It’s a perfectly ordinary day, and I’m sitting in my 5th grade class. Half of my attention is watching the teacher illustrate on the blackboard how to multiply fractions, the rest of me is watching driving Oregon rain outside the window. The next thing I know the lecture is over, I grab the bathroom pass and head outside through the little corridor that leads to the restroom.

Before I arrive I’m stopped by a man dressed in a suit and wearing dark sunglasses. He says he needs to talk to me privately so I follow him around the corner. read more

Living The Transsexual Lifestyle

Since starting transition I have become aware of the fact that I am living a transsexual lifestyle. It wasn’t something I realized on my own. After all, to me I’m just living life. Fortunately more as come to light as I’ve had a few acquaintances tell me that while they respect my right to do whatever I want to do – they disagree with the transsexual lifestyle part. Now that a year has passed since I started living full time as a woman, I think I’m starting to get a good handle on what this transsexual lifestyle is all about and thought I would share it all with you. read more

One Year Ago

I wasn’t planning to go full time on my birthday, but it just happened that way. After a lull in my consulting work I had decided that I wanted to take some classes during the summer in a subject area that has always interested me. Psychology. The plan for a long time had been that sometime late in the summer I would gradually transition my life over and then come out publicly in October. I really wanted to take those classes, but I realized that it didn’t make sense for me to sign up for summer classes only to change my name and appearance during the semester – and add to my stress. So I decided to just move up my schedule and start school as Madelyn. To be honest, I was ready anyway after waiting so long in life – I could have done this much sooner. The first day of class fell on my birthday. By June I was ready to come out publicly, and in July I had legally changed my name. read more

To a Happy New Year

A year ago today my family was on their way here; everyone converging on Samantha’s and my house. We had a really fun little reunion planned, and it turned out great (despite several of us catching a pretty bad cold during the week). We went snowmobiling, ate some great food, did a tour of a local chocolate factory, and went to a hockey game together. By this time last year my whole family knew I was trans; I had come out to my parents about two years before, and my brother and sister had found out earlier that year. There was a moment we were all sitting together that I spoke up and told them how grateful I was for them – and to say thank you to them for accepting me and supporting me. I told them I didn’t know exactly what the future looked like, but that I felt so fortunate to be with them. read more

Old Stomping Grounds

This fall has given me the chance to do a little travel. With the exception of spending the weekend with my family in Oregon this last May, I haven’t really traveled much since going full time in April, and certainly not since I came out publicly in July. In October that changed as Samantha and I took a road trip together to visit my family in Northern California, and then later in the month when I went to New York City to speak to two small groups there and see friends.

We had been planning our road trip to California for months. Samantha and I both really like taking road trips, so we had put a lot of positive energy into this one. Although there were unexpected obstacles to us getting started on time, we finally hit the road and before we knew it were hanging out with family. read more

The Value of Friendship

Transition has brought with it a lot of new experiences; or perhaps more accurately a new way of experiencing familiar things. For the last six months since going full time I’ve experienced a lot of those familiar firsts: going clothes shopping, or to the symphony, or even to the restroom.

When it comes to familiar firsts though, the thing that always makes me the most nervous, and excited, and hopeful all at the same time is when I see a friend for the “first time” again.

It’s really interesting for me the different reactions people have when we get together and we are experiencing each other for the first time with me being female. There’s a variety of responses from laughter and hugs, or a minute or two of awkward conversation that quickly dissipates, or exclamations of happy disbelief and compliments about what I’m wearing. I never know what to expect, but every single episode no matter how it starts quickly feels “normal” within a few minutes of conversation and people see it’s still me. A couple times people even said they felt more comfortable with me as a woman. read more

Loss in Transition

I know weddings are supposed to be joyous occasions, but the truth is I’ve got mixed feelings about them. On one hand I do share in the joy of the beginning of a new chapter in life for all involved, but I also know that in weddings there is loss. No more midnight runs to taco bell, or staying up until two in the morning and sleeping over on the couch just for fun. There’s a reason for bachelor and bachelorette parties – these are the last “hurrahs” as one transitions, quite significantly I might add, from single life to marriage. read more

To Those Who Support and Affirm Me

Note: This post is in response to all the comments and well wishes I received after publishing “The Open Letter” yesterday.

Yesterday I woke up early. I had slept fine the night before (surprisingly), but once 5:45AM rolled around I just couldn’t see myself dozing back off.

I was feeling pretty anxious; well a mix of emotions really. On one hand I was sort of glad that “the day” was finally here, but on the other I was definitely worried about what could be coming.

The moment came, I paused for a minute, and hit the button. I could not have imagined the magnitude of what would transpire over the next few hours. read more

The Open Letter

An open letter to my extended family, colleagues, and friends.

