Comic 1053 - Best Course of Action

2nd May 2018, 5:30 PM in Ch. 35 - Weather the Storm
Best Course of Action
Average Rating: 5 (7 votes)
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Author Notes:

Jocelyn 2nd May 2018, 5:30 PM edit delete
Jocelyn
I'm sure many people have forgotten since I haven't brought it up in a while, but in panel 2, Rain's "recent experience of being taken aback by someone who didn't know Rain was trans but approaching her about it" is referring to her interaction with Debbie trying to call her a boy a few chapters ago.

But let's talk about the bigger topic of this page: the hypotheticals. Before I get into the story parts, I want to address the art. Hypothetical non-transitioning Rain and Ana are both based on prior appearances. Rain's being like the "Ryan the Totally Normal Guy" Rain Delay strips. And Ana's featuring a more grownup version of the haircut from her childhood photo.

I can speak only for my part (and my characters taking after me here, I guess), that while I'm super open about being trans now, I was as shy and untalkative about the subject as humanly possible back in my pre-transition days. Having someone reach out to me - even a fellow trans person - would NOT have made me feel better. It would've told me I'd been clocked. Knowing me, I'd have ducked further into the closet to deny it. Again, I'm sure not everyone is like that, but I was raised wholly on negative trans media that made me too scared to admit who and what I was to anyone for a very long time. But because of my past feelings, I think it's important to be very, very careful when reaching out.

My usual approach would be more along the lines of what Rain is saying. Be there, be supportive, let them know you're listening if they need to talk or have questions, but also let them come to terms with things at their own pace. I freely admit I don't think that'll work for everyone (maybe some folks need something more proactive), but it's the approach that DID help me, so I know it will at least work for some. Thing is, I don't know if there is a one-size-fits-all solution universally appropriate for reaching out to any and every still questioning or in denial trans person.

As a point of discussion for this page, I'd like to ask if any of you folks were helped (directly or indirectly) when coming out or accepting yourselves. I'm curious if being super ultra self-destructively cautious like Rain, Ana, or "ten-years ago me" is common, or if that's just us. Obviously only share if you like, but please be mindful and respectful of others' feelings and approaches.


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Comments:

Tara 2nd May 2018, 5:48 PM edit delete reply
Just wanted to chime in and let you know Rain is excellent as always. <3

Also this is very very good advice, nobody likes getting clocked, even for the right reasons.
SilentNight 2nd May 2018, 6:26 PM edit delete reply
Seconded!
Aria 3rd May 2018, 3:21 AM edit delete reply
As someone who was quite literally forced to out herself to her work because someone snooped through private messages and found out *and* threatened to come to my work to try and get me fired and possibly attacked... yeah. Being confronted (even with the best intentions) is not fun or really wise to do to someone...
Samantha 2nd May 2018, 6:03 PM edit delete reply
The last panel, I love how you drew Rain, she looks so mature there, dunno why it struck me that way. I have been following you from the beginning and owe some of my courage to finally come out and start my transition to reading this comic and following the various struggles you have gone through in real life while writing this.
I dunno if you will remember me or not but I posted a few fan art to you and on Deviant art I am aravanww.
Loyal reader for life no matter what you come up with Jocelyn.
Amelia 2nd May 2018, 6:08 PM edit delete reply
In response to your question, I was definitely helped out, in a way. Not so much for being trans, but for crossdressing (years before I came out as trans). I was deep, deep in denial about it before I came out to a friend about liking to crossdress and she helped encourage me to explore it. I probably wouldn't be the person I am had it not been for her positivity.
Amelia 2nd May 2018, 6:09 PM edit delete reply
Before coming out as anything, I was incredibly cautious as well. I didn't even drink alcohol because I didn't want to accidentally say something I would regret. So yeah, if someone approached me like that, I would have definitely scurried off and hide myself more.
Matt Comics 2nd May 2018, 6:14 PM edit delete reply
Matt Comics
I have to say that the hypothetical versions of Rain and Ana are pretty cute, not to mention very recognizable despite being... hypothetical. Great job.
FishEye18 2nd May 2018, 6:29 PM edit delete reply
I never got help from a specific person, my mother kinda knew for ages, although recently my Uncle has extended an offer in terms of dealing with my problematic grandparents, but I've had yet to deal with that.

How I did find myself was almost four years of living with my grandparents in BFE, as my mother was laid off after the 2008 recession, and I was home all day in online school with nothing to do. So, long story short - 13 year old gay boy finds Yaoi, gets addicted, and it leads to self discovery over several years.

