I mean was I the only person in the world like that ?
Then suddenly two days before my 17th Birthday (and on the first day of my exams) my Mother committed suicide. She had suffered all her life with depression and the only consolation to me was that at least she was at peace with herself now.
I was suddenly alone in the world and terrified, with nobody to talk to or confide in, even if I had wanted to. But at least I was able to dress more in the comfort of my own (council) flat. Well, at least until the council decided that a 17-year-old should not have a two-bedroomed flat and decided to evict me !
You have to remember here that in the 60s & early 70s there was very little public information or news about transvestism or transexualism for most of us to find out about. The 70's were also the days when the gender clinics treated you with electric shock treatment to your brain ( ask April Ashley what she went through). It wasn't until 1972 that London had its own TG support group.
During this time I grew up as a really tough hard and extremely violent guy, who also excelled in sports. A guy who was an unbeaten heavyweight boxer, one of the most notorious football hooligans in the country and who ran with some very serious heavy guys in west London, and would happily have taken a shooter to your kneecaps. That's actually very typical of a lot of transexuals, over-compensating to deny your inner self. Well mine was probably taking things to extremes, but hey !
I was quite a good looking guy and had my share of sexual experiences with the fairer sex at the time (I was never a gay guy), and in fact got married in 1982 to a girl I met in 1978, but again like many people kept my "little secret" to myself. Funny thing was though, that no matter what I did or what I involved myself in, I always felt as if I was on the outside looking in, or as if I was an alien from Outer space who had been left behind by mistake, and never understood why.
I WAS JUST DIFFERENT !
By 1989 I was out on the scene, albeit on an irregular basis, and for many years I thought I was a "happy tranny". Even when my wife discovered my transvestite life, I denied I wanted a sex change. I mean, there I was in a responsible managment position, with a mortgage, married to a very nice woman and had a wonderful daughter by her. What more could a man want, eh?
Well, in 1997 everything came crashing down on my head when I had a breakdown, something I promised to myself after my mum died would never happen to me ! This was caused by a million and one problems, and I had to deal with these before I was any use to anybody, let alone myself. It was at this stage that my marriage fell apart, I lost my job and we got divorced (not my wife's fault). I spent two-and-a-half years putting myself together again, and I can tell you it was absolute hell going through all that.
During this period when I was living alone I was dressing more and more, had basically lost control of my dressing urges ( major mistake for a tranny, that is) and actually hated changing back into a guy. In fact I was hating every second of being a guy. Then I went and nearly lost my left hand in a freak decorating accident.
Could things really get any worse?
What saved me was that having worked through all my other difficulties, the realisation hit me that my "inner self" was causing all my problems. so I was initially referred to a psychotherapist. He was called Dr Doctor (Honest folks !) and believe it or not, his forenames were David Ronald ( yeah, Dr D R Doctor!). By now I realised i had to face up and be totally honest to myself and allow my inner self to take over.
I have to say the moment I did this it was as if the whole weight of the world had fallen off my shoulders and I could be myself at last ! Oh what joy, I thought ! Little did I know how tough life was gonna become, all over again.
By March 1999 Kimberley was "born", and I was living and working (from June 1999) virtually full time in my female role, had legally changed my name and was at last happy with myself as a person. The only exceptions were when I saw my daughter or went to the odd football match to see my beloved Chelsea (the team I've supported since 1965). In September 1999 I started my "treatment" at Charing Cross gender clinic,and at my second appointment the following March was prescribed hormones.
The next step was "How do I broach the subject of my going for a sex change with my ex-wife and daughter and my lifelong best friend?" Years previously my wife had threatened to tell him about my "dressing" and I was terrified of losing the best friend anyone could possibly wish for. Her comments were along the lines "You wait till Paul finds out, he won't want to know you anymore". Can you imagine how hurtful that felt !
I decided to handle this by letting Paul and his family know my intentions before I told the ex- wife. I did this by composing a letter and giving it to him by hand to read in front of me. Well, like a true friend he was initially shocked but said he had no idea what I had been going through, and he and his family (wife & two adult children) have accepted & stood by me ever since.
The next step was to tell my ex-wife and daughter. My daughter took it OK to begin with, but her mother just couldn't handle it at all, and when i had vocal cord surgery a few months later neither could my daughter, who by this time was about 14 years old. Since then i have had no contact at all with my ex-wife (her choice not mine). And in fact when my daughter heard about my GRS in 2003 her reaction to me was even worse. This cut me up really badly, with the feelings of guilt because of the pain I had brought to her and of course the pain of not being able to see or talk to her anymore. It was heartbreaking. SHE WAS MY PRIDE AND JOY !
Then suddenly out of the blue, at Easter 2004, I got an e-mail from her, which brought tears to my eyes. At last we were in touch again ! However it wasn't until September 2005 that we actually saw each other again and she met her Dad as Kim, she reacted quite well to it and although we are seeing each other again, we are taking things at her pace. God, there's no way I could lose her again !
During my transitional stage (and even since) I suffered unnecessary discrimination for being myself, being abused in the street ( being called a "geezerbird" and a "Jerry Springer Freak") and at work, being made to use the disabled toilets because the women in the office were not comfortable with a "Fred in a Frock" (their words not mine) using their toilets. However I only accepted that situation during my probationary period with the company I was working for. I was repeatedly passed over for promotion, basically on the grounds that "How could the freak motivate and control his [and yes, many of them still referred to me as a man] staff?" Although you never heard that excuse, 'cos they could always find some other "acceptable" reason, as in "you havent been with the company long enough", then they go and promote someone who joined after me, and with a considerably weaker background too! Yeah, sure, do they think I'm stupid? The worst thing here though was when my boyfriend came home drunk one night and beat the crap out of me. I still suffer from blackouts even now!
I was once asked why I wanted to go through with this and face all this grief again, especially after what I went through earlier in my life. My reponse to that is I needed to be honest to myself as a person and no longer live a lie. People have said I've been really brave - to my mind it would have been braver to have lived the lie and try to keep others happy, but I knew that sooner or later I would have to face the truth !
I'm really happy with myself as a person now. I have some really nice quality people in my life, I try to be a nice person and kind to people, and if anyone can't accept me for that, then I don't really need people like that in my life.
I also try to do whatever i can for the transgendered community, so that society can accept us all a bit better every day, but it does sadden me when I see the results of overexcited saddos who think we are a target for their abuse and physical violence.
For many of us life is not a bed of roses and every day is a new challenge, even if it is to face those who want to knock us down at every opportunity, but hey, that just shows up their insecurities, not ours.
Whatever you do in life you have to do what is best for you. If that means making sacrifices to retain those you love then so be it, but whether TV, TS or the partner of a transgendered person, it's your decision to make, and other people should accept that.
To coin a phrase - "I am who I am, i don't want praise, I don't want pity". Just acceptance on an equal footing !
© Kim W forTranspartners 2008