From John to Tanya Grodzinski: A Personal Note about Transitioning from Male to Female
In May 2017, an announcement from Dr. Jim Kenny, the Head Department of History at Royal Military College of Canada, filtered through to most of the personnel working at the College. Here is an excerpt of that announcement, followed by the full text of Tanya’s story:
“A few weeks ago, our friend and colleague John Grodzinski confided in me that he had been struggling with a medical condition for a very long time, Gender Dysphoria. People born with Gender Dysphoria have an incongruence between their internal gender identity and their external physical identity.
John was diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria earlier this year and is in the process of aligning his external identity assigned at birth to match his internal gender identity. This process is known as transition.
As of today, John will be known as Tanya Jan Grodzinski. Her preferred pronouns are “her” and “she”, and, from a military perspective, as “major” or “ma’am” as appropriate. Transition will not change Tanya’s military service and rank or her professional status as a member of our department.
Many of you may have questions, are curious about transgender issues, or simply would like to show your support for Tanya. Below is a note from Tanya that tells part of her story and which may answer some of your questions.”
Head, Department of History
“I am writing to share something that is deeply personal. After decades of struggling with gender identity, I have decided the time is right to transition to female. The causes are varied, complex and not based on a lifestyle choice, but rather a biological incongruity where my inner and outer self do not match. For many years, the pain and anger from not understanding my condition was expressed in repetitive self-destructive behavior, which if unchecked, would certainly have created difficulties for me and my family.
It has been in the last four years that I began to understand that I was suffering from Gender Dysphoria. Initially, I attempted to deal with this affliction in private, however, over time, I began to understand that I could no longer live a lie. I had to allow the woman inside of me out.
In January, the opportunity for transition presented itself, and following considerable discussion and reflection with my family, my physician, my social worker and our parish priest, along with plenty of research, I began my transition. I am fortunate to have the love, understanding and support of Helga and our children. This has not been easy for them. The date for my revealing myself at the College was determined by the opportunity offered by the reduced activity during the interval between the winter and autumn terms, which will help me make the necessary changes to my physical appearance, and also update my military and civilian wardrobe.
For the next year, I will be on a temporary medical category, and in that time, my transition will largely be completed. My military physician completed her internship at a transition clinic and, along with my social worker, is well connected with the transgender medical community in Kingston and throughout Ontario. I am being very well looked after.
The pain, uncertainty, regret and anger I once had are gone, and the future filled with hope, happiness and peace, and in living a good life. What more can we ask for?”
Major Tanya Grodzinski, CD, PhD