Sex change engenders dad's hostility

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Thursday, August 24, 2000

Sex change engenders dad's hostility

Dear Abby:

I have recently "come out" to my family for who I really am - a transsexual. At 26, I could no longer hide myself and, after seeing a therapist, I have begun the process of changing my gender. Some members of my family support me. However, my father and grandparents are staunchly against this. They say they will not accept it because to do so would be to admit that God makes mistakes.

Abby, I am not a "mistake," and neither are others like me. In no way do I think God makes mistakes. God made me this way, and I must deal with it in the way that makes me happiest.

Every move I have made on this journey has been considerate of those around me, changing gradually rather than shocking them by completely altering my appearance overnight.

Could you please help me educate my family and others who know so little about what the transgender community goes through? We struggle to lead normal lives and try to be productive in society. Still, we face prejudice on a daily basis. We need our families to stand behind us. Please, Abby, help educate people to see that we are just like them.

- Transgendered in Chicago

Dear Transgendered:

You are not a mistake. Followed to its logical conclusion, your father's attitude would make the entire medical profession unnecessary. Transsexualism is inborn. Children as young as 3 have insisted that their true gender is not their birth gender. I congratulate you for being honest about who you are, knowing it might be difficult for some people to understand. I also applaud those family members who support you.

Loving parents who want their child to be happy must learn to be accepting. Many families are proud of their "new" sons and daughters and report their relationships have vastly improved since their child's transition.

I would urge any family in this situation to contact PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). Their mailing address is: PFLAG, 1726 M Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036 and the Web address is http://www.pflag.org

2000 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.