Living as Sophie

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    • #88537

      Hello everyone. I joined Transgender Heaven in January this year (2020). Then posted, chatted quite a bit, talked about my life and feelings of being Sophie. Made the decision (finally!) to start coming out to family and friends in February.

      It’s been a roller coaster of a year. No sooner had I started, I had to pause for almost 4 months. Telling people you know and love that you are trans, have been a different person your whole life… not easy at the best of times. Not really something that I wanted to do over the phone or via Skype or zoom. Not while everyone was scared. Not while people were dying.

      But… stuck at home, now working from home full time, yet for the first time wearing the smart business woman clothing I longed to wear in the office. Unable to go out and see old friends; unable to meet up with new friends and support groups I’d only ever met with online. Unable to share the burning secret that I now really wanted to share. That was so very hard.

      Back in February I described it as a bit like being on a ledge outside a burning room and having to jump, simply because there was no way back. No clear view below, because of the billowing smoke, just hope. And Faith (thank you girl, you kept me going through some really dark moments there).

      But last month I landed. The fires had burned out. The ground still hot to the touch, scalding my feet slightly, but allowing me to hobble forwards. A little bit of gentle rain and breeze cooling me down, clearing the smoke away, showing a view of a strange but beautiful new world. Outside my prison cell.

      I’ve been living full time as Sophie Bourne for a month now. I’ve now felt the rapture of gender euphoria as well as the agony of gender dysphoria. The joy of just going out for a day, with my children and some friends of twenty years, being completely accepted in my female form. Being in crowds, in queues, on rides at a theme park. Going for meals. Going to the ladies. Strangers looking but not even noticing. If they do notice, not minding at all. That moment when a two year old just out of his stroller pointed at me with a smile, said “Look lady!” and his mum said, completely matter of fact, “Yes that is a lady, can you step aside please to let her pass?” The smiles from me as I thanked her for keeping the 2m distance.

      The real pleasure when I realised – with a gasp – that I’d just signed the deed poll and I now legally was the person I’d always wanted to be. The affirmation when the bank cards and cheque books started to arrive, proving it. The sheer joy of writing out and signing that first cheque (it was the fee to pay the fee for a new driving licence).

      And then there’s the not so good. The dead naming from absolutely everyone. The slow realisation that for now at least, my full name is “Nick, oh shit, sorry Sophie”.  Maybe I should have put that on my deed poll?

      The confusion from my line manager as I told him (over a Skype call) that I was now living as a woman, had been for a few months, had legally changed name, and we’d better now get my email address and employee records fixed. And find a way to break the news to 300 odd work colleagues in as casual a way as possible (without freaking them out, cos in the end, the work’s the same and they haven’t exactly been seeing me anyway). The nervousness as he revealed that he must have missed the management briefing on this one (a beautiful 12 page document laying out in great detail how to transition at work) and needed to talk to HR…  if anyone there would pick up the phone. Big bureaucratic  companies do love defining processes for everything. There’s even a chatbot that changed gender recently. The LGBT support group did a funny post about it.

      Or the silence from my daughter when I first told her, a silence that lasted almost two months… no anger, no bargaining, no congratulations, no sympathy, no questioning, just blanking out and stonewalling all conversations about the elephant in the room. I’m convinced she’d known for months or years: hadn’t wanted to talk then, didn’t want to now. Some of that from my son too, though he did want to listen and hear about my life (just not talk back much). Both of them just carried on living with me as normal, and getting on with normal life – well as close to normal as COVID would now allow – as if nothing had ever happened.

      And the surreal. As the elephant started wearing ever prettier clothes (unisex, yet slowly but noticeably more feminine),  then nail varnish, then makeup and jewelry, it got rather silly. A gorgeous elephant who was now bright pink, yet somehow still invisible and inaudible. Eventually I just said “Well would you mind seeing me in a wig as well?” and they said “We don’t mind”. That day I presented to them fully as Sophie, got an “Oh” and they went back to watching Netflix.

      So strange given the grief and agony of my own childhood. For kids now, it really can just be that straightforward. So Dad’s transgender, and presents as a woman now… well OK, but what’s for tea?

    • #90335
      DeeAnn Hopings

      By design, my coming out was in front of about 130 people. But before that, I had The Conversation with my daughter and son (both grown and married), 7-8 close friends and my then department manager. At that time, which was about 4 months before I retired, I lived in a town of about 12,000  people that was dominated by the presence of my employer (a multi-billion dollar international company). News travels at light speed, partly because so many are connected in non-obvious ways (relatives, close friends, through work, through church and sometimes all of the above). All of those conversations were done 1/1, except for my kids as they lived significant distances away. I agree with talking to people 1/1 whenever possible, but that may not be possible in every case, so we do the best we can.

      My career as a mechanical engineer spanned 43 years with 2 companies. With the second, I supervised a group of engineers and technicians for about 2 years. One of the things that was very prominent was the idea of minimizing (and hopefully eliminating) liability for the company. This covered a vest array of things from operator safety regarding our process machinery, environmental issues, sexual harassment issues, discrimination, etc. Also, while there are legal ramifications, many of these issues can effect the public image of the corporation, of which they are very protective. Policy statements and procedural documents, whether for HR or production processes, are intended to inform as to best practices that result in consistent outcomes. What you don’t want is people throwing up their hands when shit happens and saying “What do I do now?!?!” in the heat of the moment.

