As a natural born woman I am jealous and frightened of transgender women. But I may live longer now because of it!
Jealous is a strong word. It’s more envy. I just did a little research on the condition and within minutes I found a great treatment, clinic and medication and a huge array of doctors as well as support groups and laws protecting transgender or non binary persons NBP.
I met my first NBP in 1990 when I was 21 and living in Brighton, East Sussex in the UK. Stephen, a pilot, had been in previously with his family and done a modelling course at the model agency I worked at. He came into the agency again once he had transitioned. When he presented himself as Stephanie on his return I did the right thing and ignored the change. Being polite and professional was easy. I was more than a little in awe of them.
Stephanie was so brazen. Wearing sexy clothes during the day. Great wigs and make up. She usually hung-over too, so must have some form of social life, even if it was the ability to enjoy a bottle of wine alone. I can’t drink. But I assumed, rightly or wrongly, that these transgender women were definitely having a better life than I was! She was more confident than I could ever dream of being.
Brighton being the town it is I imagined that they were dancing away the nights and to be fair they didn’t appear to really work. I knew that the club’s stilt- walkers were often transgenders and when I went to London night clubs NBP would be present on the dance floors with their colourfully outrageous outfits.
Stephanie introduced another NBP who was pre op. Nikkie. Nikkie was on feminising hormones but essentially still a man. Nikkie wanted set of transitional pictures. So at her first photo shoot he had budding breasts and a penis. We did an assortment of poses with the penis out with the penis in etc – penis was never hard and the session was in no way sexual.
After her op Nikkie came back with her vagina, bigger breasts and great hair. We did the final pictures and I did try to help with her makeup but kept getting the cotton wool stuck in her stubbled chin. Embarrassed, I eventually just let her do it. I like to think that I took these things in my stride and if Nikkie is still out there she remembers it as a positive experience. I’m still unsure how I feel about it all. I do remember that I wasn’t asked. Stephanie and I kept in contact.
Stephanie and I met again when I lived and worked in London in the late 1990s. She had become older and wiser basically, but was wearing female things – nylons with court shoes. She hadn’t shaved her legs that day so the hair was matting on the inside of the nylons. I’ve seen natural born women doing the same thing. It looks bad, like squashed worms.
I also have my own, until now, private, issues towards gender. When i was very young before five years old I used to pull my inner labia out to try and make it a penis. As I got older, during puberty in particular , I tried to shove it all in again, desperate to try and make my genitals look like the dolls we used to have. But with inner labia falling a good centimetre below the outer labia that wasn’t going to happen. I hated my whole genital area. I never touched myself or investigated other than to wash very quickly – in case God was watching (oh the shame).
How I envied how these transgender women, knowing so much about their bodies and sex. In my father’s eye women behaved like women…they didn’t pick up tools, they cooked, cleaned, looked after children. For example both my sister and I had to do the dishes from before we were ten years old. Neither of my brothers did. When I showed an interest in working on the tools with him he would not have me in the garage.
It was no surprise that I decided on becoming a secretary and learnt typing and cooking skills. My school in 1984 would not let me do Graphic design or continue with the woodwork as I was female. To say I was disappointed with being female would have been an understatement but I got on with it and as I went on to became a mother I suppose I am grateful. In many ways I am blessed but it’s not easy.
So, as a female, I have had to deal with others being intolerant of my personal needs and stomping all over them all my life.
Also, as I was given up by my natural mother, driven into prostitution by poverty and child sexual abuse I have actually begged for mental health help. I’ve told them the truth. I’m angry. I want to get better. I don’t want more diagnoses = I want treatments. Coming off the antidepressants was the best thing for me. The brain fog lifted. I started researching. I found no help for me or others going through much worse.
When I found the gender identity clinics in the UK I felt cheated. When I found out that they get 40% of the mental health funding I got suspicious. Seems like something is wrong there….when I rang the rape/sexual abuse crisis line I discovered that the number on the shiny lip gloss was only good for Thursday evenings between 7.30pm and 9.30pm.
So my envy is not, in my view, ill placed. I felt even more justified when during my research I found that transgenders tend to be living longer… the combination of good health monitoring and hormone therapy is prolonging their lives. I was fascinated.
The very next day I contacted my GP. I’ve now been on the patch for five weeks. I feel great. And I have my envy at how well transgender people are treated within the NHS to thank for it. Now that the brain fog, continual chills/hot flushes/flashes, nausea and memory problems have cleared I’ll be insisting on that mental health help too.
Oh I’m angry. Real angry.
I’m updating this post as I decided after another wasted visit to the Upton Road adult mental health unit to discharge myself from mental health services. Four years waiting for treatment was doing me harm.
The HRT and this blog have saved me from acting out on my anger, it’s important to understand how beneficial these hormones are to our mental health as well as our physical health. Let’s make sure that there is enough hormone replacement for all.
Edited as I’ve now come off HRT. UK national health service kept swapping brand, amount of dosage and the breast clinic wouldn’t take me seriously over pain and cysts whilst I’m on the HRT. All very disappointing.
*update feb 2022
I’ve been back on and off HRT because of supply issues. My back pain is lessened by the HRT and the night sweats too.
My GP surgery, in the so called civilized country UK, my national health service doesn’t have too many doctors ‘who know about the menopause’. And bizarrely it’s a big deal to find one who know about hormones…