Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Aftermath

The week of the articles and subsequent other media articles being circulated and the following weeks have been interesting. The Mirror did a follow up on Lucy a week later which thankfully was small and much further in the paper and they used a picture she provided of her and Kellie.

Lucy did other radio and telephone interviews with various UK and foreign media associations and we turned down lots of others where they wanted to interview us or run our story or get us involved in other stuff however Lucy did an interview with ITV which was broadcast several times in one day and we got lots of positive comments from lots of people. She also wrote a small piece for the Metro newspaper about the first match she did as her. What was nice was this was all Lucy's words as was the article she wrote for a new website called TransNews and she has been interviewed recently for Huffington Post. Only last week a Chinese newspaper contacted Lucy with a list of questions which she will answer and they are going to publish an article about her. Last week she also did some filming with Dapper Laughs aka Daniel O'Reilly for a football documentary/film which will be released early next year.

The FA, London FA and Stonewall have all issued trans positive statements and all mention supporting Lucy on her journey. This is great news as these statements would never have been issued if Lucy hadn't put our personal life out for all to see.

There have been lots of sports type associations that have approached her either to attend LGBT+ events they are running or to stand up and speak in front of people attending these events. These are the great things as they are sport specific and focus less on our relationship and family and more on being trans visible in sport.

Our friends and family have been truly amazing. Their support has surpassed anything we could have imagined and the football community who Lucy was really worried about have been so supportive and accepting. She has received lots of messages from other referees and match officials she knows as well as from players who played for her when she was managing teams.

We still continue to receive friend requests and messages from all over the world and from people within the community. Lucy has received several messages from people who have been inspired by Lucy's story so much that they are now preparing to 'come out' to their male dominated work places, clubs and associations and to life in general. This is fantastic news. Every persons' journey is different but there are other people that have contacted us just for support now they know our story and we are both more than happy to help where we can. We are so lucky we have each other and through all this we have remained strong and an awesome team.... that's just who we are. We are still just Lucy and Avril.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Mumsnet

Mumsnet has quite a reputation for being a hive of vitriolic transphobic comments and statements. I tend not to go on there especially when I hear of trans related posts that have been put on there as the responses are pretty predictable. It is inhabited by some pretty hard line TERFS (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists - one of many terms they have chosen to be called) which are a bunch of women who do not accept trans women as women and believe they are and will always be men and that in many instances they believe trans women are men disguised as women to abuse women. They also believe all trans males are women who have been abused by men hence them 'believing' they are male. They are quite a vocal group of women.... not just on Mumsnet but all over the place however Mumsnet does seem to be a common place for them to congregate. 

There has been a lot of criticism in general about Mumsnet allowing members  to openly post transphobic, hatred and derogatory remarks. As a result the admin team have had to make moves to restrict this from happening however it has not been enough and has not stopped it.

As mentioned before we have kept away from looking at social media comments about our situation as we know what the comments will be as we have seen this many times against many other trans related articles or situations. So far, we have not received any of this transphobic abuse personally through any of our social media platforms and there has been nothing from our friends and family which enables us just not to get bothered over it.    

We have has a peek at a few and as expected it was the usual rubbish. We have had a couple of spats on Twitter with a couple of TERFS (hiding behind blank profiles or using an animal as their profile picture) but again the comments were against the articles and not to us directly. We both regularly have a look generally to see what is going on in the internet world as it is still good to be clued up and hence we stumbled across a Mumsnet thread about Lucy. Knowing what we know about Mumsnet, we were both curious as to how bad the comments would be, so we couldn't resist and went and had a look.

The initial comments were not too bad and there were some supportive statements too. There also were some that were not so nice and some that were questioning if she was taking a role away from a woman ref, whether the FA had broken any regulations with Lucy's level of refereeing, Lucy's clothes and weight...... and one comment in particular made my eyes roll,. "I hope Avril stumbles across the trans widows thread if she needs it. Women can be so bloody stoic". That the bloody trans widow thing again...... I am NOT a trans widow and have no interest in associating with or having anything to do with them.

