(re-posted from my Yahoo 360 Blog, July 2006)
When I met my wife eight years ago, I was a normal, everyday guy, but with a closet passion for being girlie. I have never been macho or even masculine. Also, I have a high voice and many feminine features. My wife accepted me for the way I am.
In recent years, I noticed my body starting to change, so I went to the doctor, who sent me to a specialist. The specialist diagnosed a condition called Klinefelter's Syndrome, which is a chromosomal abnormality. Not only has my body gone through change, but so has my mind. Things that used to be important to me, no longer are. They've been replaced with more feminine thoughts. You can imagine how my wife feels about this. I had always wondered why I felt the way I did, and now I finally have the answer.
So: Why am I writing? I no longer can hide who I am, and I wish to live openly. I am both man and woman, and I choose to present feminine. But I want to stay married and raise my children. My wife and I are in counseling. I'm writing to you for advice on how to help my children understand. I want them to still feel loved, despite my change. I don't want them to feel like their dad has disappeared, yet I don't wish to compromise my personal happiness either.
My children are the most important thing in the world to me, and I don't want to let them down. What can I do to make things work?
Here's what you can do for your children. Because you have the basic body structure of a male, I believe you should dress like a man, but a feminine one. To the world and to your children, this will be an honest statement of who you are. Try hard to be a fine father to them in every way. This will help them feel secure, and they'll appreciate the effort, even if only subconsciously, at least while they're still very young.
As soon as they're old enough to understand, tell them about your physical condition and your feelings in as much detail as their age will allow. But be sure to tell them way before the age when all children are embarrassed by their parents. And when that day comes, try not to take it too personally! Few parents escape being objects of pre-teen and teenage mortification.
I think you can make this work with the children whether you stay married or not. Kids are wonderful about loving good-hearted parents, regardless of their marital status.
I decided to send in the following reply to Marilyn, thanking her for taking the time to answer me, and to give her readers a more clear picture of the "whole" situation, since they had not published the entire letter sent in.
Thank you for your response. As it turns out, this is the basic approach I am “trying” to adhere to. Well some what.
First, let me instill the fact that I have been told by professional cross dressers, drag queens, and even post op transsexuals, that they have never seen a more “passable” male presenting female. If you did not know me, you would never suspect that I am anything other than what I appear to be; a girl! Even when I am dressed as a male, I can not get mistaken for being a man.
To add, I have a female voice. I have a very difficult time on the phone speaking with banks or other matters of importance. No one believes that I am who I say that I am. I can't even pretend enough to fool anyone that I am a male. My voice is very female, and soft. I do not mean to say that I speak with a gay males flamboyancy, rather, my voice and the tone in which I speak is that of a young woman’s.
I have found it easier to adapt into the roll of presenting my self as feminine as possible. It did not happen over night however. I started growing my hair out. It is now long, and high-lighted. I began to put it up in a female style of hi pony with a scrunchie.
The scrunchie was really the signal to everyone that “Ted” was going through changes. Many friends began to ask question, and I simply told them it was simply a fashion choice. A basic scrunchie is not a female article; it is simply an article for tying up hair.
By this time, my breasts have grown to fill a 36B Bra. It’s impossible to hide it. Sports bra’s and ace bandages bind and restrict so much; I started to have health problems. I went to the doctor and after an x-ray, I was diagnosed with “Mastitis”, other wise know as a breast tissue infection. My doctor recommended that I refrain from bra’s that restrict the flow of air causing sweat. The doctor also mentioned that bra’s that bind or flatten should not be worn for any extended period of time; if at all.
Compounded to this problem, I work for a major company; I am constantly in front of the public. My employer received a few complaints from fellow employee's about my "clothes" and my newly "Endowed" breasts. Some said: "it was improper". After explaining my situation with my human resource contact, they said that I need not live in fear of any type of reprisal for presenting my self as female. They said they would treat me as the person I am and which I present - a woman. However, they said under no circumstance should I report to work with out proper “under garments” or clothing which violates company policy.
I have to wear a bra. Not wearing one is uncomfortable and causing infections from binding my breasts. I feel vulnerable and “out of control (If you ladies know what I mean)” when I am not wearing one. It’s dehumanizing; why should I have to dehumanize myself so that others can manage their acceptance or rejection of me?
So what is my point in sharing all this?
As I stated before, I probably am the most “passable” man presenting as a girl you would ever meet. I speak and act and think like a lady. I have no facial or body hair, and I do not have a noticeable Adams-apple either. Nor do I have large hands, and I am not 6ft tall walking around in six inch heals. I have no “tells” and only my mother, wife, and doctor know for sure.
