The story so far..
EDIT: Apparently I inadvertently created a commotion and also some confusion regarding a few things I had written down here. This was not my intention so I have rewritten certain parts to clarify the actual meaning. Most notable edits are in the part about my last name. I realize some of my wording implied something completely different than what I really wanted to say. I shouldn’t always write so late at night. :P My apologies.
Since I started this website a little after my start of transitioning I thought it would be helpful to write out a brief timeline with what I’ve done so far.
Sunday, June 15th
It was in the late evening when I once again expressed my desire to be a girl to my wife. She told me that there are ways to make that happen. I passed out shortly after that comment, since I was exhausted, but when I woke up I saw that she had been looking for webpages about exactly that. Transitioning from one gender to another. It was at this point in time that I truly realized I had been living a lie for all my life.
Monday, June 16th
The decision was made in the night from sunday to monday to really go through with this. I knew then, crystal clear, that this was the path I had to take. It wasn’t a choice, it was my destiny.
I shaved my beard (if you could call it that) and got rid of my mustache for the first time since it started growing on me, about 20 years ago.
Many websites were googled and browsed during the following days, doing extensive research on all facets of transitioning; both the physical and the psychological. This was when I started to try and make decisions.. Do I want to try and go deep stealth? Do my transition and move elsewhere and hide it from everyone? Or do I want to be completely open about it all and share it with whoever needs or wants to know? While I was heavily leaning toward stealth, which was probably mostly due to being scared of possible repercussions, I eventually opted to go full disclosure.
Tuesday, July 1st
On this day I bought myself female clothes for the first time. We went to the nearest city and strolled around buying a few things I would need. I also got my first bra that day, a 70A (Europe size) to be exact. Another thing I thought of doing was getting both my ears pierced, since up til now all I had was a single pierced ear. I got that done over at Claire’s. I picked pink studs. The girl who did it was a little confused but whatever, right?
We also told our teenage daughter on this day and she seemed pretty ok with it all. Of course she’s pretty laid back in general so we didn’t really expect many problems there. We tried our best to make clear that this was not something to discuss anywhere with anyone, not until I was ready to be more in the public, as that could jeopardize my transitioning plans.
Wednesday, July 2nd
Had a very early 9am appointment with my huisarts (similar to a general practitioner) since I knew I was going to need a referral to see a gender therapist. I picked a Wednesday because that is the only day the female substitute is in. I don’t really like the main guy I have.
Afterward my wife and I went over to my mom’s and after a relatively long delay I finally told her my plans. I tried to explain it as best I could.. That it would take time, years.. And that I wanted to tell people early on so they had a chance to get used to the idea as well instead of just showing up one day, going “tadah”. She had some issues with it but seemed willing to try and deal with it and accept it. “Just don’t show up in a dress tomorrow”, while the information was in her head, she still had to deal with it.
Later that day we found out that our daughter thought it was a ‘fun fact’ to tell everyone in school: “My dad is going to be a girl”. She told this smack in the middle of the cafeteria during break, with all the kids ranging from age 12 to 18 present. Not a good thing..
That night was a very hard night on both my wife and I as we tried to come up with a solution.. an idea.. something.. Anything that would make sure that this would not happen again. Her school was over in a few weeks and she’d move to a new one afterward, so the damage done may not be as severe. There was no way of knowing for sure though. And there was still a report card meeting coming up. How could I dare show my face not knowing who knows what?
While this was obviously something that should not have happened, you have to realize that she did this without any malicious intent, as hard as it may be to understand that. She has issues.. problems.. that need to be addressed and resolved. So we decided that she simply has to go into therapy ASAP. Until then, we figured she could stay with my dad, her grandfather, so we’d also have some breathing room and time for ourselves.. time to think.
Thursday, July 3rd
So the next day I talked to my mom, arranged for dad to come over and pick up Lynda for a while. We knew she’d miss some school but her classes were pretty much over anyway, she already did all her tests and had her final grades. Of course I had little choice to tell my dad since there were bound to be questions about all this. He responded pretty much how I thought he would. “As long as you’re happy, I’m happy.” So not a big deal there.
Saturday, July 5th
Told Kiki, an online friend who I share two chatrooms with. She was very happy for me.
Sunday, July 6th
Took a few pictures in the morning, just before my dad would arrive for his weekly Sunday visit. Those were the first pictures of me in girl-mode. I didn’t even have good pants yet.
Starting around this point is when I started to dress in girl-mode more and more around the house.
Sunday, July 13th
At exactly midnight I changed my online nickname in IRC to AmorousEyes and activated several online accounts with that name, such as my MySpace and Gmail account. I told everyone in the main chatroom (of which I am the owner) my situation and it went over well. There was the odd one that didn’t believe me at first but he was never very bright to begin with.
Wednesday, July 16th
My first therapy session in Amsterdam. This was also my first day out in the public in girl-mode. It was scary at first, but felt great and liberating. My therapist seems like a nice guy and it was clear he had a lot of ‘pointers’ for me that would benefit me in the future diagnosis and treatment part. He was very pleased I came in girl-mode which he said would definitely score me points in the future diagnosis if I kept that up.
