Because I Am: A letter to J. Michael Bailey, by Annette*

* Name changed to protect her privacy

I got a nice note the other day, a part of which is below. Like many others, the author was moved by Carol's story of living deep stealth for 30 years, just as she has done:

I felt the need to write to you and compliment you on your fine web pages. I have gotten wonderful information here and passed it along to a few others that are in need.

Like Carol who wrote the wonderful story and advice on stealth, I transitioned a long time ago and in many ways her life story mirrors mine. It doesn't seem like it, but it's thirty years this month.

I've lived in stealth all those years, living, loving and working in mainstream America. I'm still stealth and prefer it that way. My past is so far behind I have a hard time even reconstructing what living like a pseudo boy was like. I had to chuckle at Carol's childhood memories, I was much like her, in I never knew or thought I was anything other than a girl.

This extraordinarily successful woman has asked me to put up her letter refuting the disgraceful scholarship and assumptions in J. Michael Bailey's book espousing a theory about transsexualism. She writes: "I still would wish you would post it for me if you think it will help in any small way to refute his myopic views." I am very happy to grant her wish. I would like to commend all of the women who are coming forward with their stories when our community is faced with the sort of bigotry by "scholars" like Bailey.

RE: "The Man Who Would Be Queen"

To Dr. Bailey;

I seldom get involved in the debate on the causes of transsexualism or other cross-gender behavior but I have to ask why you feel this is your limited view? I find it deeply disturbing from my perspective.

I was born in 1949, three months premature, with my mother taking DES to keep from miscarrying. By the time I was four I knew I was a girl.
Did the DES change me? Maybe it did, that massive flush of hormones in the womb surely had some kind of effect, of this I'm sure. If that's the case, I never had a choice, did I? The doctors didn't know this, did they? They couldn't see inside of that tiny premature head to know that a little girl's persona resided with the wrong genitalia attached. Not until I became aware around 4 did I start to realize something was amiss and now over fifty years later I'm writing about those years and the choices I made.

Dress as a girl? Yes, I did. Play and identify with girls, sure did. Was I beat up and taunted in school, yes. Date girls? Very seldom and only as friends. Always know I was a girl? Never doubted it. It was something irrefutably and undeniably me. Did my parents know? Sure they did, but it was their choice to ignore the elephant sitting in the living room.

When I was close to five playing house with my cousin, Patty, we were doing the "you show me and I show you" thing. I told her she was broke when we compared each other. I didn't know better. She started to cry and ran in to see her mom telling her I said she was broken. Later when I asked my mom why Patty was broken, she said she wasn't broken and that is the way girls were. I remember asking her then why I didn't look like Patty. She said "You can't, you're a boy." "Can we fix it?" was my reply.

I remember small parts of the exchange; my Mom remembers it with a little more clarity and we talked about it just a few years ago. She also told me that I asked if we could tell everyone they had made a mistake and I was a girl. She said I pouted for days when she refused.

I never masturbated or had extreme sexual fantasies you expound to. I did suffer beatings for just being me when I was caught dressing and finally was ostracized from my family in my early twenties when I transitioned. I attended The Cleveland Clinic Gender Dysphoria Clinic in the early seventies and they called me a "true transsexual" (one classification at that time) and recommended SRS.

I transitioned thirty years ago. I'm happy in my life and very much "in the woodwork" as they say. I'm the President/CEO of one of the largest companies in its field, I'm highly respected in the community and have a wonderful relationship with my family. I've had a 17 year relationship with a dear man (sadly we separated three years ago). I'm not a streetwalker, a hairdresser or even a gay man. I'm just me, a hard working woman, living and loving a very normal and very happy life.

My fear is Dr. Bailey, you only looked at a small fringe group for its sensationalist impact and largely ignored the much larger majority of transsexual women (To say nothing of his ignoring trans men altogether). I wouldn't have any issue with this alone, but you sadly ignore the greater group and draw conclusions like the blind men describing the elephant. You make two groups, homosexual men and autogynephilic men and blindly ignore the remainder. I as many others, simply don't fit his pigeonholed narrow view.

It's not the study that bothers me, as some of it may be true for a portion of those in your group, it's the lack of seeing the greater whole. Those of us that don't fit your views and are living highly normal lives after transition are simply ignored by his myopic view of the elephant.

Over the last few decades I've conducted a non-scientific poll with a simple question to transsexual and non-transsexual women I've happened to meet. I've asked, "Why are you a woman?" In about 90% of the cases, after chuckling and saying "That's an easy question," they flounder for words and say, "Just because I am." Just because I am? They don't say because I'm married, like sex with men, or have a vagina or can bear children. It's "Just because I am."

Taking this simple but highly profound "I am" answer points (to me at least) at a fundamental building block of human self-identity consisting of our self perceptions. I feel this is one of the basic blocks that we consist of and is determined in the womb. I feel it's a fundamental construct within the brain and has nothing to do with sexual preference.

You have missed the boat and insulted many men and women with your simplistic and limited view. How can you not be aware of other hypothesis, simply that internally perceived gender is removed from sexual orientation?