Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Wednesday 30 November 2022

Not really what I wanted ~ Part 3

So this should be the third and final part of my little history, at the end of part 2 I had skimmed through the four and a half years between my first visit to my GP and my Gender affirming surgery, with a few extra little insights into the complications of being a transgender adult. For trans people these days that will feel like serious fast tracking ~ the system, the NHS is failing us!

I haven't mentioned anything about the extended prayer sessions at my church which were tantamount to "Pray the Gay away" or conversion therapy ~ having said that I do believe that prayers are answered and that my transition is an answer to those prayers; I haven't spoken about the loss, the loss of status, teh loss of privilege, the loss of respect, the loss of my Church Family; I haven't spoken about the existential anxiety, the periods when the only way out seemed to be death, or the times when death seemed preferable to carrying on. I tend to not to bang on about this stuff because it is my nature to enjoy life, and to try to help others enjoy life. Generally I find it hard to resist the temptation to try to be funny ~ but a lot of this stuff simply isn't funny!

I haven't spoken about the incredible confusion over my own sexuality ~ all the time the World experience me as a man, I was very much heterosexual ~ indeed this contributed to my gender confusion, how could I be a woman when I fancied women and enjoyed a fully physical and fulfilling sexual life? I couldn't imagine myself in anything other than a heterosexual relationship. When I gave way to the inevitable and gave up the attempt to live as a man, I really didn't know what would happen to my sex life. I did know that I was married and that what happened next was not solely up to me. As it turned out neither of us is a lesbian, and had absolutely no interest in each other sexually any more. Added to that I was amazed the first time I looked at a man and thought "I would"! After we separated I will admit to a few fumbling experiments ~ but every man I came across wanted to make love to me as a man in a dress rather than a woman who was equipped differently. Although I still had a sex drive this was profoundly unsatisfying.

One of the unexpected benefits of Gender Affirming Surgery  for me has been the total absence of testosterone and the departure of my sex drive, gone, farewell, left the building! I do not miss it at all, if I were 20 years younger I might feel differently, I might have made different decisions, but I'm not. Now I'm in my mid 60s it's quite nice to not worry about or chase sexual experiences. These days I self identify as functionally asexual, but heteroromantic ~ or to put it in simpler terms, I'd like a cuddle from a nice man, but that's it. I'm sorry to bang on about something so personal, but the object here is to try to convey something of what we go through under that rather vague heading of transition.

I was mourning the fact that coming out is never finished, I suspect that transition is never finished either. I have recently completed the final (I hope) piece of documentation and have obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate or GRC. There has been A LOT of twaddle talked about these over the last couple of years.  My GRC will not have any impact at all on my access to single sex spaces ~ I am, and have been for many years, already using the women's toilets, changing rooms, gym ~ it will not have any impact on my ability to get elected to political office, if all women short lists were still a thing they were not effected by GRCs. Disappointingly it will not allow me to retire earlier, to pay less tax or National Insurance, it does NOT make me a worse driver!

As far as I can work out there is only one thing that a GRC does do, it changes my birth certificate! That means should I decide to remarry to a man, then it will not be a single sex marriage, it means that if I need to go into care I should be guaranteed the appropriate care however confused I might be at the time, it means that my death certificate will show me as female and that any processes and ceremonies will be appropriate. IT WILL NOT IMPACT ON ANY RIGHTS OF ANY OTHER WOMAN!

So, I have been through a lot to get to where I am today, it has involved fighting with bureaucracy, it has involved extensive medical consultations, (most of which should be unnecessary), it has involved constantly having to justify my existence, demonstrating that I know who I am ~ and then having to prove it. It has involved loss, it has involved confusion, deep introverted self analysis, it has involved multiple existential crisis's. It has involved pretty much my whole life and for a good ten to fifteen years has been the paramount concern of my life. It has changed my relationships with my family, with my friends and with the world.

I cannot stress enough that this is not a situation where we wake up one morning and think "I'll be a woman now" ~ nothing is rushed, nothing is easy, and nothing is getting better for those who are coming behind me!

For most of my life I would not admit to myself that I might be trans, then when I finally accepted it I regretted it "Why should this happen to ME?" I really wanted to be cis one way or another. I didn't want to have to go through all this just to be who I am ~ I don't think anybody would choose this! But now I am reconciled, I don't understand why I am like this, but I rejoice that God has given me this gift ~ yes I now see this as a gift from God, an answer to prayer ~ I have had opportunities and experiences that few other women my age could even imagine, I have seen and experienced life in a way that no other man really could. I can now be a help and guide to others who are going through all of this, and I can be an example to others. Most of all by now I think I am the best me I can be, I have more self confidence than ever, I am finally able to express myself artistically and help others in their own musical journeys.

But to go through all of this and for others to casually undermine everything about me with a casual insult is unacceptable. To then be told that it is my fault for getting upset by the insult is unacceptable ~ so much progress has been made in other fields against victim blaming, this is no different. This is why I get upset when somebody uses my dead name, why I get upset when somebody deliberately miss genders me. This is why I get upset when I see reports in the media miss representing transgender people, as monsters, freaks, sexual predators, as threats to society.

Nobody can make you trans ~ only God can do that, and only He knows why ~ you cannot catch Trans (you can catch trains they're different!), There is no such thing as Rapid Onset Trans, it is how we are born, it just takes different people a different amount of time to come to terms with it. When you come across a trans woman (you probably won't realise when you meet a trans man!) and you are unsure how to behave, just treat them the same as any other woman. If you are still in doubt, very few people will mind if you ask POLITELY. 

RIGHT! I think that is the end of my extended rant, when I started this I wasn't sure where I was going with it, it has just rather happened! I know these last few posts have been longer and dryer than my usual. I don't want to set myself up as some sort of trans guru, neither do I want sympathy for what has happened, my motivation in telling this story is to try to broaden understanding. I know many of my readers already understand, many from personal experience ~ although just like everybody else all trans people are different and all our experiences are different, we will also all share common ground. I'm not doing this to preach to the choir. I do know that some people read Paula's Place because they have encountered me as a gardener, as a musician, even as an ex rugby player, if this soul bearing helps broaden understanding and helps people to understand something of what it means to be trans, then that's great ~ if not I'll try to find some more pretty pictures for my next post! 


Liz Newman said...

I've been riveted by the story of You. It's incredible how you have managed to come out (excuse the pun) the other side of all you've been through and so strong. From the bottom of my heart, it's a privilege to know you and so helpful to have this insight into what trans people go through. I'm so glad that you're You x

Anonymous said...

Q. There are some people who claim 'God does not make mistakes', Given that you are what you are. How do you address this type of abuse ?