Blog, Sweet Blog

My.Coming.Out.Letter!

Posted on: Friday, August 22, 2008

Mood: Woosh
Music: The Beatles-Julia

Ok, so I’m done with the coming out letter.  Wee-yow is it long, but I think it’s a really good letter and it should make my transition nearly painless :-).  I wrote the first one to my Mom and will send further edited copies out to Dad, Aunt Debbie, Charles, Melanie, Scott and Donna, Cassy, and Jen.  For posterity’s sake, here it is…

Hi Mom,

I’m so glad we’ve been able to trade some meaningful emails recently.  Over the years, I’ve discovered that having a positive relationship with my family is very important to me.  Of course, some of my familial relationships are easier to grow and maintain than others, but they are all worth the effort.

I may not say it as often as I should, but I love you and Tom very much.  In your way, you two have always been there for me and supported me through good times and bad.

As you know, I have been seeing a therapist for some time.  I started seeing one in the middle of April just as things were getting really bad with Cassy.  I decided to start therapy because I was trying to find some way to cope with being a transsexual.  Take a deep breath; I know this is a shock.  The definition of a transsexual  is a person who strongly identifies with the opposite sex and may seek to live as a member of this sex especially by undergoing surgery and hormone therapy to obtain the necessary physical appearance (as by changing the external sex organs).

A lot of transsexuals say they always felt like they were born in the wrong body or knew they were girls from their earliest memories.  I didn’t really feel that way.  I always felt like I was very different from other boys, but it’s like I wasn’t able to comprehend what that might have meant.  I cross-dressed from a very early age (six or seven) but I wasn’t able to classify how I really felt until my middle teens.  I don’t know if you remember this Mom, but you attempted to have a conversation about my cross-dressing with me while I lived with you in Evergreen.  Jen was seeing that male therapist (I was 17 I think) and you asked me if I wanted to talk to him as well.  I wanted to tell you everything right then and there, but it was like my mouth was incapable of forming the words.  I had no idea how to explain my feelings to anyone, so I kept quiet for years.

I’ve been pretty unhappy for a lot of those years and I think most of that had to do with my discomfort in having to act like a male.  I’ve tried a lot of different things to silence the voice in the back of my head (drinking a lot, joining the Army, getting engaged, etc.) but nothing has worked.  I’ve always felt like I was living a fake life and that has caused me to be very depressed at times, made me perform poorly in school and at work, and kept me from forming strong relationships with my family or friends.   Therapy and the realization that I can make some positive changes in my life have allowed me to be truly happy for the first time in years.

As you may have guessed, this is the real reason that Cassy and I broke up.  I told her about this about 6 months before we got engaged and she didn’t seem to mind.  In retrospect, I think she wasn’t able to fully process or believe what I was saying at the time.  After I started talking about transitioning more and more, I think she finally realized what I was really talking about and it turned out to be too much for her.  As I’ve said, my feelings towards Cassy have never changed.  I still love her more than anything and want to spend my life with her, but I’m still waiting to see if she can feel the same way about me given all the changes I’m going through.

So, if you’re still with me, you’d probably like to know my plans for the future.  Some of my plans are dependant on what’s called the Benjamin Standards of Care.  These standards specify how transition from one sex to the other should be accomplished and are supposed to ensure that that I’m making the right decision for me.  I began the process in April by seeking out a therapist who was specifically trained in gender issues.  My therapist, Dr. S, has a Doctor of Psychology from DU (undergrad from Dartmouth) and she’s very good…I’ve included her number at the end of the letter.  After a number of sessions, Sarah determined that I was not crazy, that I was sincere about wanting to begin my transition, and that I was doing this for the right reasons.  Sarah sent my family doctor (who has a lot of experience with transsexual patients) a letter giving her blessing to begin hormone replacement therapy.  I have been taking 200 mg of Spironolactone (and androgen blocker) and 4 mg of Estradiol (estrogen) for the past four months.  The changes have been slow, but are noticeable.  I see my family doctor once every three months for a check up and blood work.  So far, I’m doing well and in good health.  I have been working on my voice and facial hair removal (hormones do not help with either) for a few months now.  I started with laser hair removal in May but switched to electrolysis a couple of months ago.

Over the next week or so, I will have come out to everyone (you, Dad, Aunt Debby, my friends…Jen has known for years) that is important to me…except for work.  I’m still not sure when I will come out at work…I’m thinking sometime in the Spring maybe.  Before I come out at work, I will have completed a legal name change with the state.  I’m pretty sure I will go by Anna P, but I am open to suggestions for a first and middle name. With the name change, I can change the gender marker, name, and picture on my driver’s license; change my information with Social Security, credit cards and other accounts.  After all of that is changed and I have come out to my boss and HR, I will begin living as a woman full-time.  The Standards of care specify that I need to have lived as a woman full time for a minimum of one year before I can get clearance for any surgery.  My plan is to get sexual reassignment surgery, but I can’t say when that will be…it’s very expensive, like $15-20,000 and is not usually covered by insurance.  There’s a very good surgeon (Dr. Marci Bowers) that splits her time between here (Trinidad actually) and Seattle.  If I were to get surgery, she would be at the top of my list.

I’m not sure why I am this way Mom, but you should know that this isn’t you or Dad’s fault.  I think the most common explanation is that there is a difference in brain chemistry due to hormonal exposure during fetal development.  So, this has nothing to do with the fact that you and Dad got divorced, or that you were a single Mom, or anything…I think I would have turned out the same way if none of that had happened.

