We know it’s been a long time since we have had the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation at length with most you, due in part to pandemic, or to growing apart over time… and in another time we might have sat around a kitchen table, or met up for coffee, or gotten a pitcher of margaritas to share this news with you over. Since we cannot do that due in large part to the pandemic, we thought this post would be the best way to tell you our story. To tell the world our story.
We wanted the opportunity to share some really exciting news we have with the world, and we wanted the opportunity to tell you our whole story, in our own words.
Philip, or rather the person you have known as Philip, is a transgender woman. She has chosen the name Natalie (or Allie for short), uses she/her pronouns, and has started the process of living her life authentically as the woman she always was.
We understand that, for many of you reading this, this information may seem sudden or come as a surprise. For others, perhaps not. Regardless, it is not something we share hastily, or lightly. It was a long process of self-discovery, that, when we think about it, has been a lifelong journey. There are so many things throughout Allie’s life that, in hindsight, make so much more sense now with the knowledge that she is transgender, things she said and did as a child that indicate an early rejection of her assigned sex.
Her journey more concretely began about a year and a half ago, when Allie first started to really question her gender identity. It wasn’t so much that she suddenly no longer “felt male”, but rather that she had finally begun to find language to describe the ways she had always felt, and felt safe and supported to begin to explore different ways of relating to and expressing her gender identity. After about six months of deeply personal self reflection, she decided to come out to our closest friends, partially to ensure this was truly her most authentic self and that this was how she was happiest.
The difference in how happy, how truly joyful, Allie was able to be after coming out to close friends and immediate family was truly incredible. She felt as if a lifelong weight had been lifted off of her shoulders, and like she could breathe fully for the first time. She has been able to enjoy things so much more deeply and is so much less tired without having the stress of constantly having to perform and present as something other than her authentic self– a performance she had truly no idea how tiring it was to put on until she was relieved of it. She first described it this way:
“For the first time in my life I can see hope. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have been in this dark depression tunnel my whole life not knowing if I could ever get out. And now I see the exit. I see the way out. And I’m getting more and more into the light as I come out and as I live as my true self and I see what happiness I might be able to have. For the first time ever I have hope and I don’t think any of you will ever understand what that’s like. What sheer unfiltered joy I have knowing that I am on my way out of the darkness. After 26 years I can finally be happy.”
This journey has not been without its bumps and tears and setbacks, as no journey is entirely smooth, but it has been so overwhelmingly full of joy and excitement and hope. Importantly, Emma has been by Allie’s side throughout this entire process, and we have been constantly communicating about it and ensuring both of us are on the same page.
In many ways, Allie is still the same person you’ve always known: she still loves puns and still hates green beans and still has all the same interests; she’s still the same person, she is just happier and more authentic and more free. In the words of Allie’s father, after she first told him: “Same person, different wrapper”.
Allie is still attracted only to women, and identifies as a lesbian. As many of you know, Emma first came out as bisexual all the way back in 2009 (over eleven years ago now! Crazy!). While she tried to repress it and “pray the gay away” for a short period of time whilst an active member of a non-affirming church, she has been openly queer since her senior year of high school. Allie’s coming out has in no way negatively impacted our relationship as Emma’s sexuality has always included feminine-aligned gender identities.
In fact, our relationship has never been stronger, as Allie is able to learn more about herself, we are able to connect on deeper levels that we were unable to when she didn’t yet have the language and ability to discover her authentic self. This entire journey has truly been the biggest blessing, and we have been able to learn so much more about ourselves, our relationship, and our hopes and dreams for this life.
There is nothing more powerful and important in this world than learning who you are and sharing your authentic self with the world.
It is also one of the scariest and most vulnerable things we have ever had to do.
We understand that this may be a lot for many of you to process, and we respect that. We understand that it will take time to adjust to using Allie’s chosen name and her correct pronouns, especially when many of you have known her for so long. All we ask is that you make an effort. If you slip up, that’s okay! We just ask that you try. If you have any respectful questions, we will be happy to answer them.
We also understand that there are many differing opinions within our sphere about religion and what is and is not sinful, and we ask that be left out of this conversation. We have both spent years studying the bible, and making our own peace with who we are and how we understand that to relate to our personal faiths. If there is a verse you think condemns or condones our choices, I promise you we’ve already read it. We appreciate the intention behind prayers, but all we actually want is your love, not of who you think we are or should be, but for who we really are, and your acceptance of who we truly are.
It has been hard not telling the world sooner, but we needed time to come out in a way that felt right, when we felt ready. We needed to work through our own fears of the possibility of rejection from those we love most, but we decided that the need to be honest and open and authentic with those we love most outweighs any fears. And we truly hope all of our anxieties were misplaced.
We truly, truly hope that you will share in the immense joy and relief we have both found through this journey. Living as our authentic selves, and owning it, is the most important thing we can do in this lifetime. We are grateful for the role you have played in our story up until this point, and hope that now that we are able to live fully authentically and openly that the love and joy we have shared with you before will only be even greater.
Emma and Natalie