Tuesday, July 22nd
Set up a meeting with a few family members over at my mom’s place. This day I told four aunts and an uncle. While this was certainly not the news they were expecting (which ranged from having a baby to us moving back to the states) they too seemed accepting and understanding.
Of course from this point on the news started spreading (with my permission) throughout the family and friends, I received only positive responses so far.
Wednesday, July 23rd
Went to Amsterdam to get my ‘girly’ tattoo on my left arm. It’s a very colorful fairy of which I’ll post a picture later. Later that evening I invited over another uncle and his wife and told them as well. They already knew I would contact them about ‘something’ but they had no idea what. I was still in girl-mode from my trip to Amsterdam earlier so it wasn’t too hard for them to figure it out. I knew they could handle it though, as they are very progressive thinking people.
Friday, July 25th
Posted my first transition post over on my other blog which is read by a ton of people. Screw anonymity, screw going stealth. I had been writing this post for a while but I wanted to wait until I talked to a few more family members so they had a heads up on it.
Sunday, July 27th
Dad came by again for his weekly visit and we all went to eat at McDonald’s as we do every time. However, the minute after my wife had left for work, he started mentioning that he really didn’t appreciate the fact that I want to change my name. He told me he felt like I “stabbed him in the back” and called what I had planned “treason”. He said he had zero problems with my transition, save for that part.
I had stated earlier that my name (first and last) will change and that I would really like it if other people would at least try to accept that and call me by my new name. And while I perfectly understand that may be difficult for some at first, and take time, especially for my parents, the name change is just another part of my transition. I would be most uncomfortable if someone would be calling me by my old name 10-20 years from now. You can misspeak of course, and with people I don’t see a whole lot to begin with I know this would take a lot longer to adjust to, I’m just asking that they’d at least try and not just flat out refuse.
So my dad and I argued for a bit (though we never raised our voice) and he asked if I would truly be willing to accept the consequences of him leaving for good if I kept my plans of changing my last name, so I countered it by asking him if he was truly willing to accept the consequences of leaving for good over something like this. I thought he was out of his mind to claim he was perfectly ok with everything except that single thing and putting it to an ultimatum like that. It felt like emotional blackmail. He went so far as to include my wife and kid; his (only) grandchild; in that. And though I told him they had nothing to do with this, and asked him if he really thought this through, he said he was awake for one whole night making this decision.
To me it felt very excessive, I told him that I knew he would have some problems or reservations with it but I didn’t expect a “If you change this none of you will ever see me again, ever, period”. My daughter was present for this too by the way, and not happy about it at all and very upset. I sent her outside so she didn’t have to witness all this. He told me in no uncertain terms that there was no way he would change his mind on this, so I had little choice to simply say “so be it”. He then said “but I’ll still drop by this Friday to drive your daughter to her therapy session”. I’m sorry? What? You just told me you want no part in our life whatsoever, but you’ll still drop by a few days from now?
That is what gave me the clue he never meant it all though. That he was simply testing me to see how steadfast I was in my decisions. My wife agrees and thinks I called his bluff and he never intended to leave (he stuck around for the longest time afterward) but whichever way it was, my intention remains the same and I simply cannot change any part of my transition for anyone. I can’t let other people tell me what to wear, how to look, what kind of colors to use for make-up, to cut my hair, etc.. That would be just silly.
While I again tried to explain what would happen with my name to my dad I finally found the real issue at hand. He (and apparently a bunch of people) thought I meant I want to completely change my last name while all I ever intended was to change my married name. This means I’ll gain one, not lose one. My old last name will simply be transformed into a maiden name. My new last name will only be made legal retroactively from my marriage onward. In other words, I take my wife’s name in marriage. So I would still have to use my current last name on legal documents where a maiden name is required and it would still be on my birth records as it is the name I was born with. This finally clarified it all to him and the issue was resolved.
For some reason I never thought that people would view it that way, whenever I said I wanted to change my last name I always meant to imply my married name and not my father’s name, but of course everyone else thought the latter. I apologize for any confusion but I have to stress again that that was never my intent.
During the next week I went full-time as I grew tired of hopping back ‘n forth into girl-mode and then guy-mode again. So now I do everything in full on girl-mode, grocery shopping, eating out, going to my daughter’s therapy sessions, the works.
Thursday, August 7th
The day of my second therapy session didn’t go without a hitch. We missed the bus by a hair, it drove off right on front of us, so I already knew I would be late, and when we finally arrived in Amsterdam we had to walk in the pouring rain trying to find the darn place again. When I finally got there I was extremely late and I cannot afford to let that happen again. I simply have to be on time next time. He gave me some ‘homework’ to do, people to call and files to request, as it would be needed in later sessions.
During these first few weeks of transition I ‘stole’ clothes from my daughter, got some through a cousin of mine (thank you!), bought (more) make-up and kept on learning and unlearning many things. One of the hard things is to stop responding to my old name and (politely) correcting people that call me by it. My daughter either calls me mommy or Julie, so she has two moms now.
There is still many, many things to do, practice, and learn, but I’m taking it one step at a time. Some things simply go faster than others. I thank everyone who has supported my decision and I hope I can continue to count on their support in the future.