From John to Tanya Grodzinski: A Personal Note about Transitioning from Male to Female

From John to Tanya Grodzinski: A Personal Note about Transitioning from Male to Female

Tanya Grodzinski

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.”
Jim Kenny
Head, Department of History

Tanya’s Story:

“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

Associate Professor


  • Rick Melanson

    August 21, 2017 at 8:45 am


    I am so very happy for you. You are blessed with love and understanding. Happy thoughts to you as you go through your transition.



  • John Wood

    August 21, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Tanya, my congratulations to you for having found the inner strength to bring your true identity to the outside, and to the world. We have a nephew who struggled for many years over the same situation, and is now much happier as she transitions to our niece. The support of your family is wonderful, and God bless you through this time of change. TDV, John Wood 7830

  • Darren Rich

    August 22, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Tanya – it takes courage to embark upon any change. While some will not agree with you I say to them that they still have their heads in the sand. I applaud you for having the courage to not only embark upon this course but to publicly “put it out there” for all to see. I respect you for that and, if it helps, know that you have my full encouragement and support. I also look forward to saying hello and renewing our acquaintance next time I’m back K’town way!

    Yours aye
    Darren Rich

  • Tannis Wightman

    August 22, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Tanya, we don’t know each other but I want you to know I am most impressed that you would go public in the rather “conservative” atmosphere of the military. You have helped to lead the way for others. Good for you! Best wishes.

  • Larry Paziuk

    August 22, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Tanya, although you have struggled with a difficult condition over many years, I am so impressed that your professionalism and dedication to the CAF and RMC has never wavered. Best of luck for you and your family during your transition.

  • John Tattersall

    August 26, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Tanya, congratulations for overcoming decades of struggle and recognising your own truth. You have shown by personal example the strength of character needed by current and future leaders in the CAF and in Canadian society. I applaud your role as educator in writing your personal note for all to read. May your future be bright and happy, surrounded by the love of your friends and family.

    Best regards,


  • Jacquie Doucette

    August 28, 2017 at 10:11 am

    I’m not sure where to start. I truly believe it’s a sad commentary that there has to be a statement saying that comments including personal attacks/profanity will be removed. Why someone would feel the need to attack an individual for showing the strength that it takes not only to face one’s problems, but to do so in a manner that can help others, is beyond my comprehension. But I’m not naïve enough to think that we have progressed to the point of acceptance of all things “different from us”.
    Tanya, we’ve never met, but we have numerous mutual friends. I am so happy that you have found peace within yourself, and that you have found support among family/friends. So many people struggle forever, never being able to find a solution.
    I wish you and Helga, and all your family, much happiness in your life together.

  • Dan Desjardins

    October 2, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    I am very happy for you Tanya, and admire the courage you have displayed. Continued hope, happiness, and peace!


  • Dale MacDougall

    November 15, 2017 at 10:10 am

    ‘Grod’ was my best friend during officer training and our first years at the Regiment. He (at the time) was also best man at my wedding. To say this is a surprise would be an understatement but I am glad that she has found happiness.