Coming Out To My Parents As Trans: An Email Exchange
In November of 2012, I came out to my parents as transgender. My dad’s response was everything I could have hoped for.
From: Parker To: Dad
Sometimes I am absolutely terrible with articulating my words on important issues. And as I won’t see you for Thanksgiving ([my partner] and I are going to spend it with her family this year), I felt like this was the right time to send this. I ask that you reply to this e-mail to acknowledge its receipt and provide initial reactions, and then, after 48 hours to take it all in , we can chat on the phone to discuss this.
Dear Mom & Dad,
I know that the two of you have always told me that I could tell you anything and you’d still love me just the same, and so I feel like there’s something I need to tell you (if at any point during this e-mail, you get confused or frustrated, go back and read this sentence again):
As you know, most of my life, I’ve been riddled with intense bouts of anxiety, sadness, depression, social ineptitude, awkwardness, anger issues, etc. Really, it’s been every day of my life since I was 8 or 9, I think. I’ve tried working this out in a number of ways (way 1: bottle everything up and end up hospitalized with a stomach ulcer… not exactly the most pleasant route. way 2: therapy. way 3: medication), but it’s not something I can bottle up or dull with medication anymore.
I’ve been going to a therapist for the past 7 or 8 months on a weekly basis to try to root out this issue before it led to self-harm, and after that time, here’s what I’ve come to:
Yep. Transgender. Essentially, my brain is wired to be female, but I was born male. This is something that I’ve known (to varying extents) since I was 8 or 9, but had never truly accepted (leading to anger issues, frustration, awkwardness, depression, et al.). It was that point 7 or 8 months ago, where I hit a true breaking point in my existence. Not knowing what to make of this/what to do about this, I started going to see a therapist specializing in gender issues.
From there, the next part was extremely hard: telling [ my partner ]. I love [ my partner ] with all my heart, and this was something I thought would absolutely destroy her/ruin our relationship. Luckily, it wasn’t. While a bit of a shock, she still loves me as much as ever. If there was ever a sign that I have found “the one,” this was it. Through thick and thin, truly. (and yes, to answer a frequently asked question: I am still only attracted to women. Gender and sexuality are two completely different things)
[ My brother ] is one of the next people in my life I told about this, and he’s been amazing as well. He’s offered his support in every possible capacity, and has teared up over a beer, expressing how happy he is for me. He’s truly a wonderful man.
I’ve met some wonderful friends over these past few months, as well; many of whom are also transgender. Knowing these individuals has been a life saver, as I know that this is proof that life can be better.
Over the next several months & years, I’ll be working my way through “transition.” Essentially, that means that I do hope to eventually live full time as a woman (not a “dude in a dress” or any of the other stereotypes, but a human being, for the first time). There are a lot of obstacles to overcome, but I’m building myself up to be able to take them on. My work has a program specifically designed to accommodate transgender individuals as they transition, so it looks like I lucked out on ending up here.
I’ve started the process of going through hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is, essentially, replacing testosterone in my system with estrogen. This will have subtle effects on my mind & my body. [my partner] can vouch for me when I say that my mood and outlook has improved remarkably since I’ve started (roughly 1 month ago).
So, basically, that’s it. I’m still the same person, just, maybe more so. I will still have, essentially, the same personality. I will still enjoy sports & music. I will still be a grouch about politics.
I understand this may be hard for you two, as well, but this was something I needed to tell you as I love you both so very much. I guess, just rather than having 2 sons and a daughter, you can think of it as having 2 daughters and a son ([ my brother ] jokingly complains that it’s unfair that as the most masculine of the 3 of us, he’s the shortest).
Getting used to a new me may be a challenge, but I want to give you all the time in the world you need to come to terms with this. I don’t expect you to be perfect when it comes to getting my pronouns right (I prefer “she/her/hers,” etc.), but this is me. I don’t expect you to be able to use my chosen name right at first (“[ birth name ]” wouldn’t exactly work in the long-term – the name I prefer is “Parker” – with the full name being “Parker Marie Molloy,” middle name borrowed from mom).
I honestly, and truly hope that you two can still love me through this, as your love and support means so very, very much to me.
I love you. I do. I really, really do. Obviously, I don’t want you to hurt, but I hope that we can celebrate the fact that I won’t be so mentally anguished anymore.
Here are some resources on the subject, if you’re interested in learning more (which, I hope you are). You can also talk with [my brother] if you need another perspective, but I do ask that you hold off on calling me for 48 hours and instead just shoot me a short e-mail in the interim. This way, I know you’ve had time to digest everything here .
At this point, after clicking “send,” I wondered if I’d made a huge mistake. Should I have called them? What if they didn’t respond positively? I began frantically clicking the refresh button on my browser, waiting for what was sure to be bad news. No more than 30 minutes later, this popped into my inbox:
From: Dad To: Parker
[ birth name ],
As I have said from day one, I love you with all of my heart and there has never been a day where I haven’t been proud of you. There have been so many times throughout my life that I’ve kicked myself and second guessed myself for having been too tough on you and made you too competitive and for that I truly ask your forgiveness.
Needless to say, I will sit down with mom tonight and I expect that she will feel the same as me when I say, we live to see you be happy, truly happy. Certainly we can talk whenever you wish to talk and I can tell you, from my end, I will be very supportive and I hope mom will as well.
I do ask that you become much closer with us moving forward. It has always been tough on mom to not have you stay in touch in a fairly regular basis so I hope this revelation will bring us all closer.
I do ask that you become happier and lose the edge you have always carried. Sometimes, I just didn’t understand the anger and hopefully this would explain it and relieve it forever.
Lastly, I am so happy [ your partner ] is there with you through this. She is a good person and she has been good for you [ birth name ]. In many instances I thought how she may have saved you from destruction.
Thank you for feeling strong enough to discuss it and I hope this will take a gigantic burden off of your shoulders.
I love you dearly and I am so happy that you are at peace with yourself maybe for the first time ever.