August 18, 1999, two days after my 16th birthday. I just had a fight with my dad about working in the tobacco field. (don't ask)



Well, later I was feeling a little better. My rage was soothed, and so I opened my door and everything. By the time my mom got home, she knew that I had stormed off. She told me that she wanted to talk to me over dinner about what happened. It was steak.

It was a very rough dinner. Tension and all sorts of things built in the room, and eventually she starts talking. We discuss the day, and I lay out exactly what happened. Then she asks why I stormed off. I told her that it was because my dad was treating me like a little kid. Eventually, she gets around to saying that I was perfectly right in it, but that I still have to do it anyway. Then...

"So is there anything else you have to say?" It was the opening...

"Sorta..."

"What is it?"

"Well, you don't look at me as a kid, do you?"

"No, I don't."

"And you would respect any decisions that I made as an adult, wouldn't you?"

"I will respect any decisions that you make as long as I agree with them..." There was a dreadful pause... "Go on."

"Well..." I closed my eyes and let the words form in my mind first. I started shaking and crying. "I'm gay."

"Oh, honey, it's OK..." She had me sit with her on the couch, and held me in her arms. She tried to soothe me, but it didn't really work... I had so many tears uncried through this entire ordeal that I just had to let them go.

Unfortunately, I said something that I'd later regret. "I really wish I could be straight, but I'm not." Well, she went on trying to comfort me. She said something that I thought was really funny. :) "With Billy, I wouldn't have been surprised if he had come to me saying this. With Bobby, I was prepared for him to come to me with this. But I never expected you to be the one who said this." I couldn't help but laugh. I guess I should pursue a career in acting. My mom said that she only wished I had come to her about it sooner.

She went to tell Billy, Bobby, and Anna. Then the procession began. I was in my room, and one by one they walked in. First came Bobby. He said that he still loves me, and that he isn't worried about me in my life, but rather in the world after. In other words, "You're going to hell, but I still love you." In the middle of his schpiel, he asks me, "What happened to your toe?" It was the weirdest question, but I told him why my toenail was bruised (it happened when I played Brad in tennis a few weeks ago, and I have to wait for the nail to grow out before I can fix it)

Then Billy came in. He became a little more philosophical, but still had the basic "I love you, but you're going to hell" view. He started asking questions about how I knew and whether or not I had a choice in the matter. I don't know any way to prove to them that it's not a conscious choice... Of course I can't go into the reasons as to how I know to them... They don't want to hear about my encounter with Dave, or the crush on Raul, or every day how when I masturbate that I think about men even if I try not to... It's just not something explainable.

Anna popped in and said that she loved me, but that was it, basically.

That was pretty much all that happened last night. I went to bed, and was so shaken that I didn't even think about masturbation all night. For me, that's particularly strange, so it shows that I had some heavy stuff to think about.

This morning, I woke up to my father asking me if I was going out to cut tobacco, and I said yes. I got up and got dressed, then went for a coke, and he wanted to talk with me. The most pain came next, but I was ready. I had to be. His words were like peroxide, they sting at first, but it's really best in the long run. (Bravo, nice simile!)

"Mom told me the problem that you had yesterday. She says you think you're gay."

"I AM gay." I said it cold and decisively; I have no idea where the courage for it came from. Maybe it was hate, or anger, or pain, I dunno. He didn't believe it though... It was as I thought, I'm still a child in his eyes. His main concern was the internet. He seems to think that people online have coerced me into thinking that I'm gay. I tried explaining that I don't even know any gay people and that I made the conclusions all on my own, but he only hears what he wants to, and he didn't want to hear any of that. He still thinks that the internet is the problem. What he doesn't even realize is that it was the internet that quite possibly saved me from suicide. That was another fear of my mom's that I had to allay the night before.

I cut tobacco for 5 and a half hours today. Whenever my dad and I had a moment in private, he'd say again, something like "Don't let anyone put a label on you" or "Don't say that you're gay on the internet, because then there will be a record of it" or "Saying that you're gay will come back to haunt you. You'll never get a job because of it." Leave it to my father to think about money to the bitter end. He'll die while counting the money in his wallet, I bet.

He also brought up something that hurts a lot... It was an incident that I hoped to leave behind me, because it brings so much shame to me that I want to die... But I'm going to be strong, and I'm going to explain it in here as well as I can remember it. It happened in 7th grade, two weeks from the end of school...

