I just hit send on the following email to my family that also included a recent photo. We’re a small clan of 19, and I’m estranged from my father’s side of the family, so while I’m not coming out to dozens like some do, it still has it’s emotional charge.
I’m not quite sure what I feel right now. Relief? Anxiety? My stomach is tight and I feel like I might cry, so there’s that. 🙂 I think this step mostly makes my impending transition more real in a way that I haven’t felt before. While I could turn back, I know that I won’t; I’m in the final chute and I’m on my way.
I offer my letter here for others to crib from in the future if they wish. I forked it from the more business-like one that I’ve been sitting on (and updated since then even) that will likely go out in late April to my professional network.
I have some news to share that everyone in the family should know about. I am transgender (the link is a good backgrounder about it). On May 9, 2016, I will change my name to Heather Noelle, will be referred to by that name and the female pronouns of she, her, and hers, and live the life that I’ve dreamed about since I was a child.
My family, friends, and accomplishments have and continue to generate great happiness for me. At the same time, I struggled with persistent feelings of discontent since childhood surrounding my gender. Those feelings injected discordant notes into the symphony of my life. Through the years I’ve sought and tried many ways to alleviate the distress, all to no avail. This is my way of quieting the cacophony.
While temporarily disruptive, gender transition is the only recognized and effective palliative therapy. For the past several months outside of work I have been living as myself (Heather) part-time and it has brought me tremendous relief from anxiety and depression, allowing me mental breathing room I didn’t even know I had. Based on what other transgender people report post-transition, I expect this relief will increase and be permanent as I shift to living as the person I always felt I should have been.
I nearly transitioned in 2001, but the demands of work, the lack of a good support network, and my divorce from [first wife], and then subsequent brush with homelessness due to debt held me back.
[Few] has been clear for a few years that she did not want to be married to a woman and we amicably and jointly filed for divorce in late February. It will likely be complete in early May. She moved out last October and we share joint 50/50 custody of our kids. We’ve settled into a good groove of them switching households every week and other than the expected and occasional rough patches due to all the changes, they have been typical kids and rolled with the changes.
In the interest of being brief, I won’t bombard you with my personal history, the details what it’s taken for me to get to this point, or the ins and outs of the transgender experience. I do offer to answer questions if you have them. I will take this opportunity to say that if you’ve seen Transparent or Caitlyn Jenner’s show, they are not representative of the transgender experience and I would be happy to explain why and point you at more realistic portrayals if you are interested.
While the past few years have been extraordinarily challenging, I am happy in a way that was impossible for me to be before, and my life is getting better day by day. I have a great family and job, have some writing projects submitted for publication consideration, a new business I’m incubating, and I recently met someone who rocks my world; I’m very excited for the future!
Thank you for your support, and know that I love you.