Kudos to Lucy as she created a profile and posted in response:

Hi all...

I come in peace  

Was directed to this thread by a friend so thought I would answer a few of the points raised. 

Following discussions it was agreed I would only referee Womens football for my first few games back and then return and referee Men's football again. Just thought it was wise to not to do the games with bigger crowds that the level of Men's football I officiate attracts until I have got a few games as "me" under my belt. I have been refereeing women's football for the last 3 years as it is so I have not just jumped across. I still referee in exactly the same leagues as I previously officiated in. I am returning to men's football next month and have already done some U18 fixtures. I refereed L4 fixtures in Mens football and the QPR fixture that was mentioned a L5 to L7 referee can be used. I have not replaced anyone I still referee at the levels I was before the name has changed that is all...I am not getting any special treatment from the FA or anyone else for that matter.

The pictures mentioned are not me in underwear...this is a playsuit/dress and the photo was taken in a hotel before a night out. The other pictures that the papers took were off my social media and all before nights out. The one's the Mirror took I was wearing jeans and a top and tbh I spend lots of time in just leggings etc and only get the glad rags on when going out for an evening etc.

I told my wife about me very early in the relationship so she had a get out clause...she stayed with me and we are very strong together. Kids are fine and have no issues other than the normal issues children have. 

Yes I have ate all the pies....I suffered a series of heart attacks at Christmas which resulted in 2 operations they also then found I had something not heart related wrong with me and the medication for that along with not being able to referee for quite a while and too many pies so me put weight on...I am to get this off and get back to my old weight asap! 

The pictures of me refereeing recently are not flattering I appreciate that...but would a girl referee with a full face of make up? Think you will find the answer to that it a no and I am no different.

I take turns to use the changing facilities with other male officials now and should I be paired with a female official I would quite happily take turns in that situation as well.

Hope this answers some of your points raised and thank you for the positive comments on this thread. 

As I said at the start I come in peace and just thought I would try and clear a few things up

KR 


Lucy 

She also responded directly to another comment:
"Can anyone work out if the FA bent the rules at all? As I can see Lucy referred QPR v Parkwood Rangers, which is Level 3 (Regional Premier Division) women's game.Meanwhile Nick was a Level 5 (where Level 5 is lower ranking than Level 4) men's referee, but not sure how the crossover from men's to women's is supposed to go."

I have been refereeing this standard women's game for a few years now and my status as a referee allowed this so no rules have been broken. In fact I have refereed a higher standard Men's game on quite a few occasions previously because I did not want to progress due to changing room implications.

To be fair, Lucy did get positive responses to her post which was great. There was one response that was aimed at me and rattled me a bit, I'm not sure why it did, however I'm not going to respond there:

Well, Lucy's wife seems to have a distinctive role for herself as full-time Lucy's wife.
twitter.com/LirvaC
itsallaboutmylucy.blogspot.com/
It's good that Lucy has a wife who is so dedicated to the role of being Lucy's wife.

Yes, I am Lucy's full-time wife..... isn't everyone in love and who respects their partner a full-time wife/husband/partner?? By the same token, Lucy is my full-time wife. What is the issue with being dedicated to being a wife? Yes, I am a full-time wife, a full-time parent, a full-time child to my parents a full-time grandparent, a full-time employee for my company, a full-time aunty, a full-time sister, a full-time trans ally.......... anyone who knows me will know whatever I am dedicated to I put everything I have into it.


I'm not sure why my Twitter account is relevant to being a full-time wife and feel that my account and blog links were shared to create mischief against me? I don't solely tweet about Lucy..... they missed my Insta account, how remiss of them! As for my blog, well anyone who reads this knows that although the title is 'It's all about my Lucy' it is actually about so much more. This blog was started to document our journey together, to be a resource for anyone else or their partner considering or embarking on a similar course and also there for any of our family and friends who might want to know truly what our life has been like and what is still to come. It is the place that has been a great outlet for me and will continue. 


