I talk to you a lot but I hardly ever say anything. You care about me more than I can currently comprehend and that frustrates me and reassures me. I'd like to tell you about something that has become an increasingly complex part of my life but I lack both my ability to explain and your ability to to comprehend.
I feel guilty about separating your love from your comprehension but in this I feel it necessary. I could give you reading material that exists for parents, family and friends of those in similar situations but I don't feel that is the best way of going about having the initial discussion. We tried to have the discussion once before and I came across as the aggressor and became overly defensive of my stance when questioned. I apologise for acting in such a manner.
We need to have this conversation. Why? I don't feel right facing something so complex and anxiety producing without letting you know. In some ways this is due to a selfish desire to have something to fall back upon when my anxieties inevitably flare up and cause conflict and confusion amongst the family. In other ways it's due to my upbringing that I feel bad about concealing something so personal from those I love and care about. No matter the outcome you deserve to know and hear about the journey to help alleviate some of your concerns.
So what are we talking about? Gender identity and sexuality.
Me, your oldest child. I've been going by Liz (Elizabeth) James and using female pronouns with my friends recently to help figure things out.
You've often joked about what all the letters of 'LGBTUA+' stand for. While I could give you a breakdown I don't feel that it would be taken well so I'll explain what is relevant to me.
I identify with the following labels, though I don't think in these terms normally and only use the labels when talking to someone new.
I consider myself first and foremost a demi-sexual. You will now notice that there is no D in the acronym this is because it lies somewhere on the asexual spectrum and represents my inability to find people sexually attractive without an existing bond (trust). In some sense think about this as a result of my Asperger's syndrome that makes human emotions significantly complex and only when I've gotten a high degree of trust am I able to interact emotionally, physically, romantically.
The next label is one that I struggle with the specifics of but it's bi- or pan- sexuality. I'm going to preemptively cut off the joke about kitchenware... If the trust component is there, I can find a person of any gender sexually attractive, this differs from being able to assess a person attractiveness in a broad sense but this is going outside of scope and would end up with me giving cliché art analogies.
The final label, the newest one, trans-*. I won't fill in the regex (that's the * thing) because I'm not in full possession of the facts and I don't think I will be for a long time. I am currently identifying as a trans-woman but that could change as my exploration continues.
If you read some of the other posts on this blog you should be able to find the ages where the thoughts started to creep into my direct consciousness (15-16) and the difficulties I had, in addition to being demi-sexual, with both of my partners (SL and ER) due to the nagging in my brain from the trans-* label making it impossible for me to fully enjoy anything. The more recent developments, 5.5months ago when I bought my flat finally had my own space to explore. Before that I had been speaking to my friends about my uncertainties and seeing a counselor to try get into a position where I could explore these questions.
I'm lazy. You as my parents know this. I do not take any action lightly so please just take the message that I wasn't doing myself any favours by not exploring the nagging questions in my head. The nagging was so bad it made me go and seek help which is scary in its own way so please don't doubt my conviction.
Lots of love,
Liz (Elizabeth/Rob/Robert) James