Doug to Jessica

You may have noticed a slight change in my name and appearance.
Here's why:

I am a male to female (m2f) transgender person, that is, I identify more as a woman than as a man. This is a situation which I have been struggling with for most of my life. Over the past several years, this has had more and more of an effect on my life, and this year I decided that I was ready to live full time as a woman. I started transitioning to my friends in Boston's bicycle community in the late spring of 2011. As the summer wore on, I had an accident and was hospitalized briefly, got back on my bike (after a few weeks), and started leading rides as Jessica. I have been blessed with an accepting circle of friends in my neighborhood, the bicycle and open space communities of metropolitan Boston, the astronomical community where I work, the world-wide community of astronomical software developers, and to a great extent, my family.

If you wish to learn more, the best online resource for understanding transgender issues I have found is Understanding Transgender at the web site of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Here and here are some pretty good answers to questions you might have about transgender people.

Being able to finally be myself in the world is freeing me from constraints which have held me back from committing more of myself to my friends, my work, and my causes. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

Now that you know, especially if you first met me as Jessica, please be careful about telling other people. Since I transitioned, I really, really do not like being referred to with male pronouns, especially by people I am just meeting. I'm public to those who know me, but prefer to just be a woman in the world. Here is a good list of reasons to not talk about it from a friend of mine.

As a person who has tended to be more into books than real people, I've read about more than acted upon my transgender feelings over many years. Here are some books in my library which might help others understand my position.

-Jessica Mink (2012-05-01)

Telescope Data Center AAS/DDA MassPaths