Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Coming Out Letter

I sent the following letter to all my close relatives just this Monday:

Recently I've been going through some things, and I feel like since you're family it would be helpful to keep you in the loop, so here goes. I'll tell the shortish version first, then provide the long version if you're interested.

Basically, ever since puberty hit I became somewhat depressed because I recognized that I identified as female, but my body was developing as male. Before then it just wasn't as big of a deal since I could still do most of what I enjoyed (being more of a tomboy like my Mom), but once puberty hit is really when I recognized that I struggled with these feelings. I went back and forth with them for about half a year, not understanding why just imagining myself going through normal life as a female felt so good and natural to me, like I understood myself better when I hoped for living as a female. I knew this wasn't accurate however (being biologically male), so eventually I decided that was enough of these feelings. I told myself "I'm male, I'm male, I'm male," with the hope that I could learn to accept my gender, something it seemed like everyone else could do so well.

Instead I became suicidal. I tried drowning myself in the bathtub and other related things, but luckily wasn't successful. Eventually I got over that with the hope of getting over these feelings, recognizing how much killing myself would hurt those I love, and hoping for helping a lot of people later in life in whatever career field I went into. That also meant no one really knew what was going on though, so I continued to struggle with these feelings, daily, until college. Finally I decided (after still not being able to get over them after going to a new environment and such) that I should discuss them with my LDS Bishop, so he referred me to a therapist that helped me understand that these feelings are called Gender Dysphoria, also known as being transgender.

He also helped me understand that these weren't feelings I caused or can really change (being more difficult to change than sexual orientation), which was immensely relieving at first. I came to understand that these were a legitimate struggle I dealt with, but something to learn to accept, then move on with my life and still try and accomplish what was meaningful to me.

Eventually though, I started getting really depressed again, because I wasn't able to go on a mission (due to the depression and other related mental things this created - like mania with one of my meds while I was working in Cali last summer) and because I didn't feel like I was moving forward anymore. I came to understand and accept these feelings, but they still caused an internal conflict between experiencing life as male, and having a very strong female identification. I also came to understand that I was attracted to guys, something I had been putting off "until I figured out these other feelings first," as I told myself. To be clear being transgender is different than being gay (because they still identify as their biological gender), but I personally struggle with being gay and being transgender, AKA being a straight female internally. Well I think that’s me - honestly I’m still not sure exactly about my sexuality and who I’m attracted to, but I do know that I’d be extremely uncomfortable in any relationship (with a guy or a girl) where they saw me as a male, so I’m addressing that first. Because the one thing along these lines I do know is that I strongly identify as female. Either way eventually I ended up in a psych ward, but that was a surprisingly a positive experience for the most part.

Since then I've decided that I needed to address these feelings since they significantly affect my ability to perform in college and elsewhere, so I've decided to transition to presenting as female. I've started on anti-androgens (to block further masculization), and estradiol (pill form of estrogen) to help me pass better as female. It's a process that simply takes time though, and that's where I'm at. I feel okay with this decision from a religious standpoint too, because I feel that (as outlined in The Family, A Proclamation to The World) spiritually it's best to assume I'm male, but that transition may just be necessary as a temporary thing for this life to address some kind of physical imperfection in my brain. I still have a testimony and sustain the LDS prophets, but I’m just trying to do the best with what I understand. This is all still really scary though – transition is a big process.

You can read more at my blog at daniphye.blogspot.com if you're curious (an anonymous blog by a pseudoname I like so please don't leave my name there if you comment), but that's essentially where I'm at. I'd be happy to answer any further questions you have via mail, email, or phone if you'd like too.

With love,
__ (potentially Dani/Danielle __)

Their responses so far have been fantastic. I love my family dearly.

2 comments: