I told my youngest daughter, R! I told her today, while we were out on errands. I told her and she took it so well I am left wondering why I thought it was such a huge thing in the first place. I told her and she still loves me, she said that it doesn’t change anything for her! I am really just overwhelmed! She took things so much better than almost everyone else, aside from Martin. I followed A Morgan’s example and showed my daughter photos of me as Beth, I think this helped her to process everything.
(Thank you all for your help on this! Avril and Daughter M, Leslie Ann and all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for all your encouragement and suggestions! I owe you all so much.)
I was able to tell her all the things I have been wanting to tell her, that I wasn’t happy about keeping this secret, that I worried over how to tell her, that I loved her enough to trust her with this. I had a letter for her prepared, to either read to her or have her read, depending on the situation. But I didn’t have to use the letter, I told her as I was driving and she was great! I gave her the letter after, something to keep as a reminder that day she found out that her Dad is a woman.
I asked her for the letter, so I can post it here. In case anyone wants an example of how to tell your child you are transgender. I am not saying it is great, or even correct. I am saying there are so few examples that even my letter is better than nothing:
You aren’t in trouble, no one here is sick, your Mom and I aren’t having marital problems, the world is still spinning and no, you aren’t getting a pony. I want to share a secret with you, something only three people on the entire planet know. Before those three knew, I carried this secret alone for my entire life, which is 45 years of hiding, of living in fear.
Before I tell you, I want you to understand a few things. First and foremost, I love you as only a father can love a daughter. You mean the world to me and I don’t want that to change, though I accept that some things may change. I will always love you, nothing you say or do will change that. You will always and forever be my daughter. Second, I didn’t choose this, it was determined for me at birth.
I have known since I was very young that something was wrong, that I felt wrong. As a child I knew that I was much more like the girls than they boys and it was very confusing. It took many years of denial and trying to be a “guy” to finally realize that what I am is transgender. As a teenager, I thought I might be gay, but that wasn’t quite right. Then in my early 20’s I thought I may be a cross dresser, but that word also felt wrong to me. It only described a man dressing in womens clothes, not a woman in a mans body, as I am. I am planning on transitioning, changing this person into more of a woman, with hormone treatments and feminization surgeries.
You are probably wondering how this truth I am giving you is going to change things. Well, this secret is still for now, a secret. I am not sharing this with others, our family and friends, my work, cannot know who I am, not right now. I understand you may need to talk about it, so if you do I would like for you to talk it over with me, your mom or Martin. I’m sorry, but it’s not a secret for finding out if a friend is trustworthy. This also means that you will see me a bit differently. But inside I am the same person you have always known. I cry easily at sad movies, or tv shows. I will still share the same love of musicals; we can still watch “Bye Bye Birdie” together. Only now, you will understand that I identify more with Kim than Hugo. We can still have breakfast together, and you can still sit on my lap so I can tickle you. Those things that matter, they haven’t changed.
In case you were wondering, I have a name appropriate to my gender, it is Elizabeth or Beth. I don’t care what you call me, or what pronouns you use. “He” or “She” doesn’t matter to me, you call me whatever you feel comfortable with. It’s bound to be confusing, I still have to dress a certain way for work and for going out, for now. In the end, I just want you to remember that no matter what, I love you.