Hi Dad.

You never see people say that. It's always "Hi mom," whenever the yokels are on TV.

But hi, nontheless. I've had this thing I want to tell you, but I don't know how to, or how you'll take it, or what. I wish I could be sure, but I can't, but I'm sure, if you were even to believe, or even understand it, you would be calm, though concerned. But I can't work up the courage to tell it to you directly, but it needs to be said.

You've always been supportive of me, and pushed me to learn things. I've always loved that. Your coffee-table lectures on physics, your early support of me learning to program and play the piano. And I love how you push to keep learning things yourself, even at 50, your model airplanes and trying to learn everything new about computers even though they've changed so much since you first used them in grad school, punch card decks and teletypes and the original Colossal Cave Adventure which caused you to take an extra year on your dissertation, which I recently tried to read but couldn't understand, but that's okay because you're an optical engineer and quantum mechanics effects on light is your bag, and I can't expect to understand that, just as you've resigned not to try to understand all the esoteric mathematics theory which CS PhD students like myself deal with...

But you've always been supportive. And you've definitely always been a father to me. But I don't want to be your son... I want to be your daughter.

How can I possibly tell you something like this?

You've always been supportive, but you've also always been stubborn, at least at certain things. A virus destroyed your partition table a few years ago when it detected you running a virus scan on it, and it took much convincing to get you to even consider running a virus scanner because of it. And you've been stubborn about maintaining your horrible diet, even after your heart attack, though you've gotten better about that too.

But how can you be expected to accept me as female?

Mom thinks you're clueless about things like this. I wouldn't know. You've never talked about it, never voiced any opinion on gender issues... one time you hinted that you abhorred the way that gays are discriminated against in general, but that was all it was, a hint. I think you feel that one's lifestyle is their own business.

You've been surprised by my brother's piercings, especially the one he did himself, but you never have voiced any dissatisfaction or disrespect or the like for his own body modifications, or the way he dresses like a punk, but he's more straight-laced than most in a conservative garb, so his appearance probably isn't an issue. You only disapprove when he plays his punk rock too loud, or when his chains scratch something.

But that's hardly the same thing.

I don't want to hurt you. I sometimes wish I could help being what I am, but I can't.

I know you want all of us to find our own way. But I don't know how you'd react to what my way might end up being.

I wonder if maybe you know already. Maybe you've read my homepage. I don't see why you wouldn't have. I forced myself to link my personal and academic homepages so that certain people would find it. But you haven't said anything.

You never say anything.

You stick to the concrete, rarely, if ever, wandering into the realm of emotion, of identity, of this sort of thing. So I just don't know how you'd react, if you'd approve, if it'd upset you, if it'd hurt you...

The last thing I want to do is hurt you.

But I have to find my own way, too.

What should I do?