This is a draft of the email I'm planning on sending to my godmother and her husband:
Dear M and K,
When I saw you last week, you might have noticed that I look kind of different and that I'm going by a different name. I began transitioning from female to male in December of 2007 and since that time I've felt much happier and at ease with my self. Because I've been abroad so much and because it's kind of a difficult conversation, I have put off telling people who are important to me, like yourselves.
Last December, I went to see Chuck, thinking I should tell him that I was planning on changing my first name to Charles, but it seemed awkward and I didn't bring it up. I don't know how he would have reacted at first and I thought I had more time and could bring it up later.
I should not wait to tell the people I love about something this important. I'm changing my first name to Charles and making Celeste my middle name. I'm asking people to call me "Les," but "Charles" is also ok. I'm also asking people to use "he, him, his" etc when referring to me.
If you have questions, I can try to answer them, but a lot of things are difficult for me to explain. However, a writer named Jennifer Finney Boyland has written her memoirs about transitioning in the other direction, and, while it's her story and not mine, she explains things better than I think I could. The book is called "She's Not There." Also, PFLAG has information for family and friends of transgender people: http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=380.
I don't think I'll be back in the south bay before I fly back to England on the 16th, but I will be back in California for a bit around Christmas. It would be good to see you then.
I realized I was kind of avoiding them, despite them having been part of my life since I was born. I was ok to go to a post-funeral dinner with a jerk that I hate, but I was shunning people that I love. Life is too short to be stupid like that.