Suicide

The Grace Letter

2001

 

Becky's Home Page

 

"The Real Life Test" -
A True Autobiography

 

A List of Therapists Who Treat
Transgendered Persons

 

State - By - State Instructions
For Changing Name And Sex
On Birth Certificate

 

Topics Related to
Transsexualism

 

Lefty: A Short Story

 

Parallel Lines: A Tribute 

 

 Christmas Messages

1998: Christmas Remembered
1999: What's In A Date?
2000: Peace On Earth
2001: Dark Days
2002: The Little Things
2003: Shop Till You Drop
2004: Survivor
2005: What Are You Waiting For?
2006: Peace In Our Heart
2007: The Greatest Of These

 

Real Life:
Five Years Later
 

 

The Grace Letters
1992-2007

1992
Answered Prayers
One Day At A Time

1993
Self Discovery
Strength Through Weakness

1994
Sacrifice
Rest

1995
Play It As It Lays
The Way We Weren't

1996
Disclosure
Share It Or Bear It

1997
Choices
I'm Not One Of Them

1998
What Have We To Fear?
God Don't Make No Junk

1999
Work It Out!
What's In A Date?

2000
Cheeks
Life In The Leper Colony

2001
Suicide
I Love You IF...

2002
Homeland Security
Images

2003
One Thing I Know
Letting Go

2004
The Least Of These
Children

2005
Will...or Grace?
The Word

2006
What Plank?
Risk

2007
Believing The Lie
The Greatest Of These

 

Facial Plastic Surgeons

 

SRS Surgeons

 

"Feminization of the Transsexual"
Douglas K. Ousterhout,
M.D., D. D. S.

 

 

Because I live,
You shall live also.

John 14: 19

This is the essay that doesn't want to come out of me, the one I've been trying to write for two years. This one has no cute, memorable title. This essay will probably be upsetting to most people who read it, and some will probably disagree with the conclusions I reach; but it is heavy on my spirit, and must be said.

Elsewhere on my Web site there was once a page [removed due to continuing objections from "family and friends" of various deceased] devoted to the memory of transgendered people who are no longer living. Some, such as Christine Jorgensen and Trish Franklin, died of cancer. My dear friend Lee Frances passed away from heart disease. There were three persons on that page who took their own lives, and it chills me to realize that all three were professional persons - lawyers or physicians. I have heard of others who committed suicide, but I did not have enough information about them to make a listing. I know of two other persons who were making serious plans to kill themselves, but were saved by timely interventions initiated by other transgendered friends.

I've had persons - transsexuals themselves, who should know better - tell me that the "myth" of suicide among transsexuals is an "urban legend." It's no legend that these people are dead. What we will never know is the number of people who could not find strength or courage to share with someone else their secret inner conflict; who believed it was impossible either to go on living in denial, or to face the rejection which they felt would follow their acknowledgment of the truth.

I don't know the statistics, the percentage of our people who take their lives. I suspect it is more prevalent among the transgendered than in the general population; but even if it is not, I can say with assurance that one suicide is too many. We spend years in pain and denial, then finally find the courage to admit the truth, but to what end? So that it can destroy us?

I dream of a day when there will be no one whose loved ones reject her because she tells them the reality of her life's conflict. In that day, the changes which transition brings will be simply a part of life, not a cause for bitterness, separation, grief and loneliness. That day is still in the future.

I'd like to explore the reasons transsexual people might consider suicide. I do this with some degree of anxiety and concern, because it will be apparent from my writing that some of these feelings are very personal. Never would I want my words to cause anyone else to lose hope! It is true: despair has been a part of my life, both before and after transition. For a time before transition the despair was so profound that thoughts of ending it all did occur. But I did not take my life, and I am certain that my Christian faith is the reason I chose to live. I will conclude with my thoughts on the ways Christ leads us to choose life over death.


Hear me speedily, O Lord:
My spirit faileth:
Hide not thy face from me,
Lest I be like unto them
That go down into the pit.

Psalm 143: 7

I know persons who transitioned in their teens or twenties, with love and support from their parents. These persons were fortunate enough to understand their life's reality at a young age, to avoid the mistake of living and starting a family in the birth gender role. They have no rejection and no despair; likely, thoughts of suicide have never crossed their minds.

Not all are so fortunate. For many of us, there are multiple reasons our lives have brought us "down into the pit." As controversial as it sounds, some of our "religious" background underlies these reasons.

There is first the concept that considers transsexualism not a medical issue, but a moral issue. There are still some people who were my dear friends in past years who have cut off all contact with me because it is their belief I am being "deceived" and they will not support me in my deception. It's very hard to have a dialogue with someone who treats you with contempt. It's also very discouraging to know that some of my family members feel the same way. I've heard from a number of other Christian transsexuals who have the same experience of rejection by loved ones.

It surely didn't help that the early medical literature used words like "perversion" and "deviation" when referring to transsexualism. Those highly charged words are hard to overcome when talking to someone who has done some reading in the field.

Following closely is the conclusion one might reach if one believes that transsexualism is a moral failure: the conclusion which says a "cure" is possible through prayer and sincere commitment. I've been down that road more than once. When I didn't experience a "cure," I wondered if I was sincere in my prayers. It was frustrating because I tried to be - wanted to be - sincere. I wanted to be cured. If God was ignoring my prayers, was it because there was something wrong with me? What was the password, the secret handshake?

Did God even care?

Now, of course, I am certain God does care and has given me the means to solve my conflict. But back then I couldn't see His hand at work in my life, and life sometimes did seem hopeless.

The breakup of a loving family is harmful to all involved, and can be a source of great despair. It's almost (but not quite) unheard of for a spouse to remain through transition, and so most of us find ourselves alone in our new lives. Those who cannot deal with being alone have a tendency to find a new relationship quickly, compounding the problem and adding new burdens. The need to maintain an intimate relationship is not easily met, for many new companions can be repelled by the revelation of our past lives. At least one of the persons mentioned on my memorial page took her life because of this failure.

I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing:
Therefore choose life.

Deuteronomy 30:19

A Christian who transitions and remains secure in her faith sometimes faces another choice. Persons who are members of Christian churches which accept and welcome transgendered people are spared from this choice, but persons whose church still considers gender disorders to be moral failings must make a decision. Do they remain in a "stealth" membership in a group which might condemn them and cast them out if the truth were known? Or do they leave this group and seek out a more accepting one? It doesn't help that many of those non-accepting churches inculcate the belief that their doctrine is the only true way, making it very difficult for someone raised in that faith to make a change. I will respect those persons who remain in their churches under such circumstances, but my personal belief is that they have not chosen life; they have chosen a lifelong secrecy which will itself become intolerable one day.

So we see that even after successful transition, we still are at risk for despair: from rejection, from loneliness, from an inappropriate sense of guilt or shame for the way we were born. We are at risk whether we stay in our old church fellowship or find a new one. It seems so overwhelming, but we need not be overwhelmed, for we are never truly alone. Whether our life after transition is "solo" or with someone else, we can choose life and place it still into His hands, now and always. No matter who else rejects us, we know He never will.

The one who knows me best
Loves me most.

Gaither

I am with you always,
Even unto the end of the world.

Matthew 28: 20


becky@drbecky.com