What’s a Guy Gotta Do to Come Out, Already?

Many of you are aware that I began transitioning to male in the fall of 2015. When I began, I was still in the process of telling family, friends and schoolmates and I didn’t feel any great desire to come out publicly until most had had a chance to hear about it from me.

I also felt a powerful need to not complicate the release of my book with this personal metamorphosis because they simply have nothing to do with each other. I wanted the book to remain about the missing and murdered women and not about me. I have known I was trans since I was four and I held off transitioning for many years because of feeling trapped by the case and all that happened. I wanted to be emotionally ready. I wanted my immediate family to have time and space to adjust.

I don’t consider myself a public person, nor do I believe that most people care about my gender identity or what I look like, but I have recognized how central a qualifier gender is in our society and in how we communicate with and about people around us.

Many people – myself included – feel some need to label, to identify, to put to correct words and pronouns the person they see in front of them. This is how we interact in our society. This isn’t news to trans and gender variant people; we’ve learned this through living the painful experience where our gender of birth is so profoundly at odds with how we see ourselves.

Whether you’re a public person or not, coming out is a deeply personal decision and process – the choice of when and how to do so should be left to that person. I feel incredibly fortunate that the people in my life and the reporters I have dealt with during the book’s release have chosen not to make my transition a big deal or a news piece on its own. There are far more important issues in the world needing attention.

The recent outing of filmmaker Lily Wachowski by The Daily Mail drove home for me how important it is to be able to take control of one’s coming out. I’ve had a plan, followed it, I feel good about it, and I was just lucky that no one took my power away. I’ve used my new name and pronouns recently on national radio, but still it hasn’t quite stuck, which I find kind of funny. So, I’m telling you all now.

I actually knew about Lily’s transition weeks ago. Her story prompted me to write this and add my support to all the trans and gender variant people out there who don’t enjoy the love and acceptance and support that she and I do. The trans community needs people to come out, but only on their terms when they feel safe, never before. Trans people are assaulted and killed in epidemic numbers, especially trans women of colour, and their safety should be of paramount concern.

I would request that going forward people address me using the male pronouns he, him, his and the name Lorimer, although Lori is still fine. I have all the room in the world for honest mistakes borne of genuine effort. I still make mistakes, too. I believe almost all people are essentially well-meaning; many just don’t know what to do or say and feel they are either damned if they ask or damned if they take a guess and are wrong.

Thanks to my family, friends, everyone at Greystone Books and Royal Roads University, and all of you who have had my back. It means the world to me. I can say transitioning has been a great relief for me and I have never felt happier.