I wrote this on May 19th, 2019. It was close to 2 weeks before I would socially transition fulltime. I had been on hormones for just over a year at that point in time and subtle changes were taking place. I wasn’t quite out to everyone at this point but it’s safe to say that most people knew already. My family is important to me, and I had to tell my siblings before I could go fulltime. I had been turning this over and over in my head for a while on what I would say to my brother. I’ve always looked up to him ever since I was little, and I have the upmost admiration for him. This was hidden away in my emails for quite a while, and I thought maybe it would be a good idea to post this. So, with his permission, here is my coming out letter and his response is attached at the end. Thank you, brother, for accepting me and for always being a good role model.
Jon and Melinda,
By the time that I finish writing this letter, I imagine that I will have been working on it, on-and-off, for several days. I intend to take great care with it, because what I want from the outset is for this letter to preemptively explain away the things you may wish to know, and to answer the questions you will want to ask. Regardless of my wishes and best intentions, there will remain things that you do not know, and there will remain questions that need asking. It’s just the nature of things, I guess, so I suppose all that I’m wanting to say with this disclaimer is that I’m going to be trying as hard as I can.
And the reason I’m taking so much care, putting so much effort into making sure that what I say is what I really and truly want to say, how I want it said, is because I am writing you to tell you that I am a transgendered human being.
This is… not as jarring of a proclamation to me as it probably is to you. If you saw this coming, that’s great! I didn’t really try to hide it. If not, please stick with me for at least a few pages so that I can try and explain some things.
In short, my brain does not; has not; nor ever will; identify with my anatomical sex assigned at birth. The diagnosis is “Gender Dysphoria.” Unlike most medical conditions, you can’t see what I have. Ultrasounds cannot measure it, MRI’s cannot scan it, and blood work cannot identify it. Confirmation of diagnosis is through relief of symptoms found through medical intervention. Just like most diseases or birth defects, there is no clear cause.
They say the hardest step in fixing a problem is admitting you have one. I had one, but I couldn’t face it. Time and time again, throughout my life I tried to run from it, but it wasn’t going away. Since early childhood, I tried to mirror my behavior like that of my father and brother and other male role models, thinking my actions would ultimately program my thinking. It was a false assumption, but for a child I knew no better.
This carried over into adult life as well, thinking if I just overcome the next hurdle; sooner or later, my brain would be normal. I prayed it away, suppressed it, married, divorced, had children, thinking this would all fix me. My brain could not relate to men, yet I kept going through the motions, playing a role so that I could be accepted, I grew beards, shaved my head, did any manly thing I could think of, to include manual labor jobs. This is probably why I was never able to figure out what I wanted to do with my life after school. Because I didn’t even know who I was. I became really good at acting like I was supposed to. It became autonomous. I fooled everyone close to me and I was able to fool myself for a time as well. Over time, it has taken a toll on me to the point I was beginning to check out on life.
I spent a considerable amount of time studying “Gender Dysphoria,” seeking answers to what I was living with. I spent countless sleepless nights and days reading everything I could regarding this, from scientific journals, psychology articles to news articles, blogs and zines on the web. I read countless personal stories, both good and bad and it resonated with me. In short, I learned this was biological in nature, and nothing could be done to change it.
Popular belief outside of the medical community holds that people with “Gender Dysphoria” are “Gender Confused.” This is far from the truth. No one would choose to undergo a drastic change, being “Confused.” We are born with it and is inherent with us from our earliest recollection. This is a hugely painful process. Emotionally and physically. You lose people you love. Friends, family, children, jobs. The suicide rate amongst transgender people is close to 41%, while the national average for the general population is around 4.6%. The difference is the rejection and stigma transgender people face, especially from their families.
Coming to grips with this has been an absurdly hard process, and it has constantly sent me into depression and loneliness. Nearly every personal problem that I’ve had over the course of my life, I can trace back almost certainly to repressed questions of gender identity. Making myself realize it and embrace it took years, the fear and uncertainty of what to do about it made me miserable. I came up with every possible excuse that I couldn’t possibly be this way.
I never told anyone. I lied about what made me sad, or I just didn’t say. I honestly didn’t even have the words back then. Coming out and actually telling someone “I’m transgendered” was a prospect far, far too scary to even consider. Instead I sank inside myself, jealous of people more brave than me and all full of self-pity, and it’s all because I was too scared to just tell anyone that there was something wrong with me. It took being completely low, down, and beaten for me to seek help in the form of therapy. What followed has been nearly 2 years worth of ups and downs, mostly downs in the form of trying to understand myself and learning to accept myself. Thoughts of suicide have been prevalent in my head off and on through the years but mostly in the last 2 years as I have battled to accept myself and the potential harm it could do to my family. There may have even been an attempt to end it all and throw in the towel. Surely that seemed like the better alternative, in my mind anyways. When in reality all I wanted was to stop hurting.
Within weeks of beginning hormone drugs, the anxiety I lived with most of my adult life began to fade. Never before, had I felt such comfort. The need to focus on concentrating was no longer there. The war going on inside my brain was subsiding to the point of tranquility. The brain fog I never knew I had lifted. The constant anger I felt went away. I found out what it means to actually feel happiness and other emotions. No amount of therapy, suppression or mind altering games, could provide such a relief.
This is the part where I want to make clear that this is not a choice. I am not deciding to become a girl. This is me allowing myself to be who I am, and it is the only route that I can take, because I am done lying about who I am. In transitioning from male to female, I am going to become a second-class citizen in the eyes of many people. I am going to be opening myself up to discrimination and hate. I am going to jeopardize my job security. I am opening myself up to abandonment and rejection by family and friends. I am diving headfirst into what is really a whole world of social trouble, and it is not something that I would choose to do. I’m going to go into debt hundreds of times due to medical bills, and this is not something that I would choose to do.
For the near future, know that my transition is underway right now. Things will be changing about my dress, my mannerisms, my voice, my looks – but keep in mind that beneath it all I’m still the same person. Same likes, same dislikes, same jokes, same taste. I know it’s going to be strange, I know it’s going to be different, and I know most of you have never had to go through this before. It’s okay, I haven’t either. I know there will be awkward situations. I know I’ll be accidentally called Greg and referred to as a male, and I know it will feel weird having to correct yourself when it comes to these things. I expect it, and I’m fine with it. I also expect questions, lots and lots of questions, and I want them to be asked without fear. I’m an understanding person, and I understand how weird this might be for some of you, and I want to minimize that as much as I can—for everyone’s sake.
And my brother's reply;
Thanks for the letter and for being so brave in telling us. All I have to say is that you are my brother (soon to be sister) and I support what makes you happy and makes you feel like yourself.
I appreciate the explanation and sharing of your feelings and struggles. The part of the letter that made me feel best was the part where you said this process is making you feel good about yourself.
You have nothing to fear in telling Melinda or me and you should never worry about being your true self around us.
Although I didn't see it in the letter, I assume you are going by Lillith now. If so, I will try to remember that going forward, although as you said I might call you Greg from time to time :)
Best to you in your Journey and I hope you continue to find happiness.