Coming out on Facebook.

I have a relatively small number of friends on facebook, I keep it that way, I don’t add anyone I meet. Everyone on my friends list is actually my friend or family member and I like them and know them fairly well. All 74 of them. Some of them I haven’t seen in years but we still talk to each other and keep up with whats going on in each others lives. Many of them I do see regularly and I have told individually about my name change and being transgender. But there’s many who found out yesterday when I posted a status update about changing my name and pronouns. Here’s what I posted:

Dear friends,

The more observant of you will have noticed my name and pronouns have changed, the rest of you will be wandering who the hell is this?! Many of you know by now but for those that don’t, I am transgender (aka having gender dysphoria – google it) and I have officially changed my name from Mrs Leah Lewis to Mr Harrison Lee Lewis and I have started the process of gender reassignment. It’s a long process and starts socially so don’t expect me to rock up with a beard next time I see you. I have started to socially transition meaning I am living full time now using my new name, pronouns and ‘passing’ as male the majority of the time and this ‘coming out’ on facebook is an extension of that. Physical transition comes second, hopefully in the not too distant future, but I have to be living as male before that can happen.

If you are my friend on here it’s because I know you well enough to call you my friend in real life and I want to be open and honest and ultimately be able to be myself around you. I therefore ask you to accept me for who I really am, who I always really have been and who I see myself as, a man, a husband, a brother, a son, a friend. This is not something I have just decided on, I have always felt like a guy inside and now I am in a place and time where I can make my outside match my inside. I am lucky enough to have the love and support of my family and my beautiful wife, all I need now are my friends.

Harry. xxx

The response I got was incredible, I have never felt so loved and accepted. I am so thankful to have the most amazing people in my life. I’m glad I have chosen to surround myself with these people. I knew they would be understanding and accepting but still my heart was pounding when I pressed the post button. Here are some of the 30 similar comments I had:

  • Congratulations on that massive step you just took. True courage. You have my support in whoever you want to be babe and I’m sure all your friends feel the same. I felt very emotional reading that, I’m glad your happy and being true to yourself! We need a catch up soon, it’s been too long xxxxx
  • Woohoo! Here’s to the journey, taken wrapped in love, acceptance and all round grooviness. May I be the first to say ‘Welcome, dude!
  • Always be true to yourself and if you get any haters, shove them in my direction and I’ll sort them out, ok? I can be scary, honest! *all the hugs* x
  • Harry, just wanna reiterate what others have said, such an incredibly courageous and inspirational status update. Made me like Facebook again! What an exciting 2015 you have ahead. Much love
  • You’ve always got my support through whatever! So proud of you xx
  • Super proud of you mate xxxx
  • I love you so much, you know I do, I am so very proud of you as well , you are brave and true xx
  • You show such strength of character. Proud to consider you a friend. Lots of love x
  • DUDE!!!!!! xxx

I have been completely overwhelmed by the love and support from everyone. I am so happy to be able to finally be myself and not have to hide anything and know that my friends have my back. I love them all so much right now! I am one happy guy.

Whats in a name?

So I officially changed my name by deed poll. But not to Lee. I wasn’t really comfortable with the name Lee, I think it was too close to my birth name and people weren’t getting it right, like it was too similar and they didn’t have to make the effort. So I decided I need a new name, its harder than you’d think to name yourself. I scrolled through endless lists of boys names, I asked what I would have been called if I were a boy at birth (Tom or Joe – both fine names but I don’t feel like a Tom or a Joe), I asked some friends and a couple of them said Harry, one said it could be short for Harrison and as soon as he said it I knew that was my name. I feel like a Harrison. And I like Harry for short. Everyone’s been trying a lot harder to get my name right now too which is cool. I was a little worried about changing my name again from Lee  but as I hadn’t made it official yet I knew I had to get it right and my friends said not to worry about other people, its my name and I have to be happy with it. Good friends I got there. They gave me the courage to choose the right name and I am thankful for them. I love my name now, I kept Lee as a middle name. So its Harrison Lee Lewis. That’s me.