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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?
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