When I first was coming to terms with being “transgender” I spent a lot of time reading about ways to “come out” to family and friends. The dominant advice for dealing with problematic family was to make sure they knew that you were still the same person.
I’ve seen this in many articles and on almost every trans* help site I came across. And at first I believed it. It made sense, after all when you come out or transition you aren’t changing the inner core of your being, you are simply being more true to what you feel was always there, despite attempts to socialize you against it. And I understand why one would want to tell a worried and/or freaked out parent or guardian “I’m still me.” But it isn’t true.
Here’s the thing. You are still you. But you’re shedding parts of your identity that you never felt connected to, you are re-framing how you interact with the world and how you want the world to react to you. You may be shedding old worldviews, and going through some agonizing self-reflection.
I spent months wrestling with the god of my youth, an angry vengeful super being who was everything I disliked or was afraid of in my father, only magnified. I had always been told that parents were supposed to model the Love of God for their children, but since “God” was always “He” I never made any connection with God and the warmth and patience of my mother. God was someone who loved me only if I loved him back, took care of me and supported me only if I did something he approved of, and would react violently to any mistake I made. Shedding a belief system like that, which is something many LGBTQIA+ individuals have to struggle with, is scary and if you come through it alive and whole you will be different. Now I’m less judgmental of others, I’m open to wisdom from all corners of the world and from all aspects of humanity, I no longer feel the need to make my friends believe the Christian claims, or believe them the way I did.
No matter what it is you (or a friend) struggles with, it will change you. Hopefully it will bring you to a place of loving acceptance of yourself and an Unconditional Love for others. Just remember, you are going to change, but you are only going to be growing deeper into who you truly are.