Our Best Tips For How To Come Out As Trans To Your Partner

According to findings by UCLA Williams Institute, 1.6 million people ages 13 and older identify as transgender in the United States. That accounts for eight percent of the U.S. population. Of those who identify as trans, the majority are aged 24 to 64 years old. However, while those are the numbers, it doesn't mean that every trans person is out and living as their authentic selves because society has made coming out as trans not an easy thing to do.


Someone who is trans identifies as a gender that's not the one they were assigned at birth. What this means is that when they were born, their gender was assumed based on their genitals, and that's what they were told they were: male or female. But because gender is fluid, has nothing to do with genitals, and everything to do with the brain, at some point in their life, a trans person will realize that things aren't adding up and choose to live as the gender identity that fits them best. For some, this can mean presenting as the gender with which they identify and/or going through the process of medical transitioning (via National Center for Transgender Equality).

But while coming out as trans certainly has its challenges, if you're in a relationship, you can't keep this part of yourself hidden forever. Your partner is there to love you and respect you. So, while the fear may be high and the outcome has yet to be determined, here's how to come out as trans to your partner.


Realize there's no right or wrong way to come out

Coming out is a personal thing that doesn't come with a handbook or map. This is an important thought to keep in mind before you even decide to broach the subject with your partner.

"If there is one thing I have learned from my years of working as a counselor with gender variant people, it's that there is no template for coming out," says Marianne Oakes, GenderGP head of therapies. "There can be no right or wrong approach because we are all different, and the dynamics of our relationships change from person to person. The best advice I can give is to take your time. Do what feels right for you and only share what feels comfortable."


A 2022 survey by Pew Research Center found that 64% of U.S. adults favor/strongly favor protecting trans people from discrimination, whereas only 10% oppose/strongly oppose. These percentages show that our culture is catching up, and more people are on your side than you may realize. There's some solace to be had here.

Prepare yourself

It's important to prepare yourself for a variety of responses and questions — some of which won't necessarily stem from the reaction you were hoping for. You have to understand that if your partner is sexually attracted to you as one gender, the shift may be difficult for them if you become another gender. This isn't their fault, as sexual orientation isn't a choice, just as much as gender isn't a choice. But because of this, any fear you have is valid, just as any confusion they have is valid.


"We can never guarantee how another person will respond to our disclosure, we can never control this, we can, however, give the other person the best chance to respond well by taking a considered approach," says Marianne Oakes, GenderGP head of therapies. "Not everyone will come along with you on your journey but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't take the steps you need to take towards realizing your truth."

It's important to keep your mind open to their possible reactions just as much as it's important for them to keep their mind open to what you're telling them. 

Explain what trans is

Although we've all heard the word "trans," some people may not understand what it really means. Before your partner gets their head spinning in directions that aren't accurate, tell them the psychology behind being trans and what it really means. For example, even if you don't struggle with gender dysphoria, explain this psychological aspect that many trans people suffer from. Tell them it's not about being "trapped in the wrong body," but more than that, stemming from a body and brain that are in disagreement over what gender you actually are (via Advocate).


If you come to the discussion with facts as well as the truth about yourself, you're more likely to keep your partner's mind on track instead of watching them jump to conclusions and fall into a rabbit hole of society's stigma surrounding the trans community. Giving them resources to check out can also be helpful.

Tell them sooner rather than later

While you should come out on your time, as soon as you realize you're trans, you want to start making your way toward telling your partner. The longer you put it off, the more likely your partner is to be hurt and feel as though you can't trust them. This can lead to feelings of anger and resentment. Your partner is there to love you and support you; keeping this part of you from them for too long is likely to cause issues that wouldn't have arisen had you let them know as sooner.


If you're newly in a relationship and have already transitioned, you definitely want to tell your partner before you have sex. While your priority is your emotional and mental health, your partner — if you're thinking it could be a long-term relationship — shouldn't be shielded from the truth. 

This is especially something to take into consideration if you're "passing," meaning you're perceived as a gender that may not align with the gender you identify as. The best way to start any possible relationship is to be upfront and honest — especially about something like your gender because it's who you are, and you shouldn't be silenced.

Allow yourself to feel all the feelings

When you come out, it's going to be emotional. You may feel scared, nervous, excited, relieved — a whole smorgasbord of emotions. It's important to let yourself feel it all and, because it's bound to be a lot, come up with ways to keep yourself as calm as possible. Breathing techniques or having something in your hands to fidget with can help (via Planned Parenthood). Also, keep in mind that this may be just part of your coming out process, especially if your partner is the first person you're telling.


"There are a number of stages a transgender person goes through on their coming out journey," therapist Reshawna Chapple, Ph.D., LCSW, tells Talkspace. "Coming out as transgender should be thought of as an extension of your identity. It may evolve and change as you learn more about yourself and your feelings."

As long as you stay true to yourself as you come out, not wavering or changing your narrative for anyone else, that's what matters most. 

Don't apologize for who you are

For trans people, despite the evolution of our understanding of gender and sexual orientation, there are risks with coming out. The murder of trans people has increased by 93% between 2017 and 2021, according to Everytown, and 40% of trans people have tried to commit suicide. Unless a trans person is accepted for who they are by friends and family, trying to make their way in this world can be difficult and include overcoming endless obstacles, from housing and workplace discrimination to harassment and homicide. Because of this, it can not only make coming out feel impossible but cause others to live their whole lives hiding their true selves out of fear. Being able to tackle that fear and find the courage necessary to come out and be who you are is no easy feat and is a truly admirable thing to do. 


It may not be easy to love ourselves fully, but in coming out to your partner, trusting them, and granting yourself visibility, is the first step toward self-love. If your partner doesn't respond as openly as you hoped, give them time. If they never come around, don't apologize for coming out or being who you are. It's their loss if they can't accept you and love you as your authentic self.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.