…I just came out to the rest of my family*
In this letter:
I am writing you today to tell you about some important and exciting changes coming up for me. I wanted to tell you about them in a letter because I think these things will be easier to understand and process in this format. A letter lets you think about what I am saying without being put “on the spot” or feeling pressured to respond.
You know I have always been a tomboy–always been interested in sports and playing outside rather than playing with dolls or having tea parties inside. I loved going fishing with Grandpa when I was little, and always wanted to do everything he was doing. Well, just like I never wanted to wear make-up, and never wanted to wear dresses, I have never really been comfortable in this body I was born in. What I mean is, I’ve never felt comfortable or right being a girl.
As I have gotten older I have come to know more about myself through my own reflection and through therapy. And while I used to think that the way I inhabited my body was “enough,” that I was content enough to wear boys clothes and watch football on t.v. and have a butch attitude, it’s not enough anymore. It’s not all of me, it’s just a part of who I am, and I don’t want to pretend anymore. I want to be myself honestly and fully. And to do that, I can’t stay in this body the way it is right now.
I am what is known as transgendered: that means, I see my gender not as girl but rather as a boy. It has always been this way, as long as I can remember, even back to my earliest memories, I thought of myself as a boy. But it has taken me a long time to accept that part of myself. I have spent a long time being afraid of what other people would think or say, and I don’t want to live my life in that fear anymore.
It was very hard for me as a little one to try and reconcile the way my mind thought with the way my body looked. I was a boy in my brain but a girl in my clothes. That was very scary for me, I didn’t understand it, and I didn’t see anyone else like me, so I kept it a secret because I thought there was something wrong with me and I might get in trouble for it. But now I know there is nothing wrong with me, some people are just this way, I was born transgendered. And there are a lot of people like me in the world.
With an all-girl body I feel like a fake, a fraud, and I have always been uncomfortable with it. So I have made some decisions recently. Since doctors can’t make my mind match my body, they remedy the difficulty of being transgendered by matching the body to the mind. So on May 25th I had what is called “top surgery.” That is, I had my breasts removed to have a more male looking contour to my chest. I am healing very well and am happy with the results. To others around me, you can’t really tell too much of a difference (my chest wasn’t that big to begin with!), but to me, I feel much more at home in my body, I feel much more at ease and I feel more like myself than I ever have.
Also, I am in the process of legally changing my first name to Eli, and I will change my middle name to M——, as that is what mom always said she would have named me if I was born a boy. I will keep the last name R—–, of course.
K is supportive of my decisions, and we have been talking about this for over a year, as I have been discussing this change with my therapist also. I have many friends who know about my transgender identity and support me.
I have already told mom and dad and S, and they are supportive of my choices. Also I recently told cousin V and she has also been very understanding about these changes. Tomorrow I will send aunt V a letter, since she doesn’t have email. I have chosen not to tell T— or T– because I have little to no contact with them.
Lastly, I wanted to share this resource with you: PFLAG is a well-respected national organization that has put together this brochure for friends and families of transgender individuals (click on this link): http://community.pflag.org/Document.Doc?id=202
Reading through this document helped mom understand better what it means to be transgender, and what it means to have a family member who is transgender.
I understand this is a lot to take in, but I love you and I wanted to be honest with you about who I am. I want you to know I am here to answer any questions you may have. And I want to reassure you I am the same person I have always been, I am just being honest with you about a part of myself that I have been hiding for so long. I didn’t want to be afraid anymore, because you have always loved me, and I have no doubt that you will love me anyway, transgender or not.
* I am not telling certain uncles, because they are all but out of my life. I did send this letter to two of my three aunts, who I have always been close with, and who have been instrumental in raising me. I come from a large family: my mother is the youngest of 8.