The journey continues
My story continues in September 2020 when I applied for a legal name change. I chose the name Jue Meili (pronounced Gee May Lee) meaning pearl beautiful. It takes an untold number of years for a real pearl to grow inside an oyster shell to become a most beautiful thing before it is harvested and emerges for all the world to see. This is how I see my long, lonely struggle and journey over six decades in a shell and sometimes hell, before blossoming and coming out.
The 8th of October 2020 was a day when my life took on a new sparkle and delight, when I received my change of name certificate, I was so happy! I started notifying everyone about my coming out as a transgender woman and my change of name, sending emails to all my high school classmates, friends from badminton, dancing, and my dance students including real estate clients, all the organizations I dealt with. Most of them responded with support and encouragement.
It took weeks to change my driver’s licence, health card, bank info and credit cards, etc., but it was a happy task. Although semi-retired, I still work part-time in real estate and my family helped me choose the beautiful women’s photos for my new business cards.
I searched in Toronto for clinics and doctors who treated transgender people, but they were all fully booked and not taking on new patients. I did not realize there was such a large transgender population there. I finally managed to connect with Sherbourne Health Centre eventually being referred to a doctor.
I joined LGTBQ support groups and attend Zoom meetings weekly, learning from others about the challenges we face and how to overcome them. I still enjoy these meetings, noting that I face quite different challenges compared to the younger people.
My girlfriend of 27 years left me in September 2020 after my coming out, I can understand her, and that decision. It was easy to understand why, as she came from a traditional conservative Chinese culture. Doubting that she wished to be in a lesbian relationship with me, she left with some bitterness, saying nasty things and criticizing me in an email.
At a recent virtual meeting with my mature transgender sisters, the facilitator suggested we should not burn our bridges with our loved ones and good friends. Even though they may not accept us for now, eventually they may come around and accept our true gender. She explained, one of her best friends took two years to come around to accepting her.
Although somewhat sad, I have lots of photos and happy memories we built together, moments I can relive whenever I want to. She left me with lots of costume jewelry and a wardrobe of women’s clothing. They fit me and probably look better on me. I am alone but not lonely, with so much to do and to look forward to with my future.
Covid-19 has taken so much out of us.
I miss my children and hugging my grandsons and look forward to the daily video calls from my 3 and 5 years old grandsons. When I came out, they were the first to call me Jue Meili. I remember in a movie about fairies, the grandmother said to her young granddaughter ‘I have loved you from your very first breath, and I will love you until my very last breath.’ I repeat these words to my children and grandsons.
Although I started playing badminton as a woman in October and November 2020 before another lockdown, I will not be able to play as a woman in senior badminton competitions until after my final sex assignment or bottom surgery. Then I can change the gender on my driver’s licence from X to F. That is okay with me, because, by that time, I can play as a woman in Senior badminton competitions in the 75+ age group, and will probably encounter few or no competitors at my level of play. I hope to participate in women’s doubles and mixed doubles into my mid-80s.
I have not gone dancing since the lockdown in March 2020, and with my ex-girlfriend leaving me when I came out, I will have to find women dance partners to practice dance steps with me. I still prefer to dance the lead steps, although I can dance both the lead and follower steps from my teaching ballroom dancing classes. I have breakfast in bed and watch dance instructional videos to remember the steps. After re-opening, I can continue my quest in earnest looking for women dance partners, just as dance partners and not necessarily for a relationship. Dancing works wonders mentally and physically for seniors. If I am still alive, I can continue to dance until I am 100.
Hello to all mature women and mature transgender women out there, may I have the pleasure of this dance.
From March 16 to December 31, 2020, because of the lockdown, with no badminton and or ballroom dancing, I became a couch potato, munching on chips, cheetos, tostitos and nuts in front of the TV. I must have gained over 8 lbs. In January 2021, I started going for 3 km power walks every day, averaging 26 minutes for the 3 km. I managed to lose over 3 lbs last month and hopefully will return to my pre-lockdown weight by the end of summer. I wake up with thankfulness every morning to my stretching and power exercises and now look forward to my 3 km jog and power walk.
After an appointment with my doctor at the health centre in early January for a physical exam, she prescribed testosterone blocker Cyproterone and after more ECG and blood tests, I went for another physical in early February. My blood pressure tested high and I was prescribed Ramipril 125 mg medication to lower it. Another blood test and my next appointment on February 19 was when she found my blood pressure still high. More stumbling blocks. I was so disappointed and felt so helpless. She kept increasing my blood pressure meds each week until March 26, when she finally prescribed an Estradiol estrogen patch to me. I was in Heaven.
Depending on how much breast growth occurs, I may consider breast augmentation after a year of hormone treatment. My doctor can recommend me for surgery if there is no breast growth after a year of treatment, covered by health insurance. During a virtual meeting, I replied to a joke made by my trans sisters about what breast size I wanted, stating that I had always wanted to have 38D breasts to match those of my ex-girlfriend, but not sure how that will affect my badminton play, I may have to reconsider a smaller size.
Within a year, I plan to go to Seoul in South Korea to the Yeson Voice Center for voice feminization surgery. They have excellent reviews from hundreds of satisfied patients. The total cost including airfare, accommodation, meals, and surgery would be about US$10,000. After surgery the patient cannot speak a single word for one month. and voice training exercises at the higher feminine range will be required for about a year after, until the voice stabilizes.
Hopefully, before the end of 2022, I can be recommended for sex assignment or bottom surgery in Toronto, again covered by health insurance. I am really looking forward to this notwithstanding the pain and recovery challenges because I will finally live the joy of looking in the mirror to admire my femininity and what I have yearned for over six decades.
I am not too sure about my future after the final bottom surgery. One of my goals is to become a beautiful senior model. As I have always been fascinated by feminine beauty, I believe I will probably end up in a lesbian relationship eventually. Hopefully, I will be able to find a life partner, because I have learned to love myself. I am confident this will come about.
More Articles by Jue Meili Olaes
- FADING MEMORIES BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE
- The monthly goals of a transgender woman
- Stumbling over the decades