Yeah. :P
Yaoi fanboy'ing helped me find myself. >.<
Gigglebox 3rd May 2018, 12:13 AM edit delete reply
That was one of my stepping stones, as well. Always knew I was attracted to women, but fanboying over Junjou Romantica and Gravitation made me stop and consider things. A bisexual friend helped with the next step of self discovery, and then he came out as trans, and then SHE showed me the next step. Some time later, a different friend showed me this webcomic, and the last step was found with Emily. Her explanation of her own self discovery is what helped me learn that I stand with Emily under her umbrella.
Emily 2nd May 2018, 6:32 PM edit delete reply
Ohboy, right in the feels.

If I may rant for a moment . . .

While I do belong under the great big rainbow umbrella, I'm not trans; I'm bisexual. That said, I can definitely relate to the pure freaked-out-ness of someone noticing my little secret . . . like concentrated fear, shame, self-doubt and confusion injected directly into my racing heart.

And you know what? You're an AMAZING storyteller, because you just brought all those very real memories and emotions to a boil with a hypothetical situation in a comic about made-up people. I tip my hat to you, Jocelyn.
Drake Zephyr 2nd May 2018, 6:58 PM edit delete reply
🍤🍤🍤🍤 That doesn't mean anything really. I just like fried shrimp.
SayTaylor 2nd May 2018, 8:52 PM edit delete reply
I have prepared a link to a song about shrimp and self acceptance for just this occasion: https://youtu.be/gY0HVVu7hHk
SayTaylor 2nd May 2018, 8:54 PM edit delete reply
Why did it copy the ad for the video?!? I meant https://youtu.be/rY-FJvRqK0E
j-eagle12212012 2nd May 2018, 7:06 PM edit delete reply
j-eagle12212012
Could someone link the comic where Ana revealed to Rain she is also trans. I don't remember when that happened
Jocelyn 2nd May 2018, 7:19 PM edit delete reply
Jocelyn
@j-eagle12212012

Here's the exact page, but it was kinda the main focal point of that whole chapter, so if forgot this, you may want to consider rereading that arc. It was pretty important.
http://rain.thecomicseries.com/comics/920/
j-eagle12212012 2nd May 2018, 10:36 PM edit delete reply
j-eagle12212012
Thank you Jocelyn
I remembered Ana was intersex, I had forgotten she was also trans
Moe Trash 3rd May 2018, 2:02 AM edit delete reply
Given how arbitrary it can be sometimes, some intersex people don't like associating their identity with being transgender. However, apparently about 20% of intersex people(myself included) experience dysphoria over what they are assigned, bonus points if they were altered as a baby.
Anna 2nd May 2018, 7:19 PM edit delete reply
http://rain.thecomicseries.com/archive/34821
Sarah 2nd May 2018, 7:14 PM edit delete reply
I personally haven't even started my transition yet, and I'm left wondering if I ever will. The thought of being seen by people who know me while trying to present myself as a wholly different person (at least visually) gives me debilitating anxiety.

I'm also entering my late 30s, and am SEVERELY obese, and taller (and probably larger overall) than the average AFAB person, so it's impossible to find clothing to fit me that I'd even want to wear, let alone be seen wearing.

Even though I'm "out" to quite a few people, I still can't imagine myself actually transitioning. I'm too scared of change.

At least I'm taking hormones, and have been for the past two years. So if I get the courage to transition further, I'll have that part covered.
Ruth 3rd May 2018, 2:02 AM edit delete reply
Ruth
Jocelyn already has heard my story... This webcomic is responsible for me being who I am today. I was 54 in the last few days of July 2016. I knew I was trans at age 8 in the year 1970, but even after I turned 18, transitioning was an impossibility for me in the world I lived in back then.... so I denied, repressed, and overcompensated for the next 3.5 decades. In late 2015 was 53 and thought more and more about the possibility of transitioning late in life. I was obese, high blood pressure, unhappy as hell, and even offing myself was an option on the table. I knew I had to lose a lot of weight and get much more physically fit before allowing myself to begin hormones so Jan 1st 2016 my New Years resolution was to lose ~50 lbs and get myself healthier to prepare myself for the possibility of transition. I met my weight and fitness goal by the end of July, and had been "testing the waters" by dropping cryptic clues to my friends to gauge what kind of reactions I might be in for since heads were surely going to start explodingl like that movie Mars Attacks when I came out and announced my plans. The reactions were as bad as you'd expect.... worse even. Still I had to either try, or I'd have nothing left to do with my life except just abort the mission and scuttle the ship. Then I stumbled across a link to Rain in one of the Reddit trans groups and took a curious look at it. That was a Friday afternoon after I'd just returned home from a 1000 mile trip halfway across the country and still had a few vacation days left before I had to go back to work. I suddenly got hooked on the story, and binged reading all 800+ episodes that existed back then, continuously without sleep all weekend long. I was mesmerized by the story and. found tons of parallels in my own history. After finishing all available pages, I cried like a baby and passed out asleep for almost two days. When I woke up, I knew what I had to do. The wheels were put in motion to start HRT as soon as humanly possibly, and on September 2nd 2016, I took my first spiro and estradiol doses....and here I am today. I even decided to take my new name from a character in the story. I'd originally picked Ruth some months earlier because that's the name my sister picked for me the very first time I intentionally dressed up as a girl, with her help and her yellow and white Easter dress, to go trick or treating for Halloween of 1970 when I was 8 years old.... and that was the day a supernova exploded inside my brain.......and from that day on, I Knew. I've replayed that memory inside my brain EVERY.DAY.OF.MY.LIFE since 10/31/1970.... nealy half a century 😱

