Nearly 9 months ago, I sent the following text to my immediate family:
Over the past couple years (read as: decades), I have been struggling with various aspects of myself and my identity. It has caused a great deal of stress, turmoil, angst, and anger at times. It's continues to be a long journey with many discoveries. All of you know some aspects of who I am, but I'd like to introduce all of me to all of you. Simply put, all the binary logic gates of sexuality, relationships and gender do not fit me. To me, it's not "either/or" but "both/and."
- I am bisexual: I find people of all genders attractive.
- I am ethically non-monogamous: I have an unlimited capacity for love. (Emphasis on the ethics.)
- I am Non-Binary/Genderfluid: Some days I feel masculine, other days I feel very feminine. Sometimes it changes in minutes and hours of those days. (And yes, I have a femme persona who dresses as such).
What does this mean? At the moment, nothing really. My wife, who is absolutely amazing and the most patient person ever, continues to be a pillar of support. I wouldn't (and won't) give up her or the kids for anything. Our relationship, and our marriage, remains as it is. But we do need to expand our base of support. The Navy, although better, remains largely close-minded. I find it unlikely I'll be able to be me anywhere but at home, off-duty. This has been rough on both of us.
For me, personally, I've never felt more relaxed than I have this week, with this most recent break through on the gender identity turmoil. I am finally feeling comfortable in my own skin. This is right for me at the moment.
We are both still processing all this ourselves. There are lots of questions, and we have very few answers. It's one step at a time, and for the moment, just knowing that we can count on all of you is the most important.
I had been facing this turmoil for nearly a year prior - coming out in various stages and introducing various facets of me to them. I wasn't to the point of losing track of who knew which parts of me; but that was definitely on the trajectory. And I recall just being fed up with it. My family is an amazing cast of characters and were (and continue to be) amazingly supportive throughout this whole development. I owed them the entire truth. And I owed myself the facing of the fears associated with verbalizing everything.