Thursday 27 September 2012

15 years ago I was on the verge of suicide. What's changed?

Imagine being a child and then a teenager struggling with your gender identity.
Now imagine being 40 years old and still struggling.
I was a successful, well respected, and well known married man.
But I was plagued by fears and doubts, knowing I wasn't gay, yet not knowing what I was.
It was driving me insane.
I just didn't fit in.
Driven to be more of a man, I ended up with a litany of broken bones and dreams.

By sheer chance, I was put on a trial medication for hypertension.
It contained a mild dose of phytoestrogens.

Everything changed.
It was as if my body had been starved of something during my development and had gone wild.

And so I made a choice.
A quite radical one.
I changed gender.
Actually that's not quite true.
I was never a man, I think I just had a birth defect that made me look like one.
I went through the program and had surgery in the late 90's.
Without the testosterone and the 'bits', I finally had some peace in the wreckage of my life.
Wish I'd done it when I was diagnosed as TS at 17.

So how is it now?
Very good.
No longer suicidal.
And in a loving relationship with the most interesting man in the world.
He's stood beside me through the early horrors of transition and has been my line manager for 15 years.
I love him and will never leave.

There are some cold, hard, cruel facts that have to be faced though.
I'm no beauty.
And I still have to face excruciatingly painful discrimination.
For example, I got caught speeding last week.
My fault entirely.
So despite having boobs and 'Ms' and gender 'F' on my driving license, the cop ticked 'MALE' on the ticket.
I considered raising that issue, but all I could think of was 'Contempt of Cop'.
Mainly because early in my 'transition' I was 'talked to' by 2 cops who joked about arresting me.
And throwing me in the male holding cell overnight for the fun of it.
Think about that.
So I kept my mouth shut and smiled at the officer and thanked him for the ticket.

Also last week, I overheard two people gossipping.
"The freak is back. What do you even say to it?"
Not she, not even he, "it" - You have to be tough.
Something like that happens about once a week.

Small things but relentless and soul crushing.

It's not been easy, what with having to bare all to multiple medicos.
And the costs for surgery and legal stuff is around $100,000 so far.
And 15 years post change I am only now getting the last of documents from various governments.
On the bright side, my new birth certificate came last month.
Although I had to wait for an act of parliament to make that possible.
But no-one cares about bits of paper.
Except that is is now legal for me to get married of course.

As a coping mechanism during my 'transition' and to clarify to myself that I was actually making the right decision, I wrote a diary.
Starting with all my memories from childhood that could be verified independently.
So nothing 'made-up' or 'imagined'.
I put it online.
Kinda went viral for a while.
Had good comments and bad.
And many mothers, fathers and children contacted me thanking me for giving them insight into someone they knew.
It's quite big as I've done quite a lot in my life.

I'm considering serialising it before making an eBook.
What are your thoughts about that?

1 comment:

  1. hey Kim, well written, I think it would make a great book and I think a lot of people would find it interesting and probably helpful :)