Jeremy's Letter to His Parents

Jeremy wrote the following letter on September 19, 2004.

— -- Dear Mum and Dad,

This is one of those stream of consciousness things that I write in the wee hours of the morning when I'm tired and unable to sleep. I was probably crying when I wrote it, but don't think that the tears blurring my eyes were blurring my judgement as well. I mean every word I say here. I hope you can read this and…I don't know. Understand? Speak? Know? Just to know will be enough. So…here it goes:

When I was very young, I would play imaginary games with all my friends. They would all be girls, and I would be a boy. Around this same age, I would always tell people that I wished I were male. I could never give solid reasons for it. I just said things like "better opportunities" or "more interesting." I didn't know why myself either, so it's not like I was hiding anything. I just wanted to be a boy.

I still do.

I still don't know why.

"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are," said Kurt Cobain. I'm sick of wanting to be someone else. I feel as though I'm wasting the life I've been given. I want to be grateful for all that I have, and yet I feel as though I can't truly appreciate it unless I'm the person I feel inside.

So who is the person inside me?

He's almost exactly like me. He's funny and smart. He likes to read and write. He's obstinate and argumentative. He likes movies and plays and music. Maybe he isn't as self-confident as he could be, and maybe his self-image isn't as flattering as it should be, but it's understandable, isn't it? After all, he's trapped in the body of a 14-year-old girl, and that can't be healthy.

What am I? I ask myself this all the time. Right now what I believe myself to be is an FtM, or a female-to-male transsexual. A male identifying individual. A boy in a girl's body.

That's what I think I am. That's what I believe I am, but I may be wrong. Gender and sexuality are such strange things. They're not really things that can be defined, but we've tried as hard as we can to separate ourselves into groups, haven't we? Male and female. Straight and gay. Maybe it's something to do with my chromosomes, or some traumatic experience I had when I was very young. What I think I know is:

I'm a boy.

But this person inside me, this teenage boy, he's so much more than I am. He's three-dimensional, he feels more than I do, he loves life more than I can bring myself to. All he needs is the courage and the permission to be unleashed, to come out into the world and have a body and a life of his own.

But for now he's too afraid, and so am I. I'm afraid of people thinking I'm crazy, or trying to placate me with meaningless words. This is not a phase, and I need to tell you that before you ask. This is something I've considered over and over. I'm writing this because I'm sick of waiting. I've thought this over so much that I know it to be true.

You tell me that I'm beautiful and funny and smart. Deep down I think this must be true, because everyone tells me so, but I don't feel beautiful. I don't think I can -- not until people know who the real me inside is. Then when they tell me that he's beautiful too…then I can believe them. Right now, you think of two different people when you think of me. There is the physical me. Maybe she's beautiful, but I've come to resent and hate that beauty -- it's the one thing that keeps me from truly knowing myself. Then there is the mental me, and it's he that you respect and listen to and love.

I kept hoping that you might figure it out by yourselves. Sometimes I could have sworn that you knew. An offhand comment or a joke that got made in passing and I would think, "they know…they must know…why else would they have said that?" I dreamt up dramatic scenarios where you came across the journals I've written as a boy or read the things I've written in online journals for teenage transsexuals. You sit me down at the kitchen table and we talk and I cry and you cry too. And then, magically, I'm a boy and life goes on.

Maybe the last bit's a little outlandish, but the first part is entirely true. Sometimes I thought you were just toying with me. Maybe you knew all along and just didn't tell me? Whatever the case, I've taken the initiative now and that's that.

So what does all this really mean? Should I even attempt to define myself, or should I just live the way I am? It's tempting to be carefree and say, "I don't care what people think of me. I am who I am." Sadly, that's not how I feel. For now, I know that I believe what I've said here. What I want is for you to understand, and let me transition into the boy I really am. What I need to get this out in the open, first and foremost, so here it is. There it was.

Thank you for listening.


Your son.