Week One, Day One
Dear Future self,
Today is the day that I decided to tell my parents that I want to transition. I know that they love me, and I’m sure that they have their suspicions about my mannerisms. Ever since I was nine years old I’ve demanded that I have short hair, that I never have “girly” clothes, and that I only be referred to by my nickname: Laker.
My friends call me Laker because that is the best way to describe me as a person. My grandparents live on a lake and I spend all of my free time there. My parents do too, so it’s not like I’m avoiding them. My grandparents are in poor health so I’m always out there helping with chores. Mostly, I take care of the shoreline, maintain the boats, and weed-eat the hill. I love the smell of the water so I never stray too far from it. Hence – Laker.
After the Grayson Frances case I’ve really been able to be more open with myself about what would make me happy. I’ve been able to conclude that I like girls. I’ve also been able to conclude that most of my inner distress comes from something called gender dysphoria. The more I really learn about what’s been in me this whole time, the more I realize that I want to undergo sexual reassignment surgery.
Yes, I want to transition.
The only concerns I have are how my parents will react and how much it will cost. Very few insurance companies will actually approve the surgery, meaning it is voluntary and 100% the responsibility of my parents financially. I’m also worried that they’ll be disappointed. Never once have they expressed that they are upset I’m not more feminine, but I hear the questions people ask them… horrific and invasive questions… and I can hear how uncomfortable it makes them.
And I just worry if this will be the question that breaks them entirely…
Week One, Day Six
Dear Future self,
Today the sentencing for the Grayson Frances case was held, and the news was running while mom prepared dinner. My father made a comment about the sentencing being very light considering the charges. My mother replied in kind by saying such a man was garbage and shouldn’t ever have the opportunity to enjoy freedom again.
Pretending as though I didn’t know anything about the case, I asked what the case was about. My father took the lead by explaining that the transgender student – Grayson Frances – had been discriminated against and sexually abused and even blackmailed. The teacher was angry that the student ended a relationship and started punishing him in the form of extortion.
After this, my mother proceeded to explain that she was very disappointed to even hear that this was a problem. Seeing the media around it broke her heart because nobody should ever feel like an outsider. I then posed my ‘test’ question: “Is Grayson’s family doing any charity events to raise awareness about transgender discrimination?”
A lot of celebrities and media figureheads do this now, so it did not raise any eyebrows. My mother sighed and said that as far as she knew the only family Grayson Frances was ever spotted with was his girlfriend. She started positively, saying how she hoped his family supported him, but then it turned negatively, “But how would a parent know what to do for their child in that situation? How do you help them?”
So I decided that I couldn’t talk to them yet. I’ll have to get more information before I decide to ask them for the sexual reassignment surgery. I’m only three years away from eighteen, so worst-case scenario I just wait three years and get my own job and insurance.
Week Two, Day Twelve
Dear Future self,
It’s been nearly a week since the conversation about Grayson Frances and his court case. My parents haven’t been really chatty lately. In fact, they’ve been so busy I don’t think they’ve even noticed me staying out as late as possible. I’ve been doing as much research away from home as possible. Information about sexual reassignment – the procedure, the estimated costs, the possible complications, the therapy required afterwards, and so on.
Most people would be scared off by that kind of information – especially the way the Internet displays it. Sexual reassignment sounds frightening but I am still completely committed to doing the surgery. In fact, my research has only made me want it more. Unfortunately, the passion for who I am is making it even harder to try and approach my parents. I want this so badly and if they tell me ‘no’ then I’ll never be able to live with myself, will I?
A large part of me would rather not ever find out if they’d let me do it. Better to be in the dark, isn’t it?
Week Three, Day Twenty
We were at the store today. I was wearing a tank top and some basketball shorts with my hair slicked back. While we were walking around, someone stopped to talk to my mom and she introduced me as her daughter. The lady raised a brow for a second, before very blatantly asking if I knew I was a girl, because I certainly wasn’t dressed like one.
I may or may not – I did – have gone off on this lady: “You have no right to say anything about the way I look when you wear seven layers of beauty products to cover up the way you look!” Immediately I fled the store and walked all the way home, but I made sure to text my dad that I was walking home and he could ask mom why. He didn’t care – he just sent back a winky emoticon. He loves those damn things – he’s like a teenager sometimes.
When mom got home she was furious. I expected as much, of course, because I made a scene in the middle of the store. That’s not how she raised me, which she repeated a dozen times. She was yelling nonstop for at least twenty minutes. “Do you know how humiliated I felt?”
“Do you realize I work with her? Do you have an idea what kind of problems I’m going to have with my co-workers tomorrow?”
But my favorite part – sarcasm intended – was when she said: “Maybe you wouldn’t have these problems if you just tried looking like a girl every once in awhile!”
I threw my water in my mother’s face and dropped the glass on the floor. That’s a horrible thing to do, but I made it even more dramatic by making it perfectly clear that she doesn’t get a say in how I look either; “If I wanted to look like a girl then I’d do it. But nobody is going to tell me how I should look in my own skin!”
I’m not allowed to do anything fun for a month. That includes my cell phone and my computer.
Week Three, Day Twenty-four
Dear Future self,
Mom and Dad sat me down after dinner in the living room. Apparently they believe that I need to see a therapist. Mother says that it’s because of how angry I’ve been the past few weeks. She thinks that maybe I’m depressed or that something is going on at school that I’m not sharing with them.