      As it relates to trans people, the last thing you want is those in management doing silly things and making knee jerk policies on the spur of the moment. While that might on occasion help someone’s situation, I suspect more often than not it will be a great hindrance.

      When I talked to my kids, it was necessarily individually owing to different time zones, different work schedules, etc. Both were pretty low key about the whole thing. I think my son latched on to things pretty quickly as he had  taken a number of psychology courses in college. My daughter is the more analytical of the two and it took a little while to process things. However, whenever I’ve sent along things regarding my accomplishments as DeeAnn they both have been very supportive. To their credit, they have never asked any “silly” questions; the kind that do not warrant answers.

      The only other significant hurdle has to do with my granddaughters. They are both fairly young and as they live halfway across the country from me, I don’t see them very often. But, that is something that eventually needs to be addressed and sorted out.

      From what I’ve observed across several forums and my own experience, how kids respond at any age is sort of a crap shoot. Anecdotally, there doesn’t seem to be a pattern. What that suggests to me is that the only thing that we can do is approach each situation with our best positive energy and not be weighted down by the possibility of negative outcomes. Best of all, we should always extend thoughts of positive expectations.

      I’m glad that things are going well for you and hope the future will continue to be so. Transitioning is neither an impulse nor the work of a minute. It is a MAJOR decision and life altering in many ways. I think the general populace has yet to understand that.

      Be Well,


    • #91659

      Hi. Nice to read about what others went through in transitioning. In my case it went pretty well. After years of counseling/therapy as a kid my parents finally completely accepted me as I am. It was really hard on my dad as he joined having a son and now he got 3 daughters. My older sis has always been great and is my best friend, my younger sis not so much but at least accepts if not understand me. When I was 13 I started on blockers and began to dress as a girl most of the time while home. The first time my mom took us three girls shopping was my first time out in public as a girl. I was 14. Since it all went so well, I mean I passed as a girl, my mom would take me shopping as I needed my own clothes instead of borrowing my older sister’s clothes. So the goal became when I started high school I would go full time. That summer, my family moved across town as they wanted to move anyway and so I would start school that year in a new school where no one knew me. My dad knew a good lawyer who was a family friend so had known me as a guy. The lawyer came over and met me as a girl and decided we should get my name changed legally so we did with no real problems. My dad is a high school teacher and he knew the principal at the school I would go to so. So he talked to the principal about me and the principle came over to meet me. We saw I could pass but laid down some ground rules. Obviously no gym class and I would use the teachers bathroom in the office. In our new neighborhood there was a family with two girls. One my age and one my younger sisters age and we all became friends. Still the first day of school I was scared shitless. It didn’t start very well as when I got on the bus, the only seat was next to a guy and I had like no experience with guys as a girl. Plus it’s scary enough starting high school and like in a school where I didn’t no anybody except my older sister and my neighbor friend. But I got through it OK. And since then everything was going pretty well until last Spring when the virus hit. I was a junior and interested in guys, but never had a real date like 1 on 1 with a guy. Just before school all of a sudden shut down in March I think there was a guy liking me. One of my friends had first noticed it and I was kinda interested in him. But then when school closed it all stopped. God I hope school open this spring as I have always dreamed of dating and especially Prom date like my big sis had as I am now a senior. Anyway I will be 18 this spring and hope is I can soon get the surgery. Who knows with the way things have changed.

    • #91709

      Thanks for your replies and stories too. It’s three months further on. Months of more COVID chaos, or tiers and tears. My area in Britain’s been in and out of every level of restriction (Tiers 1, 2 and 3, as well as full lockdown and now Christmas bubbles ahead). Everyone’s worried and confused. The vaccine’s being rolled out at least … if we can manage to bring it into the country still after January 1st. What a weird time.

      As the year closes, the last bits of the old me are disappearing from the world. Everyone I work with found out during October and Nobember… and they’ve been overwhelmimgly supporting. Thank you to a really enlightened and organised HR rep, a kind young lady who’s also become one of my new friends, as well as a great ally.

      I have a new driving licence and passport, new name and title and female markers all over my bank records and cards, pension , employment records etc.

      And I’ve started on the medical journey… had my psych evaluation, been referred for HRT, just had the first set of blood tests done. Started my first facial electrolysis treatments. My chest is starting to expand… helped along by a few creams and a breast pump. I was wearing a jersey last night decorated with Christmas puddings in just the right place, and there were indeed a couple of small plump puddings poking through underneath. Doing wonders for my self-confidence.

      My last few contacts have been finding out over Christmas cards. You know – the ones who don’t check LinkedIn or Facebook, who I hadn’t seen or spoken to all year.  They got a little “round robin” letter and photos enclosed with the card. Don’t normally do stuff like that , but I bet that’s one they won’t be forgetting in a hurry!

      Happy Christmas to my Transgender Heavenly friends, and my very best wishes for a healthy and safe New Year. Make 2021 a good one loves xxx

      • #131132

        Two years on … and a bit more than two years since I first joined this site, before coming out, before starting on my transition. What a journey it’s been. What a rollercoaster.

        Just wanted to say that I’m still here, and  – I guess – I made it!

        In the recovery period now after GRS (“bottom surgery”). Finally I can look at my body and see Sophie, the woman I am, the way I was always meant to be.

        For anyone who’s just starting, who doesn’t know if they can ever do this. Well, you can! Be brave. Be magical. Be you xxx

        • #131134

          Absolutely inspiring!

        • #131135
          DeeAnn Hopings

          Glad that things are progressing well. I’m sure that your positive data point means a lot to a number of other members!

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