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LGBT Community and Allies
Advice regarding coming out
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. But...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?
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.
The word 'genderfluid" is new to me.