Monday, October 5, 2009

Telling Mom

"I can’t say that you’re losing me,
But I must be that which I am,
Though I know where this could take me,
No tears, no sympathy."
   -- VNV Nation, Epicentre

I've been talking a lot about wanting to come out to my family, and I'm happy to say that I've finally done something about it!

A month or two ago, I found out about National Coming Out Day, which is October 11th. I tend to procrastinate a lot, so I decided that setting that day as my goal was a reasonable way to pressure myself to do what I want to do, and tell more people.

With the day quickly approaching, last week I convinced myself to tell my sister. She was very supportive, and helped me reason through how the rest of my family would actually react, as opposed to the horrible scenarios I'd imagined up. I decided to keep up the momentum, so Saturday night I finally wrote my letter to mom, and gave it to her on Sunday. Here's the letter (which ended up being a lot shorter than my original versions):

"Dear Mom,

For the last year or so, I have been working on some positive changes in my life that I wanted you to know about. What I want to say may be a surprise, and may be difficult to understand at first. I only hope you'll keep an open mind.

I suppose I should get the hardest part over with and tell you, I'm transgender. This means that while I'm physically male, I don't identify with being male. These feelings have frustrated me throughout my life, but I always assumed, like many people do, that it was just something I had to live with.

About a year ago I started researching the subject more. I found out that Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is a medically recognized condition, with established treatments, and that it's much more common than most people think. After a lot of consideration and soul-searching, I realized that I needed to start being true to myself, and since then I've felt as though a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

[My girlfriend] was the first person I came out to, and she has been extremely patient, accepting, and supportive. Since then I've also come out to my close friends, and so far I haven't received any negative reactions. I feel so lucky to have surrounded myself with such open and accepting people.

There are many levels of treatment for GID, so I've been working since March with a therapist who specializes in gender dysphoria, and I'm taking things one careful step at a time. I'm sure you've noticed that I've pierced my ears, and that I've started growing my hair out. I also took a bigger step recently and started hormone replacement therapy.

I don't want attention, or to be treated any differently, and that's exactly why I'm telling you, so that I can simply be myself. I told [my sister] last week, but none of the other family know yet. I still have no idea how I'm going to tell dad. If you think that any of the other family would be accepting, please feel free to tell them, it would save me a lot of anxiety. Just let me know if and who you tell, so I can keep track. =)

I've come a long way in the last year, but I'm still very near to the beginning of this journey. It took me 26 years to figure this out, and longer to accept it, so I don't expect you to immediately understand it either.

Please, take your time, and ask questions whenever you're ready, even if that time isn't today. For now, I just hope you know that I'm still your child, and you will always be my mom.

Love, [Me]"

Honestly there's not much more to the story than that. She read the letter, nodding her head the whole time. She asked what was going to happen from here, asked my girlfriend if she was ok with it, and told me that she understood that it's just part of who I am.

After we left, I got a bit emotional as relief washed over me, but really the only interesting thing about coming out to mom was how incredibly uneventful it was. It's anticlimactic after how much I'd built this up in my head, but that's definitely a good thing. =) I can only hope that it will be similarly unremarkable when I start telling more people next week.


  1. I think that was one of the bravest things any one of my friends has ever done. Congrats. Don't worry if you wrench your arm trying to pat yourself on the back. You deserve it for this one. :-)

  2. Thanks Tyson. That means a lot coming from someone as sincere as yourself. =)