LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — The following is a coming out letter written by trans woman Kelly Lepley. It is beautifully written, comprehensive and covers most all the bases of those going through transition.
With Kelly’s permission, I am reprinting it here to serve as a guide or template for many of you pondering how to announce your transition to your family and friends. Your letter need not be as lengthy or detailed, but rather, tuned to fit your specific needs. However, if an entire “copy and paste” is going to do the job for you, you’re welcome to do so.
I do want to state that no one is obligated to announce their transition to anyone, in any form, except in cases where one is legally compelled to do so. However, many people have close family members and friends and a coming out letter is a way to smoothen the transition for them.
(Note: I’ve done some editing and condensing to make the letter applicable to a wider audience, however Kelly’s major impact points remain.)
Dear Friends and Family,
For months, I have wrestled how best to address speculation concerning a major change in my life. To most of you, this will come as a shock. It is not my intent. However, there really is no other way to convey what I’m dealt with, why I sought help, and what has taken place. It has taken many rewrites, prayer, thought, knowing what I’m about to share, will be controversial for some and difficult for most to digest. However, I felt it was needed in order to close out this chapter not leaving you speculating.
From the outside looking in, I suspect one would have thought I lived the good life. In many ways I did. However, in many others, this was not the case. They say, never judge a book by its cover. Well, in my case, you were just seeing the cover. Inside was something much different. Much like a tsunami coming ashore without warning, so too was my life, shattering dreams, hopes, promises and expectations. No one knew the internal struggle, nor the pain I have lived with most of my life, including my own family. Deep inside, I was hurting but could not tell anyone out of fear of rejection.
In short, my brain does not; has not; nor ever will; identify with my anatomical sex assigned at birth. The diagnosis is “Gender Dysphoria.” Unlike most medical conditions, you can’t see what I have. Ultrasounds cannot measure it, MRI’s cannot scan it, and blood work cannot identify it. Confirmation of diagnosis is through relief of symptoms found though medical intervention. Just like most diseases or birth defects, there is no clear cause.
They say the hardest step in fixing a problem is admitting you have one. I had one, but I couldn’t face it. Time and time again, throughout my life I tried to run from it, but it wasn’t going away. Since early childhood, I tried to mirror my behavior like that of my father and other male role models, thinking my actions would ultimately program my thinking. It was a false assumption, but for a child I knew no better.
This carried over into adult life as well, thinking if I just overcome the next hurdle; sooner or later, my brain would be normal. I prayed it away, suppressed it, joined accountability groups but nothing changed. My brain could not relate to men, yet I kept going through the motions, playing a role so that I could be accepted. Over time, it has taken a toll on me to the point I was beginning to check out on life.
I spent a considerable amount of time studying “Gender Dysphoria,” seeking answers to what I was living with. Endocrinologists, psychologists and other experts in these fields gave me insight as to why I was suffering. In short, I was told this was biological in nature, and nothing could be done to change it.
Popular belief outside of the medical community holds that people with “Gender Dysphoria” are “Gender Confused.” This is far from the truth. No one would choose to undergo a drastic change, being “Confused.” We are born with it and is inherent with us from our earliest recollection.
Within weeks of beginning hormone drugs, the anxiety I lived with most of my adult life began to fade. Never before, had I felt such comfort. The need to focus on concentrating was no longer there. The war going on inside my brain was subsiding to the point of tranquility. No amount of therapy, suppression or mind altering games, could provide such a relief.
To you, my friends and family who are reading the news for the first time, I am sorry if this has hurt you in any way. It was never my intent. You are receiving this letter because you have impacted my life in some way, and I will forever be indebted to you. Although my heart and desire is to remain your friend, I recognize to some this may not be the case. I am okay with that. However, I want you to know, you will always have a special place in my heart and I will treasure the memories.
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