Letter to the Editor

A personal journey of change

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dear Editor

The recent unveiling of Caitlyn Jenner to the world can only help the cause of we people who identify as transgender. By having a famous celebrity come out and go all the way, this can only increase the acceptance we are slowly gaining in our efforts to fit in and be treated as regular people with rights and feelings.

My journey largely parallels Caitlyn's. From the time I was around 4, I knew I was the wrong gender. And although I liked girls all my life and ended up marrying one for the past 26 years, my desire to be female never ended.

For decades, I lived in a fantasy world where no one knew my true feelings but me, a world of cross dressing in private, a world where the person in the mirror was not my true self, a world where waking up in the wrong body every day was frustrating and exhausting and led to more than 25 years of panic anxiety disorder.

Finally, last August I decided to come out and made my true self known to my immediate family on Oct. 31, with others gradually being told over the next few months and my announcement on Facebook on Feb. 2, to inform the rest of those who know me.

Luckily, I came out at a good time, right before Bruce Jenner made international headlines, and at a time when transgender lawsuits and teen transgender suicides made nightly news and Internet blogs.

I have a ways to go, am now on HRT therapy, in counseling, and preparing to legally change my name and gender. I have chosen the name "Angela Rachel Heather Shipp" as my new name but will still legally be known as David for the time being. How far I go on my journey is up to how far God wants to take me.

Caitlyn Jenner has given us a touching story, one of the most inspirational stories in recent times. It is now up to the public to accept and understand people who are born with this (not so rare anymore) medical condition and face a lifetime of torment in the wrong body (and lots of discrimination -- and some support here and there too) -- when they come out.

David Shipp