Monday, 10 September 2018

BBC Radio Kent interview


After all the excitement of the match on Sunday we were looking forward to spending some time with Kellie Maloney and having her interview us on her live BBC Radio Kent show on the Monday.

As always, life goes on so I was back to work first thing Monday, albeit working from home for the day, but for a while normality reigned even though we were both being inundated with messages and various press agencies around the world making contact.

By this time, it had been established that Kellie had broken her ankle from the shenanigans at the football match so had her foot in plaster and was wearing a boot and on crutches! 

We had organised to meet Kellie in the evening a couple of hours before the show in Tunbridge Wells where the BBC studio was as we planned to go out for dinner first. Kellie had chosen a lovely little Thai restaurant and as the weather was warm we sat out the front. The meal was lovely as was the company and sat there just enjoying the moment. At one point a black Range Rover pulled up on the kerb nearby and Kellie got her friend to go over and check it out as she was suspicious bearing in mind what had happened the day before but he came back saying that he couldn't see anything untoward. The driver had sat in there for a little while tapping on his phone but had then got out and left the car empty. We finished our meal and with Kellie hobbling on her crutches we walked to the studio.



Everyone there was really friendly. We sat in the studio with our headphones on ready to go. This was our first time doing anything like this as it was great it was Kellie asking the questions as it was just 3 friends having a chat. We were there for an hour or so and the time just flew by.

 



They had been inviting callers to ring in and towards the end we saw a note handed to Kellie that they someone called Matt from Harlow on the phone. Lucy and I looked at each other and gave the biggest grins. We knew EXACTLY who this was! This was 'our' Matt, one of our best friends who we have known for many years and he and his wife and young sons (one of which is our 9 year old godson who has been sending Lucy the most amazing messages) have been incredibly supportive. Matt came on saying the most fantastically supportive things and how proud they were of us both for putting our life out there for all to see. Yes, we both had a tear in our eye!

After the show the production staff were very complimentary and a message was received from the head of BBC Radio Kent saying great the interview had been, so much so, they would be replaying it again at various points during the week. Lucy had pictures taken with some of the production staff there and we had had a really lovely time.

After we went for a quick drink with Kellie to celebrate before we went back home.

Little did we know how right Kellie had been about the black Range Rover that had parked up while we were having dinner...... later that week an article went online with pictures from when we had the meal and the subsequent walk to the studio. It was quite funny as they had cropped me out of the pictures trying to give it the slant that it was just the pair of them having a dinner together when in fact there had been 4 of us! 

What was even funnier was a couple of days later..... Lucy had said that lots of the news agencies had created audio and visual articles which were on YouTube. I went along to have a look and came across this one! I nearly spat my drink out laughing!!!! It was pictures of Lucy and Kellie fading in and out all set to romantic piano music. I couldn't stop laughing and went to show Lucy who also burst out laughing. We are now waiting for the next article to say they are in a relationship (which of course they are not!).









Tuesday, 4 September 2018

First football match Sunday 19th August 2018

After all the excitement of the Mirror article, Lucy had her first football match to referee the same day. 

We hadn't had much sleep and had drunk far too much the night before so we were both quite tired but excited and nervous of what the day would hold. We hadn't told anyone where the match was or which teams were playing as we wanted it to be as low key as possible.

We arrived at the ground and Lucy went into the changing rooms and got changed. I went with her and could tell she was nervous, which I didn't blame her for, I would have been too. She went out and met with the team managers, updated them on the situation and that a Mirror photographer would be present, and got all the team sheets. We went back to the changing rooms to wait until just before the start of the game.

