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Kelly Worrall's story: the costs and the courage of coming out

Kelly Worrall's story: the costs and the courage of coming out

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Why one trans woman is presenting male again
When Kelly Worrall took off her men’s clothes for what she expected would be the last time in 2011, she felt free.

“It was very liberating to be able to give myself the opportunity to be who I needed to be in the moment,” she says. “For 37 years I've played by the rules and I’ve done everything I was supposed to do, and it didn’t make me happy. I still felt trapped inside.”

As a seven-year-old, Worrall wished she had been born a girl. She wanted to wear long skirts and grow up to be a tall, beautiful woman. But it was the 1980s, and transitioning back then was barely an option on most people’s radar. So she repressed her feminine self. Until she couldn’t anymore.

Coming out gave her permission to be her true self, she says.

Now, after two years of living full-time as a woman, she is presenting again as a man. Does this make her any less trans? No, she answers without hesitation.

This is her story.



Read Robin Perelle's editorial on Kelly's story here.

Comments

Well Said
I would like to re-post a comment I found very good, and try to explain it in my own words: Kelly/John is and always will be a transgender person and if you follow his/her life: This is not how it ends: as male (in public appearance), and even if it does, Kelly/John will never fully embrace being "male", as she never has before. She is just playing the game of survival, because expressing herself as she wants to, was not accepted in society and continually questioned. It was too painful for her to continually try and show the world her inner identity and have it rejected, or questioned. So, she is choosing to hide her identity as she did all her life. But since she identifies as a woman consistently, this will not change. As the sincere person that she appears to be: I'm sure all of her close friends and future lovers will be told by her, what her inner identity is, even if she doesn't wear it on her sleeve every moment. And who knows: when the time is right, there may be another public change of appearance from her: people will notice it and call it "transition". The transition she has gone through so far is one of self acceptance and outward exploration. For more, read the prior post by: Amy Fox, Vancouver BC
Actually, no, once you detransition, that’s it
I assume that even endlessly-put-upon transgenders took vector algebra in school and understand that –1 + 1 = 0. If you detransition you detransition. You have reversed and undone the process. “Trans” is not meant to be a scarlet letter branded onto your (apparently ever-changing) body irrespective of what you do. As it stands right now, Kelly Worrall is a man and exactly nothing more or less than that.
JamieLee is troubling..
JimmyLee, get off your soapbox. You're just upset because it's getting tougher for you to get any attention. It's not as though you are exactly an upstanding citizen of Vancouver. Leave people alone!
This Story is Troubling
After watching this video a number of times and reading comments left by others I'm left feeling very troubled. First yes gender can be fluid and the trans moniker was created to allow everyone a home. The issue though is that Kelly Whorrall or John set himself up as a leader of the community and when you are viewed as such you have a duty and responsibility to mentor younger trans people. By flipping around from being out and announcing yourself as transsexual and than reverting back to being male including growing a beard to prove your maleness to me this doesn't inspire confidence and is an abdication of leadership. While Kelly is free to live a more privileged class as he did before transitioning to female I would hope that he refrin from setting himself up as a representative of the transsexual community since he is not. There are many in the transsexual community who lead very successful and productives lives and it is these individuals who are the true pioneers, leaders and mentors in our community.
Thank you Xtra and Kelly/John!
Detransition is a topic not often talked about in either trans* circles or in mainstream discussion. I am so thrilled that this interview brings to the forefront a chance to have an open discussion about a subject that truly needs talking about. Detransition happens, it doesn't mean the person isn't trans* or didn't get proper medical assistance prior to transition. It means something in their journey is now differing from the "norm" of most tranistional journeys. It doesn't make the choice to detransition or to present differently "wrong" or "right. It means that an incredibly strong person is doing what they require to be healthy and happy. What the devil is wrong with that? Thank you to Robin and to Kelly/John for having the courage to bring this story to the public and educate us all.
Still trans, still part of our community
Being a visible transsexual woman means being out all the time, to everyone, while belonging to a social category which is subject to *brutal* persecution. By not presenting as female, is she less trans? Consider - there are very few gay cisgendered people who are out all the time and to everyone - at the grocery store, at the construction site, in the hospital, etcetera, etcetera. Does that make them less gay? Kelly is not out as female and trans all the time and to everyone. This does not make her any less trans or female or however she identifies or will identify. It does, however, make her feel a lot safer. If that's what she needs to live well, then more power to her. And maybe when we improve our society, she will experience a broader range of options.
Define your terms, kiddo
I say what I think, I try to be logically consistent while doing so, and I always sign my own name. Whatever that is, it sure as shit isn’t “trolling.”
Are you serious?
On what bizarre upside down planet is this story being even remotely presented as some kind of archetype? Certainly not this one. You do know what "archetype" means, right Marcia? And Joe "The Troll" Clark for editor? I thought that was funny, N.O., until it became clear you were serious. Bottom of the barrel? Reached and thoroughly scraped.
jOE FOR PUBLISHER-IN-CHIEF
I think it's time Joe Clark was either hired on as editor or given the helmship of a publication since he gets quickly to the questions that nobody else seems to be asking. This tendency not to challenge or question, but just to act as a conduit makes Xtra seem more like a support group pamphleteer than a publisher of journalism. The point of an lgbt publication is not that the tough questions don't get asked of our own. It ought to be that the questions DO get asked, but that the interviewer is informed about the subject area and knows where to push and prod and how to be as respectful as possible while still answering those questions that are left hanging. It isn't disprespectful to ask tough questions, in fact, you do your subject an honour by treating them like grown-ups who are responsible for their lives and who are after all putting themselves out there to make a point. As with the KKK article, so much more could have been made of this story. What a waste. What a loss of potential to educate or illuminate.
the FTM experience
I've got no problem with John/Kelly telling his/her story, and I feel sympathetic about what he/she is going through. However -- and I am MTF myself -- I think his/her experience is highly atypical. That she sees himself/herself as being desirous and able -- albeit under great stress -- to cycle between life as a woman and the experience of masculine privilege is something alien to most of us. Although I was not, playing at masculinity, perpetually miserable, I hated it. The sports bar, for example -- all these sites and accoutrements of masculine belonging -- are scenes of abjection, avoided no matter what the cost and experienced with terror. For many of us, this is a matter of life and death, not a tricky set of overlapping rules to be negotiated and mastered. Again, I think John/Kelly has a compelling and sympathetic story. But I think it misses some important aspects of the experience of masculinity for many or most of us, and I'm sorry Xtra seems to have offered it here as, apparently, an archetype. You could do a lot better if you really understood or cared about including and representing the trans/genderqueer community.

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