A Proclamation to My Father

I proclaim to you today
to you who stayed late every day at work
because the house was new
and the car was new.
Because five kids eat a ton of food
and what about college or retirement
weddings, graduations….
I proclaim to you today, you who came home
twenty years later
having sacrificed everything for your son. I proclaim
that I am a trans woman.
I’m sorry.
it’s not my choice. But I proclaim
to the entire Salt Lake Valley and every other valley
and grassland and city, state, every home
every father who has one son,
that you are not required to call me daughter.
You are not required to wonder
or ask questions or believe anything
other than what you believe,
other than what you know.
Because we are lucky, the two of us.
We are still alive and you have retired and I
will move in with you for the second time.
I proclaim that we can talk for the first time in our lives.
Even though I wear skirts sometimes
and my hair is pretty and my face and body
have feminized and I am happier this way.
Even though I’ve changed my name to Ellee
and it seems my whole being
is like an iron curtain drawn between us,
we still have time.
We’re still alive.
We can choose. We can choose
to be what we’ve always wanted to be to each other.
Father and son.
You can introduce to your bishop as your only boy.
A boy with breasts, but who cares.
A boy who wears high heeled sandals.
I’m sorry, I can’t choose to not be a woman.
But I can choose to be your son.
I can still choose to be Ryan Lee Adams.
To you.
The young man who once looked exactly like you
when you graduated High School and left for Sacramento
where you served a mission for the church
that was once our church, the God once our god,
and the dedication to salvation we still share.
I proclaim with laughing relief that I am your son.
Your son.
Because you never gave up on me.
You never left.
And if you ever call me Ellee I will laugh
and give you a hug and kiss and cry with gratitude
and look you straight in the face
to make sure you had just slipped up,
that it was an honest mistake and you know better.
Next time you’ll get the name right.
But just in case you were serious, I’ll remind you
who we are to each other.
Man and little man.
The boy who still carries your middle name.

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