Lucy wasn't keen on a photographer being there as obviously she wasn't all dressed up, wearing make up etc and not portraying the image that she would normally do plus some of the referee kit is tight and not very forgiving. He agreed that we could look through the photos at the end and pick a selection to be put forward to the paper.

Ten minutes before kick off we went back out and Lucy went onto the pitch to start the game. She blew the whistle and she was off. The game was quite fast paced and was interesting to watch (considering I am not a mad football fan). I was stood with the supporters and they just gave the usual standard banter and actually I enjoyed being there with them as there were avid supporters for both teams. One supporter was an injured player for one of the teams and she remembered Lucy from last season when she was given 2 penalties against her so was biased against the ref (Lucy). There was an 'earring gate' moment when Lucy sent off a player for having earrings in and sent off another one on the other team for the same thing. This generated a lot of discussion from the supporters, hence it was referred to as 'earring gate'. 


The reporter from the Mirror Janine, and her boyfriend were at the ground to support Lucy and halfway through Kellie Maloney turned up to support her too. I also noticed a black, tinted window people carrier arrive midway but when I turned around a woman walked out from behind it so I just presumed she had from from the car so thought nothing of it.

When the game finished the players all shook Lucy's hand, one manager had a whinge about a yellow card Lucy had issued, all pretty standard stuff. All the supporters were respectful to Lucy as were the players. Even the injured sidelined player conceded that it had been a fairly refereed game and she shook Lucy's hand too and wished her good luck!

We spent the next 20 mins looking through the pictures the photographer had taken and picked out a selection that we were ok with to be put forward as they wanted to include them on a piece they were doing on Lucy and her first match as her.

After we had to go to the car to pick up Lucy's towel so she could have a shower. While we were stood rummaging around a smart looking chap came up and called out 'Lucy'. She turned around and this chap walked right up to her and introduced himself as a reporter from the Sun newspaper and tried to shake her hand and started asking questions about the game. Lucy kept saying that she couldn't speak to him and if he had any questions he had to go through Kellie. He was very persistent so I went over to get Kellie and Janine. Once he saw Kellie coming he ran away and Kellie ran after him. Unfortunately she fell while running and later it transpired she had broken her ankle!

Lucy went to check on Kellie but was told that we needed to get away now! They were worried about paparazzi photographers try to take after match pictures. No time for a shower, but just to get away and we arranged a rendezvous point away from the area. We ran to the car and jumped in..... I drove away as fast as I could but didn't have a clue where we were going. It was a totally mad moment.

An hour later we all met up in the garden of a lovely little pub and had a few drinks talking about the day. It was really chilled and enjoyable and was just a group of friends sitting and chatting together.

A guy from a group of people at a table nearby recognised Kellie and came over for a chat. Just after his friend also came up to Lucy and said 'I know you, you are Lucy Clark'. He had recognised her from the Mirror article that day and also recognised her tattoos. Another friendly conversation ensued.

We ended up staying far later than any of us expected but it was a lovely end to a very surreal 24 hours!

At the the same time the Mirror published about Lucy's first match, they also published an article about me standing by Lucy. They made it sound like a big deal but it really has not been for me. I just love her so much and we are working together all time and although it is Lucy's journey, we share every step (as you will know if you have been reading my other posts).


What later transpired was that the blackout people carrier I had seen had contained a photographer on behalf of the Sun and the Daily Mail so as well as the Mirror article about Lucy's first game, they had their own along with the secretive pictures that were taken. Not the most flattering of pictures of the match it has to be said...... however again they used the pictures they swiped from Lucy's twitter so that made up for it.... well sort of!






Tuesday, 28 August 2018

The Mirror article

Immediately following the moment of the preview of the front page of the paper we had a look online and found the whole article to be there along with the video interview.

They had quoted us exactly, had done the amendments we requested and although they added some descriptive words which made it seem like Lucy was nervous when speaking (artistic licence as she wasn't nervous at all). We didn't like the official pictures taken in the hotel as they are so false and staged, I had not expected to have been photographed either, our personal pictures are so much better but the Mirror insisted on using their own.



