I grew up confused, but sheltered. I knew I was “different” from other males pretty much from my earliest memories. I didn’t know what to call it. I just knew I was very different from the other boys, and that I didn’t share their interests. I found traditional female activities far more interesting. I preferred the company of girls, and later, as I grew older, women. And not just because of sexual attraction, like other men I knew.
I hadn’t even heard of the concept of “transgender” by the time I was 40. I only knew about cross-dressers, so I just assumed that’s what I was. It didn’t adversely affect my relationships. I just managed to integrate that part of my nature into my relationship with my first wife, who was just kinky enough to accept it as that, a kink. For oh so many years, I let that satisfy me. That marriage ended, not because of my issues, but because of hers. I divorced her after her bipolar, paranoid schizophrenia became a danger to me and my children. 26 years I dealt with her mental issues.
After I divorced, I became involved with a woman I had known at the time for about 5 years, and admired from afar most all of that time. By then, she (Barbara) and I both knew that I was a trans woman. She moved in with me shortly, and brought her two still at home children with her. (A third was already off to college.) After all of her children were away at college, she began to encourage me to explore that part of me, and even to transition, to a degree. She made me promise not to have the bottom surgery, because VPI was so important to her. But everything up to that was OK, and even encouraged. Well, she also worried about the effects of hormones on VPI, but she was willing to work with that.
That story is past tense, as you probably already know, because she passed away from complications of lupus this past June. We had 7 years together as a couple, and they were good years, all told. No, the two years in the hospital wasn’t wonderful, but we were in love, and we were together. At least we had that time.
What drove me to really investigate who / what I was? I am Pagan. About the time I met Barbara, I felt an overwhelming urge to “express my feminine” that came in the form of a call from the Goddess. Literally, She told me to stop hiding behind the mask, and to honor the feminine in me. I started dressing more (still at home, but not just in the bedroom), wore light makeup and nail polish to work, and spent “a year and a day” honoring the Divine Feminine. My co-workers probably thought I was nuts, with the exception of the ones I was closest to. I told them about my calling, and they accepted that. That was 2000-2001, if I remember correctly. It was then that I began to believe that I was what Native Americans call “two-spirit”.
I rocked along until about 2008 telling myself I was both male and female, and letting the female out only at home. Then hell happened. Barbara’s colon ruptured in September of 2008, during Ike. From then, until just the last 3 weeks or so, I subjugated Janet. At first, it was for Barbara’s sake, and at her request, since she didn’t need to be worrying about bigotry interfering with her level of care.
There was a period of time during 2009 when Barbara was able to come home. That’s when I started moving more towards a fuller acceptance of who I really was, and in March of 2009 finally called myself a trans woman for the first time, and came out to a few close friends. We thought she was going to make a full recovery, and started making plans for our life together as a lesbian couple. Then she suffered another rupture, and went back into the hospital in August 2009. This time, she never came home. After she passed, because of depression, and uncertainty whether I even wanted to go on, I continued to subjugate.
3 weeks ago, I decided I was going to live, and Janet was who I was when I was my happiest. I still wanted to go on, and I needed to do for me what would make that the easiest. So, out came Janet, again. This time I came out full force. I still haven’t told the current employer, but all my friends know, and most have seen me as Janet. I am now in therapy, and am making plans for a more complete transition. I’m going to the TG Center every Monday night for HTGA. I’m attending church at Resurrection MCC as Janet, and getting involved there.
I haven’t called a doctor yet about HRT, and I can’t afford any surgeries. I’m barely making do as it is with paying the bills. I’m underemployed, by a real jerk / bigot. If I get a legal name change, or gender marker change, I’m done for at that job. The good news is that I work from home as a programmer, so they very seldom see me anyway. I have been taking phytoestrogens for a couple of years, and that combined with side effects from a prostate drug, have resulted in some breast development. I wear a 38 B WonderBra. It’s not a perfect fit, but mostly because my breasts are on the side more than the middle.
I’ve been told to call a Dr. Hunter Hamill for HRT, but I need to get my therapist to sign off first. He’s agreed to give me a TG carry letter, so I think I’ve got that one in the bag. He’s been encouraging me to pursue transition, as even he can see that I am happier as Janet than as Ernie. So, once I have that TG carry letter, I will make an appointment with Dr. Hammill, and see where things go from there.
So that’s my story. I’m 52+, and barely getting started. It’s daunting, to say the least. I have no life really to leave, though. It left me in June. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out how to build a new life. I have this huge empty house I rent out here in Cypress. It is too much for one person, but giving it up means disposing of most of the remnants of my life with her. I can’t do that just yet, so I make do the best I can.
Are you sorry you asked?