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Coming Out Letter


Guest SouthernBelle

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Guest SouthernBelle

I wound up disregarding all the advice that anyone gave me. It's not that I didn't appreciate the advice. It's more like my fingers did all the thinking for me. I'm posting my rough draft here in the hopes that I can make revisions after receiving advice yet again. Don't worry--I'll make use of what you say this time. I just wanted to make sure that the core of the letter was straight from my heart.

Dear Family,

I have a great many things to tell you all. None of the things I am about to say will be easy for me to tell and some of them worry me that I'll not be wanted around anymore.

I'm getting a divorce. Things with the wife just weren't working out. We were going to perservere toward eternal bliss, but we decided it would just be too senseless an endeavor. I left her. I was tired of being lashed out at and lied to. We may have a custody battle on our hands.

In these past several months, my wife and I had been attending both individual and couples' therapy. We were trying to save a marriage that died before it ever began. I gained a lot during those few months of therapy. For example, I learned just how easy it could be to put down my anger. I was planning on coming to each and every one of you in person and apologizing to you all for the anger that I have been harboring against you--a shortcut to taking responsibility for my own feelings towards others; an easy way to free myself from anger. However, given the light of what I am about to tell you all, I am more than frightened to have to face any one of you. Again, I am scared that you might not want me around. I have written you all personal letters regarding the anger problem of my past and sent them out at the same time as this letter.

I have hated myself my entire life--litteraly, since preschool--and, while I'm experiencing a great number of hardships, I am finally beginning to love myself.

You see, I've been through lots of therapy. And, to be honest, I manipulated my way through every second to avoid having to deal with the real cause of all my inner turmoil. I have been pretending for a very long time to be someone that I am not. I have been pretending for as long as I can remember and, as I grew older, I pretended all the more. I have been dealing with something my entire life that I have never told anyone about until just a few months ago. Even with all the therapy I have been through, I have gained nothing except for what I gained while attending therapy with my wife very recently. Why did I, so suddenly, become receptive? I came to terms with who I am. I decided I no longer wanted to see myself as a freak and that gave me strength.

This may be hard for you all to believe, but I have never identified with maleness. I have never identified with masulinity. To me, I have always been a girl. I have always self-identified as female.

I'm trying to tell you all that I am and have always been transsexual, although I loathe the word. I want to explain to you all that this does not make me some disgusting, perverted freak. That's what I thought of myself since childhood and, only recently, have I become formally educated on the matter.

It is believed by many to be a birth defect, but that is not what's important. What's important is that I have a medical condition that which has caused me a psychological condition: Gender Dysphoria. I wish that I could describe to you the tragedy of a life that I have led, but I fear that none of you will understand and that's OK. It doesn't really matter if anyone ever understands. I just pray that you will all want to see me again. But, please know this: I have lived a life of pain.

I am now in transition. I'm changing my outside to make it look more like I feel on the inside--female. I dont want to go on to the specifics. This letter is hard enough as it is. But I will not be the same person you have always known. I am already dressing and acting like myself.

This is something I need to do in order to save my life. This is something that I have to do. For transsexuals, transition is medically necessary. Gender Dysphoria is, quite literally, a killer.

If any of you have any questions for me or would like to write me in response, I welcome you to send me a letter back, but this is the hardest thing I have ever been through and I ask that any letters you send in response be gentle and that nobody ever makes this out to be a joke. I cry enough already. I cry every single day.

With love,

***LEGAL NAME REMOVED FOR PRIVACY CONCERNS***

HUGGS AND KISSES

Belle

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Guest Roux

First of all: I lift my drink to you. This had to be a painful letter to write, and it's definitely not going to be the easiest thing in the world to send it to everyone. I hope the sending (and the reception, especially) go much better than you expect.

I've never spoken to you in my life, and know nothing about you--so the impression of you that I get from your letter is probably much different from the impression that your family will be getting. Still, I want to share what I'm reading, just because I would want to change it, if it were my letter.

I have a great many things to tell you all. None of the things I am about to say will be easy for me to tell and some of them worry me that I'll not be wanted around anymore.

To show that I'm empathetic toward them, as well as asking for their empathy, I would mention that I know it's probably just as difficult for them to hear as it is for me to tell. Starting off a letter like this with an openly empathetic note might make them more likely to respond in kind. I might also through in a "I love you all" or something along those lines.

