Tuesday, 27 April 2010

One down

Well today was one big day for me as I came out about transitioning to my sister.

I emailed my sister at the end of last week to try and find out what she thought of my wife and my relationship with her. After a very long response from her and an equally long one back from me, a very cryptic email which hinted at things but didn't actually come out with what I'm doing, I had a message telling me that I could phone her at lunchtime today.

Noon arrived and I sat in the car and rang her from my mobile.

When she asked what was up I explained that I'd had a problem for a long time and that I'd been to see a psychiatrist. When she asked why I responded with "how would you like a sister instead of a brother".

She was a bit nonplussed by that so I explained that I wanted to be a woman and no longer a man and that I was going through the process of gender reassignment and had seen the psychiatrist in order to get a referal to a gender clinic in Newton Abbot.

My sister took it  pretty well I thought. I told her to let me know how she felt once she'd digested everything.

I explained that I had to tell our mum and dad as well as my wife and son before the psychiatrist will let me go any further.

Even though my parents are coming down to stay for a few days later this week I'm not going to have a good opportunity to explain things to them so will have to pay a visit after they have gone back home.

This afternoon my sister surprised me though. She sent me a text message in which she offered to come down to our parents when I go to see them and explain things. I was completely unprepared for that. I just hope that everyone else is as supportive.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

In the Pink

Last post for this week, unless something interesting happens before Monday.

Tonight I went along to the Growing Leaders course that I've been doing since last year at church.

When I ran in the Grizzly back in March, not something I posted about here but something I'll remedy with all of the other races I have coming up later in the year, like all of the other finishers I received a lovely pink tee-shirt. I've wondered when I'm going to get the opportunity to wear it. I almost wore it to church a few weeks ago but from the families looks decided that I'd forgo that pleasure. Tonight was different. Tonight none of the family wear with me so I decided I could wear the tee-shirt.

Out I went in jeans, trainers, pink tee-shirt and a grey zipped hooded fleece.

I got a couple of comments from people, one from the vicar which led to a discussion about the race and a couple of comments from some of the women. Nothing negative but equally nothing that could be taken to be overly positive.

Still if it starts people getting used to me wearing things that aren't strictly masculine then all to the good.

The other interesting thing was that for the first time since I went to the salon last week and had my hair done someone actually commented on it. I was asked if I'd had my hair cut so I said just trimmed. Most people are used to seeing me with very short hair, I've been getting my hair cut with clippers with bare blades so a zero or less setting on the clippers. Almost a skinhead haircut.

Now that I'm growig it out some people have noticed. The one person who mentioned it the most hadn't seen me with long hair and said that she'd done the long hair bit but had got fed up with it. Her hair is now almost shoulder length but is very curly. I did point out that I'd had hair that was heading for shoulder length but had got it cut. I'm not sure if she could quite picture me looking like that. Soon enough she will though.

It was quite nice sitting there in my jeans, trainers, pink tee-shirt and fleece as since I have a transparent matte nail polish on my fingernails I actually felt quite feminine and felt like I fitted in with some of the younger women. Hopefully I'll fit in with them even more during and after my transition.

Up Close and Personnel

Forgive me for the number of posts recently but as you can see a fair bit has been happening.

Today was no different. I had an appointment this morning with Pat, one of the personnel managers, at work. As I mentioned previously she had been told that I wanted to see her about something. In actual fact she was originally told that someone wanted to discuss some issues with her but not who. Jan eventually told her 3 weeks later who it was that wanted to talk to her.

I turned up at the personnel office bang on time only to find the office locked up and nobody around. I was just about to wander off when a young woman (has to be a few years younger than me so counts as young) who was sitting at a desk outside the office asked if I wanted to see someone. It turned out that she was the new personnel manager that has just stared so we introduced ourselves and I found out that she couldn't get into the office either as nobody had given her a key.

We chatted and just as I was about to go and come back Pat arrived. We popped into the Personnel Directors office, as they are away at the moment, for our chat.

It was nice and relaxed and Patricia was very understanding and supportive. Its a shame that she is leaving in a weeks time. We talked about what I was doing, what I had to do and a lot more. The best bit of advice that she gave me was that whatever I did then it had to be what made me happy and helped me to stop being what other people expected and to be what I wanted to be.

Eventually Pat told me that she would have to tell the rest of the personnel team so that they were aware and she could prepare them to help me through all of this and to help my colleagues to deal with it when I start coming into work as a female.

Pat also said that she would decide who would be the best person to be my point of contact. I mentioned L who I've known since I started and who in fact did all the running around to make sure that I had offer letters and everything so that I could hand in my notice at my last job. L is a lovely lady and I've had a fair few dealings with her over the year so I feel comfortable around her and trust her. Pat told me that L was who she would have chosen anyway.

So now there are going to be 5 people at work, not counting Pat as she is going to have left in a week, who know that I am seeking to transition.

I'm slowly but surely freeing myself from spending far too long conforming to other people's ideas of who and what I am and how I behave. Slowly but surely I'm going to be who and what I really am.

Just need to explain all this to the family.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Psychiatrist visit

I've had my appointment with the psychiatrist in Taunton so I thought I'd just share a little bit of what happened.

Having eventually found the place, SatNavs aren't all their cracked up to be sometimes. Suppose its the "garbage in garbage out" principal but after ending up at the train station with about half an hour to spare, because that's where the one road took me, I eventually managed to get the correct place 5 minutes drive away.

A tour of almost every building on the site finally got me, via 3 receptionists, to the right place.

Doctor Brook is very nice. She asked me questions and took notes for the best part of an hour. It went into a lot more detail than my assessment and some of the questions were a lot more personal. For instance was I heterosexual, did I like women or men, did I think that my sexual orientation might change after treatment.

The upshot of it is that she isn't going to refer me on to the gender identity clinic in Newton Abbot just yet. In order for her to do so I have to complete "Step 1" and then make an appointment to see her when I've done that.

"Step 1" is basically that I have to tell my family about what I am doing. By family that means wife, son, sister and my parents. Obviously that is not going to be something that I can do easily because it can only be done face to face. My parents are actually down next week and so it would be a good time to tell them but I need to be able to do this in a nice calm way, doing it with the wife around isn't going to be anything like that. Same with my sister, she's got a fair bit on her plate at the moment with one of her twins not being well so I have to wait until they are home from hospital and she's a bit more with it then manage to meet up with her.

Really I'm going to have to find time and space over the next couple of weeks, because I don't want to leave it hanging for too long, to work out the best way to talk to them all and then to find the opportunities to actually have the conversations.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a little bit down after the experience.

However, there was one interesting thing that came up which I wasn't prepared for. Dr Brook asked about whether I wanted surgical procedures. I thought it was a trick question as caught myself thinking that if I said no then it was end of the road and she'd show me the door, so to speak. In fact what she explained to me was that not all of the women that are referred to the GIC actually have some of the surgical procedures. From what I've heard from elsewhere some don't because they find it too risky. I don't know if that is true. I certainly didn't realise that you could go so far with gender reassignment and then stop short of the final operation. In answer to the question I was posed I said that I think I'd have all the procedures. That might not be the case, only time and the effects of hormones and the rest of the treatment will be able to determine that. I'd like to be as fully functional a woman as I possible though.

Lashes of, well, lashes

As I mentioned in my last post I had an appointment at the beauty salon yesterday. It was fun as usual. Zee did the body and eyebrow waxes as normal.

After all that was done we moved onto the eyelash tint. Lou had mentioned getting my eyelashes tinted blue when I was at the hair salon last week. I'd ruled that idea out then so yesterday I said to Zee that brown would be good, black or blue not good as it would stand out too much.

Normally women have black or blue/black but brown is possible as its what is normally used for eyebrows.

Until I've come out to people understated is good. Obvious is not good. Brown eyelashes it was.

Well after Zee had finished tinting my lashes they do stand out. Not so much that people have noticed and said anything. In fact I suspect most people haven't even noticed. The wife did give me a funny look just before she turned the light out last night but didn't say anything. Of course for someone who hadn't noticed that I'd had my hair tidied up then it was probably nothing. She did notice the smoothness on my arms and legs though. I managed to change the topic and as the light was out she didn't turn it back on to look.

Next time I get my lashes tinted it will probably be brown again but you can bet that before long I'll be on the blue/black tint, at least if Zee has any say in the matter. Of course if she and Lou gang up on me then I'm like to end up with it sooner rather than later.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Busy week ahead

Next week is going to be a busy one for me.
On Monday I've got an appointment at the salon with Zee for a full body wax, eyebrow wax and also an eyelash tint. I'm going to think black or brown tint and not blue as Lou, the hairdresser, suggested when I told her about the eyelash tint.

Late Wednesday morning I have my appointment to see the consulatant psychiatrist that I've been referred to as the next step in my transitioning. Wednesday afternoon I'm going to have to broach the subject of seeing a psychiatrist with my wife. I've got an idea of how I'm going to do that but not sure yet exactly how much I'm going to tell her about my plans. I guess that will depend on what happens with the psychiatrist.