 

At the same time as the article appearing online we both updated our old life Facebook profiles with a message for friends to see.....

Lucy's message:

Ok my last post on here....as some of you may have seen or will see I have a story in today's Sunday mirror (I look so fat!) you can search for it online should you want to read it....... Anyway as the story states I have battled with demons for years. Being transgender has led me to suicide attempts and years of a double life. I am still the same person in many ways. I love my wife, children,family and love my football. My new life as me starts tomorrow, if you want to stay friends then drop me a friend request and I will gladly add you.... I apologise to those whom I have kept this a secret from over the years but hopefully you will understand why.

My message:
Being transgender is NOT a choice. It is who you are. It is not a fad and doesn’t go away no matter how clever you are at suppressing it and it is DEFINITELY NOT a fetish or driven by sexual preference. No one in their right mind would CHOOSE to be transgender. Why would you choose to open yourself up to having to pretend to be someone you are not, the agony of having to live a life that is not yours, to the agony of abuse from other people because you don’t fit the stereotype, look different, put your body through lots of changes using hormones and surgery. Not many, if any, of the people reading this will have a clue about the impact of this and have no idea how much the associated dysphoria and depression can destroy lives. Many transgender people live secret lives and a huge percentage never ever tell anyone due to the social and family impact an admission like this can cause. In one week a national transgender helpline received 5 phone calls from wives where their partner/husband had died and they had found evidence of a secret hidden transgender life. Many transgender people have lost their relationships with their partners, family and friends. When you transition as an adult, relationships have been built however these are where the transgender person has been hiding behind a mask…. the inside is just the same person, it really is, but the outside will change to at least get somewhere near to match the true person inside but as changes are having to be made to something already formed the changes are not as perfect as if they had been if they had been born into the correct body in the first place.
For all her life, the love of my life Lucy has lived a lie. She has hidden herself so well behind her mask that practically everyone reading this will be shocked. I was the first person she told and together we have lived a double life for the past 17 years. There are a handful of friends and family who know and my children have known for a while and have been amazingly supportive. We have made many friends in the trans community and are actually quite well known. We have participated and assisted with trans specific events, Lucy has DJ’ed many times for special events and in LGBT+ clubs, attended Pride and Trans Pride and she even hosts her own Trans radio station which is listened to in 29 countries. I am an admin of a fantastic support group for partners of trans, write a blog, have contributed to a partner support handbook and have written an article for partners in a trans community magazine which Lucy has also featured in for her work with the radio station.
So now is the time to be honest and open to everyone. It is Lucy’s time and from now on we will stand side by side openly on the journey we have ahead of us. We are a team and have been for 17 years and will continue to be. It’s going to be one hell of a rollercoaster ride………
I am not asking for your acceptance or support but should you want to provide this, that would be great, as I am sure you will appreciate this is going to be bit of a crazy time for us. This Facebook profile will remain however I will no longer be active on it. Should you still want to remain friends and be part of our lives and our journey you are welcome to join me on my other Facebook which I have been using in tandem with this one for several years. We have many community friends who have been friends with us for years who are on my other profile so please bear this in mind if you do come and post anything. Please don’t come to be nosy as that is the last thing we need at this stage, and don’t come to post negative comments as that won’t be tolerated, only come if you genuinely still want to stay in touch. I’m happy to privately answer reasonable questions but please remember this is someone’s personal life.
This message is not visible to everyone on my Facebook and if you can see this it is because I consider you to be a friend.
Come and jump on the rollercoaster with us………
And if you are interested there is a small article in the Sunday Mirror.......

The response from everyone for us both has been totally overwhelming. We just did not expect this level of acceptance and support. Lucy was and still is (8 days later) receiving messages from friends and acquaintances old and new from the football circles as well as personal friends and messages from strangers across the world. The same for me with messages and comments of support which are still coming in now and we are both making sure that we are responding to every single message...... the dodgy Facebook friend requests are another thing! To be honest we were both in shock with it and the amount of interest in our story. At the end of the day we are just Lucy and Avril. I have to admit that the relief I have felt with us no longer hiding away has been immense. 