I was eating lunch. Yes, I had lunch!!! :) Well, that wasn't really so good on this occasion... See, my friend Ernie and I were joking around. I don't even remember what it was, but he made sort of a gay motion. o_O He reached down towards my penis and made squeezing motions, but didn't actually touch it or anything. It pains me to say that... Well, I wanted to be funny. I had no idea what I would cause, but I walked over to Pam and Stephanie and sat down beside them. We weren't very good friends, so they asked why I was sitting with them.

"Ernie just grabbed my penis. o_O"

I had no IDEA what that would cause! It was meant as a joke, really! But then Stephanie goes over to Ernie, and tells him that I said that he was gay. At this point, the joke is over, and I've moved on to talking to someone. Well, a minute later, someone grabs me from behind and throws me off of my chair. Keep in mind, Ernie is a fat guy, so he weighs about 250 lbs, and this is probably before puberty (which means that this is before I knew I was gay, keep in mind) :P Well, calmly I got up and sat back down, and he screamed at me, "WHY DID YOU SAY I WAS GAY!?", and before I could even lay a hand on him or give a response, an administrator was between us. Well, we were taken to the office.

At this point, they had us in the same room together, alone. Yeah, that's smart! Idiots... Fortunately, I worked things out with him. We were both fine by the point they called us in to discuss it, which really makes no sense. Everything was OK, so why drag rules or parents into it?

Well, unfortunately, there were several punks who wanted to get out of class. They were such bastards, and caused the whole thing to escalate to a level where it didn't need to be. According to them, they saw everything that had happened. "Randy hit Ernie, then Ernie hit Randy back. They hit each other again a bunch of times." When the vice principal read these "eye-witness accounts" to us, Ernie and I started to spaz out! At this point, we were friends again, and did our best to work together to kill this. We both made it perfectly clear that there was no fight, and that everything was OK. Still, at this point, everyone thought Ernie was gay because he supposedly grabbed me... I'm such a bastard to turn on my own friend like that.

My dad asked what the deal was with that, and I don't know how I did, but I somehow dismissed what he said because I really didn't want to talk about it. It just shook me up really bad.

Later, Billy tells me that he went to see the pastor, and he thinks that it's possible that I will be straight.

Again,
later, I go to ask a simple question of my mom, "Are you going to make dinner?", and get something I really don't want. She goes on for a long time that she thinks that I really want to be straight, and that I should see a professional who will be able to help me "become" straight. I just can't convince them. I thought she said that she'd respect my decisions... They're all telling me how bad my future's going to be, and they don't even seem to realize that I've already thought this over a million times before!!! AAAAAAARRRRRAAAAAAGGGGHHAHAAAHHHH!!!!!! I feel the need to scream, because I have nothing else to say to them besides "Go away".
In an effort to help offer some resources to people, I've decided to post the letter I wrote to my parents when coming out to them as transsexual. I'm adding this in case someone might find it useful - I've had a few people who have read it over tell me it's a good letter. And my parents took it really well - I know that's not due only to the letter, but it sure can't help.

I have made a few minor edits just to make a few parts a little more generic/remove personal information. This is also the second version of the letter. The first version was written for telling my father, and in talking to him after he read the letter I managed to find some areas of confusion, of lack of clarity, which resulted in my making changes.

If anyone wants to use this letter as a guide to coming out, whether as a basic framework for coming out as gay/lesbian/bisexual, or use a bit more for coming out as transgendered, well, go right ahead. That's what it is here for. A little note to let me know you are doing so would be appreciated, but not necessary.

After the letter, I'll describe how I presented it to my parents, and how they reacted...


Dear Mom,

For a long time I've had various feelings inside me that I didn't quite understand, and had a hard time coping with. Most of my life this has been going on, at least as far back as I can remember. Things floating around inside, things that I knew weren't "normal," but I wasn't sure what they were, or what to do about them.

Three years ago, I started seeing a psychologist. I was experiencing depression at the time, and I was thinking it might be related to these feelings. She helped me through the depression, and I realized I had dealt with it on and off for a long time. This was done by starting to discuss these feelings, and what they meant. For the first time in my life I actually started to understand myself, what I wanted, what I needed to do.