At 9am on Thursday I have an appointment with Patricia, from the personnel department at work. Over the last few weeks I've bumped into her a couple of times and she is always asking how I am. It dawned on my the other day that its probably because of Jan telling her that I was going through some things and would be coming to chat to her at some point. When I bumped into her earlier in the week and we were chatting she mentioned that, as she is on a temporary contract, she will be finishing in three weeks time. Since by Wednesday I'll have a better idea of what is happening I emailed her and asked if we could have a chat. She came back with the 9am slot on Thursday.

I suspect that even though I haven't got anything planned as yet the end of the week is going to be just as busy because there are other people I have to talk to in order to let them know how Wednesday goes.

Interesting times ahead.

Visit to the hairdresser

A while back I posted that I had given control of getting my hair cut to Sam. I had promised him that I would grow my hair longer and would not get it cut short without his permission.

I've kept my promised but I've been seriously in need of getting my wild locks tamed. My only problem was that I didn't know which were good hairdressers where I lived and more importantly which would be willing to help me to grow it long enough and in such a way that I could put it into a feminine style when I wanted to.

Enter Zee from the beauty salon. I asked her a while back if she could suggest any hairdressers close to where I lived. Unfortunately she didn't know any locally to the salon as she lives a fair bit away from the salon. Over half an hour drive away in fact.

"Are you prepared to travel?" Zee asked me.

Well, as I have a car I  don't have a problem with travelling a bit of a distance, just as long as it isn't too far. When I told her this Zee suggested that I could use the same hairdresser as she did. Her hairdresser lives just over half an hour drive from where I live and as I know the town that she is based in then I was more than happy with that. Zee said that she would have a word and see whether her hairdresser would be prepared to take me on.

When I went for my makeover with Zee recently I asked her if what her hairdresser had said. Lou, Zee's hairdresser, was more than happy to take me on as a client. She had told Zee to get me to ring and arrange an appointment.

The other week I did just that. I phoned Lou's salon and spoke to one of her staff. The young lady on the phone asked who I was so I told her my name. When she told Lou who was on the phone all I could hear was a very enthusiastic "oh, yes, I know who it is". I made an appointment for yesterday evening when the salon was going to be quiet.

What can I say about last night? It was one of the best experiences I've had recently.

Lou is a really bubbly, chatty, friendly, outgoing woman.

The salon was empty when I arrived and Lou had let the rest of the staff finish early. While I sat in a chair she locked the door so that nobody could come in and disturb us. Lou asked me what it was that I was trying to achieve and after checking what Zee had told her I explained that I wanted to grow my hair out and why.

Before we went any further I told her that I'd brought some wigs with me and she asked to see them. Lou looked at the three wigs I'd brought and suggested that we went into the back of the salon where people wouldn't be able to see as the place is on a main road and any one looking through the window can see everything going on inside.

In the back of the salon I showed Lou some pictures of me in the wigs so that she could get an idea of what they looked like.

Lou had me sit in a chair and put my wig with blonde highlights on me. She brushed it around a bit to get it looking as best she could. It doesn't have the softness of my other wigs so she asked if it was alright for her to cut it a bit to try and softening it. As you can imagine I had no problem with that and let her have her way with it. A few minutes later and she was done. It definitely looked better.

With the wig finished Lou made a start on my hair.

She was full of questions. I told her about the last attempt I'd made to grow my hair longer and how far I'd managed. When I explained about getting it all cut off she told me off.

Lou is a fantastic hairdresser, she had worked out what I liked and didn't like with regard to my hair within minutes of me walking into the salon.

She trimmed my hair in order to get it under control and I must say that I am so much happier with it than I was before I arrived there. While she was cutting it we chatted about my plans to transition and the chat just flowed. I'm glad that there was nobody else in the salon as I can't imagine what they would have thought of our conversation.

Once she had finished cutting it Lou gave me some suggestions as to ways for me to look after it. She also came out with suggestions for things that I could do with my hair once it has grown out. One of these being that I could go for a big hair look, even something like the way that she had her hair put up.

All throughout she kept telling me not to think about getting it cut short and that if it ever started to annoy me then I was to give her a ring.

As I was getting ready to leave Lou asked me if I had ever used straighteners on my hair. Well I did use straighteners the last time I grew it out as it was the only way that I could get it into a shape that I could pull it back into a style that didn't get in the way in my day to day male life. Lou suggested that when I go next time that we might have a play with some small straighteners and see what we can achieve.

Well in 6 weeks time I guess we'll find out.

During the drive home last night I found myself thinking that I am so lucky. I've got two wonderful women, one who is looking after my hair and one who looks after the defuzzing of my body. What more could a person want!