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/

15 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.

  8. Well im reading tons of articles on coming out to your family as trans, and that late summer im starting a full transition to female. Im seeing my therapist wensday, and she knows someehat that im very feminine. At my new job they think im gay. Im fine w that cause it keeps the jerks away. Ive already talked w my dr and resource center. I wish i did this in my 20s, but i remembet at 5 or 6 i used to pray id wake up as a girl. Im now in my late 30s, but have pushed it as close as its going to go without someone just saying im trying to be a woman. I wear womens clothes, makeup, my bodyshape, as im losingvweight and using a corsrt. It gets odd looks, but..what made me choose now (sorry im crying) that me n my dad tried to stay together after his wife passed, he needed help, my gf came also. Im not gay, but ive messed w guys before, but my gf is staying. Me n my dad hadnt talked in years. I just go clean after 12years of heroin addiction, i did it bc i hated myself, and it stopped feelings. Im 1yr 4m clean. Well my father was very abusive when i was young, well we kinda thought after talking a bit, it might be ok. Its not, my gf is in prison for 9m for stealing, but we knew tha was coming. My dad, in short, claims to be christian, goes on sunday, but he wl go out of his way to hurt you. His new fiance told him i was nice and polite, and he should have me stay b.c i help so much, i work, etc. Well idk what happened, but he posted on fb bout me, im a work, people are txting and asking whats up? He said im severly mentally ill, i needed to be in hospital, that im violent, lazy, totally relient on him, fidnt want to work. Funny it was written while im at work. Well he gives me an eviction notice, but wants rent n food still. No. Nxt day, after work, he wanted me to leave then. I dk what is going on. Well he said a week, he said me n my whore gf stole luggage from him, im like hold up, shes nice to u, thats my luggae, you let her use one, when she gave it back you told her keep it. It had 2bucks in it.so she told him, i say why are you in my room, he took the eviction notice since he changed it again so it looked like i never got one, but i took pics, and of his posts bout me which could effect my job, life, people i interact w. So nxt sat im out. I told him thats it for us. My bto said that to him as well, my mom is upse at him. He has done more but..well i got an attorney. He is being sued 15000.for those posts, plus lawyer and court costs, i know he will lie, .makeup stuff, but the neighborhood knows now. One of my friends said, yr such a fighter and i love it cause you prove assholes who said your not goinfg to do it, wrong. Well i started talking w a few people bout it, and they said do it, you know itll make u happy, ands its what youve been fighting, but youve learned its ok. Well i told my gf, who will be living w me, and we are staying together. She joked if i go all the way, she gets to take my virginity.lol, my daughters mom sqid i knew it happen at some point i thought when we splut u would have. I told most of my gf if i got a fair amount of money id become a woman. What it did do, was sloy start. Womens haircut, clothes, sometimes makeup. I was testing the water. Then came the underwear, shavig legs, armpits, perfume..a girl i dated after my daughters mom, all these guys chasing her, she comes to me, the men are like “look 2firls who like to suck. “and im looking at them thinking is it that obvious? I didnt think eo, but becky did. I got her.lol. so i decided this weekend coming im doing it. My dad wrote me ofc anyway. Alot of my closer friends know and said ite obvious to us. I just know im scared as hell. I know people are gonna leave me. But i need this. This isnt mre now. My name is samantha. Omg, im balling, and im not a cryer, ive just never did anything this huge for myself. A girl at work said i bet you make a super cute girl w yr big cheeks! She said it is pretty much saying now, by what i look like im not male. Wish me luck.

  9. What about re-coming out letter? I started to transition in college but due to the UNBELIEVABLE amount of hate and b.s. I stopped. I now know that stopping was a huge mistake and I did it just to make others happy.
    These same idiots wonder why I am pissed off all the time. Is there a nice way to say, you are on a short leash this time you @#$?!
    I also want to address the insanity of not allowing transpeople the ability to transition in a manner that works for us. Not everyone can pass at first, and some people will do anything they can to tear you down. Let us transition in a way that creates minimal disruption to our lives.

  10. Thanks for your info it’s really helped me out


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