You see, those feelings I had, and never quite pieced together into a whole, have a name. It's known as gender identity disorder, or gender dysphoria. What it means is that there's a conflict, a difference with how I feel in my mind, and what my body is. That while I was born male, while I lived all this time as male, and had managed to almost convince myself that's what I was, that I really didn't feel that way inside. That my mind was more female than male.

It may seem odd to you. In fact, it was odd to me at first, and very disorienting. All of a sudden I was having trouble understanding who I was anymore. But we continued discussing it.

The options for resolving this internal conflict were few. What I had to do was to get my mind and body to agree on who I was. However, the mind isn't flexible in this situation. They've tried with people before to get them to change their mental image of themselves to fit the body, and it's failed time after time. I don't think there's one single instance of this being successful.

Which leaves changing things the other way. Changing the body to agree with the mind. And while I realized it wouldn't be easy, I knew it was the right thing to do, and I liked the idea. So I started with simple things. Growing my hair, getting my ears pierced, painting my nails, and other little things. All very minor, but they started to have a major effect on my self-image and my self-confidence. I began to actually start to like the person I saw in the mirror, for once in my life. I began to feel better about myself.

In that time, as I started to understand myself, my feelings, I've started to become happier with myself then I ever have before. I've realized who I am, what I want, and what I need. And to take care of these things, to become comfortable with myself, to become truly happy with myself, I need to become a different person.

Mom, I am transsexual. I'm sure it's hard for you to hear, just as it's hard for me to say. But it's who I am, it's something I cannot change, even though I would if I could.

I know this has to be a shock to you. I don't know how much of one - I don't know if there were things you noticed about me that suddenly make sense, or if it seems totally out of the blue and unexpected. I've had doubts about it on and off this whole time, but the one thing that I always remember when I have them is that this is something I have to do to be happy with myself. I am already happier then I have ever been. If there is anything that indicates that what I am doing is the right thing, that is it.

I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier. I wanted to, but I was scared. Scared of how you would react, of how you would take it, of how it would affect our relationship. But I can't put it off any longer. It's become harder to keep it hidden, to keep it a secret from you, than to face up to telling you. And I've reached the point where I'm ready to take big steps forward in this, and I want to do so openly, to share how happy I am becoming with you.

I want to make it clear to you that is in no way your fault, or anyone else's fault for that matter. Nobody made me like this, and nobody could have done anything to prevent it. It just happened to be how I am. Please don't feel guilty, or blame anyone or anything.

(My SO) has known about this from about the time I began to understand it myself. She has chosen to deal with it, stay with me, and try to be supportive and helpful. And she has - I doubt I would be doing as well without her. We have been working through this together, and both become better people in the process.

I want to make it clear where this is going with me, so there is no confusion about what is going on. You may not want to know about this yet, but I think it needs to be made clear. I have already been on hormone therapy for a couple years. This has been with the approval of my psychologist, and under the care of a knowledgeable and experienced doctor. I am undergoing laser hair removal for permanent removal of my facial hair. The idea of moving, which I have mentioned previously, well, part of the reason I have been wanting to do that is to start a new life, as a new person. So it will be necessary for me to legally change my name, and soon. And yes, sometime down the road a couple years, I do wish to have sex reassignment surgery.

I've attached a printout of a small web site to this, and I'd like you to read it. It might help you understand a little more. Please don't feel afraid to talk to me about this or to ask me questions. If you need time right now to deal with this before talking, please, let us know, and we'll leave. I want to do this in whatever is the best way for you.

I love you, mom.


Note: The web site I referred to was a page from the PFLAG web site, I believe it was entitled "10 misunderstandings about transsexuality" or something to that effect. I had it there as a supplement, another source to make sure they understood a little more, and it also explained that it wasn't their fault (I wanted to make that very clear to them).

As far as presenting the letter to my parents... I made sure to do that in person. With the importance of telling them, I knew I had to be there. When I was ready to do it, I told them that I had something important that I needed to tell them. I was doing it with a letter because I was afraid I would get too nervous, and it was very important to me that everything that I wanted to say got said. That I didn't want to forget anything, and that actually sitting there and telling them would probably cause me to forget something.

I told them to read the letter, in its entirety, and that I was going to go to another room. After they were done with the letter, to come and get me when they were ready - and to talk first if need be (my sister was there with both my mom and my dad - she found out at the same time as my dad, and was there when I told my mom).

