Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Spectrums and courage...

A strange title for sure and if you came here expecting talk of computers and brewery's of old, you will be sadly disappointed!

Yesterday my partner Mandy came across this story about Richard O'Brien who many remember for his presentation of The Crystal Maze and Rocky Horror Show fame. You can read the story here. I've always admired Richard to a point because he has always been himself or is that she has always been herself. Well actually it's neither! So is it, it has been itself or they have been themselves? This is getting complicated now!

Anyway this brought a couple of thoughts into my head and the first is about what it takes to come out of the closet and be a transsexual. For many, this is not an option they want to explore and I know it took me the best part of thirty years before I could pluck up the courage to admit this to anyone. To discover someone who has always seem very liberated like Richard O'Brien struggling to come to terms with being transgender makes me feel a little better. I never admitted anything to anyone until 2010 and know exactly the same feelings of having to shut it all out and deny myself the gender I always wanted to be. 

After coming out to my partner, there were still many hurdles to overcome because to become a full time transsexual, everyone has to know in the end. However, it's not such a good idea just to come straight out and instead I had to plan carefully how to tell everyone from family to friends and eventually those I worked with. I estimate there were at least a dozen occasions where I had to arrange quite meetings with friends and family, prepare myself and tell them. Every single time was a trial on the nerves and it never got easier. Even our GP, who we had a brilliant relationship with, was not easy and it was only with her help in easing my fears that I was able to utter those words, "I am a transvestite". Of course, since then I moved to transsexual because exploration of being a transvestite showed me I was meant to be a woman. Finally I stood up in front of 25 work colleagues and took that final step to full time.

Looking back, I sometimes feel anger that I had to go through all this. I admit times are much easier now than they were but it was never easy and why should I have had had to put myself through such stress just to make my life livable. To anyone embarking on this journey of disclosure, you are in my thoughts (and probably Richards to!).

The second thought I had with this article was the gender spectrum discussion. I look back at my life and think how I have been many different ratios of genders. I could even tabulate how I have been through my life but perhaps the present is best to concentrate on and that is that I am 100% female. To think I am even part male fills me with a sense of loathing. I hated myself all those years of having to play the act of being a man and now I have my new life as a woman, I feel like I want no part in being masculine ever again.

So in a way, perhaps I have a little easier than some. I have completely disassociated myself from my masculinity and am able to concentrate on the way I want to live my life. This also makes public life easier because I have found people accept transsexuals a little better than transvestites. It's easier to understand because it's thought of as a medical condition which elicits a kind of sympathy. For those that fit in between the genders, I know that it isn't so easy. I did have a couple of years living as a dual role transvestite and the shuffling of genders was stressful at times. I pray that society does keep moving on as it is and continues to improve for those that want to be a mix of genders.

2 comments:

  1. Lucy,

    I too saw the story about Richard O'Brien and like you was surprised at just how difficult he found it to come out, for want of a better phrase. It brought home to me just how many out there must be going through similar struggles.

    Sometimes (or indeed quite often) admitting your transgender nature to yourself is difficult enough, but saying those words to someone else is harder altogether. It usually is far easier to think of reasons not to.

    BTW, I thought Richard looked fabulous in the photo in the article, even though I'm not really a fan of the "smooth head" look!

    Susan XXX

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    1. Susan,

      We all know we aren't alone but every reminder that it can be hard always helps. To find someone as "outed" as Richard was quite comforting.

      I also thought Richard looked good even with the smooth head. Another smooth (or fuzz) head lately is Jessie J. Not an artist I would listen to but she shaved her hair off for charity and looks great with a grade one as seen here http://www.ok.co.uk/celebrity-news/view/60595/Comic-Relief-2013-Jessie-J-shaves-off-hair-for-Red-Nose-Day/ .

      Lucy x

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