Jessica Stokes

How I came out to my parents as a trans woman

11:30 am, 6 Nov 2015

It occurred to me recently that I never shared the letter I sent to my parents when I came out. I'm going to post it here in the hopes that it's useful to other trans people.

I sent this on the 23rd of July 2014 (and yes, if you follow the link, I livetweeted the walk to the post office 💜)

Once it arrived, my parents were unanimously supportive and wonderful!

So please know, your parents can definitely be supportive of you. 💜

Dear Mum and Dad,

There is a fundamental part of my person which I have become aware of, and want desperately to be able to share with you. This is a fact which is of great importance to me, and I just hope you will be, as you always have been, supportive, understanding, and trusting.

I’m sure you are aware that I have been struggling with myself for years now. It’s no secret I’ve often been uncomfortable and depressed for reasons I could never quite place.

It’ll probably come as a relief that I’ve spent much of these past three years seeking help. In the past eight months or so in particular, I feel I’ve had a real breakthrough and have made real progress,

I’m finally at the stage where it needs to be shared. So to avoid padding this out any more than I already have, here goes;

I am a woman.

I have struggled to keep up this male façade my entire life, and it has caused me immense pain and suffering, and now, I finally feel like there’s a path forward. I have struggled with the vague notion of my gender being incongruous with what I feel about myself, and after years and years of trying to avoid confronting it, I’m here. I hope you can accompany me on this journey going forward.

So, you are probably wondering, where am I now, and where am I going?

I’ve been seeing Doctor Jaco Erasmus, one of the most highly regarded Psychiatrists specialising in helping transgender people of all genders in Victoria, and he has been immensely helpful. With the help and encouragement of him, and some friends, I have been taking steps to enact my gender, and my real self. Every single step I have taken has brought relief, hope, and comfort. I am taking these as good omens.

Jaco has diagnosed me with gender dysphoria and has written a letter of recommendation to a doctor to prescribe me hormone replacement therapy. HRT will help my body fit my gender more correctly - the gist of the effects are changes in skin texture, hair growth, and breast development.

I will be looking to begin presenting as female full-time as soon as possible.

I don’t wish to speculate on future treatments or changes; there are a few options further down the line, but many of them depend on how far HRT’s effects go, and at this stage I am not sure how much of it I will pursue, due to technological limitations or potential side effects. This does not, and should not, in anyone’s eyes, make me any less of a woman.

Whilst I cannot say I wish to have children at this stage, I am open to the possibility of that changing in the future, particularly as I become more comfortable with myself. As HRT has the potential to affect reproductive viability, Jaco has recommended I pursue sperm banking, and I will be doing so.

Finally, I will be seeking to change my name; I have chosen Jessica. I have thought long and hard about this, and Jessica feels very me.

I have not yet made any move to have my name changed legally, I thought I would open to you the opportunity to help me choose my new middle name.

Please understand, I don’t wish to come across as rejecting your choices of names for me at my birth!

I feel rather guilty having felt the need to keep this from you for so long, but I needed to be certain, I needed to check, and know, before I let it out into the open. As I’m sure you know that tends to be my style.

I apologise if any of this letter has come off as defensive or hostile. That is not my intent. But I feel this was a very important and very scary letter to write…

I’d love to hear from you.

Your daughter,

Jessica Stokes