I’m pretty much out in my social life, but it still happens that I run into someone I haven’t seen in a while, and need to come out to them as trans.
Yesterday, we ran into folks we think of as really good friends, a lesbian couple with kids a bit younger than our kids who we’ve known for probably 8-9 years. Even though they are longstanding friends, these days we only see them once or twice a year (they live in another part of town).
I get a little extra nervous when talking to lesbians who read as some amount butch or genderqueer (I get to wondering, “Well, if she’s fine, why am I not fine? Why can’t I be like her?” It’s not such a helpful line of thinking). I felt this particular version of nervous with one member of this couple, but her immediate reaction was great. She did a quick mental adjustment, and indicated general support. A bit later in the conversation she said roughly “Yeah, all kinds of gender stuff comes up for me around parenting — I mean, I feel more female than male, but seriously people, I am not a mom.” That sentence said a couple important things to me — that she empathizes to some extent, but also that her own gender stuff is not unexamined. She inquired about work, but seemed to take at face value that my wife and kids are fine — there was none of that implication this must be an awful thing for my family. All in all, she just hit a really good note of rolling with the punches, getting it, and commiserating a bit, without making a big deal. I think it helped (at least it helped me) that I got to hold her very cheerful 5-month-old baby for a portion of the conversation.
So, with all that, she was already in the running for one of the better coming out reactions. But a bit later, she pulled me aside and said in a bit of a conspiratorial tone “Well, I’ve talked with my wife, and we agree that one thing is very clear, you are totally way way hotter now.” I laughed and grabbed Gail, and said “Ah well, I must be doing ok, they say I’m way cuter now.” My friend corrected me, saying “No. We did not say cute. We said hot — a very important distinction.”
And with that, she gets the prize for best reaction ever.