My dad corrected her, because apparently he disagreed with her. He told me very plainly that they my mom wanted me in therapy because she thinks that I’m experiencing an identity crises. When I looked at my mom she pointed at my dad and started complaining about his attitude and how he’s not supporting anyone with his betrayal.
I had to tell them both that I didn’t give a shit what they wanted, “You can send me to therapy but that’s a waste of your money. If you’d just ask me what was wrong, maybe I would tell you. But I have to trust you first. I don’t trust either of you.”
When I walked away, my mother told my father that she’s leaving.
Good, she’s being a bitch anyway.
Week Three, Day Twenty-eight
My mom has been staying with my grandparents – her parents – out of town. As for me, dad has been making me stay with my grandparents. He told me that he’s trying to do what is right for my mom and me, but he can’t seem to figure it out and that maybe the three of us need some space. I told him before I left to stay at the lake that the reason I’m getting upset is because I don’t want to be a girl.
He seemed to understand. He nodded his head almost as if he’s known all along. Dad hugged me and everything before leaving me with the oldies the same way he normally would. After that I saw him pick up his phone, though, and make a call. Probably to a therapist…
At least gran and pops don’t care what I look like when I show up as long as I’ll make them some green tea and watch Walker, Texas Ranger with them.
Black and White television always make life look so much easier than it actually is…
Week Four, Day Thirty
Dear Future Self,
I got a call to the office – my parents were picking me up early. As it were, my dad did call a therapist the other day. He called a very specific one in the neighboring town. One that works exclusively with transgender individuals…
He made my mother and father sit across from him on the couch and then made me sit in his chair at the desk. He leaned against a wall, looking pretty cool and bored. I liked it.
He told me that my parents were big kids and that it was time to treat them like big kids. It took me a minute and I had to nod my head at least a hundred times before I laid it out for them – “I have never wanted to be a girl. I hate it. A month ago I decided that I want to transition but I haven’t said anything because you guys are acting like ass holes.”
The therapist shrugged his shoulders, telling them that I could have told them if they weren’t being ass holes. My mother was more offended than my dad. He’s had a few days to get his mind in place, though. The therapist mostly just watched us three sit in silence, only interjecting when he felt that we’d had enough time to ignore what I’d said.
By the end of the appointment, it was decided that my mother should start attending therapy separately from us – seeing that she clearly was struggling with the concept of her daughter becoming a man. I could have told him that from my own observations, but he told me that just because I was right about my conclusion doesn’t make me any less biased.
Touche Mr. Therapist.
Several months later?
Dear Past Self,
So I thought that I had lost my diary. My mother asked for a divorce after the second therapy session. After the first, she said that things were too much and she wants to move out temporarily but I knew that I’d done it. I knew I’d broken them. Never did I think that I would contribute to their divorce – I only thought that I’d ruin my relationship with them – not their relationship with each other.
The therapist assured me that my mother had been considering divorce for a very long time before I came out about my gender identity. Either way, I knew that he was trying to sugarcoat what he was telling me for fear my psyche was fragile. What nobody knew was that I overheard the actual conversation my parents had. Mom said that it was just too much for her. She promised that she didn’t love him less, that she didn’t love me less, but that she just couldn’t be a part of this “adventure.”
About a month later she was completely moved out. She is living somewhere upstate now, I guess. She never calls. She doesn’t write. And she unfriended me on Facebook because it was “too emotional” for her. I never would have pegged my mom for a coward but I guess that’s not my concern anymore.
I’m not bitter. I was able to get over it pretty quickly. Dad moved us to a different house that was closer to the therapist and the hospital. I start my transition surgery over summer break. Nobody will notice a difference because I won’t be dressed any differently and I don’t have any physical education classes that I’ll be taking senior year. The only different will be that I’ve legally changed my name to Laker King and that’s the name that will show up on all my paperwork. It’s the name that will be called out during my graduation ceremony. The only people that will know will be a small group of friends that I’ve shared the news with – and they know that it’s not their place to share it with anyone else.
Things have been pretty good. My dad is really cool about everything. He talks to me about it and asks questions –do I like any girls, do I have any questions about sexual safety as a man, and have I been attending my online support group sessions. He is doing everything he can to make sure that he treats me like a son, and to make sure that I’m feeling supported throughout this process. My dad is a great guy.
That’s probably why he already has a girlfriend. My grandparents haven’t met her yet, but they know about her. They always say that my dad is such a catch because he’s a forward thinker – that ladies like the guys who think about the future because they can be depended upon for support. I gotta say, I don’t disagree.
I told them what I was doing, of course, and they were open about having no idea why I’d want to do that. They think I’m being silly but they also think rap music is silly. Even though they don’t understand that just tell me it’s about happiness and whatever makes me happy is worth it. Whenever they think I’m down and out about something, they tell me I’m going to be a fine man just like my dad.
Even if I’m not sad – hearing that always makes me feel better.
There are good times ahead of me. I just know it. And you’re the reason why, past self, you’re the reason why I can be happy now. Thank you for being true to yourself and pursuing this because I never would have expected things to turn out so well. Things change and no matter the struggles you face, in the end it is always worth it.