If you are the recipient of this letter it means that over the years our lives have been greatly enriched by having you as a friend, and for that we are eternally grateful. It’s friends like you that have also made Daniel’s 25 years as our son so incredible. Many of you have known either myself or Cindy before we met and you may well have been at our wedding, the christening of Daniel, Cindy’s incredible 40th birthday party and the many other milestones in our lives that you have taken the time out of your busy schedule to attend, even when we moved to the Eastern Shore. I could also write many pages of what we’re up to living on the Eastern shore and what Daniel is doing in Olympia Wa.
However I need to address a conundrum (which the dictionary defines as a difficult and confusing problem) which I have finally found the courage to embrace. So if you are sitting comfortably let me begin and please stay with me to the end of the letter.
I was born on June 9th 1957 in Woking, England and was wrapped in a Blue Blanket because my physical being labelled me as a male. However by the time I was first conscious of who I was, probably around two or three years of age my feeling of self identified me as female which is sometimes described as Gender Identity Disorder or Gender Dysphoria. The medical profession lists the conditions as:
A strong and persistent cross gender identification manifested by a desire to be, to live and be treated as the other sex.
A persistent discomfort with their bodies.
As a result this causes a significant distress in social, occupational and other areas of life.
It is estimated that about 1 in 30,000 males are born with gender dysphoria.
“Well, thats great Bob but it doesn’t seem to have effected you much so lets get back to hearing what’s going on with your family? ” I can hear you all say and I wish that was the case!
So here is the conundrum. This feeling of being born into the wrong body has never left me, and I found myself 2 years ago completely exhausted from this fight. I sought out professional help and have decided that the journey I want to start on is to make my outer being fit my inner one, which will most likely lead to me changing my gender.
Please stay with me here because I know the subject matter is just a little different and uncomfortable.
As you know I have tried very hard at being male. I grew up in a household with four boys, went to an all boys school, played soccer and raced sailboats, worked in male dominated industries, built boats and did a lot of manly things.I also appeared to be a reasonably good husband, father, brother and son ( from the reports that got back to me). So, don’t you think I would have got the lesson that I was a man? Try as I might, and boy did I try, I couldn’t get this feeling that something was not quite right out of my head.
The question I get asked a lot is “Why now?” Your 53 years old, you’ve gone this long living like this, why can’t you just buckle under and do the right thing and put this foolish notion aside? u
Unlike other forms of sadness I’ve experienced which always seem to pass with time, my gender dissonance has only got worse and 2 years ago it had gotten so bad that it completely consumed me, and hurt more than any pain, physical or emotional that I had ever experienced. I know that most people believe that transsexuals (that’s me in a nutshell) transition because we want to be the other sex, but that is an oversimplification. After all, I have wanted to be female my whole life, but in the environment where I lived worked and played I was to terrified of the label “transgender” and kept on thinking that maybe it would just go away with a bit of wishful thinking. What has changed now though is not my desire to be female or transgender, but my ability to cope with being male. I realized two years ago that pretending to be male was slowly killing me.
So thats my conundrum ? Are you still with me? Good! So lets deal with where I’m at and then I want to explain where Cindy and Daniel are at with this whole life changing event. Its all good!
First of all I have got a number of tremendous professional people that are helping me along through this process. Cindy and I are making numerous trips to Newark and Philadelphia for counseling and hormone treatment (I’ve been on hormones for six months now).
Second when I was around 5 years of age I gave myself a female name (as no one else was going too) and christened myself Susan, but still am very much right now still Bob. It will become very obvious when you need to start calling me Susan.
Third I am still very much Bob, Bobby, Captain Bob, soulmate to Cindy and father to Daniel, and although my appearance will begin to change, the person you have always known (and liked I hope) will still be the same. Its just going to take some getting used too. So please take the time to continue to involve yourself in our lives and please feel free to ask as many questions as you wish (there are no dumb questions).
Now we get to the next part. What about Cindy! How could you do this to her! Cindy has been aware of certain aspects of this for the last 28 years. I was going to John Hopkins in 1986 who were at the forefront of Transgender care then. Cindy has been incredible.We’re soulmates and we hope to spend the next 28 years just as we have the first 28 years very much in love, excited to be in each others company and the parents to a wonderful son. Cindy is adjusting to having a transgender partner with all the trials and tribulations that any one in any relationship experiences. Please feel free to call her and offer her your love and support, she is a wonderful and caring human being.
As for Daniel ,what can I say. We have been blessed with a compassionate, warm and loving son who when I told him about just said,“Fantastic.” We have been very open about this. He is still out in Washington State working with an autistic child at an elementary school, doing yoga and martial arts and loving life.
So we’re getting near the end of the letter. Thank you for being so patient and reading on through to the end. I hope by now you are asking yourself “What can I do, how can I help?”
Well, please recognize how important your love acceptance and support is to us. Please try to hear what we have to say without judgement, anger or argument. Please communicate with us even if it is about your fears and pain. Please just keep on treating us with the same respect courtesy, compassion and love that you have always shown us. Please trust our judgement. Remember this goes back many,many years.Cindy and I love you all immensely and hope to continue to have you in our lives as we continue on life’s journey.
Bob, Cindy , Daniel and Susan.