It did not take long for other UK newspapers such as the Daily Mail and The Sun to pick up the story and publish their own articles using the Mirror interview but they found some pictures on Lucy's twitter which she had forgotten about. To be honest we did not mind them stealing these pictures as these were our pictures of us and we think we both look so much better in them! Before we knew it we had gone global.... papers all over the world were publishing our story and every single one was retaining the same positive spin created by the Mirror which we were pleasantly surprised about.


We have kept away from the comments on the articles on social media, twitter etc as to be honest we know what they will be saying. We did have a peek and it did seem like the papers themselves were moderating many of the comments (twitter was a different story) and it seemed to be mainly positive comments however any positive comment would have about 10 times as many dislikes as likes as this was the only was the only way for some of the trolls to get their opinion across. To be honest, a strangers opinion of us and our situation does not bother us. We have seen all the negative comments before many, many times on other transgender specific articles so we knew what to expect. Personally we have received nothing nasty or derogatory.....yet.....

Now for Lucy's first football match later that day..........

Friday, 24 August 2018

Count down to Mirror newspaper article day

Day 5

Today Kellie messaged over details on a form the paper had supplied as they are having a review meeting tomorrow morning. Some of the details are very specific such as our full names, ages, address and children details and Lucy's dead name..... not sure why they want that as we don't want any reference to that in the article.

This request has understandably made us very nervous. We have not signed any contract yet and having our personal details makes us feel very vulnerable. Specifically regarding the children we do not want them being dragged into all of this. It is supposed to be about Lucy coming out as a trans referee and not about the kids. Although my 4 are fine and our daughter is too although when she goes back to school in September it will be her key GCSE year and doesn't need any added distractions, Lucy has already lost one son and we have the eldest son trying his best to be accepting but is in turmoil. The last thing any of them need is the press contacting them. We have said we are not prepared to disclose any children information and for us it is not negotiable and we would pull out if the insisted. We think Kellie understood and she seemed worried we would pull out so I am sure she will convey the correct message.

We had already tightened up privacy on our deadname and current Facebook pages however we went back through checking again and deleting any unnecessary 'friends'. At 2am as I had forgotten it was there, I was changing the cover pic on my old Facebook as it was a picture of my 3 sons and our daughter and tightening security and access to my LinkedIn account and deleting Lucy's deadname connection so there is no link. We also had to delete pictures of ourselves on the radio station Facebook and Instagram pages so that we are partially in control of what the paper and anyone else that gets alerted to us can see.

Day 4

After little sleep I was up working from home. Previously Lucy had tried to have a small weave to cover the small patch on her head but she really didn't get on with it and it 'fell out' after 5 days. Pretty sure this was down to her fiddling with it. It did look great as it covered the patch and thickened her fringe. We agreed with the salon that it would get put in again at a later date and we wanted to wait until all the Prides were over and done with. What with the paper wanting to take photos at her first proper football match as herself on Sunday and the interview we are having tomorrow evening, we thought it would be a good idea to have it refitted. Lucy organised to go down to the salon at 10am today (I thought that was far too early bearing in mind it is an hour drive away). So as we both had had very little sleep last night she was like a bear with a sore head at 9.50am today regretting everything. I think she forgets it is not just her suffering with the lead up to all this and affects me too. I am knackered through lack of sleep, my mind is running in overdrive however all this stress would be happening whether it was going to be in the newspaper or not. Either way she would be the same.

She came back from the salon a bit despondent. The refitting had looked awful and neither Lucy or the salon lady were happy with it. As a result Lucy has sorted out a different type of weave and in a few weeks will go back to have it fitted. It is more expensive but she may find it better. This now means she will have to wear a wig for the interview tomorrow - not the end of the world.

