The first person I told was my partner at the time. Actually she told me. We were watching a documentary about transgender people and she turned to me directly and said: you know, if you ever feel like this is something you need to do I would support you. I was shocked. I felt as if she was reading my mind and I felt vulnerable. I had never ever expressed my secret desire to be a man to anyone, ever and to have her look at me as if she knew my deepest secret was un-nerving. It was still a couple of years before I ever had the courage to admit that I wanted nothing more than to become the boy I had always imagined.
The hardest person I had to tell was my mom. After years and years of her hoping that I would become a more feminine lesbian, I broke down and told her why I didn't stand up straight, let my hair grow, or wear sweater vests like Ellen. I told her how ashamed I was of my breasts and that was why I wore baggy shirts and never stood up straight. I also told her that I had asked my doctor for a referral to the gender clinic in Edmonton. I probably should have waited for her to be sitting down. She was surprised to say the least. We talked for a long time. It has been over a year since we had that conversation and now I am fairly confident that she sees who I have always been and things between us are good.
I talked to my partner and my two closest friends about my decision and I received support from them which boosted my confidence to tell my family. Eventually, I decided that I needed to tell my extended family and my friends. I didn't really know what to say or where to start so I read some letters written by other transgendered people when they came out to their friends and coworkers. This is a portion of the letter that I sent them:
Most of you have known me long enough that this will probably not come as a surprise to you. If you are shocked by what I am about to tell you, I don’t really know what to say. Please read this all the way to the end and take some time to think about it. If you would like to respond, please email me or call me and we’ll go for a coffee or a beer.
Life is a complicated thing and we do not choose the person with whom we fall in love, nor do we get to choose our family. When you love with someone it is their spirit, their soul you love not necessarily their body. If someone you love were to go blind, deaf, lose a limb, be scarred or disfigured in some way by an accident, gain weight, go bald, grow a beard, or suddenly wake up with webbed toes, you would not love them any less; their spirit is the same it is just the package that is different.
Since I was little, I have been “mistaken” as a boy and have even been chased out of washrooms by angry women who are extremely vocal in their insistence that I am in the wrong place. I am usually called ‘sir’ when I am served by someone in retail. I have felt like an outsider for a long time because I have always felt like a boy trapped in a girl’s body. I have never felt like a woman nor have I ever wanted to be what society thinks a woman should be. I have always had the spirit and soul of a boy inside me and I am working on getting to a place where I feel my body will reflect my soul more accurately. With the support of my friends, family, I am finally in the process of becoming the person I have always been inside.
I am transgendered. This means that my biological sex and gender identity do not match. I am biologically female but I identify as a male. I feel like I am a boy and have always been a boy. I am not having a sex change or pursuing a desire to become a biological male.
This does not make me “straight”. Heterosexual and homosexual are used to reference body morphology rather than gender identity. While body morphology may change in a transgendered individual their sexual orientation does not. So.... the terms used are actually androphilic and gynephilic. Androphilic describes someone who is attracted to a person of the same biological sex regardless of their gender identity and Gynephilic refers to someone who is attracted to a person of the opposite biological sex regardless of gender identity....this means that I am still gay even though I will identify as a boy.
Anyhow, that's the letter that I sent to my friends and family. I got responses from most of my family and all of my friends and I was surprised by the amazing love and support I received. I don't know why I was surprised but realized that instead of being afraid all I needed to do was to give my friends and family the opportunity to show me how much they care. I am a very lucky boy.
I am not ashamed of who I am and I would be happy to talk you any time. I know that this will take some time for everyone to digest and get used to but I hope that in time it won’t be something you think about, that I will just be Marcus, your friend, nephew, cousin.