Anyway after reading all pages of Rain, it soon became such an obvious no-brainer what my new name was. Yep, I owe Jocelyn not only for quite possibly saving my life, and also giving me the inspiration I needed to do what must be done., but also for providing me with my new name as well. Rudy Neal is now today...., even officially and legally too, as of last month...... Ruby Neal...
Ruby Ruth Neal to be exact. I could simply not resist choosing this as my new name. It fits me perfectly too.

Anyway, my sister who's 3 years older than me and helped me become a girl on that Halloween evening over 47 years ago...... I nervously came out to her way back at Christmastime 2016, after only being on hormones for under 4 months. When I sheepishly told her simply this without any other words or clues, and expected the worst as a response...... "Please don't freak out, but I started taking hormones a little over 3 months ago". Just that one statement alone with no other context, the words transgender or transitioning were not even spoken. She looked at me, almost started crying, hugged me and said something to the effect of "What took you so long?".
Total understanding and acceptance. The very next time I looked at her Facebook profile , she'd already listed me as her little sister.
Guest 2nd May 2018, 9:07 PM edit delete reply
When I understood the trem transgender I was a little scared
Gray Jay 3rd May 2018, 12:42 AM edit delete reply
I actually had a similar experience. About a year ago one of my housemates figured out that I'm a transguy. I was terrified, since at the time I was only out to my family and my best friend, and the reaction from my mom had been pretty bad. I answered honestly though, more out of instinct than rational thought, and it worked out, my housemate is really supportive. It was one of the scariest moments of my life, but afterwords it felt really affirming. It kind of proved to me that I really am trans and not deluding myself.

I haven't started transitioning yet - I want to, but there's so many things I don't know about life as a transguy that I'm not sure if it would be worth it. For example, I'm entering into the wildlife field, specifically ornithology, but I'm worried that transitioning might make it even more difficult to find jobs in this already competitive field. Do any of you guys know anything about how trans people are viewed in this field?
Hydrargyrum 3rd May 2018, 2:39 AM edit delete reply
Hydrargyrum
I think, like anything else, it's something you have to take case by case based on the circumstances and people involved. In general, I would say folks in natural resources tend to be more open minded than is typical as they've more exposure to species which deal with gender and sex in more diverse ways than mammals' relatively conservative expression. However, sooner or later you'll find someone who feels strongly that people have to be an exception.

As anecdotal evidence, I can say a past classmate in a natural resource program was an easy to clock transman and nobody seemed to care. In person, I'm quite selectively out as I don't feel my gender is something which should concern most people and it's not something I want to regularly have long explanatory conversations about. But I do feel it's easier with say, someone who's familiar with temperature sex determination in reptiles or simultaneous hermaphrodism in land slugs or gender swapping dioecious plants, than with someone who hasn't been exposed to such concepts.
mecaterpillar 3rd May 2018, 2:53 AM edit delete reply
I think the colors, or something, in the hypothetical panels are slightly different, probably on purpose. I just can't quite figure out what it is though.
Gigglebox 3rd May 2018, 7:21 AM edit delete reply
The colors are more vibrant in the characters, and the background has a splotches of paler yellow in it. Probably all to highlight unreality of the thoughts.
Zii 3rd May 2018, 2:58 AM edit delete reply
As a counterpoint to the comic, I had a weird mix of feelings about if I wanted to be approached by a supportive person before I came out on my own.

I knew I was trans for a really long time. Almost as long as I can remember. I tried to express myself without giving myself away. I also grew up in an atmosphere where being trans was either a punchline or a villainous trait or sexual deviancy, so I didn't have anything in terms of someone I could point to and say "I'm like that!" So there is that hanging over me.

