01 October 2009

And It Could All Be Over – Just… Like… That!

A few days ago, I had an experience that made me realize how important this journey is to me.

I was riding my bicycle on the W & OD bike trail when one bad decision nearly ended everything I have been working toward. I had a bike accident that could have easily killed me. Thanks to my guardian angle, I am still here and my journey has taken on a different meaning.

I’ve taken for granted how easy my transition has been. Though I am separated from my wife, living in a new home, without my kids, I am very fortunate. My wife is still one of my best friends. My kids – though they struggle with what I am doing, still love me. The rest of my family still loves me and my transition is creating a beautiful relationship that was lost between my sister and me.

When my bike and I did a summersault, and I landed on my head and crushed the helmet I was wearing, it brought everything into perspective. The thought that went through my head when everything slowed down was… It can’t end this way. I haven’t finished this journey. This wouldn’t have happened before. I probably would have been happy to see the suffering to end; I would have looked forward to moving on to my next life.

Sooo… When I got sired today while picking up my Rx from the local pharmacy, I kept the events of a few days ago in mind. In my best voice possible, I said… Sweetie, do I look like a sir to you? She quickly apologized in a very sincere way. At the end of the transaction, she smiled, thanked me and wished me a good evening.

Though these times can be hard and it’s often so easy to get upset about the smallest slight, remember… It could all be over – just… like… that!

- Brookie

Disclosure Letter to Cousins (English)


I would like to ask you for a very big favor. I need a letter that is written in English translated into French. It’s a letter about me that is very personal and reveals something very sensitive about who I am. It’s regarding something that I have struggled with for most of my life. I need the letter translated to French so I can send it to my cousins that are friends on Facebook. I am including the letter that needs translation to the end of this email. Once you read it, you will understand everything.

I plan on sending the letter out around Friday 27 November. I would be more than happy to talk to you about the letter on the telephone. I felt more comfortable starting the conversation this way, instead of over the telephone. The letter follows:



I am writing to talk to you about a very personal issue that I have struggled with for most of my life. Since the age of eight or nine, I have always felt that I was woman and that I was born into the wrong body.

Around the age of 12, these feelings became extremely strong. As a result, I tried to better understand my feelings and started to explore their meaning by dressing in women’s clothes. Also around that time, Uncle Jacques and Aunt Gere learned about my feelings. This time was difficult for all three of us. The year was 1973 and not much was known about gender identity. Aunt Gere sought professional help for me. In the end, the psychologist that talked to me said I was fine, and that I would grow out of these feelings.

It’s approximately 36 years later and during that time; I have battled and waged war after war against these feelings to convince myself the psychologist were right. I went to support groups, saw therapist after therapist, sought religious understanding, practiced meditation and yoga, all in attempt to understand why I felt this way. In the end, I discovered these methods of self discovery, were only tools that I used to deny my true feelings. Though Buddhism and meditation never worked in the way I wanted them to, I am grateful for discovering this philosophy and self awareness practice. These practices combined, led me down the path of self acceptance.

Though I had been approved by therapist two other times to use the female hormone estrogen, I never went forward. I always convinced myself that nothing was wrong with me and ended therapy and any progress I made toward becoming my true self. About a week before Aunt Gere entered the hospital and about four weeks before she died, I started using estrogen. Within two weeks of hormone use, I discovered a sense of peace and calmness that I had never known before. The estrogen helped me feel complete. Sense then, I have been working with a therapist and other doctors to help me realize a life long dream that started at a very young age. The last nine months of my life have never been better. I am finally at peace with myself and though I face many obstacles, I have no doubt that these challenges are not insurmountable.

I am now at the point where I have made plans to start living my life as a woman. 27 November will be my last day at work as a man. On 30 November I will begin living my dream and start a new life as a woman.

I am sending you this message because I am interested in maintaining my Facebook friendship with you and would like to continue following your lives. I am going to disable this Facebook account shortly and ask anyone that is still interested in keeping me as a Facebook friend to “friend” the adorable brunet named Brooke Alexander. ;) Brooke is the person that I have always wanted to be.

My wife Shannon and two children, Kyle and Taylor are doing well. They are very accepting of my decision and happy to see that I am happy for once in my life. Shannon and I are separated and still remain very close, loving friends. Kyle is starting his junior year in high school and Taylor has started her second and last year in middle school. Both of them have been seeing and work with a therapist to help them with their feelings and any difficulties they face with friends. Please keep all three of them in your thoughts and pray for their happiness.

I understand that some of you might have strong feelings about what I am doing. I respect your feelings and understand the all of us cannot see life in the same way. I thank you for the opportunity we had to know each other.

Namaste (I bow to you),
- Brooke

12 September 2009

When Jesus Helps You Find Your Way – You’re on the Right Path

On August 26, I made a decision and committed to a date. It’s the scariest thing I have ever done in my life. I set a date to go full time and also scheduled a date to see the infamous Dr. Ousterhout in beautiful San Francisco. I will start living full time as a woman of November 30 and will have FFS on December 02. Little did I understand the enormity of these two decisions.