I'm getting a divorce. Things with the wife just weren't working out. We were going to perservere toward eternal bliss, but we decided it would just be too senseless an endeavor. I left her. I was tired of being lashed out at and lied to. We may have a custody battle on our hands.

I'll be honest: I can't imagine what you're going through. I've been through an emotionally abusive relationship before, but it only lasted six months and I wasn't married to the girl. It sounds like you have every right to be angry, frustrated, upset, and whatever else. Especially since you have a child to fight over.

In a letter like this, I prefer to take as calm, open, and gently optimistic a tone as possible. (Going back to my belief that if you show your empathy, they'll return it. If you show you're calm, open, and gently optimistic, they'll return it. This is only a theory, and not exactly a great one. But still.)

I don't think I could write about the subject of a divorce--especially from an emotionally manipulative woman who's going to want custody of our child--with anything but anger and frustration. But I really wouldn't want those emotions in the letter. This is serious information and needs to be shared, but I think I'd rephrase it a little.

The reasons for the divorce are certainly going to come up in future conversations, and you'll (hopefully) have plenty of time to get your family's listening ears and support regarding that whole mess. For now, I'd write something like, "I'm getting a divorce. Things with the wife just weren't working out. We were going to persevere toward eternal bliss, but after extensive couple's and individual therapy, we decided it would just be too senseless an endeavor. This is a subject that I would like to discuss with you some other time; right now, I want to tell you about something I came to accept about myself during therapy."

Or something. =)

For example, I learned just how easy it could be to put down my anger. I was planning on coming to each and every one of you in person and apologizing to you all for the anger that I have been harboring against you--a shortcut to taking responsibility for my own feelings towards others; an easy way to free myself from anger. However, given the light of what I am about to tell you all, I am more than frightened to have to face any one of you. Again, I am scared that you might not want me around. I have written you all personal letters regarding the anger problem of my past and sent them out at the same time as this letter.

Writing the personal letters sounds awesome, and very therapeutic. (I might have a few letters to write, myself.) I don't think I'd reference those letters in this way, though. It kind of sounded to me like "You guys all sucked and I've been totally peed at all of you, but through therapy I've learned to be gracious and forgive you, so I will." Which (judging from how sweet and kind you've been all over the forum) doesn't sound like you at all. It also isn't a tone I'd want people to be reading in my coming-out letter. I'd be afraid it would make them less receptive of my news, not more.

Perhaps I'd go with something more like, "Therapy has helped me better understand myself and my relationships with all of you--and especially how to nurture and strengthen these relationships. Please do not be surprised to receive another letter from me alongside this one. I treasure all of you, and have a few things I'd like to tell each of you personally." It sounds more gentle, kind, and hopeful (with regards to them taking the News About To Come well, and maintaining happy family relationships with everyone).

I wish that I could describe to you the tragedy of a life that I have led, but I fear that none of you will understand and that's OK. It doesn't really matter if anyone ever understands. I just pray that you will all want to see me again. But, please know this: I have lived a life of pain.

I know that this is not an understatement on your part. At all.

When you look at it from the perspective of someone who isn't trans, and doesn't know anyone (as far as they knew!) who is trans, and can't begin to imagine what it's like to be trans--this sounds pretty melodramatic. I know it's not. But to them, it might sound like, "You can never begin to understand my great suffering, oh angst!"

I'll admit, I have a very low angst-tolerance. If I didn't intimately know what it's like to be trans, and how tragic it really is, this paragraph would make me roll my eyes and peg you as being a little bit of a drama queen. (But I do know, and you aren't exaggerating.)

Hopefully this letter will lead to open-minded conversations with your family regarding your gender identity. If this happens, they will come to realize that your life has been a tragedy, and that it will continue to be much more difficult than they can ever fully understand. Right now, I wouldn't want to . . . beat them over the head with the tragedy stick, I guess.

"I wish I could tell you how painful it is to life your life in the wrong body--to always be pretending to be something that you are not. But however my appearance and mannerisms may change, I'm still me, and I need your love and support just as much (more, actually) than I ever have before. I will help you understand my situation in any way I can, and I hope that, in return, you will continue to support me as lovingly as you always have." Something like that gets across the fact that you have gone through unrelatable pain, and that you need them. It doesn't cast an angstshadow, and it doesn't sound pessimistic about them being able to understand, accept, and support you.