But, regardless, I *did* want someone trustworthy and concerned to talk to me about being trans. It would have helped me come out if I knew there was someone out there who would support me. It was crushingly lonely, living like I did; even when I was out with friends, I never felt like I could be myself around them. That was all I wanted.

The first person I came out to was someone who was joking with me about my birthday marking me "becoming a real woman." I don't think she directly suspected how it would affect me, but it as the closest thing I had ever had to someone signalling that they would be supportive.

It's this feeling, remembering how alone I felt, that instills in me the desire to "crack eggs." I don't always act on this desire, but it's something I have to acknowledge is there. I project onto other trans people the loneliness I felt in the closet, and I want to be the person I needed back then; someone who sees, who knows, and who is kind and supportive.

That's my take.
Tay 3rd May 2018, 3:32 AM edit delete reply
Fuck, I caught up.
Mamukoot 3rd May 2018, 11:52 AM edit delete reply
Is it weird I ship the hypothetical nontransitioning Ana and hypothetical nontransitioning Rain?
William 3rd May 2018, 12:23 PM edit delete reply
The "rules" about shipping are loose indeed. This ship is perfectly ordinary compared to some I've seen (at least they are both the same species, live at the same time and in the same universe even if they are hypothetical). On the other hand, maybe hypothetical nontransitioning Rain, is actually "Ryan the totally normal guy" in more than just appearance, so should be shipped with transitioning Ana (Ryana)?
lare290 3rd May 2018, 2:21 PM edit delete reply
Hypothetical non-transitioning Rain is not the same as Ryan the totally normal guy. The first one is a trans girl, just pre-transitioning, while the latter is a cis guy.
FishEye18 4th May 2018, 3:20 PM edit delete reply
Laws of Shipping:
1] If the ship can float and move without assistance, it will sail.
2] Similar to R34 - if it exists, someone ships it.
3] Don't ship your ships through FedEx, they throw it over your back fence and then the ship gets damaged.
MSK 3rd May 2018, 6:21 PM edit delete reply
I think Rain's advice is good. I would have lied and denied it so hard before I decided to transition. I felt deeply protective over my hidden identity; it wasn't until after I started transitioning that I realized just how much my life and personality were shaped around protecting myself. However, having the gentle and patient support of my friends, cis and trans alike, really did help me with my ultimate decision to embrace transition.

(And i'm quite happy I did :D)
Guest 3rd May 2018, 9:29 PM edit delete reply
I identify as genderfluid (afab)and I mostly feel more masculine but like to present myself as feminine because skirts are too cute to resist. I am not out to anyone in real life yet, although my friends online are quite accepting. But, I had a really hard time accepting myself. I have only recently actually come to terms with my identity, and I think this webcomic did help a lot.

I've known that I'm fluid for a while, and I've related to Ky/lie since I discovered Rain back at the beginning of 2016. But I have not always been comfortable with my identity. At first, I was like "oh, yeah, I'm genderfluid" and I was totally fine with it, but over time I developed this damaging self-doubt that.. "what if I'm just a transguy?" along with "what if I'm just a cis girl?" all the while still telling my online friends that I was genderfluid. Then I fell in love with a girl. And she accepted me. And I met a bunch of people, whom I know am proud to call my closest friends. And they all accepted me. Slowly, I began to realize that all my self doubt was for nothing. I reflected back on my life and my feelings and my thoughts and genderfluidity is the only place where I fit and that's the only me and if I were anyone different it just wouldn't be me.

I'm ranting now, but my answer is yes. I certainly wouldn't be as comfortable with myself as I am now without the help of a lot of people.
ElizeB 4th May 2018, 3:21 PM edit delete reply
It bothers me on a fundamental level to see Rain and Anna presenting as boys- even just hypothetically. I think you pretty much called it tho, if someone approached me about it before I was out to them I woulda been hella freaked.

On an unrelated note, I've been reading Rain for years now (I think since about when Rain and Emily went to comic-con) but I've never left a comment- so let me just add my obligatory two bits in about Rain. I had been out to choice people for over a decade before I found this comic and honestly when I did find it I was going through a bit of a slump. I don't remember how I discovered this comic but Jocelyn I absolutely adore it. It was relatable enough to remind me how much happier I was when I wasn't trying desperately to fit in with the men like my parents expected me to and it was one of the driving forces to get me to come out to the person who's now my beloved wife. Thank you so much and don't you dare ever stop making comics- even if Rain ends. You're ridiculously talented and I plan on internet stalking your long career. .-. kthnxbai
bgb16999 4th May 2018, 7:57 PM edit delete reply
bgb16999
I'm still in the process of trying to figure out my gender. There aren't a lot of people to whom I would be comfortable opening up. I think Rain got it right in the last panel, though: that's what I'd want in Colette's place.
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