After spending two years living somewhat between the identities of “man” and “woman” (I was out to close friends, started coming out socially, but still went by my given name at work, all while expressing myself in a gender-nonconforming fashion), I came out to my family one year ago today. It was long overdue, but at the same time, there couldn’t have been a more perfect moment for it.

Family was visiting from out of town, and on the night everyone happened to be hanging out at my childhood home, I was being recognized for my academic and professional accomplishments as part of my community college’s 30th anniversary. After the recognition ceremony, I joined everyone at home and the night ended up being something of a tribute to me, with everyone celebrating my past successes and reflecting on how much I’ve grown. Having downed a couple of glasses of wine, I was feeling brave, and I remember thinking, right before I said it, It’s now or never… and, sitting at the dining room table in my childhood home, I came out to my immediate family as a trans woman.

Though they didn’t exactly understand the nuances of my identity, and some of them still struggle to use the correct name and pronouns (though, I’ve given some of them permission to), they were, at that moment, more supportive than I could have hoped for.

On the drive home, a song came on the radio that I had never heard before. It was one of those moments where you feel like you’re living in a movie and you’re almost sure god exists because it seems like every detail was planned to play out in that exact way.

As soon as I got to my apartment, I googled the lyrics, bought the song on iTunes, and built a playlist with that song, as well as others that described my feelings about gender, and my journey with gender identity up until that moment. Though it was another six months before I came out completely, those songs helped carry me through some tough times. I decided I’d share them today, in honor of the one-year anniversary of my first major coming-out moment, in hopes that other people might be inspired by them.

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