'I Want to Be Seen as Male'

Anna and Rebecca had always been close. With her sister's support, Rebecca wrote her coming-out letter and gave it to her mother. Despite her initial shock, Betsy kept her composure, and even had the wherewithal to ask whether Rebecca had a new name. She was prepared. Rebecca became Jeremy.

"I didn't see her crying the day I came out," Jeremy said. "She held it in, which was kind of what I needed then. I needed to know that she still loved me. And that this wasn't going to bring her to tears."

Jeremy didn't come out to his father right away, fearful of how he would react. But Peter found out anyway just a few weeks later. While working on his computer, he discovered letters Rebecca wrote about wanting to be a boy.

"I think I just kind of withdrew into some silence because I realized that anger wasn't the correct response," Peter said. "I mean, this had to be accepted somehow."

Becoming Jeremy

Jeremy began to transition into a boy almost immediately after coming out to his parents. He got his hair cut short. He asked his parents to stop referring to him as a she. He bought all his clothes, down to the socks and underwear, from the boys' department. He also began to wear a binder, a Lycra vest that painfully flattened his breasts.

Finally, in the ninth grade, Jeremy came out to his school during an assembly in front of teachers and friends. Going to a progressive school, Jeremy was generally accepted by his classmates.

"The boys at my school did a sort of funny, almost initiation, in which they asked me about which girls that we knew in common I thought were really attractive. It was like they were trying to kind of feel me out," Jeremy said. "It was actually kind of amusing."

Although Jeremy's parents allowed him to use a male name and dress like a boy, in the back of their minds, Peter and Betsy still hoped that their daughter Rebecca would eventually return. They put Jeremy in therapy, hoping that their child was just going through an adolescent phase.

"I did go through a period of hoping that it would wash away. Disappear," Peter said.

"What I really wanted was for the therapist to help Jeremy work through any body issues that might be within the scope of, you know, what normal adolescent girls go through," Betsy said.

'I Want to Be Seen as Male'

As the months wore on, however, it became clear that Jeremy was experiencing something far more serious. He wanted to go beyond merely altering his outward appearance. He wanted to physically change his body as well.

Jeremy insisted on taking the male hormone testosterone, but his parents thought he was too young. They weren't ready to let go of Rebecca completely.

"That was probably the darkest of all of the times that we went through. The many, many talks that we had. And he said to me, 'Mom, you still don't see me as male.' He had been binding, and dressing as a boy, and had a boy's haircut for a full year," Betsy said. "I admitted it. It was true."

"That was hard to hear," Jeremy said. "I knew that they saw me as a transgendered child, but not as a male child. And, the thing is, that I don't really want to be seen as trans. I want to be seen as male."

Without the testosterone, Jeremy felt trapped in a life between genders. He became anxious that his body would never be whole.

'Definitely Ready'

Betsy and Peter ultimately chose to let Jeremy fully transition. In 2006, Peter took Jeremy, 16, to a doctor for his first shot of testosterone.

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