1956: Born in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.
1959-1960: My parents (so I’ve been told) were getting concerned about my behaviour, that I would turn into a ‘Sissy’/effeminate male.
1961: Tried on my mother’s clothes and shoes for the first time. Instinctively knew not to tell my family, although I didn’t feel guilty about dressing up.
1961-1970: Continued dressing and trying on my older sister’s makeup.
1970-1976: Moved to Lincoln with my parents, age 13.5yrs. Read an article in ‘The Sunday People’ exposing a married man as a transvestite. Realised I was a transvestite – or so I thought. This was a new word for me, so I looked it up. The Oxford English Dictionary stated a transvestite was someone who dressed in the clothes of the opposite sex for sexual pleasure, a sexual pervert. This was the start of the feelings of shame and a desire to try to beat this ‘thing’.
1976-1979: Met a girl who was destined to become my wife. Didn’t tell her about my dressing, tried to stop doing it, relapsed several times. Married in 1979. Thought that would put a stop to me wanting to continue dressing.
1980: Told my wife about my dressing, as I couldn’t continue to keep it a secret from her. It didn’t go down well, but it didn’t end in divorce. She didn’t want to talk about it, so it rarely got discussed.
1987: Nearly got divorced (now living in London) but we patched up the relationship – it didn’t have anything to do with my dressing.
1990: First daughter was born.
1991: Moved back to Lincoln for a better family life.
1992: Second daughter born.
1995: Discovered the internet and the transgender community. Started living vicariously through others, but never thought I’d go out and meet anyone else.
1997: Went in male mode to a Northern Concord meeting at The Rembrandt Hotel on Canal Street in Manchester’s Gay Village. Came home and told my wife I would go to Manchester whenever I felt the need; this was going to be a much needed ‘safety valve’ for me.
1997-2003: Continued going to Manchester every few months. During this time my wife ‘covered’ for me where the children were concerned – neither of us wanted them to know for fear of bullying.
2004: Went out dressed for the first time in daylight – this felt like a serious milestone at the time – really enjoyed myself.
2004-2009: Continued going out – shopping, trans social events like ‘Big Night Out’ (BNO) in Milton Keynes and Manchester, of course.
2010: Made a unilateral decision to come out to my daughters, as I felt like I was deceiving them by hiding my transgender status. My eldest asked if I would start dressing around the house, to which the answer was, ‘no’ – I think she was relieved, and took it in her stride. When I told my youngest daughter, she said, ‘Cool, can I see a photo?’ She changed her mind, so I didn’t show her one. But a few weeks later she came into my home office and saw my Facebook profile on the computer screen and asked if it was me. I told her it was. A few minutes later she came back and asked if she could come with me to BNO. Not to be left out, my eldest daughter came too, and we had a brilliant evening.
2011: After my youngest went to uni I separated from my wife (after 32 years of marriage) and moved in with a transgender friend that lived in a village just outside of Lincoln. Again the separation wasn’t due to me being transgender, or not the sole reason, anyway. About this time I applied for a referral to Nottingham Gender Identity Clinic, but put it on hold for a while, to acclimatise myself to the separation. I changed my name by deed poll.
2013: Moved to Sheffield and rented a flat with another transgender woman.
2014: The marital home sold and the divorce came through. Bought a house near Chesterfield. At the tail end of the year I had a cycle accident and the injury turned nasty (Sepsis), it took five months to recover. As a result I lost all my photography contracts and had no income.
2015-2017: In February 2015 I had an epiphany. What had stopped me transitioning once I’d separated from my wife was the fear of losing my freelance photography work, not being able to pay the mortgage and ending up homeless. Well, now I had lost all my contract work, so what had I got to lose – I immediately started the transition ball rolling. I asked my GP for a GIC referral, changed my medical records to female and also my driving licence. It took another thirteen months to get my first GIC appointment, but after that treatment moved on very rapidly, because I was living 24/7, and had made all the changes previously mentioned. However, I was having other issues regarding transition, which was making my gender dysphoria much worse. In the end I de-transitioned.
2017-2022: Those years transitioning I do not regret for one second. My neighbours know, so I don’t have to hide who I am, my friends all know… and are still my friends. And I gained a confidence in myself I never knew I had. On the down side there is a numbness when I have to present as male, and if I go too long without expressing my female nature my depression gets worse, but I’m trying to achieve a balance that somehow works for me. Will I ever transition again? I honestly don’t know. But now I want to help others who are questioning, considering or actively transitioning, because my transitioning experience can, I firmly believe, help others, as others have helped me.

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