Learning to live as the woman I am
From a very early age, I knew that something didn't feel quite right.
Aged 8 or 9, my grandma dressed me as a girl one day, and this triggered something in me. However, my parents’ reaction told me I needed to hide this side of myself. I had many feelings and emotions that would take many years to come to terms with. Throughout puberty, my parents would find items of clothing that I felt I needed to hide and wear to enable me to feel comfortable for a small period of time, but then I had to deal with the self-loathing and lying to my parents. Over time, I became vexperienced at convincing the outside world I was this whole other person. I was existing rather than living.
After leaving school I became heavily involved in sports, got tattoos, got married and had a child. I did all the things that would portray me as a straight man. By my early 30s, my marriage had broken down and I was living in my own apartment, which gave me time to come to terms with who I was. Having access to the internet I could research and realise that I was not alone. Lying to everyone about all aspects of my life obviously took its toll on my wellbeing and I sought help for depression, had two failed suicide attempts and came very close to being sectioned. Finally I had an epiphany and was able to understand and accept who I am. My plan was to come out as being transgender to online friends first, then to my real-life friends and finally family. There were only one or two friends who had an issue, but when I told my dad, he kicked me out of his house, referring to me as a freak of nature, and banned all other family members from having any contact with me. Not having any contact with my son still saddens me.
I knew I needed a fresh start so I relocated to Sheffield. In 2013 I started my transition from male to female and changed my name by deed poll. Finally I was living rather than existing in society. I’m now 43 and have been on my hormone treatment for two years and am potentially a year from surgery. I have even visited local schools to speak to pupils about my experiences, which has been very rewarding. I hope to see transphobia wiped out, and I have no regrets.