Cassie’s Come-out Letter
This letter is a modified version of the letter that I had
submitted to a friend later in my coming-out period. I adapted the letter,
over and over, according to whom I was giving the letter. I have reworked
the letter to include my more recent history. See
Preparing to Come-Out for my comments on preparing to make the revelations.
(22 June 2001) Since my transitioning two years ago, the come-out letter has needed revision to accommodate my present life situation. Consequently, I have prepared a new document for use in coming-out to people who have yet to learn about my condition. Please click here to see my post-transition come-out letter.
". . . Something wonderful is about to happen . . ."1
These words, near the end of the Stanley Kubrick’s film "2001 - A Space Odyssey", marked the beginning of a stunning new-life adventure for the people involved. A wonderful new life adventure has begun for me.1
As you must have realized over the years that you have known me, there is something different about me. Except for two very short relationships with women (a total of about six months) in the past, I have not entertained a relationship with anyone. Nor have I shown any interest in romance with anyone. This is one consequence of a disorder that I was born with.
Until recently, I had kept my disorder to myself, fearful of the reactions of others and leary of the outcome of moving towards correcting the disorder. However, starting on 28 February 1997, I have been taking steps to obtain formal recognition that I have the disorder and to get on the path to relieve the disorder. In August 1998, I started making a major push to correct my disorder.
The disorder afflicts an estimated one in 11,900 males and one in 37,000 females in North America. This puts Canada’s population of my fellow sufferers at approximately 1700 individuals. The cause of the disorder is still unknown. Similarly, there is no known cure for the disorder. Most therapies that have been tried to relieve the disorder have proven ineffective. Only two therapies have provided relief from the disorder.
Enough of beating around the proverbial bush. The disorder has been known by a variety of names over the years. It is presently referred to, by the medical profession, as the Gender Identity Disorder; also known as Gender Identity Conflict and Gender Dysphoria. (This last term is in disfavour since the term is a psychological label for what is proving to be a psycho-physiological disorder.) The original name for the disorder, publicized by Dr. Harry Benjamin in 1966, gives rise to the layperson terms for the disorder and the sufferers. In layperson terms, the disorder is called transsexualism and the sufferer is called a transsexual. (All discussions that follow will be with respect to male-to-female transsexuals (MTF-TS); differences with the female-to-male TS will not be discussed.)
In transsexualism, the "sex of the brain" (i.e., gender or psychological sex) opposes the sex of the body. In my case, the body was a normal male, before taking the hormones. However, my gender is female. I have been assessed by a team of gender specialists (psychologists, psychiatrists and an endocrinologist) at the Gender Identity Clinic within the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto. Their diagnoses are that I suffer the gender identity disorder and that I am a true transsexual.
In July 1997, I started to have my facial hair (beard, sideburns, and moustache) removed permanently through electrolysis. The hair on my body will be dealt with after my face has been cleared of the unwanted hair. I expect the entire process to take a few more years to complete the face, arms, body, legs, hands and feet.
In August 1998, on the recommendations of my psychiatrist, I started going out while cross-dressed (dressed as a woman.) I now spend all of my own time in the female mode.
On 3 September 1998, I started one of the two therapies that brings some relief from the disorder. Namely, I started hormonal sex reassignment. This involves the administering of drugs to reduce the male hormones (androgens) to the normal female range and to increase the female hormones (estrogens and progesterones) to a slightly above normal female level. The blood tests have indicated that my blood serum hormone levels have achieved a slightly higher-than-normal female level for the female sex hormones while my male sex hormones have dropped below the detection limit. The achieved hormone levels are ideal for a MTF TS.
The altered hormonal structure will achieve a certain degree of feminization over the next several years. Such feminization includes redistribution of body fat (changing my "angles" to "curves"), development of breasts, softening of the skin and so forth. Other feminization will need cosmetic surgeries and other therapies. On 5 November 1998, I started to wear contacts to eliminate my "coke-bottle-bottom" glasses. On 14 November 1998, I had my ears pierced. On 21 November 1998, I started to have my hair trimmed and styled by a professional stylist.
In October and November 1998, I revealed my disorder and my plans to my dad, my brother, his wife, and my sister. During the Christmas break, I sent letters to my aunts and uncles informing them of my disorder and my plans.
My last day as Boyd Wales was 21 May 1999. Since 22 May 1999, I have been living full-time now as a woman. All of my identification documents were converted, on 2 March 1999, from my old name to Kristina Cassandra.
This change to living full-time as a woman, known as "transitioning", has started a period known as the real life experience. During this period, I must live solely as a woman and must never resort to presenting as a man. When my psychologist has determined that I have adapted to my new gender role and am ready to proceed, I can apply for the letters that are required to obtain the other effective therapy for this disorder. This therapy is the gender re-assignment surgery (GRS) that will modify my male genitals into female genitals. Following this surgery, I will be a woman for the remainder of my life.
Since starting along the path to womanhood, I have found an inner happiness and a contentment that I have never known in my teen-age and adult life. The happiness and contentment result from the progress that I have made to date and from knowing that I am reducing the intensity of a difficult disorder that I have had to live with all of my life.
This letter was not written to shock you or to burden you with the above revelations. It was written to enlighten you on the changes that are occurring in my life. If you find the news discomforting, I apologize.
If you wish to find out more about transsexuals in general or about one transsexual in particular, please feel to talk privately with me. Also, I would strongly recommend reading the excellent text by Mildred Brown, "True Selves -- Understanding Transsexualism" which should be available through libraries and bookstores.
The origin of my nom de femme:
1. True Selves -- Understanding Transsexualism, Mildred Brown
2. Trans Forming Families: Real Stories About Transgendered Loved Ones, Mary Boenke
3. Confessions of a Gender Defender, Randi Etter
4. Transsexuals: Candid Answers to Private Questions, Gerald Ramsey
Cassie’s List of Books and Movies
Please click here to see my longer list of recommended books and movies.
Links to Other Come Out Letters
Tamara's Come-Out Letter
Melody's Come-Out Letter
My Coming Out Letter to My Employer
(sally _at_compuserve.com -- just replace the _at_ with an @ and e-mail me!)
1 The first two paragraphs were adapted from"Changes . . . Understanding the Gender-Role Transition", © November 1992 Dana Coles.
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