if I was ignoring it in myself. Of course, among many other reasons, which you’ll find throughout my other posts on this page.
Q: You dress like a man at work, does that still make you Transgender?
A: Yes, currently I am not out at work. As of this posting, I’ll be out of the office for 2 weeks, and while it’s rude to gossip about me, I expect that the word will find it’s way around the office. Hopefully, when I return it’ll settle down. At that point, I will STILL be presenting (my outward appearance at any given moment) as male at work. However, I plan on coming out at work and presenting as female by the end of the year. Also it’s probably worth noting, I have been working with HR for a little while now and have their full support of my transition.
Q: You have a lot of facial hair, are you going to do something about that?
A: I shaved off my goatee two months ago, when I started my new job. While I told people “new job new me,” it was ultimately the beginning of my Transition physically. I do plan on going through hair removal treatments, but that takes a lot of time, and I don’t want to wait any longer to begin transitioning. You may see me presenting as female, with some facial stubble, please just know that I’m working on it. It is as uncomfortable for me to see it, as it is for others.
Q: I’ve heard a lot of Trans people attempt suicide. Have you?
A: No, I’ve been lucky and have never really had to battle severe depression or suicidal thoughts. It was really rough a year ago before I had come out to anyone other than myself, but it has greatly improved as I come out to more people, and I continue to gain support. I am also lucky I have not lost any friends or family over coming out as Trans and have only had positive reactions. Please, don’t be the first to let this ruin our relationship.
Q: I thought we were close, why didn’t you tell me sooner?
A: I’m sorry, I currently have 100 friends (exactly) on my facebook page for Nika. I’ve tried to come out to as many people very close to me. I was unable to get all of you. Please forgive me for this. It is very hard for me to gain the courage to tell someone. I sometimes feel like I need to wait for the right moment, but it doesn’t exist. Again, I’m sorry if you were overlooked (or I didn’t pull together the courage to let you know. You know now, show me my mistake by accepting me.
The question you’ve probably all been waiting for….
Q: Are you getting “The Surgery”?
A: Quite frankly, none of your business. Really that the most offensive question you can as a Trans person, so I’ll save you the embarrassment here, don’t ask it. You don’t go around asking men if they’re circumcised, or a woman if they have had a hysterectomy. So don’t ask a Trans person if they have or plan on having surgery.
If you have a question I missed, please feel free to ask me. You can even do it in the comments below. I enjoy talking about being Trans, it helps me to express myself even when I’m in an environment I can’t do so with my outward appearance.
Here are a couple resources in case you want to know how to support me and my transition further (of course there are also multiple articles I’ve written on this page too):
10 Transgender Myths – My friend posted this on my wall a few days ago. It does a really good job of dispelling a lot of the myths about Transgender people.
Diary of a Trans Woman – Abby is one of my role models. She does an awesome podcast about her life, and what it means to be Transgender.
How to Know if You’re Trans (by Grishno) – Erin (different Erin) is another one of my role models. I’ve watched her videos off and on for over a decade trying to figure out who I am. This video came out 1 week after I had accepted myself (as well as one week after subscribing to her channel.
Daily Show from April 6th 2016 – Actually surprised this video is still available (if you have a cable subscription, and if you don’t I’m sure the clips that are available will be helpful too). Trevor Noah and crew did a great job focusing a whole episode on Trans issues.
Genderbread Person – A great representation of what Gender is (as well as Sexuality).