Mom, Dad – I’m Your Son

I just put this letter in the mail. Cross your fingers for me.


23 October 2010

Dear Mom and Dad,

I have been writing the letter you hold in your hands for about a year. Until now, I felt that I could not share all of myself with you because I perceived that it would jeopardize your financial support. My decision to become financially independent was largely fueled by my desire to share myself completely with you. I hope you will think about this as you read on.

Around this time last year, I began to struggle with my gender identity. I never identified strongly with the feminine nature that is intrinsic to the name you gave me. It was at this time that I chose to go by ‘Eli’ because it honored your original naming but is uniquely my own.

As a child I always just felt like myself, not strongly as a ‘girl’. My fondest memories are those of myself at camp and in comfortable play clothing. I remember the old navy carpenter jeans you had to wrestle out of my hands to wash and my old stand-by navy ball cap. I appreciate that you did not force me to be more girly than I wanted to be. I appreciate that when I felt the peer pressure to do so you told me it was more important to just be me. Regardless of how I have identified the things that make me ‘me’ are still the same. I am still the big-hearted, hard-working kid you raised. Every day of my life I learn more about myself and a large part of who I know myself to be is that I am a transgender male. In my hearts of hearts I know that I identify as male and that the body I was born into does not quite match who I have grown to be.

When gender became the socialized obsession of my peers and myself following puberty I panicked and hid in my viola playing. Looking back, I can see that I crammed my entire identity into being a musician because anything else was too frightening. I know that I cannot change the past but I wish I had realized this sooner. This reality made my relationship with the viola very difficult until recently.

I became acutely aware of my identity when I moved away to college and began to live on my own. My friends from that time speak to the perception of my identity as a lesbian as only a small part of the bigger picture; I knew this then also but did not have the knowledge of myself to know what exactly that bigger picture could be. When I became the Director of the OUTsource I did so with the intention of making the center a more inclusive place for transgender students. The more I learned about the different ways people experience gender the more I began to recognize myself. The literature and personal narratives gave me the words I was seeking to be able to define myself.

To me, being transgender is beautiful. I have a unique experience of the world and have been given a greater understanding of my soul and the lives of others. It has not been a piece of cake though. There are times when I feel like I am bursting out of my too-small skin… like I have out-grown my body. As frustrating as those times are I know they are merely growing pains. I am just not finished growing yet and discovering my transgender identity is a part of that growth. Right now, I am asking people to use male pronouns with me and to try to understand my identity as a transgender male. My friends have shown me an outpouring of support as have my professors. They tell me that I simply radiate confidence and security now. I feel that too. I have also become a resource for other people questioning their gender identities and helping them strengthens my confidence in myself. It really is a beautiful thing.

As I have been growing into my identity for the past twenty-one years and openly transgender for only one I am still learning a lot about what it means to me. This strongly tells me that being transgender is but one part of my identity. What I know now though is that I feel more at peace with myself than I have ever felt in my whole life. I am secure in my identity because I have a new-found sense of confidence and a deeper love for myself.

I wrote this letter to share the deepest understanding I have of myself with you because I want to have an open and honest relationship with you. I understand that you will need your time to process this. I did too. Please take that time and call me when you want to talk more about it. I would be happy to answer any respectful questions you have for me as I understand this is not something with which you are very familiar. Thanks you for taking the time to read this. I hope to talk to you soon.



8 Responses to “Mom, Dad – I’m Your Son”
  1. Momma Linville says:


  2. e. says:

    you never cease to inspire me. whatever happens, you have done the right thing by being true to your Self.

  3. Bestie says:

    I am so proud of you. Love you.

  4. jbsheeptenor says:

    So proud of you 🙂

  5. M.B. says:

    This is a really touching letter. I’m sure it was hard to write, but your friends are all such amazing supportive people.
    I wish you the best in all of this lovely. Thank you for providing us with an insight into the transgendered struggle.

  6. Eli says:

    Holy Shit. Another Eli. I bet we have the same birth name, as your reasons for choosing your current name are similar to my reasons for choosing the same.

    Your letter is beautiful and considerate. I am glad I came across your blog. I enjoy your writing and look forward to spending more time perusing your entries.

    Thank you for sharing. I will be back.


    PS: if you’re interested, my letter to my folks is here:

    and here:

    • e.a.irving says:

      Hi Eli! Thanks for following me! I know there’s a strong flock of us on the transmale name roster but my birth name never belonged to a queen! (To my knowledge at least.) I’m enjoying pursuing your blog as well. Best wishes! – Elias

      • Eli says:


        So Glad to hear from you! My birth name never belonged to a queen either…I feel like I am missing something here…

        Best Wishes back at cha!


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