Joe Bloom – Coming Out

“I cut my hair—that was the first thing.”

I belonged to this women’s club that has been out [where I grew up] since like 1926. My mom had belonged to it for 50, 60 years. So, I cut my hair—that was the first thing [to transition]. I go to this meeting and I says, “Alright everybody. I’ve got something to tell you.” [Laughs.] You should’ve seen them. Jaws dropped. Now, you know, when you come out you get two reactions. Either it’s like, “Oh, my God! Oh, my God!” Or, “Well, duh!” Because either people recognize it all along, or they were in denial. Well, one of these ladies in the neighborhood, she’s a big horsey lady, in fact, big hands! I was scared of her when I was a kid, because she had a big voice and she’d yell at her kids. She came up to me and she’s like, “Well, good for you!” She just was so supportive. Then, some of the other ones didn’t know if they wanted to talk about it, you know. There’s this one person down there, she says, “Well, I knew that you weren’t praying enough, because you had mental problems. And now this!” There’s one woman I grew up with, who’s two years younger than me. She says, “You’re always going to be ‘Joleen’ to me.” I’m like, “Okay . . . So, if you see me in public, and I have a full beard and a deep voice, you’re going to look a little silly. That’s all I have to say to you.” Another friend, about six months after I started testosterone, she’s telling me things like, “Well, you don’t have any more facial hair than most women in menopause.” [I think,] “Well, why are you telling me that, you know?” I figure, “Well just hang on. It’ll come in.”

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Source: Interview with Laura S. Hodgman on 24 July 2013.