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Prompted By New Beginnings

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The  blog was called  “Today, I feel…” and began on Feburary 3, 2014. He sent us the link many months later, called and told us he had “gender dysphoria”. We didn’t know what that meant. Our blue-eyed second born, who had so many issues growing up, seemed to be doing pretty well. After years of dealing with multiple diagnoses from ADHD to Asperger’s syndrome to Child-onset Bipolar Disorder (useful for getting him out of the public school system into a special education environment, but he only suffers from depression; he is not bipolar), he was out in the world and functioning. As a child, he had difficulty writing and threw amazing temper tantrums, going on for hours. But he was past all that. He graduated with a BS in Computer Science and a 3.72 grade point average from Brown. He went to work at Apple in Cupertino, California right out of college. He lived on his own, learned to drive, keep his own home, checkbook, doctor’s appointments. Yes, he was doing well, we thought.

So we read the blog and learned that his depression continued, but was more than we thought…it was about the very core of his existence; his gender identity. He had doubted himself for years, at times had a friend apply make-up, shave off all his body hair, dress up like a girl. He liked what looked back in the mirror. That was all we heard for a while; we thought it might be a passing phase.

Shortly before March 9, 2015, she called again and slowly explained that she would begin hormone replacement therapy within the next few days. She was transitioning to female. She explained the difference between sex and gender (one is who you are attracted to, the other is how you identify yourself); that gender is not binary, but a continuum. She was patient with us, as this was new territory for us and lots of new terminology. We gave her love and support, but had questions and concerns. Given the nonsense going on in this country right now about bathroom use, one of my concerns was for her safety. And of course, I wanted to make sure that she was sure about this. She told us she was, that she had been considering this for about 8 years. We had no idea. She had chosen the name Vi (pronounced “Vee”) at the moment, though she was also thinking of Vicki (Dan encouraged that, since it is more common, and just a month ago, she moved to that appellation).

We visited a month later. We didn’t see any real changes. Later, she did laser hair removal of her facial hair. She is experimenting with her style. This year she put a red streak in her hair. The hormones have made her gain weight and given her mood swings…welcome to the female world, my child! She asked us not to tell our friends yet. She wasn’t ready for that.

In April, 2016, she asked us to start using the female pronoun when referring to her, to call her Vi and we could now share the news with friends and relatives. Everyone has been very supportive and upbeat, as we knew they would be, since everyone loves her and wants her to be happy. I asked her to share the link to her blog with me again, since Dan had accidentally lost it when we upgraded computers. I hadn’t seen the blog in a long time. The link is: Vi-improved. She had written more, but stopped writing it just after she started on hormones. The last entry reads: “Today I feel happy”.

Though she is between jobs, she is in a relationship, the first of her life, and when we talk, she always seems upbeat. She finally likes who she is.


Profile photo of Betsy Pfau Betsy Pfau
Retired from software sales long ago, two grown children. Theater major in college. Singer still, arts lover, involved in art museums locally (Greater Boston area). Originally from Detroit area.

Tags: transgender, blog, Vi-improved, depression, gender dysphoria
Characterizations: moving, right on!, well written


  1. Suzy says:

    Wow, that is quite a new beginning! Sounds like it’s going well for her, which is great. I imagine it must have been quite an adjustment for you. The world seems so much more complicated now than it did when we were young.

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      Yes, Suzy…apparently much more complicated, or at least everyone is more open about it, which I think is a good thing. She has not made much progress in the job search, which worries us. I don’t know how much discrimination she will face as a result of her new identity, which also worries us. But she seems happy, and ultimately, that is what one wants for one’s child.

  2. John Zussman says:

    Didn’t you occasionally, while raising two sons, wish you had a daughter? Now you’ve got one! How brave of Vicki to embark on such a radical new beginning, and of you to support her so fully. Not all trans children are so lucky.

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      I confess I did yearn for a daughter. I am already giving Vicki grooming tips! We hear that Vicki is lucky, and, indeed, even in our neighborhood, know of parents who have not been understanding. It isn’t even a question for me. She is my child and I love her unconditionally (perhaps a reaction against my mother, who didn’t know how to offer that to me), though I want to make sure she gets all the help and guidance she can. My very wise father once said to me, in reference to my own children, “Just hug them and tell them you love them”. He was so right.

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