I’m writing this because my life has undergone some radical and wonderful changes recently that may effect how you and others within the college interact with and view me and I want to make sure these changes go as smoothly for all of us as possible. The goal here is to get this unusual circumstance out of the way so that we can all go back to doing our jobs. I don't want to make a bigger deal of this than is necessary, but I felt the best way to approach it is by being upfront and honest with everyone. What I’m about to tell you is something I hope will not make you uncomfortable in any way or disrupt the working relationships I have with all of you. I consider everyone here a gifted and open-minded colleague and hope you can accept this “new me.” The bottom line is that I am still the same hard working librarian you know, except a lot happier and comfortable with myself. In fact, I feel the most content and confident I have ever felt in my life!
Deep breath…ok…here it is: I am what is commonly termed a "male-to-female transsexual." In other words, I was born into the wrong physical body and it is my intention to correct this and finally bring my physical self into balance with my mental self. This will be done through hormone therapy (which I've already begun) and, eventually, surgery, so that I can express my proper gendered self and live in a way that makes me comfortable.
While this is something I have struggled with my entire life, it was only in the last 2 years that I have been able to come to peaceful terms with it. I have dreamed of being a woman for as long as I can remember, before I even had a name for how I felt or realized there were many others like me out there. However, these feelings were something I learned at an early age were frowned upon and so I fought hard to suppress and keep that part of me far away from others. Needless to say, that path was so pervasively and negatively affecting every part of my personal and professional life that I made the conscious decision a couple years ago to face my fears and embrace this central part of myself. I haven't looked back nor had an ounce of regret since.
Where am I now?
I have essentially been living as a woman most of the time at home for a couple months now. I have been taking hormones to change my physiology for about 6 months and I plan to start living and working 24/7 as a woman by the end of the year.
Believe me when I say I have not taken any of these decisions lightly and have done tons of reading, research and talking to doctors, therapists, and others who have gone through the process; weighing options and paths and considerations about what is possible and what will make me happy. But the truth is that I have never been so sure and confident of my path. And to be honest, it is a necessary step for me. My family and friends all know and support my choice in this and it is my hope you can find it in your heart to do so as well. I am not bringing this issue out into the open looking for pity or anything like that, but I am hoping for tolerance, if not friendly acceptance. If you feel otherwise or are uncomfortable with this I will completely understand and will not blame you for that in any way, but I hope we can continue to work together effectively and harmoniously.
Bathrooms: I'll be using the unisex, single-person bathrooms on the 2nd or 3rd floors exclusively (in fact I have been doing so for the last month or 2)
Name and gender pronouns: I intend to legally change my first name to "Dana" in the next couple months. I know from experience that changing the way you instinctually think about and refer to someone's gender is not easy to do and I assure you I will not be picky or overly sensitive about the use of my new name or gender pronouns. What I do ask is that as the end of the year approaches and I start coming to work as a female, that you make an effort to refer to me as "Dana" and use "she" and "her" when referencing me. Until then, use whatever you're comfortable with, but as the end of the year gets closer (and past), I will gently remind people of my proper gender.
You may have other questions about this and to me that is a good thing. I also know most of you have never encountered anything like this and might not know what to ask in the first place. However, if you have questions, I encourage you to ASK ME ANYTHING anytime – I am happy to answer all questions to the best of my ability, whether in person, e-mail, in private, or in a group setting such as this. I have included below a few links to some web sites that, if you are interested, can give some general insight into what a “transsexual” is and is not, current understandings of causes (which is basically unknown), etc.
So that's it! Again, my main concern here is making this as comfortable and smooth a transition for everyone as possible (including me :-).
For more information:
-coming out of the closet (reasons for it): http://transsexual.org/Out.html
-Primer on Transsexuality (in straightforward language): http://transsexual.org/aprimer.html