Saturday, 3 May 2014

A look back at 2013 - Part 1

I started journaling my transitioning back in the summer of 2010 and every week, I wrote about my journey as Lucy. I carefully detailed every little step via a website for which I paid a hosting fee. On losing my job in February 2013, I found this was now an expense I could no longer afford and I switched to this (free) Blogger platform.

I continued writing about my journey but sadly the events that led to me losing my job had poisoned my love for writing and I became uninterested in it. As you can see, my entries stopped abruptly in April.

The reason for losing my job could not be divulged at the time, due to needing a reference from my previous employer. However, more than a year has passed and I no longer need this due to being full time carer for my partner, Mandy. Finally, I can tell the truth!

So for those that have never read my original website, I will start the story in May of 2012. For over three years since coming out to Mandy, I had been exploring Lucy to a massive degree and had already made the decision that I would go full time at the earliest opportunity. Sadly, I felt my workplace was not appropriate for transitioning due to it being a very masculine environment and filled with probably the most non-understanding employees I could think of. I tried finding other work as Lucy with no success. I was starting to struggle with living two genders. Lucy for most of the time and for eight hours a day, Monday to Friday, as the man I was starting to hate. I was approaching breaking point when one morning in May 2012, I had an epiphany! All I had to do was come out to my workplace, and I could live as Lucy for good. Suddenly the thought of living as Lucy all day, every day outweighed any negatives in having to come out to everyone. 

That very day, I approached one of the managers and asked for a chat in private. We went to the canteen and I told him everything and that I needed to do this or I could not carry on. He was understanding and also realistic, saying it was not going to be easy for me. We arranged a meeting with one of the directors and after much consultation between the three of us, we made a plan. The aim was to inform everyone on the 3nd July 2012, I would have one final day at work as a man on the 4th July and after a few days holiday, return to work on the Monday after. We decided, after much discussion, that the only way was to gather everyone in the canteen and tell them in one go. Small groups would not work as it would develop into Chinese whispers. We felt that the best course was for a director to announce what was going on, and then me to stand up and explain a few things about it all.

Here is what I wrote on my blog about this at the time, it is the best account of it all:

Today finally came and it was a tense few hours until 15.10, the time of the meeting. No one actually knew there was a meeting until 10 minutes before and then it was "who was being made redundant?" and "who's going to die?"! As we all filed in, someone asked "what's this all about then?" and the reply was "such and such (not me) is finally coming out!". How apt!!!
We filed in and my first thoughts seeing everyone there was, bloody hell, I didn't realise how many worked here now! I honestly though it would be a nice cosy meeting of a dozen or so maximum. I counted up after and there were 25 crammed in there (not counting me or my manager). I have never seen so many in that canteen!

By then people started to realise it involved me as I was stood at the front with my paperwork next to my manager. He read of his statement that gave my situation in black and white. I was a transsexual and was changing my name tomorrow and returning as Lucy on Monday. He said the company supported me and hoped that everyone would so the same. Then it was my turn. I started by saying "I bet none of you saw that coming!". Someone said they had, but they clearly hadn't. Their comment was designed to belittle me and it didn't work. I ploughed on, saying how hard a decision was to have made. I explained that I wasn't just a man who wanted to explore their feminine side, I was a woman in a mans body. I explained the Deed Poll I was going to execute and how important that was to me and also how it marked my dates for starting my real life experience. I explained that I needed two years of that before I would be considered for surgery but also that it could be a lot longer than that. We finished by handing out a letter I had written to everyone which went a little more in depth with everything.

We then left them to it and repeated the same with the office staff although this was much smaller, and easier!

The relief of getting this done was indescribable, but the euphoria at now being able to live as Lucy in one days time was mind blowing. I had one more day at work as a man and this flew by. I changed my name that very evening, why did I want to wait any longer? Here are two of the hardest earned photo's of my life:
My good friend Al and myself at "the signing"!
My first day at work as Lucy (ignore the waistline!)

My return to work was quite uneventful and things moved on well for the next few months. However, as time passed by, things started to get worse. In the beginning, everyone was careful to use the correct pronouns (she, her, etc) and call me Lucy but this slipped to the point where I was back to being him and being called by my old name. Management were not interested in dealing with this. This led to great frustration on my part and I started to express this on my website. 

I think I had fallen out of favour outside of this as well, because I was being mistreated by management. This got to the point where a director even assaulted me in the workplace. He was trying to get my attention, thought I was ignoring him and grabbed hold of my coat at the neck and dragged me across the floor. That very afternoon, I was suspended on the basis I was bringing the company in disrepute by my comments on my website. This was a very flaky charge and combined with poor control over the misgenderings along with the assault, they were on very shaky ground. I went home and immediately rang my trade union.

Eventually we agreed at a disciplinary meeting that I would leave of my own accord on the basis that I would not proceed with any action on my part and that I would be given a good reference with a clean record. I could have let them dismiss me and I would have seriously dragged them through the mud, but that reference was important at that time. It was bleak at that time, depression was close by but leaving that place was by far the best thing that could have happened to me. On reflection, I realised just how much it was holding me back and hindering my proper gender development. Masculine traits that I wanted to be rid of, had to be kept to try to fit in.

Better things were around the corner...

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