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Advice regarding coming out
Posted: Monday, July 31, 2017 5:31 PM
Joined: 7/16/2017
Posts: 22

Good afternoon,

I'm a genderfluid individual who is mostly closeted, but out to most of the people close to me. With the exception of my dad, who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I've often contemplated telling him, but I've received mix signals in the past and now the Alzheimer's diagnosis is adding another element into the mix. In the past my dad has told me that if I was gay, he would still support and love me (I'm not) but he also expressed frustration back when Kaitlyn Jenner came out exclaiming "why don't they just keep it to themselves!"

Before you judge him, I think he was more frustrated with the 24/7 news coverage of the event rather than the fact she is trans. Beyond that he's a rather tolerant individual who I feel would be rather supportive of me if I were to come out to him. But...

I honestly don't know what I want. I also don't know what he would want either.  Or what is best for both of us. If it were me, I'd rather my son/daughter be comfortable enough to tell me. I'd rather be able to be supportive and helpful than in the dark. Plus, I feel guilty keeping this big secret from him (though I occasionally get the impression he knows or suspects.) 

But with the Alzheimer's setting in, I have no idea what effect me coming out would have. I know when I came out to my mom, it gave her a whole host of new things to worry about. With him being diagnosed, he's got plenty on his plate as it is. Adding more worries to that probably isn't helpful.

Furthermore, being genderfluid, I have days where I'm proud of of my male body and happy, then there are days where I desperately want to be female. For the most part, I've managed to come to terms with both parts of myself. There are days where I'm proud of the life I've built up as the man people perceive me as. the saying goes, "once that Bell has been rung, it can never be unrung". So if I come out, he'll not see me the quite the same (whether he is accepting or not, he'll at least know the truth.) 


I often have this nagging thought: "as his memory fails more and more, who do I want him to remember me as?" Deep down, I just want him to know who I am. Maybe it's because I'm still trying to figure it out for myself? 

Anyway, just looking for some advice on what I should do. Have any of you come out to a loved one with Alzheimer's? How did that go? Did you choose not to? Why? 

Posted: Friday, August 11, 2017 3:23 PM
Joined: 8/11/2017
Posts: 2

I came out to my parents long before their health issues came about.  It was not easy and it took a couple of years for them to accept me as a gay man.  But it was worth it because eventually I knew they loved me and accepted me and my friends for who we were. I no longer had to filter myself in my interactions with them.  That closer level of intimacy helped a lot when I became their primary care provider in later years.
That being said, I would say it might possibly be too late to get a good outcome from telling your father.  There may not be enough cognitive ability, and time, for him to truly understand and process his way through an explicit disclosure from you.
I think a lot depends on how flexible your father's personality has been in the past.  Was he open to change?  Kaitlyn Jenner aside, was he a raving homophobic type or just uncomfortable discussing gender related issues?  Many parents wonder about their children, but are afraid or uncomfortable bringing it up. Mine were.  Their generation had no rule book or guidance on how to deal with alternate sexuality.  Even new parents today have a lot of conflicting views and advice because it is still a hotly contested topic.
Another thing to look at is what you want to get out of telling him.  For me at the time I came out, I was under a lot of stress about it and was tired of covering it up.  Ultimately I figured if I could not tell my parents, then I was emotionally an orphan.  I needed to know they were on my side.  
Initially they were not.  
They panicked and suddenly got religion.  They told me it was against God and blamed my gay friends. That was a real slap in the face.  I actually told them if they wanted to disown me that was their choice but I was not going to listen to their homophobic crap or have them disparaging my friends.  We barely spoke for months.  But eventually they came around.  I'm telling you this so you know it took time for my folks to adjust to me.  And it took some time for me to really understand how they were struggling with their own beliefs.  I'm wondering if you and your dad have enough time for the process?
The biggest and best outcome from my discussion with my parents was that we eventually got accustomed to telling each other "I love you".  The love was always there, but had been unspoken for so many years, so I began to doubt it existed, especially after our estrangement.  It was in a phone call that I basically said I thought they no longer loved me and that was why I was staying away.  That was an eye opener for them, and we really started talking about our feelings.  Things got better after that.
Years later, when their health started declining, being able to say I love you easily, and often, was a godsend for all of us.
I guess to wrap up my rambling story, maybe right now your sexuality is not the most important issue for you  If you and your dad have expressed love for each other in the past, just hold on to that.  If not, start with being able to express love and practice it.  If that works, bask in that accomplishment for a while and then see if you still have a need to discuss your gender realm with him.
. . . . .
One other piece of experience:  After my mom had passed, i was looking at photos of her taken over the last couple years of her life.  I realized from the expressions on her face that her mind had been slipping away much earlier than I realized.  Part of it was that she was a naturally cheerful person who smiled easily.  Part of it was probably her hiding the truth and part of it was I must have subconsciously been ignoring the signs.  But in looking back at those old photos, I finally SAW the confusion and weariness that was there at the time.  
As you spend time with your father, try to assess for yourself, how capable he is of handling the truth.  Is there still enough of his personality intact?  Or will this add stress and confusion to mind that is already in a fragile state?
I hope this helps in some way.  I am new to this alzconnected board and was pleasantly surprised to see LGBT discussions here.  Lord knows patients and caregivers of all types need to be free to discuss these health issues without reservation.

Posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 3:38 PM
Joined: 7/16/2017
Posts: 22

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post, and thank you for sharing your experience with me. 

My dad has never been a raging homophobic or anything. We've often had discussions about how love is love and that people should have the right to marry whoever they want, so I know he's supportive of gay rights. I just don't know how he feels about transgender individuals. My only indicators are the ones I mentioned above. My dad is a baby boomer in his early seventies, so I know first hand how different his generation is from a lot of my peers' parents. 

As for what I want out of coming out of the closet...well, for most of the people I'm out to, I had similar motivations to you: I was tired of hiding it. I would feel so uncomfortable around people when I felt forced to conform. But that's not the case with my dad. In his case, I feel like I owe him so much. He's sacrificed so much for my happiness. For all of our family really. I feel like if anyone deserves to know the truth, it's him. Not telling him feels like I'm lying or hiding something from him. I'm not ashamed of who I am. In fact, I'm proud of the person I've become. And I recognize all the effort he put into raising me well.  And I know he's proud of the person I've become too. And on a logical level, I know the person he knows as his son is the same whether he's wearing pants or she's wearing a skirt. I'm the same person on the inside, so I'm not really "lying" by not telling him. But emotionally it feels like a betrayal to someone I trust and love. 

Deep down, I know my parents support me. My mom knows I'm genderfluid. She's still processing it, but she's supportive and I don't doubt she loves me. We recently had a conversation about my nail polish in fact. And I have faith that even if I told my Dad, nothing would change. But that doesn't change the fact he doesn't know yet. Really it feels like my heart and my mind aren't in sync. That seems to be a perfect characterization of what it's like to have gender dysphoria, come to think of it.  

Anyway, I have a bunch to think about still, but I really appreciate you taking the time to read and reply. 

Mimi S.
Posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 6:55 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027

The word 'genderfluid" is new to me.

It is possible your dad has already had his suspicions. Could you try just bringing up the term to test his reactions?
 Good luck.


We are who we are.

Mimi S.
Posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 6:58 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027

The word 'genderfluid" is new to me.

It is possible your dad has already had his suspicions. Could you try just bringing up the term to test his reactions?
 Good luck.


We are who we are.


Recently I read a story about some women, apparently born women, whose testosterone level is too close to a males and are not allowed on Olympics teams.  If I am correct, would you care to comment.
Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2017 9:32 AM
Joined: 7/16/2017
Posts: 22

I heard about those women as well, or at least I think I did. Apparently their coaches gave them "vitamins" which were basically testosterone supplements. It ruined a lot of their lives. Some of them had to transition.

As for being Genderfluid, basically it means that my gender dysphoria changes throughout the day. Sometimes I feel more Feminine. Other times I feel more masculine. Generally though, I feel like I'm caught somewhere in the middle between the two. Not quite a man, not quite a woman. 

Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 11:44 PM
Joined: 10/13/2017
Posts: 4

These stories inspire me. I never came out to anyone yet. I need to gain more strength.

Posted: Saturday, October 14, 2017 9:44 AM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451

Coming out and telling people I have dementia are probably the two hardest things I’ve had to do in my life. Once you’re out you’re out, and I’ve wished I could stuff those words back in sometimes. It has really been an acceptance of myself than if anyone else accepts me, I don’t care. The “coming out” thing repeats itself constantly, you’re never “out” once and for all. Each and every time I say the word “wife”, I’m coming out, and it’s new and fresh all over again. However, the more I say it, the less I care what others think.

Mine was tough because I hid this for 50 something years and then at 52 met my wife and married her. It was a worldwin romance, very quick, you know when you know. I didn’t give myself a lot of time to adjust,so to speak. I guess I thought too, by being”married “ it softened the blow for some and made it alright. Now, with the dementia thing on top, that takes precedent in my head and all I care about is us being happy.

You do what’s best for you, don’t feel you have to muster up any courage. The bottom line is that it’s no ones  business who we love. Good luck!



Posted: Saturday, December 30, 2017 1:16 PM
Joined: 5/8/2017
Posts: 6

I came out to my mom before she became ill... but nevertheless its still difficult because she doesn't remember that I told her I was gay.   I used to be married and for some reason she either think I'm still married or dating my ex husband as if I were 18 again.   No matter what your decision is,  do it cuz your ready to.  At the end our parents minds go back to a time where they were younger and time seems to go backwards.   When she points out men I should date or makes comments that they are good looking, I just smile.  She thinks my partner is just a friend and I just keep it as such.    I try not to upset her and try to enjoy whay timeI have with her,  which ultimately makes her happy... and that's the memory I want to have.  Good luck with your decision.