This is a letter that Laurel wrote to her mom
I've been meaning to talk with you and Dad for a few days now, but I tend to be rather afraid when talking about this subject because I am never sure if it is the right time to discuss it. I feel that a letter might be a good way to breech the subject once again since it is easier for me to get my thoughts out in this manner, and it is easier for me to present it to you this way.
For over a year, I have been seeing Dr. H and now more recently Dr. L, and it's been well over a year since I first told you and Dad about my gender issues. Much of my time up to now has been spent talking to the therapists and waiting for high school to end... waiting for when I'll be able to pursue my feelings. Dr. L is a gender specialist, and he's dealt with cases like my own many times. He has been talking with me recently concerning the actual "logistics" of transitioning, and as I am sure you remember from your meeting with him, he thinks that it is quite possible for me to begin transitioning soon. He has suggested to me that it is possible to attend college as a girl, a task I see as formidable given the timeframe, but which ultimately makes very good sense and which Dr. L assures me, is entirely possible. Dr. L tells me that right now is probably the best time for me to do most of my transition because of several reasons:
1. I'm young. Being young is extremely helpful to transition... in fact it is the primary factor which decides how easily you will be able to transition: the younger, the better, both physically (hormones have more effect,) and psychologically (there is less conditioning to "un-learn.")
2. I have less social obligations. At the moment, I don't have a career which could be jeopardized, nor do I have any relationships with other people beyond friendships and family.
3. Even though I need to find one, I do not currently have a job. This is beneficial because it means less people to have to "come out" to, as well as the fact that it means I won't have to deal with possible harassment and descrimination in the workplace (transgendered individuals are, unfortunately, not yet protected by equal-rights legislation in most jurisdictions except in the City). That would allow me to transition enough to be able to get a job as a girl.
4. Dr. L also feels that, if possible, it is important that I transition before attending college rather than during college so that I start off on the right foot so to speak, which makes it much easier to adapt and thus become more confident.
5. It is less costly. Since puberty isn't 100% complete until age 20 or so, it is still possible to halt/reduce more growth of body/facial hair and musculature, which means less time and money needs to be spent on electrolysis or other things.
These are just some of the reasons why it is advantageous to start transitioning now rather than later. In therapy sessions, both with Dr. H and Dr. L, you expressed concern that transition will be difficult for me because of other people and what they may say/do/etc. I agree that things like that might very well happen... but most likely I will probably just get strange looks from people; transitioning isn't as horrible as one might think. Sure, it's very painful and difficult, but when those words are used to describe it, they usually refer to the emotional part, or the electrolysis, hehe. Encountering difficulty from others depends mainly on how well others are able to "spot" you... that is, identify that you are in transition. This again means that the sooner and the quicker, the better. Dr. L has told me that most transsexuals don't really encounter dangerous problems from other people unless they begin to get emotionally involved with someone... which is when problems occur. Trust me... I don't intend to get myself in that sort of situation. At worst, I'll probably get a few rude or ignorant comments on occasion, wierd looks from some people, and more than likely, no unusual treatment at all... most people are curteous and polite about it because they simply don't care. But even this is only temporary... eventually I will be able to pass just fine, and will not stand out from the crowd (Dr. L doesn't think I'll have much problem at all with that.)
Anyway... most of this you've already heard from Dr. L. During our last session, Dr. L stressed that if I'm emotionally ready for it, I should try my hardest to start transition now, when it is better to do so. However, I know that you and dad probably don't see me as your daughter at all... which probably makes it difficult for you to see me as anything other than your son. It's a period that even I myself went through... that I know my friends went through (at least Louis... not so much Ashe because she knew about me right off the bat) and that I'm sure you're going through. I went through a long period where, when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was a very masculine face staring back at me. I now understand exactly how much things like confidence, emotional state, and state of mind contribute to your own appearance... and how much they can change how you percieve yourself in the mirror and how others percieve you. Dr. L suggests that I should start getting some clothes and dressing up at home (I hate how the term "dressing up" makes it sound like I'm your average crossdresser, but it's the only term I have,) so that you and Dad can start seeing how I might look... and perhaps become more comfortable with it. It won't become any easier to deal with until it actually starts being dealt with. Anyway... the process doesn't have to be awkward and uncomfortable... it can be fun you know. After having been dressed at home for a while, Dr. L suggests gradually becoming more and more full-time, until I feel I am comfortable enough to try in public.
