LETTERS FROM FAMILY - The Antijen Pages

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LETTERS FROM FAMILY

Mom

We have a family e-mail list including an extended family. The following are two letters written about Danielle for all the family to read. The first is from her brother, and the second from her Grandma Clela. The third letter is from Danielle to the rest of the family.

....

Hello again everyone.

This is a subject that probably a lot of people have discussed butt are a little afraid to ask questions about. The subject I am talking about is my wonderful sister Danielle.

Danielle decided to come clean to me with her secret while she was in Phoenix visiting me. I went to work one day and said good-bye to Daniel and came home to Danielle. At first I was full of self pity, and didn't know what I was gonna do or what everyone would think of it. For several weeks I could hardly sleep at night thinking of what would happen to her and why this had happened to our family. We had already been through so much and now this. Before this happened to our family I had watched talk shows where there were people in similar situations and I had to turn the channel because it made me almost ill. I always thought to myself that the people that were like that must have grown up in some really messed up families. I have since changed my mind and look at all people in a different light.

It's kinda strange how things can change 180 degrees when they hit close to home. At first I really thought no good could possibly come of this change that Daniel had made. He was my brother for 16 years, 16 years is a long time to know someone and then all of a sudden for them to change. The neighbor girl who was a very close friend helped Danielle go through this transformation and they became very close. I had known the neighbor, Denise, for about two years and we were pretty good friends. She helped me to understand a little about why Danielle had done this, and was there to talk to about it when I needed her. It almost felt a little like it was my fault that this had happened because I had been there almost all the time and I let this happen. I tried to think of where it could have gone wrong and why this terrible thing had happened to us.

As time passed I got more comfortable with it and eventually even got to the point where I could call her Danielle right to her face. I visited my Mom several months ago and took Danielle to the beach to stroll around the boardwalk. I enjoyed the time I had with her immensely and know that it would have never been nearly the same if I had taken her before she went through the transformation. She had turned from a sort of mischievous boy into the most wonderful girl anyone could know. My friend in Phoenix saw her at graduation and instantly fell in love with her and her lovely smile.

It now seems to me that she is very happy to be alive and transmits that attitude to everyone she knows. I know from stories my Mom tells me that she is very outgoing and meets new people every day. Whenever I call, she is very excited about all kinds of things that she is doing in her life and it just fills my heart with pride because I can see the big smile on her face and know the hard work and struggle she had had to deal with to get to where she is. I know if you all knew her the way she is now you would instantly be overwhelmed by the beaming attitude she has toward life, and the courage and confidence she has in herself to be a good person no matter what has happened.

Although at first I felt sorry for myself, I now consider myself lucky to have a sister such as she is. Most people fight with their sisters and don't appreciate them much. I think of how proud I am of mine and know that this is one of the bravest and most warm people I know, and it just so happens that she is my sister. While most girls her age are worried about makeup and perfume and how they won't live without a certain outfit, my sister is enjoying life and bringing joy to those that know her.  She has grown up brave just like my Mom and she will be unstoppable in whatever goals she set for herself and I will stand behind her no matter what she decides.

This brings me to another subject I have to talk about. Some of you may wonder why I am not married and do not really have any serious girlfriends in my life so far. Well, any girl that I meet and is a candidate has some very high expectations from me because two of the women that I admire the most happen to be my family members. That is my Mom and my sister and it will be hard for any girls to come up to par against them. But then, half the fun is finding that special girl that I know has to be out there somewhere.
      Love,
        David

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RE: MY NEW GRANDDAUGHTER

David did well to introduce us to his sister, Danielle. I used to have eight grandsons and two granddaughters and now I have seven grandsons and three granddaughters, and the most recent is the oldest. That might be difficult to explain, but not after you have met Danielle.

It has been a little more than a year since Evelyn told me that her 15-year old son, Daniel, had revealed to her that he believed he was really a girl. Almost immediately I said, "He has always been a girl!"

