Adam shares his story about coming out as trans during the pandemic

Adam McBride came out as trans while studying at UCD back in 2002. However, a bigoted environment soon led him to go back on his decision.

coming out trans: portrait of trans man Adam draped in a rainbow flag

The last 16 months we have been told to stay at home, often only allowed to go outside to get groceries or go for a walk. So how has the Coming Out journey been for Trans people who came out at a time where we all had to stay in? GCN has partnered with Dublin Bus and DoDublin for the Coming Out With campaign, bringing you the stories of six LGBTQ+ people living in Dublin who have told the world who they are during a time where it has been closed down.

Coming out can be a powerful defining moment for many people, whereas for others it can be just that – a moment – and they might return to the closet out for fear of rejection or lack of self-acceptance. Adam McBride came out as trans while studying at UCD back in 2002. However, a bigoted environment soon led him to go back on his decision.

“I felt I was being rewarded for being in the closet, because my life seemed to suddenly improve, and everything got better, and I got a good job and I had a boyfriend. And it felt like I was ticking all the boxes, and I was doing really well. But I still wasn’t really very happy,” he told GCN.

The brief time he had been out became a blur in his memory and he purposefully boxed off that part of his life. Yet, of course, he could never really escape it.

“I started going back through old paperwork and things to try and trigger memories. and then sadly I lost my mother in November 2018,” he said. “I don’t know whether a part of the grief opened up stuff like that for me as well. So I came out kind of to myself, not far into the pandemic.

“I think the pandemic gave me a great opportunity to just sit at home with myself. Obviously, it gave us all a great opportunity to do that, but it gave me a chance to kind of go like you’ve all these things, your life technically ticks all the boxes – everything you’re supposed to do – and it looks great and wonderful. But you’re not happy. And why are you not happy? And what’s going on in your head that’s making it that way?”

So 18 years after he first came out, he took the plunge again in his mid-thirties and started to transition and tell those around him during last summer.

“The first couple of people I told were friends who I’ve known since college. So they were kind of like, ‘okay, not really that surprised, I kind of thought this might come back again at some point’.

“One or two friends who knew me very much as a woman have been, I wouldn’t say non-supportive, but let’s just say kind of going well it completely changes our friendship. I’m like not really no. I mean, maybe it’s coming from my point of view of like it’s just gender. I don’t know, on the one hand, it’s a pain in the absolute ass. On the other hand, it’s like it’s just one tiny element of who I am.”

He has found his experience coming out this time around much more positive than 18 years ago.

“The first time I came out, there was still a lot of transphobia around and I struggled with it. And I had a few incidences that were not very nice. And one that was quite unpleasant in a pub one night, with a couple of lads who, initially, were asking kind of innocent enough questions. But as they got drunk it became more and more unpleasant. So that was not a nice experience. And now it feels very different.”

Last month he decided to come out at work. He was telling a colleague in their 60s that he was trans and was ready to explain what that meant, but they knew already and were very accepting of it, something Adam thinks would not have happened in previous years.

“I think a lot of trans activists have done an awful lot of very hard work. And I think a lot of trans allies have also done a lot of very hard work, to raise understanding. Just other trans people standing up and saying, actually, I’m here and no, I’m not going to go away. And I’m not going to fit into your binary systems and do exactly as I’m told by you, I’m going to be me.”

He knows that there is still so much more work to be done to make life easier for trans people in Ireland – his own father has difficulty accepting his identity. However, Adam is finally at a point where he is happy with who he is.

“Coming out has felt really good, I have more confidence in myself and who I am and I’m apologising for myself less than I would before.”

Having his picture on the side of Dublin Buses and being so visibly trans is something that would have once terrified him, but now it is something he is relishing.

“I just like the idea that I’m coming out and letting everybody know. I’m kind of owning it and standing up and going, this is me, this is who I am. Which is what pride is supposed to be about.”

With more stories from the wonderful people who share their Coming Out journey in the Dublin Bus Coming Out With campaign, be sure to check back on GCN! And catch the campaign on the sides of the Dublin Bus fleet and bus shelters across the city!

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