February 4, 2014

And Round the Prow They Read Her Name

I’ve not been blogging recently. Sorry. The last week or so has been horrible. I promise I will fill you all in soon. Right now, though, I just wanted to share with you what I posted to my old Facebook profile a couple hours ago.


It’s time I came out with it and explained everything.

Here’s the deal: I have a medical condition. I’ve had it all my life, though for most of that time I didn’t realize how much damage it was doing to my physical and mental health. About a year ago, the condition began to intensify. Last April it very nearly led to my death.

Specifically, last April was when I almost committed suicide. The medical condition that drove me to that point was Gender Dysphoria.

Gender Dysphoria (GD), also called Gender Identity Disorder (GID), is a real and legitimate mental condition recognized by the APA, the AMA, and the WHO. The classic description of GD is that it’s like “being trapped in the wrong body,” and while that doesn’t quite do the  condition justice it’s as good a place as any to start.  At least since late puberty my mind has been silently rebelling against what biology and society says I am. Can you imagine living with the inescapable sense that YOU ARE NOT AS YOU SHOULD BE every day of your life? That’s gender dysphoria.

There is treatment for GD. The medical consensus says that one of the most effective treatments is to learn to live with it. I have recently begun to do just that: I stopped fighting GD and instead began treating it as the life-affecting condition that it is. I began to listen to my mind, to accept what it was telling me, and to make changes in my life to accommodate it. A few months ago I even started medical treatment for it. I am currently seeing both a therapist and a physician who specialize in GD and they are making sure that I don’t mess up my life or my body as I make this change.

The common term for all this is “being transgender,” and the common name for this is treatment is “transition.” When it’s all over, I will be living my life as a woman.

This isn’t something I’ve come to a quick decision about. I wrestled with GD for thirty-seven years. I tried to ignore it, to deny it, to bury it, and to fight it; all it did was break me. Now, I will be sane, I will be happy, and I will finally be myself.

At this point, I’m willing to treat this part of my life as openly as possible. That means answering (almost) any sincere question sincerely asked. But there’s a lot of questions frequently asked that already have answers out there, and the teacher in me demands I provide you with a resource:


My hope is that this doesn’t change any of my relationships with friends and family, but I know how these things sometimes go. If this makes you uncomfortable, or if you’re uncertain, or whatever, I get it. Feel free to be as large or as small a part of my life moving forward as you’re comfortable being. I’ll be happy to have you in whatever capacity you want to be there.

If, on the other hand, this disgusts you, fills you with moral outrage, or makes you think of me as a “pervert” and a “sexual deviant,” then by all means feel free to remove yourself from my friend list and my life. I will be sad to see you go, but much as I’ve finished hating and abusing myself I am also not going to let others hate or abuse me. You have about as much chance of convincing me to change my mind as I have of convincing you to change yours, so let’s save ourselves the sturm und drang and just get on with our separate lives.

That’s about all I have to say. Thanks for reading.

Oh, one more thing: Because this account is connected to an identity I am letting go of, and because I don’t know who outside of my circle of friends and family may may monitor this account (i.e. employers), I have created a new account for my new self. The last name is different [it’s a pen name I’ve been using to write some things around the Internet], but it’s me. So please friend my alternate Facebook account, Alison Edwards, and we can keep on being there for each other.


— Alison (<real name>)

So, yeah. Everyone knows, or will know soon. I’ll update you on the reaction later. I’m going to go back to freaking out in the corner now.


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