Sunday, September 21, 2014

Why To Come Out

That is something that is so very personal that only you can decide to come out or not.

Model Geena Rocero made that decision in a very public forum, at a TED Talk…

She made her decision because a desire to help others and we all make our decisions for many other reasons including to make the world a better place.

In an interview on TED Talks on PBS she said,
(SOUNDBITE OF TED TALK)
ROCERO: The world makes you something that you're not. But you know inside what you are. And that question burns in your heart. How will you become that? So when I became a fashion model, I felt that I'd finally achieved a dream that I've always wanted since I was a young child. My outside self finally matched my inner truth. At that time, I felt like Geena, you've done it. You've made it. You have arrived. But this past October, I realized that I'm only just beginning. In my case, for the last nine years, some of my neighbors, some of my friends, colleagues, even my agent did not know about my history. I think in mystery, this is called a reveal. Here is mine. I was assigned boy at birth based on the appearance of my genitalia.

RAZ: At this moment, when you spoke on the TED stage, and you revealed this for the first time publicly, it was just, like, silent. You could hear a pin drop. And you had revealed this thing that you had kept secret from so many people for so long.

ROCERO: Yeah.
But it was not always her desire to come out, when she first came here she kept her history secret.
ROCERO: So when I moved to New York, I made a conscious decision to not fully share about my journey into womanhood. And first, I wasn't ready to talk about it. Second, I just - I knew just people have this misconception about what it means to be trans. And I just don't want to have that conversation first and foremost. And it wasn't until December, last year, 2013 when they told my model agent that I'm a transgender woman.

RAZ: What did your agent say?
[…]
ROCERO: (Laughter) I remember, OK, that's right, I need to talk to my agent and share with him. I picked up that phone call. I said, Ron, this is what I'm about to do, and this is the story I want to share. And I remember having that pause. And then he said, well, congratulations. I'm proud of you. I am - you know, I'm here. I support you, which is a big sigh of relief. I mean, I remember being, you know, so nervous, so nervous. (Laughter).

RAZ: I mean, in that time - because you were a model in New York for more than a decade - were you ever afraid that somebody would - I don't know - find out and it would hurt your career?

ROCERO: It's a big yes. I was always in a constant state of paranoia. There's nothing worse than being outed. There's nothing worse than people taking control of your narrative. So I guess subconsciously I did let that fear paralyze me.
And that is my feeling also, that when you go back into the closet after you transition you once again start worrying about be found out. When you are our living your life as an out trans-woman or trans-man you now face discrimination. That is way I believe that no one can second guess your decision to come out or to keep your history private, because coming out means going against the social norms and facing all that social throws at you and only you can make that decision.

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