Yesterday I set a goal for myself to write a letter to my dad fulfilling the vague purpose of “reaching out” to him. I started it over my first cup of coffee in the morning. And went back to edit / rewrite / finish it throughout the rest of the day. Many hours and a whole lot of tears later, this was the letter I finally sent last night.
I’ve been having trouble figuring out how to write this letter, so please bear with me if it’s not the most eloquent.
I’m writing to figure out where I stand with you and how you see things going forward between us. I realize you and mom may not have the same answers here. I’d really like to know this from both of you. But if I can get even one of you to respond it would help me immensely.
Over a year ago I came out to you to let you know I was transsexual and intended to fully transition to live as a woman. I got the message loud and clear that I needed to give you both time and space to adjust to the idea. I’ve tried to respect that.
But it hasn’t always been easy. I had hoped that part of sorting through your feelings would involve engaging in some dialogue with me about it at some point. There has been very little of that, and none at all from mom. This leaves me guessing about things I would like to know for sure.
The biggest worry anyone coming out to their parents has is that they’ll be shunned by them. I personally know people experiencing this, and it’s awful. You’re not doing that, and I really appreciate it. But it may not surprise you that my ideal relationship with my parents doesn’t end with “not shunning me.”
I want to be your daughter. I know you have a hard time changing your thinking to see me that way. But I wish you would understand what a struggle it has been for me to try to be your son.
I fear that you think I was always your son before, and that suddenly something has changed. That’s not how I feel at all. I have always felt like I have been your daughter, but some cruel trick made you see me as your son instead. For your sake I have tried to play along. I have done that for a long time. A very long time. Eventually it just wore me out. I couldn’t do it any more.
That’s important for you to understand. I didn’t “decide” to change. I just wore out. I couldn’t pretend any more, and it didn’t matter how good the reasons to keep it up might be. I came to the end of my endurance.
There’s a story you and mom have told all my life about the time when mom was expecting with me. You’ve said that both of you were absolutely convinced she was pregnant with a girl. You were both certain about it, and shocked when the doctors told you I was a boy.
All I’m trying to tell you is that the doctors were wrong, and you were right. You had a daughter that day, you just didn’t know it. She’s been staring back at you from behind my eyes for forty one years.
I want you to be a larger part of my life. I want to figure out how to make that happen. I can’t do this without your help.
Can you help?