Writing a coming out letter? Here’s one suggestion

transgender coming outLEXIE 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.

transgender coming out

Watch LEXIE CANNES right now: http://www.amazon.com/Lexie-Cannes-CourtneyODonnell/dp/B00KEYH3LQ Or get the DVD: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0963781332   

LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS is associated with Wipe Out Transphobia: http://www.wipeouttransphobia.com/

Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/

11 replies

  1. I remember writing mine and sending it out the family so long ago. To me, that was a very private matter and I was quite selective as to whom I sent it. Today, coming out or beginning transition is a media event and so many are trying to capitalize on it. I won’t judge.
    Jane Hamel

  2. I disagree that you can’t see it because autopsies and tests show brain differences where trans folks have structures closer to their gender identity than birth-assigned sex. I would change that to say, “These brain differences are not easily observable to the public.”

    • Linda Lee, the problem is that you can’t see “it” when the person is alive. Cutting open some living persons brain to examine the gender areas is not at all practical or ethical.

      Maybe in the future F-MRI’s will become sensitive so we can see the gender areas in living people but it’s not possib,etc at this time.

  3. Comments from Facebook and Reddit:

    SC: “Dang this is helpful, I will be using parts of this in my mass coming out letter.”

    AB: “Wow, I wish I could articulate my thoughts that well. I definitely wish I could just steal whole parts of this letter, it is so well written.”

    LL: “This is well written and from the heart. I kinda wish I would have used a letter like this with my friends and family. The letter of intent which I used to inform my employer of my transitioning was based more on the company mission statement and my desire to continue to do my job”

    MO: “WOW! Beautiful!”

    MD: “really well written…. i hope it was well received by her loved ones”

    LS: “Awesome letter.”

  4. It is so similar to my letter. Within weeks of starting hormone therapy, my dysthymia began thread lessen and eventually went away. That is something 30 years of psych med school could not fix. That effect alone verified I was on the right track.

  5. Perhaps it might be better in a coming out letter to say “hormone therapy”, or “hormone treatment” rather than “hormone drugs”.

  6. Thank you for posting this letter. I am coming out to family and friends also. Parts of this letter was very helpfut to me in my coming out letter

  7. This is an amazing letter. I wish I was this articulate. My letter will be largely based on this as this is so well written. Thank you.


  1. Writing a coming out letter? Here’s one suggestion | Wendygrrl's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: