Embracing My Life and Myself

You know me as Fen: male, thirtiesh, dark hair, primarily attracted to men but also love women. I’m politically inclined (liberal), generous to friends (and sometimes to strangers), sarcastic, and have a wicked sense of humor. I love my dog, Suki, live in Florida (dream come true!), write books, edit for a living, and take photographs of my world.

Not all of the above is true, and I have lately had an epiphany that prompts me to come out in a way I never have before. To borrow from Edmond Manning’s beautiful series of books, I’m going to king myself. I have the power, and I’m not waiting for Vin to show up and do it. I am a found king.

The tagline on the blog says “Let me tell you a story….” It’s the internet, folks, where no one knows you’re a cat. Everyone thinks they know me, but arguably, they don’t know the most important thing about me. I’ve been keeping a big secret, and now I’m stepping out into the light. It’s time. Oh, and AJ Rose, whom I will love forever, knew and went along with this for reasons of her own. 

I’ve reached a stage in my personal and professional life that requires I gather all my bravery, all my courage, and say this aloud no matter what it costs me. Yes, I’m terrified. It feels like my head is in a vice as I write this.

I’ve tried to tell people in my real life and gotten a wide variety of reactions, not all of them good. Some looked at me like I was nuts. A few didn’t believe me. Others ignored my words as if they hadn’t been said.

Coming out is never easy, but here goes: I was born female.

You’ve all heard this: Sex is between the legs, gender is between the ears.

I was treated by everyone as a girl despite feeling male a lot of the time. Not all the time, I hasten to say. I was gender fluid, though I didn’t know it then. I didn’t play with dolls (boring!) or cook or bake, but I liked wearing dresses sometimes. I wore jeans a lot, and that was okay. Girls could dress like boys and no one thought it was a crime or even strange.

I was the typical tomboy, except I wasn’t going through a phase. I loved building tree forts, playing war with rubber-band guns, and wrestling. I trapped gophers with the best of ’em, and cut off their back legs without a qualm. I didn’t like hunting much–still won’t do it–but I loved to fish and threading worms on the hook was my job. At one time, in my mid-teens, I could fillet a sunny like an expert.

Girls were too prissy for me most of the time. Sure, I spent time with them; everyone saw me as 100 percent female. But their games weren’t challenging enough. I always wanted to hang with the guys. My parents had a lake cabin, and my favorite friend up there was a girl who was more masculine than feminine, like me. We’d go off in the canoe and be boys together. The girly part of me manifests in my desire to wear skirts and sparkly things, not in attitude or outlook. My brain is mostly wired boy, not girl.

My biggest regret growing up biologically female? I couldn’t piss standing up (I’ve since rectified that, but that’s another story) and when I got old enough, I wanted to be the fuckor, not the fuckee. I didn’t realize it for a long time, but I’ve had a life-long battle with my sexuality and how to express it, and not just with the gender issue.

But wait! There’s more! Sound like a Ginsu knife commercial? Yeah, well, I’m freaking out a little here. Gotta inject some humor.

I’m not thirty-three. I’m sixty-two. There are reasons why I chose to be that age online, one of them being I feel that young inside–actually, I feel twenty-eight–but I’m not going to get into that now. I’d show you a picture of myself–I have one I really like at my most girly (long long hair I’ve since chopped really short)–but it will just confuse everyone.

Because in every way that matters, I am Fen. That guy in the avi wearing the hoodie? That’s how I see myself. That’s me. I don’t give a shit what’s between my legs. Those bits of flesh aren’t who I am. In my mind, I have balls and a cock. Even when I slide over into feeling female, the male parts are still there in my mind.

You get my ideas, my opinions, and my passion. I am exactly who you think I am… except the body I was born in is not the one I would have chosen for myself.

You also get the best stories I can write, and as an author, that’s all I owe you. But a funny thing happened along the way to publishing several books: I became friends with many of you, and I don’t want to hide anymore.

This is me: I am Fen. I write. I take pictures. I am male. I am also female. I am gender fluid.  It took me almost an entire lifetime to recognize and then accept this, but I’m happy now. I’m at peace. I know who I am, and I wanted you to know, too.

Please refer to me using male pronouns. I’m leaving comments on in case you want to say something.

Also, please visit AJ for her side of things.

About Fenraven

Fenraven lives in central Florida, which reminds him of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Find him on Twitter and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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194 Responses to Embracing My Life and Myself

  1. Jaycee Edward says:

    YAY for you, Theo!!! I know this post will probably shock a lot of people, but, honestly? You gave plenty of hints in your past posts. A few times in your very early blog posts you stated that some of what we read will be fact and some will be fiction. I’ve said it before, Theo: I don’t care if you are male, female, black, white, green…whatever. I care about the person inside. I think you are incredibly brave, and I applaud you for finally being true to yourself. We all deserve that and I’ll be incredibly sad if there is anyone that feels for some reason you don’t. It’s funny that you mentioned Edmond’s work because he can testify to the fact that I just told him the other day that “no one needs kinged more than Theo”. (Ironically, he said he’d get Vin right on it – Vin does work in mysterious ways!) I’m so happy for you. Those of us who are LGBT allies and M/M readers should understand better than most how HUGE and SCARY this is for you and I wish I could be there with you right now to give you a huge hug and tell you that none of this changes how I feel about you. I never knew you ‘from the outside’ anyway. I love what’s on the inside. I have faith our other online friends who have grown to love you will stand behind you as well.

  2. Allison says:

    ((Hugs)) Your strength amazes me, just one more thing to make me honored to call you friend.

  3. Brandilyn says:

    Glad you finally are at a point where you are comfortable saying this aloud. *hugs* You are Fen, that is all that matters.

  4. Kate Aaron says:

    You are a tower of strength and I’m proud to call you my friend. ((hugs))

  5. Helena Stone says:

    It simple. A friend is a friend is a friend. I didn’t care what you looked like, what age you were or anything else when you were anonymous and while it’s nice to know more, I still don’t care about the whats. Short of confessing to being a murderer or child molester you couldn’t have told me anything that would have shocked me or turned me away. Just be who you are. That was good enough before today. It is good enough today. And it will be good enough tomorrow.

  6. Patricia says:

    Hi Fen, fellow Floridian. The sex identity didn’t surprise me as much as the age. You’re in my ball park! I know I feel emotionally so young. And have a firm tomboy streak in me that disdains some of the over the top girly things that glitz and gleam. Your books have widened my world and I love your blog (amateur photographer that I am) You are so brave to come out. I raise my glass to you!

  7. Carole says:

    Hahahahaha! I knew it!
    I thought your words were just too filled with wisdom to only be in your early 30’s. No offense to people in their 30s but it takes a certain time of living life to talk the way you do. Does that make sense? Probably not. I’m all kinds of crazy right now.
    Anyway, so proud of you. You are amazing! I’m very happy for you. How cool is it that you did this.
    Got to work now.
    Yeah, good for you King Fen!!!!!!!!!

  8. Bravery isn’t doing something without fear. It’s being afraid and doing it anyway. We all harbor great secrets and most of us die with them. I’m proud of you and hope that this post helps you and many others say, “This is who I am.”

  9. I think the beauty of online friendships is that you can get to know the person without the other details mattering so much. I imagine your journey hasn’t been an easy one. I like the person I’ve gotten to know and I enjoy reading your work. That hasn’t changed. It won’t change. I think your honesty and strength is wonderful. I am glad to be your friend and I wish you the best, always. *hugs*

  10. Lisa says:

    I find you absolutely remarkable and miraculous. ((hugs))

  11. Aniko says:

    Hi King Fen! I truly admire your bravery for standing up and declaring that you are who you are and this is who you are, despite how scary it that can feel to do. I’d say the only thing that made me raise my eyebrows a little in your post was the age but then again, most days I’m about 27 in my own mind but I actually left that behind 16 some years ago 😉

  12. michelerakes says:

    Fen, I get you completely. I’m forty-four and born female. Gender fluid is a great way to put it and even in a dress, I am still male. All the years spent arguing with my mother over school clothes and stealing my older brothers clothes(not my older sisters clothes) are memories I look on now in hindsight as being the first clues. I ogled boys, sometimes girls, but I wanted to be the one with the dick. It was frustrating. I wanted to be both the fucker and the fuckee. It is so good to read these words from you. Now I don’t feel so alone. I also have a husband who doesn’t mind who I am and I’m coming to terms with who I am and how I perceive myself. There is nothing wrong with creating an online persona and I’ll think of you as the guy in the hoodie. Thank you for this post.

    • Thank you so much for commenting. I’ve felt so alone much of my life. It’s so nice to know there are others like me out there. *hug hug hug*

      • michelerakes says:

        My mother, always in denial, insisted I get a pedicure with the girls in the family. To make her happy, I allowed my toenails to be
        polished hot pink (my hair is pink) now every time I see those pink toenails, I feel like I’m in drag. Even my nineteen year old son says it doesn’t look right on me. He says as a dude, my toenails should be painted black, if at all. Hehehe…that’s my boy.

        We are who we are and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Reading these comments though, it looks like you have a lot of supporters. Good for you.


        • I am loved, and I never take that for granted.

          Your son sounds very cool. 🙂 But tell him I think blue and purple polish also works for us dudes.

          • michelerakes says:

            Well we’re Seahawks so he said blue and green is acceptable, but I’ll tell him what you said. Hey, and I don’t feel like you’ve lied. You kept something personal close to the vest. It is self-defense. I just finally told my mother I want a sex change, but She knows I don’t have the funds. She just shook her head and said if she ever won the lotto she wouldn’t give me any money, but she loves me still. She just sips her wine, smiles and says okay. Hehehe.

          • My mother completely blew me off when I told her last year. (Yes, sorry, that was one of my lies; I said she was cool and a supporter, but she’s not. I wanted to believe she cared enough to listen to me, hear what I was saying.)

            She never read one of my books. She refused to accept the truth. A few months ago, she had a stroke and can’t talk. 😦

          • michelerakes says:

            I’m sorry. My mom read a sort of gender bending tale of mine. A erotic short published in June. She’s never read one of my m/m, but I have one coming out and dedicated to her. She’s so funny…she’s like damn… I guess I’ll have to read it now. It takes time for perception to change. In the eighties my mom was real close minded about homosexuality. Things become fluid as we get older I think. She’s changes a lot.

          • Mine never did. She remained a racist bigot all her life. Is it any wonder I made her something entirely different and loving on my blog?

          • michelerakes says:

            No, isn’t. I don’t blame you for creating the life you want. We are given certain things in life and it is up to us to shape our lives. That you deviated from your mother and struck out on your path says more than enough to me about you. Its the writer in you. Its a good thing.

          • I think so too. I surrounded myself with people who accepted me as I am and love me no matter what. I’m only out to one of them, but it doesn’t matter. They don’t care. They see ME.

          • michelerakes says:

            I used to take care of stroke patients…there are ways to communicate. Keep trying, but don’t kill yourself doing it either.

  13. Ka says:

    Wow… What I see in my head when we chat is now blurred. But, good on you. I hope you can take a deep breath now. It doesn’t make any difference I still love your photos and books. But AJ is female? *snort* you got me there, surprised 😄 still love you both. Don’t stop being you. Xxx

  14. They say ‘coming out’ frees the soul. Now you can fly the way you were meant to.

  15. I have recently started following your blog and conversing with you online. You are Theo to me and I admire your wit and creativity. I am happy that you are at a point in your life that you feel comfortable being yourself and sharing it with us. Hugs.

  16. Helle says:

    You and AJ are amazing! I can’t believe the courage it must have taken to do this. I’m so happy for you ❤️
    (And – yay – now you’re older than me 😜)

  17. karihiga says:

    Like I said on AJ’s post, I am going to be a fan. You’re a fantastic writer. And thank you for sharing your story.

  18. Just read your blog and AJ’s and, as I said to AJ, where friends and entertainment through words are concerned gender matters not one jot. Your strength and bravery Fen amazes me and I feel humbled by it. Especially humbled because I lack it. I consider you a friend and love exchanging comments and jokes with you, and that will never change.

  19. Kathi Lilly-Schell says:

    You know it’s funny, I’ve always pictured you closer to my age and you are, hah! The other “thing”, doesn’t matter to me, honey. You are still a fab author, caring individual, terrific dog-father to Suki, and now, King Theo. I can get behind that. xoxo

  20. djmichealsfics says:

    I am happy for you. As I said to @AJ, I don’t give a flying fig.

    You love who you love, the person, not the gender.

  21. ameliabishop says:

    I have no idea how you could live a lie for so long. You are pretty active online, and that is a lot of lies. Now I’m thinking there must have been dozens of times you had to tell tiny lies each day. But I suppose you had a lot of practice with it, and so the online lies came easier. I can’t imagine how that must have felt, growing up, feeling “wrong” in your own body. You are brave and beautiful.

    But I would be lying if I said this isn’t hurtful.
    I know you probably think of me as an annoying visitor here, who tells you things you don’t need to hear and never really “gets it”, but from my end, all my comments always have been heartfelt and honest. It is hurtful because I have grown to care about you. A fake you? Or just the part of you you let me see?

    Anyway, I suppose mine is a small hurt, when stacked against your daily pain. I am happy that you are secure enough now in your online friendships and in your true self that you are able to be honest. I am glad you have found the strength of a king.

    ❤ to you, Fen.

    • It wasn’t lies. Everything you saw of me online was the truth except for one tiny physical detail. Please don’t think I went out of the way to “fool” everyone. That was never my intention.

      I was being as true to myself as I could be without saying it aloud. I’m still the same person you came to know. Nothing has changed. Do you understand, Amelia? I am who you think I am, in almost every way. This wasn’t just an online persona. It was ME. It IS me.

      • ameliabishop says:

        Fen, I don’t think you owe me or anyone an explanation of your gender identity, so when I say “lies” I’m not talking about that. I mean the little untruths and omissions you had to live with every day. Not only about gender- but age, life experiences, knowledge. I can remember a few, and I know there must have been many more, for someone as active as you are online.
        I know you are still the same person, that isn’t what I am hurt about. And I am happy that you feel you can be 100% yourself.
        And I will still annoy you here.
        Also I just realized this means you have no excuse not to come to a con now. So… GRL 2015?

    • djmichealsfics says:

      Not to get in an argument here but….

      Every day people tell lies…lies to others and themselves about one thing or another. You color your hair, wear make up, whiten your teeth. Those are all lies to some extent, only approved by society. I certainly do not weigh the 180 that is on my driver’s license and my hubby really is going bald.

      Do you run around and tell people the 100% unvarnished truth all of the time? I really wear contacts because asshats make fun of people with glasses. I color my hair a dark color to avoid the blonde stereotypes I heard my entire childhood. I pretend to be an idiot because boys don’t like smart girls. And whose truth is it?

      How is Theo’s being born a different gender than what he identifies with any sort of lie though? He is still the person you follow on social media, read his books, conversed with, male. He hasn’t changed, your perception has changed based on some small fact that you discovered.

      • ameliabishop says:

        No arguments.
        I am super honest, and a horrible over-sharer, so I might be more sensitive than others. I am trying to be supportive, in the only way I know how. ❤

        • Part of my back story came about because we had a stalker at one time. Yeah, I’ve fudged details about my life, but the essence of it–the part that is my opinions and feelings–is 100 true. When I spoke of my grandparents, that was my parents (because of the age thing). Other things were also fabricated, but I don’t see the point of going into it. I’m a writer. It’s what I do, and it added a layer of protection from the crazies online. I will never apologize for protecting myself and AJ from the nuts.

  22. Shae Connor says:

    You rock. And you are who you say you are.

    But boy, do I feel YOUNG all of a sudden. 😀

  23. Tina Marie says:

    You are Fen. We love you and value you no matter how your appearance differs from what we might expect. We have no right to project our expectations onto you. Telling us this took balls, yeah, you’ve got them. Thank you for trusting us with what had to be a very difficult truth to tell.

  24. camkenwrites says:

    I love you Theo Fenraven. I fell in love with your words, not your body or your age. As a person who often still struggles with my own gender identity, and how my sexuality ties in there, just know that you are never alone. You have friends who adore you for you. 😉

  25. Shrugs. Love your posts, love your FB pages, love you a bit for being so brave. Don’t care what gender or age you are because it *so* doesn’t matter. More power to you, Fen.

    • All people should be this sensible, including me. If I had been, I’d have come out as soon as I knew. Believe it or not, I came to this realization rather late in life, like the last several years. Wow, what society does to its children, eh? So much confusion, and there didn’t need to be.

  26. Jane Wilkinson says:

    You are you #thatisall Congratulations on being so brave, courageous & honest. We love you even more for it ❤️

  27. Donna Lewis says:

    Wow, Fen! I raise my glass to you as well as AJ! I enjoy your photography, your novels, your commentary on Facebook. That won’t change. Best wishes and hugs. Telling us this must have been so difficult. You’re a strong man.

    • Thanks. This was really hard for me to do. I feel like I crawled into Macy’s window and took off all my clothes. And it’s cold outside, so I’m shivering really hard.

  28. Denise Wyant says:

    Fen, I realize we’ve only chatted here and there, mostly about photography, but I applaud you and your strength. If I was in your shoes, I’m not sure I could have done what you did *tips my hat*.

    You are an inspiration! As Jaycee said, I don’t care what you – black, blue or yellow – or who you love, be that person be male, female, or gender fluid (I really like that term, BTW. I confess that part of me fits in that category).

    Keep doing what you’re doing. Hold your head high. I have no doubt that your stories will help others.

    Many hugs to you!

  29. marygrz3 says:

    I’ve always respected you and this adds another layer. How brave you and AJ are! I hope you feel free as a bird right now. Maybe you’ll inspire others to do the same. None of the assets we have are as important as our own self. Enjoy that amazing self.

  30. debfirpo says:

    You are awesome! I’ll stand behind you no matter what! You are courageous! I’ve got all your books and I will continue to buy any books you write! Never forget your awesome! Here is big love filled hugs to you!

  31. J. H. Craig says:

    Your courage astounds me. I am no more in a position to “come out” than many people lurking behind pen names, and internet names, and three damn layers of security protecting their fragile “real life” identities. It has to be freeing, I’d imagine. I say that with yearning, and respect. It’s beautiful, what you’ve done here, and I applaud you.

  32. Fen, I can only 100% agree with what Jaycee said. You are YOU. I’m just sorry that you and AJ felt the need to hide who you truly are, although I can fully understand the reasons why. I couldn’t have kept a straight face if I’d been you two with some of the things that have gone on on FB. Bravo!! ❤

  33. It wouldn’t have mattered if you’d never been ready to say this out loud. You’re Fen and you know it – that’s what’s important. That said, speaking things out loud robs them of their dominion over us. It’s hard, it’s scary, but it’s also liberating. I do hope you feel 50 feet tall right now. You deserve it – and all the good that will come your way! 🙂

  34. To be honest, I’d been thinking for a while that you were trans. So I was wrong about that. But okay — gender fluid. No problem. I don’t consider it any of my concern, but I’ll say it doesn’t change my opinion of you in any way (which is generally favorable 😉 ).

    • I thought I was trans for a while too, but gender fluid better describes me. Jeez, that it took me so long to figure out who I was! Thanks for stopping by, Jamie.

      • I’m almost 50 myself. I tend to look at it like we’re trailblazers. All the difficulties we’ve had figuring out our identities and coming out will make it easier for future generations.

        • If my story makes anyone’s life easier in any way, I’ll be glad of it.

          The thing is, I hate labels, but without the term “gender fluid,” I still wouldn’t know who I was. That just nailed it for me harder than anything else.

          That being said, if I was younger, I might have considered transitioning because I feel so thoroughly male most of the time. But I’ve made my peace with who I am. Finally.

  35. Erica Pike says:

    Thanks for sharing, Theo *Hugs* No changes here. You are the same person you’ve been since I first “met” you (online). The only “ew” I have to say is the part about cutting gopher legs off? Is that something boys in America do? >.<

  36. bethtrue25 says:

    Hugs. I’m happy for you. ❤

  37. All our love to you and and AJ. You are rockstars.in my opinion. ((hug))

  38. AnnAlaskan says:

    In my world … today is the same as yesterday … you are Theo & AJ is AJ … your $$ jars are still full of $$ for buying your books. You will never believe how much I can identify with you! Nothing either of you have said today should be so shocking because you both write truthfully from the most essential internal You. Externals … are just that … externals. You will always be my most favorite Nazis grammar king! I am so humbled & honored to be in this very community that loves, supports and honors you. You & AJ have found a safe & loving home …. right here! We all will defend you & AJ forever! Tip of the hat to you today! Alaskan ((((HUGS & CUDDLES))))

  39. Sarah_Madison says:

    I’ve always liked and respected you–we get angry about the same things, after all! I love your photography (and the desire to go further south makes more sense now), I think you are a fantastic writer and you love your dog. What more do I really need to know? As you said, you are Fen. I’m pleased that you and AJ have been able to release this burden from your shoulders (as it must have slowly become). Nothing has changed, as far as I’m concerned. *hugs*

    • It had become a burden, not gonna lie. I’ve gotten so close to so many of you, I wanted to come clean, get the truth out there. Thanks for commenting, Sarah. We have lots of politics still to discuss. 🙂

  40. Dana Piazzi says:

    Thanks for your courage in sharing your story with us Theo. I think you and AJ are great examples to your readers and to members of the lgbt community. ❤

  41. *hugs* and remember, you’re only as old as you feel! I realize that more with every year that passes, lol!

    I still haven’t found a term that feels quite right to describe my sense of my gender, so most days I just mutter “fuck the gender binary” and get on with it. 🙂

  42. Heather says:

    There are a lot of downsides to internet communication: you don’t really KNOW the people you’re talking to; it’s so easy to misconstrue things said; it’s easy to hide, and it’s easy to be a jerk and get away with it. All bad, right?

    But I’ll tell you something. There are a lot of great things about the internet, too, and it’s not that you can make friends around the world, or publish your own work, or send electronic gifts to foreign lands. It’s that the persona you CHOOSE is the persona people come to know you – and LOVE YOU – for. I have no clue what you look like. I had no idea what age you were, what race, if you were tall or short or green or missing limbs. And it doesn’t matter one way or another to me, because there are things I do know.

    I know I love our emails back and forth. I love talking to you, or interacting with you on Facebook. I love the way you make my words shine like no other editor could ever do for me. I love the way you are unapologetically Theo: outspoken, smart, and strong. A person whose sex has never mattered in my world, because you are, to me, your personality, and your shining light of presence on the internet. I think that’s why there are so many examples of happy-ever-afters from internet dating–you are able to get to know someone’s personality and beliefs, and ultimately, that is the core of who a person it is. It has nothing to do with gender, race, or anything. You are the sum total of your personality, and if we love you for that, we’re going to love you no matter what.

    I hate that we live in a world where you had to ache over this admission. I hope for a world where sexual orientation (and religion!! I’m a witch, ask me how!!) don’t cause problems or internal battles, but bring people together and give us freedom. As I can see from being the nearly 100th comment on this post, you have so much support that your cup spilleth over. Now I hope you know peace, and you know that we adore you for your mind, not your fleshy bits xoxo

    • Aw, so nice of you to post here, Heather. You know you are one of my favorites, right? Thanks so much for the kind, supportive, and loving words. I’m so lucky. Any time I need to know I’m not alone, I just come here and read the comments again. *hug*

  43. Linda Jude says:

    Hi Theo! Thank you for sharing this with us.. but please know it doesn’t change a thing!!! Just makes you more facinating. 😊 I’m so glad you are feeling so light hearted as the day goes on.. we love you.. that won’t change!! 👑 crown for King Fen.. you deserve one!! You are so incredibly brave.. to stand and open your soul to us all. You’re a very special man!! Now,🍷🍷 figured you might need some wine. 😉

  44. Yvonne says:

    I applaud your and AJ’s bravery today Fen. This morning when I was commenting on yesterday’s post I was about to write I was glad you felt able to write about the good and the bad on here. LOL, that certainly came true today.
    The only sad thing is that we find it necessary to hide because of all the judgmental and bigoted people in this world. Have always loved your stories,following your blog and FB page and will continue to do so. *hugs*

  45. dani says:

    Hey Theo , my friend 🙂
    what a story to tell ( it reminds me of a story a friend of mine told me not to long ago )
    You are You nothing is going to change that
    you are an incredable person and someone I am proud to call my friend
    Like I also posted on Aj’s post what a weight must have lifted from your shoulders too

    much love

  46. cindyls1969 says:

    Hugs Theo. I don’t know what to say except you are who you are to me and that will never change. A writer whom I admire, an excellent photographer and just an interesting guy.

  47. Ginny Farnsworth says:

    Just wow! I’m a bit late to the party but to come home from work to two such courageous coming out blogs has rather taken my breath away. But as everyone else has said, nothing significant has changed, still love your stories, look forward to your blog and enjoy all your photos. Hugs

  48. Camille says:

    Wow! Today is blog come-out day 🙂

    It’s fantastic that you and AJ have such wonderful, supportive friends in each other. To live our truth and to be loved for it is what we all hope to have. Congratulations on being brave and owning all that makes you you.

    Inspiring to read.

  49. AD Johnson says:

    Hey, Fen, I’m glad you felt like you could let everyone everywhere know the real you in this way. It may be that I don’t “know” you but, even if I had hurt feelings, I would still feel very happy for you, and for AJ.
    The fact that we live in a world that still demands some people have to hide in order to survive is what we all need to keep working to change.
    I hope this is maybe the start of something in that other authors like you, AJ, Steph (SE), etc., can either come out, whether in terms of gender, sexuality or whatever it may be.
    I hope for both you and AJ that life just became a bit easier for you today.
    I’m going to leave the same message on his page. 🙂

    • Thanks. I’ve seen so much change for LGBTQAI people already, but I can’t wait to see more. The world isn’t black and white, and a lot of people are not clearly one gender or the other. I want to live in a world where that doesn’t matter. Today, I caught a glimpse of what it might be like and was astounded.

  50. chrisfob says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us and congratulations for finally being able to be and live who you are! I admire your courage!! It doesn’t change anything for me, I will go on buying and reading and loving your books and you! *hugs* ~ Chris ~

  51. Elin Gregory says:

    You’re Fen to me, no changes there, but OH I’m so proud of your bravery and so glad to see all the supportive comments you’re getting. *hugs*

  52. Sara F. says:

    Wow! What a day! Good for you for being comfortable in your own skin; it’s inspiring and something I hope to pass on to my kids. You are an awesome person, regardless of what’s between your legs. Hugs and squishes to you! Does this mean we might get to see you at a GR event in the future?

  53. diannegray says:

    You’re a darling regardless of age or sex. I still live in hope that you will write your life story because I would love to read it. I haven’t visited AJs blog but will head there now.

    I’m so glad you wrote this post. None of us ever really show our true selves online, but when you live with someone for over 25 years and find out they are not who they say they are – it’s a soul destroyer (okay, I know I’m being a little vague here, but maybe I should write my life story as well) 😉

    Hugs to you, my friend xxxx

  54. Louise Cossey says:

    Well I told your all about my cousin David who was under going treatment to be a woman when Transgression came out. He always felt he should have been born female. He tried to live as a gay man for years but in end he sadly took his own life aged 30 😦

    So well done for sharing your story in this blog post Theo.

    Louise x

  55. MMGoodBookReviews says:

    Reblogged this on MM Good Book Reviews and commented:
    Pixie and I just want to let Theo Fenraven know that we love him as a person and an author. Kudos on your “coming out”. Now chill with the drama and get back to work. 😉

  56. Judy says:

    The one day I take a break from the internets – and all of *this* happens 😉 Holy smokes! I wish I could express myself better, find the right words and just this once won’t embarrass myself. Maybe I should just stick to being undiplomatically direct : kudos for taking this weight off your shoulders and putting it down. I admire the heck out of you for being who you are, your creativity, your thoughts, your stories, and everything else you shared with us. I’m looking forward to all the things you will share with us in the future. *hugs*

  57. You are awesome, Theo, and I will always adore you. 🙂

  58. fefeeley412 says:

    Dude, that’s fuckin’ rock and roll to come out like that. That takes fuckin’ strength. Serious mad kudos to you. That shit almost made me cry. Right on.

  59. Karen H. says:

    Ok so I’m weird your actual age was the shocker for me, lol and really it means nothing in terms of who you are. I’m sorry your mom wasn’t able to understand and be the kind of mom she should be. As the mother of a transgendered child (adult child) I realize it’s a bit of a surprise to find out your son or daughter isn’t quite who you had believed them to be in terms of gender. But what I realized very quickly is that it didn’t matter if I had a son or a daughter because what I refused to loose was my child. He is the best and brightest star in my life always, and in my heart I want very much to believe that if you mother could speak she would tell you she knows this and she loves you. Always be true to who you are, Fen because that is truly the best that any of us can hope to offer to the rest of the world.

  60. Anonymous says:

    Ok, I know I am not going to be a popular comment but I believe it needs to be said. Do I think that’s its great you know who you are? Yes, I do. Its not easy finding your way. Especially when that way deviates from society’s norms. I, myself am a masculine female and its not always fun. We do have it easier then feminine males though since its more accepted to dress as a man for a woman, than as a woman for a man.
    Our community is small and very accepting of anyone and I love that about it. Saying that though, why would you misrepresent yourself to begin with? You say you don’t owe anything to us as an author but yet by selling books you do. I don’t see authors such as Stephen King or Anne Rice hide who they are. In order to sell a book you are also selling yourself. If you don’t agree with that then maybe you shouldn’t be writing. If anything, write anonymously, but don’t belittle us by lying and deceiving us.
    Lastly though, your age. I understand people feel younger than they are. That’s wonderful! We should always be young at heart. However, you are demeaning an entire generation by not saying how old you truly were. Be proud of how old you are! You have lived through some incredible times! You have life experience and can show it! You are not a 18 yr old kid trying to lie about his age to get into a bar. You are an adult. One who is obviously embarrassed his age and making it appear others, the same age, should be embarrassed by theirs as well since you felt you had to lie.
    I’m posting this as anonymous so the community trolls don’t come after me since I have an opposing opinion, since we all know how well that works. As much as I love our community, if you don’t agree with the general thought concept you’re summarily thrashed for it. I do wish the best for you and for a bright new, coming out, future.

    • Helena Stone says:

      I have absolutely no intention of starting world war III here but if it is all about freedom – and I think we agree it is, freedom to be who and what we are – doesn’t that freedom not also include the right decide for yourself how much of yourself you share with whom and when? Who are you and I to decide for others when they have to disclose their personal universe to the rest of the world? Fen wasn’t and isn’t holding anyone back by taking his own time. All he’s doing is being true to himself. In the end that is all any of us can do. In reality it’s something a lot of people never manage. Just my thoughts. Like I said, not WW III

    • I didn’t think I was misrepresenting myself as remaining guarded about who I am. Because I felt male, I didn’t think it was a bad thing to present myself as such. Stephen King, btw, wrote as Richard Bachman, and Anne Rice also wrote an erotic series under another name. Were they hiding or misrepresenting themselves? I won’t presume to know the answer.

      When I release a book, I am not selling myself. I am selling the book. My life remains my own and as private as I want to make it. There is a definite line I will not let readers cross. Today, I threw the windows and doors open so y’all could peak inside, but tomorrow, that barrier is in place again. I’m sorry you think I was deceiving you, but I certainly wasn’t belittling anyone.

      As for the age thing… there were several reasons why I chose to be 33 instead of 62. I choose not to go into those reasons, and you’ll either have to accept that as good enough or not. You always have a choice. But trust me, I am not embarrassed about my age or I wouldn’t have said anything today.

      Thanks for your comment. I appreciate the thought and time you put into it.

      • Jaycee Edward says:

        Well said, Fen.

      • Erica Pike says:

        Theo, I´ve said that I don’t care either way if you´re physically male or female and it´s true. However, I can understand the other side as well and I don’t think it´s fair to belittle their feelings, because their (real) feelings *were* played with, even if that was never your intention.

        I realize that I may be punished with silent one star reviews after this, but out of respect for you, AJ, and especially Kate, I´ve decided to post this under my real name anyway, so here it goes:

        If you and AJ had been Brad and Matt and they´d come out as women, I would be angry and hurt and I´d feel used, because I´d been emotionally invested by following their blog. What I’d be most upset about would be their fabricated relationship and how my feelings were played through that, unbeknownst to me. It is one thing to be swayed with emotions by reading a fictional book, and a whole other to believe that you´re reading about events that are actually true. I hear you and AJ had a break-up that people got really upset about. Had it been me reading about it, I would have cried. However, I didn’t follow your and AJ´s relationship – I didn´t even know there was one since I only knew you through the anti-m/m pirate group. The fact that I didn´t follow you probably has a lot to say in how I don´t care that you and AJ are not physically male and weren’t in a real love relationship. Your relationship didn´t play with MY feelings, but it may have upset others. You being Theo might not be misrepresenting yourself, but there was a lot of fabrication that did. You and AJ have even said so yourselves. If I had followed you, I may have not been such a good trooper about this. I´d support you and give you my best, but I´d still feel hurt.

        All I’m saying is that I don´t think it´s fair that people who are not okay with this, because they were emotionally invested and now feel deceived, are belittled (and I´m not talking about you specifically, but other people who comment here or elsewhere). Sure, we have no right to dictate what others do online or how they represent themselves, but we do have a right to our feelings and we should never be made to believe that we don´t have a right to feel what we feel.

        • First, I’m not petty enough to one-star anyone’s books over crap like this, nor would I do that for any reason. Anyone who knows me knows this, so you’re right, you don’t know me. I have too much integrity to pull shit like that.

          Second, I pointedly said you are entitled to your feelings. Not once did I “belittle” anything anyone has felt. Your feelings are valid, whatever they are, and I respect that.

          I’m a writer. I make things up for a living. As Kate Aaron pointed out elsewhere, AJ and I came from a background in role playing. Without thinking about it much, and because we both needed a few layers between us and the people “out there,” we kept on doing that as we moved into writing m/m. At that time, we didn’t see a problem with it. We didn’t know any of you. And we had lots and lots of reasons to stay hidden. After you get fired because of your personal life, you take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

          And there was another reason I did this: I made stuff up online to create the life I knew I could never have for myself. What harm could it do to make up a lover and live with him in New York City? After a while, we “moved” to Minnesota at the same time I did. We wanted to make our story closer to the truth. So much of what we said was true, but some wasn’t, so AJ and I broke up so we could start telling our individual stories.

          You don’t think we agonized over this? You don’t think we discussed this to death? We just sort of drifted into it, and then it was really hard to let go of. I do want to say AJ and I considered getting together in real life and decided against it for reasons none of you will ever know, nor are you entitled to. Some parts of our lives are not yours to share in. I’d appreciate it if any questions asked do not focus on AJ’s relationship with me and vice versa. That’s private. Please respect that.

          There’s another way to look at this if people are willing: they were entertained for a couple years for free. Maybe I was rationilizing, but that’s how I looked at the fabricated part of my life, as an ongoing story everyone got to enjoy.

          Were emotions invested? Apparently, they were. On the one hand, I consider this a huge success for me as a writer. I essentially told a serial story over a very long period of time, and a lot of people loved it so much they couldn’t wait for the next chapter. On the other, I wonder why people would care so much about someone they don’t really know that they would literally cry when AJ and I broke up. Maybe it says something about me as a person that, should I have been in that position, I would have felt sad, but then I would have moved on, as I assumed they were doing.

          This is all very complex, and I’m trying to be as honest as I can about the experience. At the heart of it all, I was hiding being gender fluid and being more comfortable as a male. When society sees you as one thing and you are another, it’s very stressful. When I finally reached the point where I wanted to come out publicly, I discussed it with AJ. She had long wanted everyone to know who she was too. Together, we found the courage to take that final step. “You jump, I jump.”

          I am sorry if people were so invested in our lives the truth hurt or upset them. It was never our intention to cause anyone to feel bad. The truth is, you cared about us as people, and most of you rallied when we spoke out. Isn’t that what matters? That you cared about us enough to offer love and support during a very scary time for us?

          We expected to be vilified. We thought we’d have to go underground for a long time and wait for a storm to blow over. Instead, we received so much love and affection, it blew us away.

          This was humanity at its best. We are still overwhelmed by your acceptance.

      • Erica Pike says:

        I did say that I wasn’t referring to you, specifically, when I talked about people belittling people who’ve been hurt by this. I also did not say that I thought you’d be one to publish one-review stars for anything.

        I know very well that you’ve agonized over this. Kate said so and I believe her. If there’s any blogger and writer I respect, it’s her.

    • michelerakes says:

      Maybe someone has already said this but Steven King and Anne Rice both have written under pen names, divulging later who they really were. This is not a new construct, men have been writing traditional romances under feminine pen since at least the seventies. You read the books for fantasy. Why does the author have to divulge their reality. They don’t owe to anyone. All the author owes the reader is a really great ride.

    • C. says:

      How appropriating of Fen and what he states he is! Just because you consider yourself being a masculine woman doesn’t mean you’re the same as Fen. Nor do you have any business chastising him for his unwillingness to out himself until yesterday. It’s his life, his decision.

      You may pride yourself on your personal acceptance. However, I don’t see much of anything to be proud of in action here in your post. Nor can I second the general idea of people being so ‘wonderfully accepting’. I’ve seen the opposite in action, and I see the opposite of acceptance in your post and in your offhand long-distance diagnosis of what you think Fen is and what he isn’t.

      Lastly, just because you buy books doesn’t mean you get a say in how an author presents themselves to the world. At all, I might mention. You are not buying them. Not even a little bit. You are buying their books. That’s all. Don’t be so rudely appropriative and grabby.

  61. wendytaft says:

    I am probably going to use a bunch of cliches by the time I finish writing this comment, but someone’s got to throw then out there so that it is a normal day in the world of blog comments. Courageous is how I’d describe you today. As you are crowned King Fen, you are doing something that is tough for many in today’s world. Being free to be yourself and being transparent. That to me is huge. You are the same author and blogger that you were yesterday. You take the time to respond to blog comments real tie that few authors do. You still write awesome novels. Nothing has changed…well except…how many words could you have accomplished today if you weren’t responding to blog posts? Just kidding…I’m just waiting for your next book impatiently.

    The truth has set you free…and that my friend is a very good thing.

  62. Ann Graham says:

    You know I’ve been a fan since I first started reading your badass facebook posts about politics and religion. 🙂 I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to write such an honest and revealing post. Thank you for trusting us – I hope you’ve had a day full of love and support.

  63. suze294 says:

    Well, my comments on yesterdays post apply today too – Better Out than In!!
    I hope you are feeling lighter, and that this translates to more books for us greedy readers.
    You are who you are, and we all hide behind our internet id’s a bit so not feeling cheated. I’m 50 year old Manx woman (so older than Jamie Fessenden then!) so all I have to adjust is rather than thinking motherly thoughts over your troubles, I’ll have to think of you as an older cousin or uncle! You had commented about being gender fluid before, so still Fen in my head, author, photographer, Florida expert (if I ever get my holiday there!), editor
    Your stories are your stories no matter how you style yourself online. And I think we’d all rather be 33!

  64. Jennifer Brinks says:

    I’m going to copy and paste the comment I left on AJ’s post because it holds tru to my feelings about your post as well.

    Ok, this is going to feel bitchy but this is the truth as I see it- who cares? In all honesty, the answer to that is that nobody worth it cares. Be true to yourself and know that whether you are male,female, straight or gay, young or old, none of that matters to me. Can you write? That’s what I care about. And you can!

  65. BookLover62 says:

    Tampa in July 2015!?????!!!! * sweet*. Another author I love at Rainbow Con? I will dance with happiness around my living room!!!!!
    As to the rest. Bravo!
    I care about what’s between your ears, in the characters you create, not what’s between your legs. Nothing you shared today is going to change that.

  66. CA James says:

    Fen, Blessed Be! Blessed for your risk, for the trust, for the openness, and the willingness, and blessings for the Courage. This is the bravest thing I’ve witnessed…
    You are amazing!
    and, you are inspiring! Because if a 30-something boy/young man ( that’s my age showing) can be, launch a writing, editing carrier, move and start anew cross country, be a photographer, have an online presence, and be so much more, and..do all this from a different physical incarnation, then all of us, even 40-somethings…, can be our true selves.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  67. chrysalis1975 says:

    I have nothing but love & respect for you, dear one 🙂 Bravo!!! *Hugs*


  68. King Fen, that’s perfect 🙂 I just want to stop by & say, I think you are amazing! What a scary and courageous thing to do. Hope you are feeling less “jello” like today 😉 I like what you write & the you who talks to us here, and none of that has changed, so it’s all good. And yeah, there’s a bit of cognitive dissonance when you realize your perception of someone is slightly different than you thought, but is that so the way our mental image of people we have only interacted with online & seen their avatar, may greatly differ from their actual appearance? Hey, I recently sent a real pic of myself to someone & he had trouble getting his mind around the fact I was not a Sheltie, so ;-D

    Interesting to know you are chronologically 5 years older than me, rather than young enough to be my son 😉 But I absolutely know what you mean, I feel & act, I believe, much younger than my “actual” years too. Sometimes I wonder if part of that is not ever having had children, so we don’t lose touch with the “child” in ourselves as much? Who knows 😉

    • Well, I never had children, so I think I just retained a bit of my childlike self as I grew older. Yes, I’m feeling great today. A little hungover from too much sleep (catching up from the night before), but really good. 🙂

  69. Dermot Kennedy says:

    Hi Theo,

    First of all let me say how happy I am that your and A Js “coming out” blog posts were so warmly received and accepted by the majority of your online friends and readers. I followed most of the reactions yesterday and am hugely encouraged by all the positivity. I think what you both did has more significance than just making you both happy and content with who you really are,

    I like to apply the chaos theory principle to this kind of event. I’m sure you are familiar with it, you know, “a butterfly flaps its wings in Asia and subsequently causes a hurricane to form in the Carribean”. Likewise your posts, in that someone will read it and be heartened by it and will share it on their facebook page. And then that post will flutter through the internet (like a butterfly) only to land on some strangers timeline, thousands of miles away, who is also struggling with his or her identity, and will read your blogpost and think “finally, someone else who understands”. And the power of this is that this happy circumstance has the potential to trigger another series of events that will grow exponentially and add to the growing awareness of the the whole human race: that bigotry, racism, sexism, ageism and injustice are such self-diminishing traits that they inhibit the evolution of personal growth.

    Through these selfless acts, we chip away at the opinions of the uneducated and slowly, through the use of logic, reason and common sense we can get them to question why they base their moral outlook on superstitious nonsense. It will probably take a long time but, like Michelangelo who started with an ugly lump of rock, we chip away and chip away until one day we stand back and marvel at the beauty revealed.

    And finally, to the Anonymous (nice name) poster who took umbrage at your perceived late coming out, I would ask whether she consulted you before making any significant lifestyle decisions. I have a feeling she did not.


    • 🙂 Thanks for your well-thought out comment, Dermot. Nice to see you here.

      The love and support AJ and I got from the community was totally overwhelming, and it shouldn’t have been. A nicer, more tolerant group cannot be found anywhere. I plan to remember this for a long, long time, and this experience will bolster me through bad times until the end of my life. What a marvel we can be! I hope the rest of the world follows suit quickly, so we can get on with the job of loving one another as is.

  70. louisjharris says:

    Fen, it takes courage to do this and wow, I love a man with courage. You are happy, that makes me happy too. If you were complaining, well, I would have kicked your butt. Hugs

  71. A.M.B. says:

    Great “coming out” post! Personally, I don’t see much of a difference between men and women. There are more differences within genders than between them, and I think it’s fluid. Who we are changes in many ways over time. As for age, I am actually 33, and I don’t feel older than 28 either. I hope to stay 28 forever!

    • *hug* No wonder we get along so well. Has to be the age thing. 🙂

      I am glad I lived long enough to see the medical community finally acknowledge gender and body differences. I only wish it could have happened sooner; it would have saved me a lot of grief over the years. But hey, that’s in the past and I feel terrific today. Progress!

  72. nikki says:

    Big courage! Does your YA book deal with any of this? If so, I know your story is going to be inspiring to so many people.

  73. shellshock1281 says:

    Hey… I heard through the grapevine (gotta love fb!) congrats on being yourself.

    I hope you get as much support from everyone else as the few comments I’ve read. Good luck with everything life brings your way.

    Shell shock/shell Taylor.

  74. nordicgirl_2013 says:

    Dear Fen, I haven’t had the opportunity to add my comment until now as all day yesterday between coming home from work until bedtime was spent on FB celebrating both you and AJs courageously blowing the closet doors off their hinges and stepping into the light as your authentic selves!

    You are to me the same friend today as you were before yesterday! I love your brain, creativity, compassion, wit, sarcasm, outrage over politics and injustice, and none of those qualities have anything to do with your outward appearance or gender.

    I said it yesterday and I’ll repeat it now: As a friend I love you unconditionally and to me that is what true friendship means. ❤ and hugs

  75. ardent ereader says:

    Dear Theo/Fen
    I love your writing and I am one of your many fans. You are the best YOU, and Kudos to you for being who you want to be!!! This is our one life ( unless you believe in reincarnation) and we should all live our lives being truthful to ourselves. You ROCK!!!

  76. bsnowwriter says:

    Was away from fb for a few days so missed the hoopla, but I guess there doesn’t need to be any. I thought you were a dude, so nothing’s really changed, has it? 🙂

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  78. sandym0327 says:

    I’m so sorry that you felt, or rather, was made to feel anxious about telling us all this. I’m also sorry that you felt it was something that you had to do. We, as your readers, are blessed to have your stories. But, that most certainly should be the end of our expectations of you. You don’t owe us anything, really, and it hurts to know you were worried about all of this. For me, all that concerns me is whether or not I like what I’m reading. I could care less about the gender of the person who is writing it. So, I wholeheartedly support your choice to be you, however and whoever that may be.

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  80. You still have my complete and utmost support. (Sorry so late to say so.)

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