Collected wisdom

Every now and then, someone sends me a letter or article that I think is worthy of sharing with others. As I get these, I add them here. For those of you who are transitioning early in life, I also have a special section called A little help from my friends that has advice from others who did this in their teens or early twenties.

You may remember me from my earlier letter. I wrote to you about how I nearly OD'd on Vicodin. I was glad that you included the letter on your site.

Today I am writing because I wanted to share with you the great joy that I have found at the end of transition. You see, I made the mistake of thinking that once the surgery was done, the transition was over. How wrong I was! It has been nearly three years since I went under Dr. Meltzer's knife in Portland. But it was only within the last year that I began to feel comfortable in my own skin. Let's fill in some of the gaps...

When I began transition in 1998, I went through all of the legal rigamarole. I jumped through the hoops of the Benjamin Standards with grace and poise. I did the electrolysis. I prepared myself for surgery. But I did not prepare myself for the reception I got at my workplace. And I certainly did not, even with an 18-month RLT, prepare myself for the life I would live after surgery. For me, surgery became an end in itself, rather than a means to an end.

I transitioned "in-place" at my work. I was met with hostility, constant harassment and I was always under threat of termination from my Federal job. But I learned the laws in my home state of California and I used them as a cudgel to beat back management and hold my ground, not to mention my job. I had my surgery on September 5, 2000. Shortly thereafter, I was disowned by my mother, and she passed away only 8 months later. Next, a man that I was very much in love with was murdered by his wife after she found out that we were planning a tryst. I lost all control and relapsed into alcoholism.

During my relapse I nearly lost everything: Career, daughter, home. By the time I got sober all I wanted to do was die.

I didn't. Now I am happy to say that while the life I have today is not what I would have chosen, and certainly far from what I had imagined, It is truly beyond my wildest dreams.

I kept my career. I kept my home. I regained the love and respect of my daughter. And I have the most wonderful man in my life who loves me the way I am. I can honestly say that I have walked through the fire and though neither unscathed nor unchanged, I came out more alive than I have ever been in my life. Where I hated the person I was, I can honestly say that I like the person that I am today.

I don't advertise that I am a transsexual woman, but I do not try to conceal the fact either. Most of the people who know me know my story.

Those that don't know have no need to know.

I have earned the respect and acceptance of an all women's Alcoholics Anonymous group. I stand in a room full of women and I am accepted and yes, welcomed. I belong. I finally, really belong to the human race. I finished "rush week" and earned my pledge pin. I have earned my place in the sorority.

For all of our sisters who hesitate and doubt, I would like to go on the record: It can be done. It is not easy, and the journey will seemingly demand more from you than you can give, but it can be done.


Would you like to make an anonymous contribution?

If you have any advice you'd like to share, please contact me , and I'll give it a permanent (and anonymous) home.

First and foremost: your identity will never be revealed to anyone! I am absolutely aware of how difficult it is to be stealth, and I would never, ever jeopardize that. Two of my closest TS friends are totally stealth, and I am in contact with many members of the community who are also stealth. Even those of us who aren't stealth value our privacy, and I take great pains to assure that anonymous contributors remain anonymous.

I will not put your advice on my site with your real name.

I will not include any contact information for you.

I will remove any information in the submission that identifies who or where you are.

My policy on questions I get about your submissions:

If I get any questions or comments about your submission, I will send them to you (unless you'd prefer not to get them). The person who sent it will never get your real name or email address, and you will never get theirs. If you'd like to respond to any of the notes, I'm happy to forward your response in the same manner. However, you are under no obligation to respond. If the writer has a question, I will try to answer it myself, and I tell them that my "guest writers" usually don't respond to questions.

I will never put two people in contact, even if both would like to contact each other. The only exception is if I have met both women in person.

I understand the trust you place in me by contacting me, and I make it my utmost priority to protect your privacy.