Coming Out to Mom

Asheville, 3 Nov 2012

Dear Mom,

I hope all is well with you, K____ and D___? I very much enjoyed our chat the other day – you sounded so good (despite your difficulties).

When you wished me well on Father’s day it broke my heart to hear you struggle as you spoke. It also touched me deeply for another reason, and it was then that I began to write this letter in my mind…

…I want to share something special and intimate about myself, a good thing, but something that you may find upsetting at first. I had hoped to share this in person with you, but maybe God intends for it to be this way? You already know bits and pieces, I think, but I want you to hear from my heart. Perhaps it will clear-up some mysteries and provide a bit of closure for both of us? I want you to know because I love you. And now that I’ve worked through the most difficult parts, I feel able to share it with you.

You and Dad said that you’ve “wondered” about me; I suspect that I’ve discovered the answer. No, I’m not gay/homosexual. You might already be aware that I’ve been sorting through some gender-related issues. I started to do this in earnest over a dozen years ago. I’ve always known I was very different, even as early as pre-school, but by first grade, I knew that I was not like any of the other boys. It took some time to work-out what was going on and what I could do to live with it…

…I’ve gradually realized that I am a female soul clothed in a male form. Many people in my position find the only solution is to have sex change surgery, but I’ve chosen against this surgery for the sake of our marriage: Judi allows me to express who I really am (a woman), and legally, I remain a man. God gives us each a “Niagara Falls” of grace to bear and overcome the difficulties involved in this. As a result, we are able to show that the love we have for each other, and our children, is greater than the complications we face. Many others have shared with us that they are blessed by the grace and love they see as we deal with our unusual life circumstances; many see God in the midst of this process.

So Mom, I don’t want you to think of this as a disaster (though it is challenging!) And I especially don’t want you to feel as though you or Dad are somehow responsible: you’re not! Some people are simply born like this, like some people are born left-handed.

Is this shocking to you? Perhaps not? I think that there were hints of my gender issues that you may have perceived as I was growing up. It would really help me to know what you and Dad saw. Not only do I have to struggle to remember exactly how things were, I only saw things from a child’s perspective, and mostly, I didn’t understand them at all.

The Brett you’ve known, nurtured and are proud of is still the Brett that I am today, but you might say “New And Improved!!!” or maybe “New Packaging – Same Great Taste!!!” Who I am at my core has not changed, and (I’m convinced) would be essentially the same whether I had been born male or female: that is, my personality, my likes & dislikes, my sense of humor, my gentleness and tender heart, even deeper things than these remain unchanged…

…Yet the Brett of old has changed: I’ve grown more mature and gone through great healing. I understand myself far better than ever before. I am incredibly free from things that once bound me, and I’ve learned to trust again and to experience joy – yes, the “Prophet of Doom” has been transformed, even as a caterpillar becomes a butterfly!

Okay, maybe you are shocked about the transformation of the “Prophet of Doom?” But what I had in mind when I asked if you were “shocked” before was this: as I started to express who I am inside with increasing authenticity, people began to accept me as a woman – a nice, gentle, unassuming, middle-aged woman. (And, no, I don’t look like a “guy in a dress:” I have real breasts, a figure, a soft face with cheeks, my hormones are female and I seem to blend-in both appearance-wise and socially.)

I’ve tried to keep this relatively short so as not to overwhelm you. Mom – there’s quite a lot more I can share about this if you are interested, and I hope you are interested. I’m still your Brett. The last thing I want you to feel is a sense of loss, or turmoil. I’m sorry if this is inevitable? I can only hope and pray that even if this is the case, you will also be able to see it as a homecoming of sorts: the worst of the struggle is over, and I want (so much) for us to be close and understanding each other. It’s been quite a journey: emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical. If you’re up to it, I would really like to talk with you more about this. Maybe you have some insights that would help?

With Love and Joy!

Your Brett

Since I posted this letter, I changed my legal name and gender marker on my permanent identification in early 2013. Also, our foster daughter of many years moved onward.

In 2015, Judi and I reached a compromise where I had more gender confirming surgery than she wanted me to have, and I had less than I wanted. As a result, a good bit of my sex-related body dysphoria has left me.


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