Friday, January 1, 2010
This is a "coming out" letter written by our Transgender friend, Sophie. She wants to share it with you so you might be able to use it when you are ready to tell others about your authentic self. The letter is well writen and heart felt.
The original post can be found on Sophie's blog, Mental Boonies.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2009
New Year, New Me
A letter to family and friends on "Coming Out"
Dear family and friends,
This will probably come as somewhat surprising news to some, maybe not so much to others. But to the close friends I have told it provided an “ah-hah!” moment that made a lot of things clear to them.
I have been under the care of a doctor and a clinical therapist for several months and have been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (GID). This is a formal diagnosis used by psychiatrists and physicians to describe people who have significant gender dysphoria (discontent with the biological sex they were born with). To put it in much simpler terms, I am not, and have never been, happy with being a male. In the near future I plan to start living full time as a woman and will eventually have sexual reassignment surgery.
I have known this since I was twelve or thirteen years old, and looking back now I can remember events as far back as age four that point to it. Occasionally awareness of it would surface but for the most part it was repressed. This suppressed anxiety surfaced frequently as depression and my therapist and I feel that this was the cause of, or at least strongly contributed to, bouts of substance abuse and a couple failed marriages (that probably should not have been entered into in the first place).
I realize that this is going to conflict with some people’s strongly held personal and religious convictions. I also have my own strongly held personal and religious beliefs and I am spiritually comfortable with my decision.
Galatians 3:28 - There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
I also understand that all of this is going to cause a certain amount of emotional turmoil in some as they will feel it is a rejection of all that I am and my previous existence. I am sincerely sorry for that, but please understand that this is not a rejection of who and where I have been, but rather a confirmation of where I am going in the future.
It is also NOT a “lifestyle” that I am “choosing”. The American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) are both in agreement that all attempted methods of trying to change a person’s internal gender identity to match their physical identity have failed. There is a growing body of evidence indicating that in transsexual males a wash of androgens (testosterone) that is supposed to happen during the 12-18th weeks of gestation did not occur. It is this initial burst of male hormones that “wires” the brain to be male.
The only effective method of treatment is Gender/Sexual Reassignment Surgery or, to use the technically incorrect but more common colloquial term, a sex-change. The professional medical organization that maintains the Standards of Care for treating transsexuals states that: “Sex Reassignment is Effective and Medically Indicated in Severe GID. In persons diagnosed with transsexualism or profound GID, sex reassignment surgery, along with hormone therapy and real-life experience, is a treatment that has proven to be effective. Such a therapeutic regimen, when prescribed or recommended by qualified practitioners, is medically indicated and medically necessary. Sex reassignment is not "experimental," "investigational," "elective,""cosmetic," or optional in any meaningful sense. It constitutes very effective and appropriate treatment for transsexualism or profound GID”.
For those that will ask, yes, my wife knew about my gender dysphoria. The kids also know, accept and approve and are growing to understand. I have no specific timeline yet for my transition. However, there is a medical Standard of Care that covers the process and requirements. Pretty much all reputable medical people around the world (including mine) follow these. They involve a period of time under the evaluation of a licensed therapist and a medical doctor. During this time you may start taking female hormones, presenting as a woman part time, getting rid of facial hair, etc. Eventually you transition to living as a female full time, known as the Real Life Experience (RLE). Only at the conclusion of that will your therapist, in collaboration with another mental health physician (usually a psychiatrist) prepare the letter required by the surgeons who perform gender reassignment surgery. While many think that the SOC are too restrictive they are a very effective guide to transitioning from male to female. There is a less than 2% “regret rate” for people who have gone through the surgery following them, and that is considerably better than most surgeries that do not have such Standards of Care.
Please know that I love you all.
Posted by De Sube at 1/01/2010 09:48:00 AM