I’m not even really sure how one goes about writing something like this. Even after a lifetime of living with this, and several years of being out to a handful of the closest in my life, I’m still learning how to say what needs to be said. Nonetheless, I will do my best to be both as succinct as possible, and provide enough foundation to hopefully help you understand. I sincerely wish there was a way I could have told you this face to face, and can only hope that my sincerity comes through in what’s written below. read more

The Merge

A form sits on my desk. It is titled, “Petition for Adult Change of Name.” I’ve filled it out, and plan to file it sometime in the next couple weeks. Line 5 asks, “This application is made for the following reasons:” I thought of a few lighthearted responses I could put in the box, but opted with a simple “gender change.” Sometime after filing this form I’m told I’ll be called in before a judge to testify that I am not changing my name for purposes of fraud. An ironic question given how it has felt living as a boy my whole life. Nevertheless, it’s all but guaranteed my petition will be granted and my name will be changed without objection. read more

Questions of a child

During the summers my dad used to grow tomatoes out behind our house on the Oregon Coast. It wasn’t really the ideal climate for growing tomatoes, but he had figured out how to do it in a greenhouse. Calling it a greenhouse I guess is a little bit of a stretch since it really was just a box made out of recycled plywood, green fiberglass, and clear plastic. But during the summer you could reach into that box and pull out the most amazing tomatoes your mouth has ever tasted.

I want to be here

A strange thing happened to me as I came to acceptance with my path to transition from male to female; I became a hypochondriac. What? Yeah, basically I did, and it really surprised me.

At first I didn’t really know what was going on. But I found myself making sure I was putting on my seat belt whenever I was in the car, double checking intersections when I was driving, making sure I was washing my hands really well so I wouldn’t get sick, and hoping I didn’t catch some sort of illness. I also became hyper-aware of sensations and feelings within my body, you know, like the little twitches you feel here and there, or the little pains you get every once and a while, or the ‘tingly’ feeling you get after exercising or whatever. I became hyper aware of all of this. read more

The first Estrogen pill

On April 4 I started Estrogen.

That means that I’m in my 4th week now of HRT including the female hormone. My doctor started me out on a very low dose, along with continuing the testosterone blocker medication I’ve been taking for the last couple years. It’s such a tiny pill, and yet popping that pill represented a really big step forward for me.

Real Life Experience

It’s such a strange feeling living kinda in between two genders at the moment. On one hand I’m not really out to that many people that I associate with regularly. With exception to my support group, one friend locally, and my therapist and doctors I’m not really out.

But I’m also moving forward in transition, and moving on with my life as Madelyn. That means that over the last few months I’ve been going out more in “girl mode” and meeting more people for the first time as “Madelyn”. This week that was taken to a whole new level as I enrolled and started classes at a local community college as a part-time student. read more

The Process of Coming Out

For me, coming out has been a long process, really starting with coming out to myself some years ago (self-acceptance), then coming out to a therapist when I felt near a mental breakdown, then to my girlfriend, and finally a few years later to my parents, brother and sister, and one family friend. Recently I came out three others; a friend who has only known me for a few months, and to two other friends who have known me for nearly two decades.

I’ve been fortunate in that all the individuals I’ve come out to so far have been supportive, compassionate, and understanding (as much as is possible). This has deeply moved and inspired me. read more

Deciding to Transition

Does someone decide to transition?

Many trans people that I’ve talked to or read about have said that it was never really a “decision” for them; that it was either transition or die (kill themselves, or die emotionally at a minimum and lose the will to live).

I can certainly identify with the deep despair, and even sense of being disconnected from this life as a result of feeling a gender incongruence. But I can’t necessarily say that I’ve been within inches of ending my life. Why is that? read more

Self Compassion

Tonight I was given the opportunity to be in public in “girl mode”. And like the first time I went out, it was a really nice experience, but I didn’t expect what would happen when I got home. First, some details.

Last week I attended a meeting of the Washington Gender Alliance for the first time. As I wrote previously, that first meeting gave me a lot of courage to go out of my home for the first time this last weekend in “girl mode.” That first experience was so natural, and felt so good to me, that I decided I would attend this week’s WGA meeting also in girl mode. read more

First time going out

Yesterday I finally did what I both have had an intense fear of, and a lifelong desire to do. I finally got the courage to go out to dinner and a move in “girl” mode (okay, not really a movie. More on that later.)

I have to say I was surprised.

I’ve spent much of my entire life with deep fears about what might happen if I were to show “the world” the real me, deep fears about my ability to “pass”, and fears of the unknown. I say I was surprised because what I found out was that the world just doesn’t care that much (in a good way). read more

A good place to start

This is as good as any place to start I suppose.

This morning was the morning that I informed my parents of the name I had been thinking for myself; Madelyn. I told my mom first, she said it was a nice name, but she was reminded of Madeleine Albright, which was a bit of a bummer for me (although admittedly I thought the same thing when I first considered the name). I have nothing against Ms. Albright, but she’s just not the reason I chose the name, nor a particular source of inspiration for me personally. My dad came in the room and my mom told him, I think he must have said, “that’s a nice name” or something like that in the background. It was somewhat a non-event, and we were on to other topics. read more