If any of you have any questions for me or would like to write me in response, I welcome you to send me a letter back, but this is the hardest thing I have ever been through and I ask that any letters you send in response be gentle and that nobody ever makes this out to be a joke. I cry enough already. I cry every single day.

That's braver than I think I could be. I've done the "please think about this for a while; I'll let you know when I'm ready to have a conversation about it" thing, personally. *Wince.*

It might be worthwhile to reiterate the empathy thing. "Again, I know this comes as a shock, and that it can't be easy for you to read. Please understand that it's just as difficult for me to write. I love you, and I hope that if you respond, you do so with that difficulty in mind." And (for the reasons I already mentioned above) I'd remove the crying bit. If it's as difficult and painful as you've already told them it is for you, they'll probably figure out that you aren't exactly spending your days dancing joyfully among the flowers.

+++++++++++++++

In sum: I'd remove the angry, bitter, fearful, pessimistic and super-unhappy parts, and replace them with calm, empathetic, and tentatively optimistic bits.

If I phrased anything in a way that offended you, I'm so sorry, Belle. You're a sweet woman, and I definitely don't want that. =)

Whether you use my suggestions or not, I hope it goes well! Fingers are crossed for you.

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Guest lvmyftm

My biggest suggestion would be to change the part about you not being the same person they have always known. A loved one becoming a different person seems to be what people freak out about the most. Maybe you don't feel that you are the same person. Maybe that is a big difference between FTM and MTF. All the FTM's that I have known didn't become different people when they transitioned, they were still same people that I knew before transition only they were happier after. I think that if you can in any way see that you are still you only happier and make that point to your family they will take it a little better. But that is just my 2 cents for what its worth.

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Guest RachaelAnn

I think you have covered everything really well. The only thing I saw was that since you hate the word "transsexual" maybe you could use the word "transgender" instead? That might also soften the blow and make it more easy to accept for your family, since "transsexual" does sometimes carry such a negative connotation.

Rachael

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Guest Chrysee

I wound up disregarding all the advice that anyone gave me. It's not that I didn't appreciate the advice. It's more like my fingers did all the thinking for me. I'm posting my rough draft here in the hopes that I can make revisions after receiving advice yet again. Don't worry--I'll make use of what you say this time. I just wanted to make sure that the core of the letter was straight from my heart.

HUGGS AND KISSES

Belle

Oh Belle. . .

Stupid though it sounds, I once taught high school English and my first response was to wish to praise you for a letter so well written. Can you imagine? As if that was the point?

I sense that what once might have been desperation has, over so long a time, grown into a firm determination. You have strength. And you have love no longer focused on your spouse (I know this one well!) but on your own Inner Lady who's finally allowed to come out to play.

I want to say that I feel love for the person you have just introduced me to in that letter.

And I envy your strength, which you've strived so very hard to develop and now seems too serve you well at this frightening time.

And thanks so very much for sharing.

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Guest sarah f

Belle I like the letter. It is not too long to lose them and it is to the point. I hope your family is understanding and will accept you for the loving woman you are.

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Guest Donna Jean

.

Hey, Belle.....

Let me say right off, that your letter is good...

And you've received some good advice on how to make it better, all of which is your decisioh in the end, to use or not.

Coming out is a very personal thing.

There is no denying it...coming out to anyone is difficult and you're getting ready to do it en mass...

Honey, I'm wishing you the very best of luck.

I'll be thinking of you!

Huggs

Donna Jean

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Guest SouthernBelle

Thanx, everyone, for all your tips, praise, and good wishes. Keep them coming, please! Tonight, I am going to be writing my second draft. I'll post it up here too when I'm done.

So if anyone has any criticism--good or bad--please post it before 10P Central time.

LOVE

Belle

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Guest Patsy

Oh Belle, your letter just reduced me to tears!

I think your heart has served you very well indeed...how I wish I had your courage at that age.

Other than agreeing with RachaelAnn's suggestion to substitute 'Transgender" for "Transsexual", I

think your "Rough Draft" is anything but!

I hope you have the outcome you deserve, hon...

HUGS,

Patsy

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