With my dad and sister, I was upstairs in the second bedroom, curled in a little ball on the futon. I heard them talking, though I didn't know what they were saying, and heard my dad walk out on the balcony for a while (smoking out there, I'm sure). About 25-30 minutes later, he came up, told me he loved me, and gave me a big hug. He also told me that my sister was accepting it, just wasn't ready to talk about it yet. (She still hasn't - seven months later) I talked with my dad some, and realized he was pretty much ok.

With my mom, I gave her the letter and went into a spare bedroom in her house. She read the letter, then I heard her say to my sister that she still loved me - and my sister told my mom to tell me personally. She called for me to come out, gave me a big hug, and with a couple tears in her eyes made it clear things were going to be just fine. (For her, the toughest part was trying to imagine what I went through growing up)

While the way I did things might not be best for everyone, I will say that I worked great for me, and might for some others out there also.

Proudly Out

FP: So, why are you out here? Where's your family?
Kyle: My family? (Looks at wristwatch) They're probably eating dinner right about now.
FP: And why are you out here instead of with them?
Kyle: Because, they kicked me out.
FP: Why?
Kyle: Because I'm gay...my parents told me that I was disgusting; that they didn't want me anymore.
FP: Just because you're gay?
Kyle: Yeah...they said I shamed the family, or something of that sort...which is funny, I guess, I mean, I wonder how proud they'd be knowing that them kicking me out has put me where I am now. I doubt I could do much to make them proud out here, on the streets, I mean, the most I could do make money out here is either deal drugs or become a whore...I wonder how much pride they could possibly have in that. It's stupid, really, because I had my life set; I was going to college; I was going to get an education and have a the life that comes with it. If I had gotten all of that, I could've made them proud...I would've made them proud! I would've worked hard to make up for it...to make up for me being gay (cries).
FP: (Puts his arm around Kyle) They're wrong you know, you're not disgusting, not at all.
Kyle: (Wipes his eyes) Thanks, I know.
FP: I know you know, but, sometimes, it helps to hear it.
Kyle: It's unfair, FP, I could've made them proud...if they had only given me the chance, I would've been able to make them proud despite me being gay.
FP: I'm proud of you Kyle.
Kyle: Why? You hardly know me.
FP: Because, you didn't live a lie; you didn't do anything despite you being gay. I'm proud of you because you realized that it couldn't have been your life, if it was despite any part of you. Because you're gay, Kyle, I am proud.

"Hold on to the light that guides you; hold on to the air that cools you; hold on; hold on to me."


Sadly In

Lying alone he cries, as he always has. He keeps suicide at bay by reminding himself that he found a reason to live the first time he tried, though the exact nature of the reason escapes him now. If he couldn't do it then he can't do it now, or at least as long as he tell himself that he won't have to find out for sure.

It's interesting how shame bleeds, staining all that are around it. Shame felt by an unloving mother so quickly absorbed by a guilt ridden son. A son who at first absorbed his mothers shame is then forced to feel shame for having disappointed his friends and the gay community for not standing up for himself and for the community.

Waking, still alone, he hears his mother moving about, and fears contact. There is none.

Isolated from a loving but silent brother, he sleeps away the day, and spends the night in drunken solitude. Starved for three days, he still can't find hunger, it left with his mothers love.

Surviving the solitude he looks forward to college, and the final release it will bring, so close and yet so impossibly far. Part of him knows his path, but the rest continues to ignore it. One week's done, then two. Three comes, but he can't quite make it through. He remembers the reason for living, his friends. He misses them. He is obsessed with the absolute ending that his mother placed on his social life.

He is dead. But is not certain who killed him, his mother or himself.




The first story was not written by me but by a new friend who helped console me when I came out to my homophobic mother last night. A great deal of this story is taken word for word from our conversation, though he took some liberties with the story. He predicted the future, and unfortunately his predictions may soon come true. My mother did not actually kick me out so much as gave me a choice: go back in to the closet and spend the rest of my life living with her in solitude, a prisoner in my own home, or leave forever, and receive no aid in funding my college education (which I will be starting this fall). While the economically sound option of staying home and have my education paid for is extremely tempting, the unavoidable truth of the situation is as follows: I would not be able to live with myself, and assuming I did not kill myself, a much larger assumption than I'd like it to be, I certainly would allow my depression to damage my scholastic success. And so I am now faced with the most frightening choice of life, the choice to leave my family and go to an uncertain future.