What is it like for a man to “blossom” into a young looking girl with new perky breasts? Well, I could write a book about it, and still not have scratched the surface. The dynamics are too long and sorted, but if I could focus on one, it would be “relationships”.
Whether I wanted to or not, every relationship I had in my life became up for re-evaluation. Friends, family, co-workers and even neighbors. Any one that knew me as “Ted”, now had to make a “forced” re-evaluation of their relationship with me, my wife and children.
As I said before, you can imagine how all this has affected my relationship with my wife. It has not been fair. (To quote her), she has lost her sexy, young husband and been forced to appear to others as a lesbian. She feels that she now lives with a woman; and rightfully so.
I love my wife…. more than could ever be measured… but, I can not live not loving who I am first. I need to feel like a human being again. I can NOT do this appearing as “Ted”… ever.
I dress feminine because I have a feminine figure. The only thing that made me a male was the ability to father children, which is no longer an option. I am still able to perform for my wife; however, I can no longer seed a child. This has actually been a blessing for my wife, as she is 43, and I am 34 years old. We mutually do not wish to have any more kids.
So far, everyone in my life has either adjusted, accepted me or tolerates my differences by showing respect toward me as a fellow co-worker.
My wife and I have been left alone to work out the problems together. God bless her, she has hung in there… but I do not know for how much longer.
My children are resilient! I have been doing all the things a father should; playing with them, and teaching them all the things a father needs to. Let’s not forget, I was a little boy once too, and I had a wonderful father as well. It is my firm belief that no matter what gender I present outwardly, it will not impair my ability to be a father.
I accept that there will be challenges: like dealing with the children’s friends; going swimming; the wife’s family and mine, etc.
I really want to find away to work things out with my wife and live as (Chloe), but not abandon (Ted’s) duties. I have proved that my employer has no problems with my transitioning; Most of the employees have been very great. There are still a few that need some education and my employer and stewards have said they would see to it that they are educated and that the companies guidelines in this matter will be enforced. I actually empathize for them... this is uncomfortable for them. I know many don't know how to address me now - should they say Ted or Chloe... him/her? (I tell them I wish to be called Chloe and address as Her/She). Some ask "What bathroom do you use now"? I tell them "The ladies of course". Some people have said to my friends that they feel like they are walking on egg shells around me.... I want to convey to them that they are ALL like family to me - I care about everyone and would do anything for any of them... I too am human and make mistakes... and have made them, but its water over the #@%$! now and I want to move on and just do my job and be an asset to the team. There are some that have made comments that hurt - but I am over it - its not me that has the problem - its them... and I won't allow my dignity to be taken away again so that others can feel comfortable.
My family has been UN-supportive and abandoned me; I have lost almost every friend I have. As heart wrenching as this is to bare.... at least I can look at myself now and not want to die. I am free.....
My wife is a fickle thing. Some days are good; other times we argue and fight. No matter what problem we have, some how my boobs are the root of all evil and cause of any strife. (I call it her “Kitchen sink” attack.) Literally, she will use every thing against me in an argument to support her cause. Every argument has become so monumental that there is not much left to be said to hurt one another again. But in the end, it’s my “girlie thing” that becomes the fall guy for any problem in our lives.
I refuse to argue in front of my children anymore. They have become old enough now that they understand, and are too impressionable. So we reserve our conversations and differences to phone conversations and bedroom banter.
We have made good progress however. I have discovered that I fit well into the spectrum of cross dressers and Transsexuals. So, I have become a member of a support group for cross dressers. They are currently helping me to deal with everything. Everything being my own emotions, along with situations that will be presented to me and my family and children, and how to handle them. The support group also is for spouses. The spouses are there to offer solace to wives like mine.
However my wife has made little use of the group. She wants me to go to a therapist that is through a church. I am opposed to this type of counsel, because it is bias toward religion. My wife is a huge Catholic… but not with out exception to some sins. Don't let me paint a picture of her with a big letter “C” on her chest. She is however looking for someone to tell her she is right. She uses our religion against me as her arsenal of guilt to shame me back into the closet.
I will never compromise or even negotiate to these types of demands or tactics.
She has said she does understand that I have Klinefelter’s, and that my breasts are understandable; even the need to wear a bra. But she reiterates that she married a man, and she wants her man. I am trying to full fill every other need I can. I am being run ragged and right into the poor house as well.
I really feel that things are salvageable. With some counseling and compromise, and a little more private discussions with our families and friends, I really think we can make it all work.
Why don’t we just divorce?
I want to make things work for my children and more importantly… I love my wife… deeply! I’m prepared to let her go if it is her wish, but I want to do anything and everything I can to work things out WITHOUT compromising my own dignity and happiness.