By this time, of course, we will have to let Grandma in on this, however I do not wish to hinge my transition on whether or not Grandma approves... I would be telling her simply because she has every right to know about something once it stops being a private thing... I can't expect to be in public and not consider her "public" as well. Also, it's only right to do so. As for how I/we will inform Grandma about this is something I am worried about. As I said, I do not want to hinder my transition simply because I live nextdoor to her, and thus I need to figure out how she will be told... something which I will need your help with. I would hope we could sit down and come up with a way to tell her, since it would be most awkward and quite a shock for me to just waltz over to her house and announce that I wish to be a girl. I will need your support, and will want you there with me when I tell her, in case she doesn't take it very well. From that point, I have no idea whether Grandma will tell anyone else in the family... but considering I don't see everyone frequently, that won't be too much of a concern at the immediate present.
As of July 4, I will be 18 years old, meaning that Dr. L will be able to refer me to an endocrinologist who can then prescribe me female hormones. Again, the sooner this happens, the better my prospects of having a much easier and comfortable transition. However, Dr. L feels that it would be important for me to spend a little time dressed up at home before refering me to an endocrinologist, to judge my comfort level. I assure you... it's just a formality, so the sooner I can start getting in some "practice" at home, the better. (Of note: I do not necissarily need to be referred to an endocrinologist. Any M.D. can prescribe the required medication, and quite often that is the way it is done since many people have doctors who are already under their health plan, however finding a doctor who is willing to help with transition isn't as easy as simply being referred to an endocrinologist who collaborates with the therapist.)
I suppose that mainly what I am asking in this letter is for a sort of "permission" to go ahead. Not that I'd legally need it once I turn 18 (not that I want to play an "I'm 18 and can do whatever I want" card,) but because I will need your help getting through this and such, and I care very much about you and Dad and what you think of me, and so I feel that it is only right to have you by my side during this process. I understand that right now you and Dad are very stressed out over Sis and her lack of... well... everything, and I certainly don't want to make things harder on you... but I can't really afford to wait. I don't want to let Sis ruin my chances at doing what I need to do just because she has problems which require more attention (I'm not complaining, really.) However, this doesn't need to be all-that-stressful. Sure, there'll be stressful nights spent explaining it to Grandma or something like that... but the last thing I want to do is cause any more stress for you and Dad, and I think that this could even be helpful in relieving some stress over sis's screw-ups... to help get your minds on something else that isn't as screwed-up (well... depending on what your outlook on this issue is.)
Anyway... I hope you understand why I wrote a letter. It's mainly because I'm never sure when it's a good time to talk about this with you. This isn't a good subject to talk about when someone has had a bad day, or when someone is overly stressed-out, and so I thought that a letter might help you know what you're "up against" before we do talk about it. A letter also helps me get all of my thoughts out on it. Too many times, I go into a conversation (or even a therapy session) with a list of topics I'd like to discuss or ideas I wish to convey, which ultimately gets lost because I forget them in the anxiety-filled moment. This way, I can get out all of the things I'd like to talk to you about without forgetting to address something. Anyway... that's pretty much it... I just really wanted to get this started, because Dr. L thinks I can, suggests I do, and after all... that's why I'm seeing him, right?
I love you both very, very much,
P.S.- Lauren is the name I've picked that I would like to use... you said it's what you thought you would have named me had I been born a girl. Certainly you and Dad can have input on this if you'd like... since I feel it's important to be given a name by parents... I want to discuss important stuff like this with you two.