Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Close Encounters of the Male Kind

I don't come out anymore. I just show up en femme, take it or leave it.

I didn't always have such a laissez faire attitude about coming out. Revisiting a post I wrote 14 years ago, reminded me that it was very scary way back when. Yet, FDR’s “only thing we have to fear is fear itself” proved true again and the following episode probably was a big turning point for my attitude regarding coming out. So crank the wayback machine 14 years back and enjoy the following story. 

One of my friends, who I have known for over 15 years, lives 2500 miles away. Except for one or two face-to-face encounters at conferences each year, all our communications are by e-mail. The next conference I attend will be en femme and I wanted to alert him beforehand.

In anticipation of coming out, I had composed a 500-word letter of explanation weeks ago. Yesterday at high noon, I copied the words into a blank e-mail, made a few changes, then I stared at the Send button for a few hours. I did not actually stare at the Send button all that time, but I did consider whether or not to send the e-mail for three hours.

It was a tough decision. In the past, I have come out to friends and acquaintances who have known me for a long or short time, but all of them were women. I find it very easy to come out to women. I guess because I am telling them that I am on their team.

Men are not so easy. Just encountering men when I am en femme gives me pause; coming out to a man is unthinkable. My friend would be the first male friend or acquaintance I would be coming out to.

I finally realized that I had to tell him, so I hit the Send button and girded myself for his reply.

I was so worried about his response that I did not check my e-mails the rest of the afternoon. Finally, after dinner, I looked for his reply, found it, and opened it. He wrote, “Thank you for the e-mail. I am sure it was hard to send. But rest assured, you have my respect and support. I think it is best that a person be true to themselves, and you are doing just that. You go girl!”

He floored me with “You go girl!”

Now, that’s a real friend!

Source: StyleWe
Wearing StyleWe

Maxwell Jameson
Maxwell Jameson and his mother


  1. Looking back on those difficult steps forward can be uplifting and educational, as well as make you look at yourself and think "Wow, did I make a mountain out of that molehill". Today I was reminded of a similar experience from a few years ago that I reported on here.

  2. Melissa RobertsMarch 20, 2024

    Kudos to you Stana. That had to be difficult. Nice to see that you have a true friend.

  3. Stana: Thank you as always. Have you ever published the 500 word email? It may be invaluable to some searching for words (or paraphrasing) to explain to love ones and others. If nothing else, it would be yet another insight from a premiere writer in the field.

    Best, Susan

  4. Most of the world's problems may be boiled down to one's freedom of expression and tolerating others' freedom of expression. Thanks for this wonderful illustration.

  5. Such a lovely reply from such a supportive friend!

    The opening picture makes me dream for a time when it's not AI but an actual photo of 2 men passing each other on the street, free to dress however they desire.