You see, I have many memories of this special child. I remember a small boy of about three years who often sat on the arm of the couch combing and arranging his mother's long and curly hair. (He was still styling her hair years later.) That small boy liked to play with dolls and he saw some kind of value in a dismembered Barbie doll in the toys that I kept for visiting children. On his ninth birthday, his wish was for a doll with long hair and a pony with a long mane - and the family fulfilled his wish. Several times he had me help him make clothes for his doll. He would pick out some material from the scrap box and together we would fashion clothes. His choice of cloth was always the bright shiny pieces.

In kindergarten when he was getting settled in a new school, I asked how he liked it. He said, "It is beautiful! The colors are so pretty." I didn't understand that statement until I had an occasion to pick him up from school. Every schoolroom door around the big court was painted a different color - pink, purple, green, blue, yellow - so it was very colorful. He always described textures, as well as colors, whenever it was appropriate.

He never played any sports, except when he was involved in acrobatic classes which seemed to fit him naturally. He did exceptionally well with it.

This little grandson was extremely loving. I always got a big hug when he came to visit, another when he left, and usually a time or two during the stay. He was also very sensitive to other people's feelings.

He could tell when someone was not feeling well or was angry or uncomfortable.

At an age when most little boys were finding their best friends from among the boys, his friends were girls. When he had a chance to take two or three friends on an outing on his birthdays, he always picked girls, and this pattern of having girls for his close friends continued through junior high school.

Daniel was always close to his mother in ways that you would not expect of a son. They appeared to have such fun together. When he became old enough to be aware of his mother's clothes, he would advise her on what to wear, and later she always took him along to pick out new clothes for her wardrobe. Two years ago his mother and I helped to host a bridal shower for a friend. Her son, then 13 years old, arranged her hair. He used a small chignon of curls on the back of her hair and with a ribbon, blended it in with her own curls. The style was perfect with the flower print and lace of her dress. She was pretty as a picture, and Daniel appreciated and praised her beauty profusely.

He was the one in the family that would get the urge to clean and straighten the house, and would get after his brothers to put things away. As he started to think about his life work, he chose interior decorating. At one time I sent him a subscription to an interior decorating magazine, and I knew he liked to visit model homes to look at the furnishings.

Those of us close to this special child recognized that he was different, but had no clue as to the cause. He was very animated as he talked, with unusual movements of his hands and body. As I watched him walk, I sometimes thought, "Can't he walk like a boy?  Doesn't he know he walks like a girl?" He knew, because his schoolmates teased him about his walk, and I know now that he couldn't do anything about it. Now we see those same movements and animation and feminine gait as perfect for a teenage girl.

The age at which Danielle made this drastic change was unusual, for more often it is made much later in life. It wasn't a sudden idea, for Evelyn knew some months before the announcement that Daniel was emotionally upset. Some have wondered if a teenager of 16 years should be making this important decision. Consider this question: At what point in life did you make the "decision" to be male or female?

Many studies have been done to determine why girls act like girls and boys like boys. From what I have read, it is not because people expect girls to act like girls, but simply because that behavior is genetically determined. Girls play with dolls, are nurturing, and place great importance on relationships. Boy play with cars and trucks, are competitive, and play ball. For more information read, 'Brain Sex' by Mohr and Jessel.

I can identify with David's discomfort at listening to the transsexuals on TV talk shows. It turned me off too, because I figured there was something unhealthy and unbalanced about such persons, and I still don't understand their desire to become celebrities. I knew one woman that became a man after she had two sons, and later became a woman again. She told her story on national TV. But I have gained tolerance for those individuals whose sexual orientation does not match their sexual organs because of my close contact with Danielle. She does not want to be given attention because she is a transsexual. She is a girl and has always been a girl and doesn't want people to think about anything else.