I have been offered a place to stay, so I will not hit the streets immediately, though I still fear I may end up homeless sooner or later. Once gone I suppose I would devote all my energy to finding a full time job and loans to pay for college, though I doubt that it would be possible for me to make it this year, perhaps I could have an education at some point. On that note I'd like to thank ac_hyper who's WU How to send a child to college has given me a great deal of confidence and guidance. Above all I'd like to thank FP for his incredible support and story.



Update: One week after leaving I got in contact with my mother who changed her mind about paying for college, and two weeks after I moved back home. It may not be the most loving home in the world but, at least I get to go to college, and have a chance at repairing my relationship with my mother.

I realize this is very GTKY but I felt the stories needed explanation. The original dialogue appeared at http://www.livejournal.com/users/gamerider/ on June 30th 2003, and the song lyrics come from Hold On by The Starting Line

What follows is the story of how I came out as a transsexual to my father.


The full story starts in January 2002, but I'll pick it up on June 13, 2002. I am 21, 40 pounds overweight, extremely depressed, and convinced my life was going to end early1.

I knew my father was going on a business trip on June 13th, and that was my target date to deliver the letter, right before he left with a note to not open it until he got to the airport. With the letter I also gave him a most excellent book entitled True Selves, which explains what the deal is with being a transsexual (I HIGHLY reccomend this book).

I put my letter, folded in the front flap of the book and wrapped the parcel in a page from the sunday comics to disguise the whole thing. At about 02:30 Thursday (the 13th) morning I worked up the courage to put the thing on my father's luggage in the kitchen. (I even took a photograph of it as a memory.) I slowly worked my way upstairs as to not wake my father from his slumber too early and laid in bed.

It needs pointing out that it is impossible to sleep after making a life altering decision. I sat in bed until 05:30 shaking while worst case scenarios ran through my head: Will he open it early and kick me out? Will he open it up early and kill me?!?

At 05:30 my fate was sealed as the house began to wake up, and, surprisingly, my heart sank: MY FATHER'S GIRLFRIEND WAS GOING WITH HIM! THAT was not in the plan! She was going to take it SO poorly and I didn't need her negatively influencing my father.

Well, I am thankful to say that nothing bad happened that morning (aside from JoAnne going with father). They both got off to the airport and from what I hear father didn't open the thing until he was at the ticket counter on the way home. He got home on Sunday, but by that time I already had two new pink tourmaline (for my birthmonth, October) earrings. On the 16th we chatted briefly. Yes he saw the note, Yes he saw the book, Yes he freaked out at the ticket counter, No he didn't read the book because of his girlfriend.

That was the day I broke my father's heart. He had expected me to grow up just like him, to have children and to carry on the family line. I had zero interest in freezing sperm so I will never have any children to carry on the family name. Sorry father, but it wasn't meant to be.

It wasn't until late July that he read the entire book and he told me that he would support me no matter what. Today is March 6, 2004 and his unwavering support continues to this day. He hasn't used my old name or the old pronouns in months. Indeed all of my family (sans my mother, who I haven't seen in many years) have been supportive.

1: While I hadn't seriously contemplated suicide, the depression was so great that thoughts of "what would it be like if I wasn't here" were creeping in.

2: My letter is as follows:

Dear Dad,

This book is my way of saying "I need help." Please read it in its entirety and feel free to ask any questions you want. I will answer ANY questions and I do mean any - let your need for knowledge prevail over modesty.

Additionally, this book is not meant to be a complete transcription of my life and experiences, but rather an introduction to the subject - to let you know that gender identity disorder and transexuality (sic) aren't some freak happening. It is a real condition and is treatable.

I have the name and telephone number of a therapist in Fairport who has over 15 years experience with gender conditions. I would very much appreciate an appointment with her to get a "professional" diagnosis and get started with treatment.

I'm telling you this now because I'm tired of living in secret.

The female name I have chosen for myself is "Lisa Marie" (first, middle).

Your child,
Lisa
$my_old_name

n.b: I had debated for a long while about posting this. But, as I say above: I am SICK of hiding. I'm a transsexual and I don't care if the world knows it.

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