This will be brief. (Ish.)
I came out to my mom as trans when I was 17 years old, but it was a tentative sort of coming out. Four years later, when I turned 21, I wrote her a letter and emailed it to her- I guess hoping to more clearly outline my feelings and expectations. I’d like to point out that 21 is a milestone age, because we tend to take drastic actions at milestone ages- you know, like when I turned 25 and panicked and started transition.
I was 27 when I detransitioned. Not particularly noteworthy. Does that have any implications?
Anyway, I forgot about it for a while, but it turns out I still have a copy of it in my email account. So here it is, in all its glory. I’ll let you form your own opinions on it and on the author at the time.
This is the letter that I said I would write you ages ago. I’ll try not to write too much and if you have anything you want to ask, I’m willing to try to answer you. It’s easier to write answers than to say them, but if you really want to talk, I can even try that.
As I’ve told you before, I’m transgender. I know that I’m physically a girl, but mentally I’m a boy. For about 10 years, I’ve been very uncomfortable with my physical self. (It’s the reason I would cover up all the time in middle and high school, not because I was “cold” in [HOT PLACE] summers.) It’s called dysphoria, and it’s a horrible feeling. Honestly, I would like to be more social and outgoing, but every new person who calls me “she” and knows me as “her” only makes things worse. [BOY WHO LIKED ME] wanted a “girlfriend”, but I couldn’t say yes to that- and I felt terrible for making him wait for so long, just in case what you said (and hoped) was true: it was just a phase.
Mom, it’s not a phase. When I was little, I used to imagine I’d suddenly just morph and grow up into a guy. Since it became that was not how things worked, I have not been happy. I’ve been miserable and I know I’ve made the people around me weary too. But I’m really tired of being unhappy and spreading the gloom around. So I’m going to start taking baby steps to actually grow up the way I expected to when I was a little kid. (If you want to know what sort of steps those are, I don’t mind telling you, but you have to ask, not just tell me that you don’t know what to do.)
I’ve already asked my friends to start using the correct pronouns when it’s just us and peers. Even [FRIEND], who has known me almost as long as you have, has agreed- and told me that she was only upset that I had lied to her, my best friend, for so many years. But I need your cooperation too. I don’t expect you to suddenly start talking about me as “him” in front of family. If you want me to be honest, what I do hope is that you’ll attempt to be neutral- that you won’t use decidedly “girl” nicknames, or introduce me as your “daughter, [GIVEN NAME]” (I intend to change my name, too, not because I hate the name, but because I don’t feel that it’s “me”. I guess changing it would distance me from the character that I feel I’ve been playing for years- plus, I like playing with names.), and that you’ll attempt to avoid using pronouns when in front of strangers. Especially when I’m trying to present as male, which I usually am, unless I don’t have time and it’s extremely obvious…
In a perfect world, you would have figured out why I was different years ago and this wouldn’t come as a shock to you. You would already see me as your son, the way I’ve always seen myself. You wouldn’t continue to insist that it was a phase. You wouldn’t think that something is wrong with me. That’s what hurts the most: that you might dismiss it as something wrong with me and try to stop me. Please don’t do that. I want to make myself happy. There is nothing wrong with me, so don’t tell me that there is. Don’t go around asking other people for advice, or if they think it’s abnormal or weird; I’ll tell you right now that, while it might not be normal for them, it’s normal for me.
I apologize for being a little defensive in this letter, but I don’t think there’s anything that I feel more strongly about. I want you to take me seriously. I desperately want your love and support, but I’m tired of being a fake person to feel like I deserve it.