My coming out letter (annotated)

As promised, this is it. Sent on 9/26/2017, and I’ve changed so much since this. I’ll interject a few times to add context/updates. So why am I posting this in the first place, given it’s such a personal topic? Well, I want to help any other trans (specifically MtF) kids who are having trouble with coming out. This is what worked for me, but it was a long journey here, and might not be the best if your parents are more closed-minded (read: conservative). Put your safety first, and go at your own pace, but be yourself. I know you can do it. 🙂

Subject: just so you know (long)

Dear Mom and Dad (and [sibling], if you’re reading this),

For the last few months I have been getting depressed, which likely affected my increased missing assignments at school. I grew distant from all but a few friends, and didn’t really feel like I “fit in” with the other guys. I have thought many times that I would be happier had I been a girl. So, I realize I’m probably transgender, or at least non-binary or something.

It’s true that I was really depressed in the middle of high school, but honestly I’m not sure when that started. It messes with your sense of time, I guess. Also, I was pretty set on being a girl, but I tried to be noncommittal in the email so they’d listen to me.

It’s not a choice, people don’t choose genders because they want to. All I know is that the thought of spending my life as “one of the guys” makes me uncomfortable and sad. Once I realized that there’s a name for it (gender dysphoria) and that transgender people aren’t all like the stereotypes of “feeling like X trapped in Y’s body”, I started to feel a little better. Here’s a few other thoughts I’ve had lately.

How I “realized” came in a couple of stages. First, I started buying clothes on Amazon covertly, kinds I had always wanted to try and have almost none of now. Then r/anime_irl on Reddit let to r/traa, and the rest was history.

  • I was uncomfortable the first time I had to change in a locker room in middle school. I got over it, but I always go into a corner away from others when changing, and try to do it as quickly as possible so others don’t see me shirtless.
  • I want to lose weight in my belly region, but I don’t mind having “man boobs”/gynecomastia at all. I basically have a B-cup right now…
  • The prospect of having a beard shadow makes me feel physically ill.
  • When hearing a recording of myself, I am uncomfortable with how my voice sounds. There’s not much that can be done about it once it’s dropped.
  • Avoiding dating/relationships, mainly because I can’t see myself being somebody’s “boyfriend” and having to act gruff and manly all the time.
  • I usually play a female character in video games.
  • Hate all “formal” clothing. I’d rather die than wear a suit to anything.
  • I lied awake at night, wondering what being a girl would be like. At one point, I actually thought that was normal: that all boys had thoughts of being girls, but simply accepted what they were given and moved on. Pretty embarrassing, now that I think about it.

Yep yep yep. I only recently started using women’s restrooms (when there’s no gender-neutral one), and it’s really no big deal here. The fact that there’s a “controversy” over trans people using bathrooms is infuriating. And I recently started using a calorie tracker app, not even to change my figure, but because you need to be in healthy BMI ranges for GRS. Yep. I agree still with the appearance stuff, and I don’t hate my voice as much as I did, but it’s disheartening that it usually gets me clocked.

Right now, I just want to start growing my hair longer, because my self-esteem is improving as it grows. It won’t be that long for senior pictures (hair only grows about a half inch per month). Ultimately I want to get it to about shoulder length. I don’t see it being a big deal, as long as I take good care of it. It’s long enough now that I find using a brush is easier than a comb. Maybe when it gets longer, I could try the place Mom goes to?

I did try the place Mom went to, and that was OK, but she didn’t know I was a girl. I have since gone to a trans-friendly stylist recommended by my counselor, and my hair is just past chin-length now!

I see myself being more of a “tomboy”. My hobbies and interests (music, computers, games) will stay the same, as they distract me enough to get through the day. My clothing will continue to be mainly hoodies, T-shirts and jeans. I feel that I would be more comfortable living if I had feminine features, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to suddenly act like a different person. At some point when I’ve made progress, I will probably use a new name/pronouns, but I don’t think I have the guts to do that now.

I hadn’t decided on my name yet at this time. I initially thought it best to choose another N name like my deadname (my top picks were Natalie and Naomi), but I eventually chose Emilia when I realized I could shorten it to Emi. I’m not sure where it came from, but it may or may not have been influenced by Re:Zero (anime). And yep, I’m a “tomboy”, but really more like long-haired butch. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It may or may not make a lot of sense to you that I see 20+ year old me as more of a tomboyish/geek girl than a man, but it seems that it’s not uncommon, especially in my field and age group. With all the diversity programs in tech companies, being trans might actually be an advantage (and there are a lot of trans programmers; it’s almost a cliché). The ARM processor that powers your smartphone was designed by a trans woman.

I’ve found soooooo many more inspiring trans people since then, like Jamie Clayton (actress for Nomi on the Netflix show Sense8 by the Wachowski sisters) and how could I forget Laura Jane Grace!

So hear me out on this. At some point I’d like to try and start hormone therapy (HRT) to stop more masculine traits and avoid having to get hair removal later. The pills are fairly cheap (T-blocker + estrogen are often <$30/mo, although blood tests cost more), you usually start on a low dose, and some people taking it have had mood improvements. I’ll tell you all I know about this later, because there are some side effects, but I’m old enough to make my own decisions. I can always stop, as the effects are gradual, so let’s try it. There’s a clinic [near us] that offers it, as does the Planned Parenthood close to [college]. I’ll make the first call to make sure it’s available, but I might need you to go with me for legal/insurance reasons. They also do abortions, though, and I know your opinion on that. This doesn’t have to be done right away (my 18th birthday is ~8 months away), but if there’s some kind of waiting list, I’d rather be put on it sooner.

I started HRT on June 7, 2018. That’s two months after my birthday, so I didn’t need my mom’s permission, but she was on board by that point. It’s made me way more emotional, and I think my tits have grown a bit, but not sure.

I’ll answer any other questions you have, as long as you’re polite about it. To be honest, I was afraid of how you’d respond, so I held back for a while. With all the pressure of school and driving lately, I have to get this off my chest now, so I can move forward, hopefully with your support. I’m going to take it one step at a time, and at the end of the day, I’ll still be the same person.

This was really a great closing. I wanted to put a little pressure on them, but emphasizing the love. This is the way to do it in my opinion, but of course, all parents are different.

Love,

[deadname]

p.s. I bought a book for you, too! I was going to leave it on my desk along with this message when I went to school, but I realized you wouldn’t be home to get it. Thanks for reading all this; it took a long time to write.

I gave this book to my sibling, and don’t know if my mom ever read it.

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