This time around, my journey has been very positive. I have the full support of my former wife, her family, my family, co-workers and friends. The people I have met during this journey have been incredible, inspirational and most of all they have brought meaning to my life. I have gone from having no friends in my life to being blessed with an abundance of good friends. All of these riches have been brought to me by accepting myself and being honest with those in my life.

Life has always been a balancing act of light and dark for me. While I can easily see and remind myself of all the joys this journey has brought me, I also fear the unknown. Once I set a date, I began to realize the strength these fears had.

The fears started to creep in a few days after the excitement of setting a date began to wear off. The fears became so overwhelming that by yesterday, September 10, I was ready to throw in the towel. I obviously made a bad decision… While this journey brought about a lot of good, it’s also hurt a lot of people... I am selfish… I am… You name it, if it was negative; I was feeding myself mouthfuls of what ever I was thinking.

A good friend, Beth Ryan, commented on my Facebook status and asked me the following question: “Have you had that moment where you realize "oh my, I might just come out of this okay"? If not, may I suggest keeping a box of tissues nearby at all times?” I laughed when I read the comment. I never in a million years thought she would be right. Over the last ten days, I’ve lived her words.

As I was trying to find a graceful way of backing out of my decision, a little voice inside my head said: “don’t look back… you can never look back.” Ooops! What are the Eagles doing in this story? Be gone spurious thoughts. Seriously, something kept telling me to go to church. I was raised Catholic, but lost my faith around 12 years ago. At that time, I also started to question everything in my life. I lost all faith in Christianity when I started to read more about the American Civil War and learned about the South using religion to justify slavery. Shortly after that, I discovered Buddhism and found that the Buddha's philosophy really met my spiritual needs. It also filled a whole left by my abandonment of Catholicism.

I went to the church I was baptized in, married in and had the funeral ceremony for my mom and dad. It's the oldest Catholic Church in Virginia (http://www.saintmaryparish.net/about.htm). Regardless of my current believes, this church has been a sanctuary for my spirit.

When I sat down in the pew yesterday, for the first time in my life, I actually took a good – long look, at Jesus on the cross. At that moment, the lighting was perfect and I was in the right frame of mind. As I stared at the form on the cross it began to look lifelike. For a moment, I thought it was going to move. The blood at the hands, feet and rib cage looked fresh and real. For a short amount of time, I became aware of all the suffering Jesus must have gone through for his believes. I then realized "my journey" / "our journey" isn't any different. We all have beliefs about how we have felt since childhood about our gender. We can choose to live our belief and accept our doubt and suffering, or we can let the doubt get in the way and stop us from believing in who we are.

During that short amount of time, it all became clear. I understood the importance of believing in myself even when I have all these reasons not to believe. This realization has given me the courage to understand it’s all going to be good. The future is unknowable. This time is mine to live…

Don’t look back… you can never look back. =D

24 July 2009

Paul’s Last Whora

How was I to know this day would be so symbolic? The day started with a hello from Brooke and a farewell in many ways to my other half.

Gong to New Hope to see Dr. McGinn will be an experience forever etched in my mind. What made it remarkable were the “aww yes” moments, or what I fondly call, “Jessica moments.” Jessica McKinnon being the person, that described the experience to many of us a couple of months ago at group.

The moments occurred while getting gas early in the day and coffee later in the day. The first situation occurred when I stopped at the Delaware House for gas. The darn pump kept declining my credit card, saying the zip code I entered was wrong. At that point, I realized I would have to parade up to the cashier dressed as Brooke with my male driver’s license and credit card. This experience was going to be bad. I was already running about 30 minutes behind for my appointment; I needed gas, and still had about two hours to travel.

As with many of my preconceived notions during this journey, the initial assumption was dead wrong. I remembered Jessica telling us her story, about people just wanting to be treated nicely and with respect. When I got to the cashier, in a week female voice, I explained my situation in the nicest way possible. The young man behind the glass couldn’t have treated me with more respect or have been nicer. He took my credit card and ID, and processed the transaction for me. Though he knew my true identity, when he was done, he smiled and told me to have a great day. The moment wasn’t about me or being trans. It was about “reaping what you sow.”

Getting coffee latter in the day was a similar experience. I dread interacting with people when I have to use my female voice. It’s not there yet, and is a dead give away to who I am. Taking what I learned earlier, I applied the same approach again, and got similar results. Both of these experiences taught me that Brooke has nothing to worry about. She’s ready to come out and live the life she’s dreamed of. In a very big way, these experiences spell a quicker end to the life I use to know.

At the end of the day I came out to one of my best friends. He lives in Philly, and Paul stopped by his place to have dinner with him. We started out by going to a local bar for a few hours before dinner. Over the amount of time it took to down two beers, I told him my whole story. It was during this time and at dinner that I realized: this will probably be my last male bonding moment. In a small way, I will miss those rare moments; but, I will never look back at giving them up with regret. They were stolen gifts; something I never wished of or dreamed for.

Life is good! =D