On August 10th, 2013, I introduced myself as Callie to the world. I can’t remember ever being so simultaneously scared and excited in my entire life. By this point, I’d confided in most of my family and all of my closest friends about who I was. I knew I could trust them to keep my secret, but once I posted this note, there was no taking it back. There was no hiding from whatever consequences might follow.
I posted a note on Facebook titled “Deep Breath…” to make it public so I could begin my transition. I was shocked by the positive reaction I received. When I posted this, I had no idea how much time there would be between the posting and my debut socially as Callie. My friends were so supportive of me, I was able to make my transition socially mere days after posting this.
Today I’m reflecting on all I’ve lost and all I’ve gained in this journey. I may write more about it later, but until then, I submit for your consideration the note I posted 3 years ago making my transition public.
By the time this letter is done, I most likely will have started and erased it several dozen times. I think its super important for me to get this right. There’s no way I’m going to answer every question. But I’m sure going to try. I just want to make it clear that I’m doing my best.
The reason I need to take such care in explaining things is because I’m writing this letter to tell you the real reason I shaved off my beard… And that reason is that I am a transgender human being.
Shocked? Probably…and that’s cool. I’m not oblivious to the fact that I’ve spent my entire life being very much a male and acting as such. But I have felt this way since puberty. From what I understand that’s pretty common. These feelings in those who have them either begin to express themselves right away in childhood, or come about suddenly at the beginning of adolescence. I fall into the latter category. Without getting into the nitty gritty details, suffice it to say, I felt very wrong about the way my body changed during puberty, and not in the usual way that every kid does. I was terrified of this. I didn’t know there was a thing called “gender identity disorder” or “gender dysphoria.” I didn’t know there were other people like me. So I hid it. For a very long time.
So what does this mean? In short, a lot. It means that I’m going to start dressing like a girl. It means that I’m going to start talking like a girl. It means that as soon as its practical, I’m going to begin taking hormones that will change my body on the outside to feel like it does on the inside. It means that hopefully, sex reassignment surgery will be in my mid to distant future. It means I’m about to start a long and tedious process of changing my identification to reflect my female identity.
The important thing to remember is that in most important ways, I will be the same person. I’ll still love Star Trek as much as I always did. I’ll still be a tech nerd. My political views won’t change. My views on god and religion won’t change. The people I loved before, I will continue to love. The things that I cared passionately about before, I will still care passionately about.
Here’s what’s important to understand. I didn’t choose to feel this way. The only choice involved here is for me to begin to live my life in a way that I have always felt I should. Is it genetic? Is it environmental? The science is far from complete or conclusive on the subject, and aside from satisfying some scientific curiosity, I would argue the answer doesn’t really matter. Knowing the cause wouldn’t change how I feel. The only available effective treatment for my “condition” is to re-align the outside of my body to how it feels on the inside. So that’s what I’m going to do.
I get that this is weird. I get that its awkward. Trust me its at least as weird and awkward for me as it will be for anyone around me. There will be questions, and lots of them. While I don’t claim to have answers for all of them, I’m happy to try. I don’t want anyone to feel awkward approaching me with questions. Again, I’m still mostly the same person. I have a sense of humor about every aspect of my life, including this one. I’ve told and been the brunt of many jokes about this already among the few people who already know. Humor is an important coping mechanism for me, and anything I can laugh about, I can cope with. So feel free to joke with me. My friends and those who care about me have never felt uncomfortable joking with me about being a sci fi nerd, being an atheist, being fat, being disorganized, or any other quirky trait that I have. This is no different.
I like to think that I know my friends pretty well. I’m honestly not worried about being abandoned or hated by friends who currently love and care about me. I wouldn’t be friends with bigoted or intolerant people, and I have no fear that this will change. I just need to put it out there. To lay my thoughts down and to explain the changes that you will begin to see very soon.
I know this is a long read, and if you’ve stuck with me this far, thanks! It means a lot to me. Putting this out there takes a 10 ton weight off my chest and I feel better already. So thank you in advance for your understanding and acceptance. If I don’t have your understanding and acceptance, that’s okay too.
I’ve chosen a female name for myself. It is Calliope, or Callie for short. Aside from being a pretty name, in Greek mythology, Calliope was the muse that inspired Homer to write The Illiad and The Odyssey. I thought the allegory of a long and difficult journey seemed fitting.
Life is too damn short to not live the way you feel you should. I’ve always tried to take life head on and make it what I want it to be, and this is the next step in doing so. This is who I am, and I can no longer pretend to be someone else.