What I think is commendable is that Evelyn immediately sought professional advice on how to assist Danielle to make the transition in the way that was best for her. This led to psychological testing, electrolysis, and hormone therapy - treatments which were uncomfortable and sometimes painful for Danielle. The fact that her brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles on both sides of her family were supportive, with one or two exceptions, is also commendable. Some who have had qualms about getting acquainted with Danielle have had their doubts immediately swept away when they meet the beautiful, vivacious, out-going young lady. Even though I too, understood the situation and knew it was right for Danielle, I have had a real problem with the pronouns - he, she, him, her - but I am getting better at it. I am so pleased to see her blossom scholastically and socially, and her excitement about life is contagious. She has courageously faced the necessary difficulties, and recognizes that the road ahead won't be easy, but she is up to it. Life sometimes uses strange ways to teach us tolerance and understanding of persons who have problems different from our own. How fortunate we are to be able to learn this lesson from Danielle.

....

Dear Family,

Hello, My name is Danielle. I thought it was time I made an introduction to the family since I am a recent addition to it. It has taken be a long time to decide to introduce myself and am happy that I have finally gotten a small grip of my confidence to do so. I have been through many obstacles and challenges these last three year, for that I owe to my soul searching ( my happiness).

My mother is (as many know her) "Just Evelyn". Evelyn who I love, cherish and give thanks for giving me life and happiness. She is a very courageous women, hard worker, and one who has the biggest heart not fully seen by everyone but when seen is never ending.  Through hard times and good my mother has raised three children: although she may deny this honorable task, her children know the truth.

I was born December 30, 1978. Since then I have lived two lives that are completely different from each other. At the present I am eighteen years old and very happy to be myself. I will be entering my senior year this fall; I am looking forward to it. I am living in Flagstaff, Arizona small town close to the grand canyon. Flagstaff is a very beautiful town with mountains surrounding it. It also has many trees. I have made good friends since I have moved to this small town: friendships that are often hard to find and I am glad for them for they have helped me to understand myself & other people. I cannot say how happy I am for some times it hurts and is hard to explain, but I know it is a good feeling, that I have waited so long for, and I know it Will not go away.

As most of my family knows and for those who do not, I am a female now but I was born genetically a male. At the age of fifteen I told my mother that I was unhappy being a male and that I wished I could be a woman since I always felt like a women inside me. My, mother was very shocked since she thought I would grow up to be gay. The way I saw it was: I thought as myself being a women and liking a man and the man liking me for being a women so I did not feel gay. After I had told her it was like a wall between us had been torn down. We became one that night as daughter and mother. My mother knew that I was going to need her more than ever, she was also going to need me for support.  Together my mother and I could do everything that we wished and we were not going to back down.

I dressed up as a girl the day after I told my mother about me really being a girl. My mother helped me get dressed up for the first time, she didn't say it but I could tell she really enjoyed it. My mother as a little girl I think never blossomed because she had many restrictions. So my mother lived out her childhood by watching me blossom into a very happy girl. When the shock had gone away from telling her, my mother began a mission to find out as much information as possible since I was anxious to start my new life. We soon found out that my complete transformation was going to take awhile. I had to first live full time as a women for one year and have two counselors evaluate me before I could have sex reassignment surgery (a sex change) I also had to change schools so that I could start as a girl since at the school I was they knew me as a boy. I was starting a new life. Those few weeks after I told my mother we were creating a new person. A girl was being born. Her name is Danielle.

On the date of June 27, 1996 I had my sex reassignment surgery in Neenah, Wisconsin. My mother was very helpful to me during it and I could not of done it without her. Clela Fuller, my grandmother dropped in right after my surgery which made me very happy that I had support from family. I was in the hospital nine days. On the seventh day, I got up from bed rest. The surgery turned out to be less painful than I had originally thought. A year has passed since then and I've just gone through breast augmentation which was very painful, but once again my mother was there to make it as easy as possible on me. Now that I have done everything surgery-wise, I am having fun blossoming into who I was always supposed to be. I am dating guys and just having a great time. If only you could all see my happiness.

Will always love everyone.
       Danielle

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