I know you worry about Jen and I and, no matter what it seems like, I really do appreciate it Mom.  You know I’m not a rash or impulsive person and that I try to give careful consideration to any new situation.  I’ve given this decision literally years and years of thought, study, and planning.  I know this is the right decision for me and that this is probably the only way that I can be truly happy in life. Things are going to get a bit harder for me as I adjust to my new life, but I’ll be careful.  I know that women in general (and trans women in particular) have a lot more to worry about when it comes to personal safety.  I don’t have to exchange my common sense for hormones, so I should still be able to take care of myself like I have been for the past ten years.  I am willing to change any behavior of mine that isn’t safe.  Also, believe it or not, I pass for a woman pretty easily…and it will get even easier the longer I’m on hormones.  So, I’m not too concerned with negative public reactions. Anyway, please keep up the normal Mom-type worrying, but I think I’m going to be alright.

Ok, so here’s what I expect from you…

-read this letter very carefully, share it with Tom, and try to fully digest what I’m saying and why I’m saying it.

-do some research on your own…call my therapist if you want, visit some websites, check out the library, or talk to some friends or Jen.

-when you’re ready, call me or send me a letter of some kind.  I want you in my life now more than ever but that means we’re going to have to talk about this some time.  Bring all of the questions you want and, hopefully, an open mind.

-eventually, I’m going to want you to treat me (and relate to me) as a woman, girl, daughter, etc.  The biggest part of that is getting the pronouns (switching from he to she) and my name right most of the time.  I know this will be hard and will take a while, but I’ll wait :-).  I’m pretty relaxed about pronouns and names now, but as time goes on and I get closer to going full-time, misgendering me and using my old name will really start to hurt my feelings.  Also, I clearly remember when Jen came out to you and how that was received.  We’ve all had a lot of time to deal with it and have learned a lot since then.  So, I hope things go a lot more smoothly this time.

-finally, try to be understanding…this is the most difficult thing I have gone through in my entire life.  My emotions and confidence change minute by minute right now and will probably get worse as I get closer to going full-time.  Many people compare this time period to a second puberty.  So, if you ever catch me acting like a moody 13 year old girl, please try to be patient with me…I’ll get over it in a few minutes.  If that doesn’t work, apply ice cream or hugs until the symptoms clear.

I know this is going to be hard for you Mom, but you’ll see that this is the best decision.  If you’re worried that you’re going to lose the person you’ve come to know and love, don’t.  I will look different, sound a little different, and act a little more like a girl, but I always be the smart, sweet, loveable, funny, kind, adorable, (I could go on :-)), naïve, and mixed-up kid you’ve always known.  And, believe it or not, there’s a lot of funny in all of this transition stuff.  We’re all going to have a big laugh about all of this someday, I promise.

I love you and Tom more than anything in the whole wide world and I can’t wait to talk to you.

Sincerely,

Anna

p.s.  So, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of resources for you.  If you need me to send a book or any other articles, let me know.

Lynn Conway’s Website

Dr. Lynn Conway is a professor emeritus in Electrical Engineering at the University of Michigan, she cowrote the textbook on VLSI (very large scale integration, the basis for all computer processor design), she’s transsexual, and a hero of mine.  Her website has a lot of good information and the Transsexual Women’s Successes page has profiles on tons of amazingly successful transsexual women.

http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/

http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TSsuccesses/TSsuccesses.html

Transsexual Road Map

Andrea James is another superstar in the community.  She’s a succesfull businesswoman and television/movie producer.  Her and her friend, Calpernia Adams, recently spoke at the Vagina Monologues.  She established this website a long time ago and it’s a reference I always find myself going back to.

http://tsroadmap.com/

My YouTube Channel

I subscribe to a lot of TS girls video channels(click on subscriptions).  Some of them are having an easier time of it than others and all of them are at different stages of transition.  But they’re all beautiful and wonderful in their own way and I love following along with their lives…karmatic1110, riftgirl, gothique11, grishno, icecoldbath, fiddlejamie, Jayhawke, and blickblocks are some of my favorites.

Susan’s Place Forums

This is a discussion group that a lot of girls use.  The discussions are broken down by sections, so you can read at your own pace.  Also, I think there’s a section for significant others (which include parents).  You can connect with other parents or ask your own questions if you want.

http://www.susans.org/forums/index.php

TS FAQ

Here’s a decent FAQ (frequently asked questions) list.

http://web.archive.org/web/20040730143820/www.tsfaq.info/

My Son, My Daughter-an article from Ladies’ Home Journal

An article written by mother dealing with her son’s transition.

http://web.archive.org/web/20040622195507/www.genderweb.org/family/myson.html

True Selves: Understanding Transsexualism-For Families, Friends, Coworkers, and Helping Professionals by Mildred L. Brown & Chloe Ann Rounsley

-This is supposed to be like the book that everyone gives out.  I’ve not read it, but am considering buying it to give out.

Wee-yow!  Now I just need to sit on it for a couple of months until I’m ready to send it out.  That will be hard, I want to send it out now.

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3 Responses to "My.Coming.Out.Letter!"

[…] hard to believe that it has been almost  a year since I came out to my family and friends.  For the most part, people have been sweet and accommodating…my mother is an exception.  […]

[…] my physician to get clearance to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I sent a novella-sized coming out email to my friends and family about five months later in October 2008. At the time, reactions were […]

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Hi, I'm Anna and I love cheese!

This blog is a chronicle of my life and a catalog of happy ephemera. The About page has a little bit more information, but, remember, none of this is really me...it's just a supplement, a thumbnail sketch, a mostly anonymous Intarwebs placeholder. I'm way better/less wordy in person. :-)

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