And the day came when the risk to remain right in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom                                                                                                                                                                                                        ~Anais Nin


What if life went on as usual, raising three boys and seeing them all get married and start a life of their own; and then one day you come to find out you had given birth to a daughter, but never knew it?  This is what happened to Mr. Cottage and me.  I finally got to meet this new daughter of ours and we’ve had a number of Girls’ Day out since our very first meeting… I found out her name is Nicole.  Funny, because if we would have had a daughter, that’s what I was going to name her.  I also found out that she was born on the same day as our middle son.  But unfortunately, I never really got to see this woman grow up as a little girl.  Confused yet?  The truly amazing thing through all this, Nicole had married her best friend, Lori, while she was a he.  I read somewhere that there’s a gender birth defect of some form or another in 1 in 1500 births.  THAT’S A LOT, yet people rarely discuss this.  In fact, most people are rather uncomfortable to talk about gender.  The amazing thing through all this, Lori not only is supporting Nicole as she transitions, but loves her unconditionally… Nicole knows she’s female, but to look in the mirror and see a man’s body has made her miserable her entire life.  This in turn has led to severe depression and suicidal thoughts.  She has been diagnosed with severe gender dysphoria and that’s one of the reasons why 41% of transgender people attempt or commit suicide, vs 1-2% of the general population.  As Nicole puts it “WHY WOULD ANYONE CHOOSE TO DO THIS?”  By committing to become a woman, she’s putting her life at risk because of all the hatred in the world towards people who are transgender.  She risks being assaulted and discriminated against, especially from the insurance companies.  The AMA has recognized this as a real medical condition, but insurance companies refuse to pay for it, saying that this is all for cosmetic reasons… After all, what words come to your mind when you hear the word TRANSGENDER?  A drag queen, a queer, very strange individual seeking lots of attention, not normal, bizarre, a freak… Mr. Cottage and I were introduced to this new world in January 2013 through a letter that both Nicole and Lori composed and mailed for overnight delivery for us to read while we were still in FL for the winter.  To say that Mr. Cottage and I were a bit shocked by this announcement, is really an understatement.  But Nicole was our child and we love her unconditionally and without any discussion, we knew we would be there for her as she transitioned.  During and after reading their letter, memories starting coming back to me.  Before Michael was born, I was 100% certain that we were having a girl.  It just look over 38 years to find out that I had been correct!  Nicole says her earliest memories came at around 4 years old, but I remember her playing at about 24 months of age and she was more gentle than her older brother at that age.

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