Day 3 (interview day)

During the day it had become a little stressful. Wording on contracts was changing and there was a little back and forth. One of the things that was rescinded was giving us headline rights. This made Lucy uncomfortable however the wording stated that they would not sensationalise the headline. We were still very unsure about this.


We had arranged to meet at a hotel at Gatwick airport as that is easy for us to get to. After a stressful getting ready period, Lucy is always late, we made it to the hotel and were met by the reporter Janine who was really lovely and friendly. She took us up to the hotel suite where we were met by a makeup artist and photographer. Right from the very beginning they made us both feel very comfortable and it was just like spending time with friends having a chat. Everything was very informal and Janine asked a few questions but the conversation just casually flowed and we spoke about the things we were comfortable with. They stuck by the agreement not to mention the kids although the article will mention Lucy has 3 children.

They did Lucy's makeup and hair for the photoshoot which again was really relaxed and friendly. Lucy had lots of pictures on her own, followed by a few of us both and me on my own (which we had not expected). As part of this they they did a video interview with Lucy which will be on their website. 

We had a discussion about how viable they thought the story was and apparently they think this is a big story! Wow. We were surprised as at the end of the day this is our private life that is being put into the spotlight and we were not sure if it would be a storm in a teacup or something bigger. 

By the time we finished chatting it was far later than anyone expected. We both flt really good about the whole evening and had been reassured that Lucy's story would be told sympathetically.

Day 2

Lots of really good feedback has come back from the interview. Apparently they really liked me too and want to include me in any radio and tv interviews along with Lucy. Well of course, work permitting, I would love to be involved!

In advance of them coming down to cover Lucy's football match on Sunday they want to take pictures of her in her referee kit either today or tomorrow. Today is out so it will have to be tomorrow but our house/garden is really not suitable. My parents are away and have a large flat garden and large house so that would be ideal. So I am trying now to get hold of them to check that it would be ok.

In the mean time we have double checked our social media and I have a statement I have prepared to load as my status on Facebook telling people of our situation and inviting them over to my other and real life Facebook.

Day 1 (eve of article publication)

Again neither of us had much sleep. This is all on our minds all the time. My parents confirmed it was ok to go round their house so that was all good. Janine the reporter had contacted Lucy again and we confirmed the copy they sent over for our approval. A couple of things needed to be changed which she did and said that she would have a picture on the front page and would have a double page spread on pages 4 & 5...... at this point we just presumed a small box on the top right hand side directing people to the relevant pages although we were surprised we were going to be so near the front. 

Lucy had organised to see the photographer at my parents house in the afternoon. The chap that turned up was really very friendly and he set about taking lots of pictures of Lucy. All in all he was there with her for about an hour and took lots of pictures in different poses. I was there taking some pics at the same time just so we had some for us.
  

During the day we rang and sent messages to several key people in our lives that we wanted to tell before the article was published. There were some interesting but positive conversations had with people. What was amazing was the close male friends of Lucy's who we were both worried about. With the exception of one who took several days to respond (he is getting better as Lucy is educating him), they were extremely supportive and positive.... oh and shocked as well. Lucy had hidden herself so well.

We had decided we were going to speak to one set of our neighbours that we are very close to that evening. We invited them round saying we needed to speak to them and we could see they were confused and worried about what we were going to say. Lucy said her piece and they were speechless! Once they got over the shock they were incredibly supportive and non judgemental (we thought they may be but you can never be sure).

They ended up staying for hours sitting and chatting with us. We went through lots of bottles of wine just sitting talking, sharing stories and answering questions. We love this couple and get on with them so well.

Much later that evening Lucy thought she would check the BBC programme that shows the front pages of the papers in the morning. They went through them and the Mirror was not mentioned so we breathed a sigh of relief and carried on chatting and drinking. A little later they repeated the papers and it seemed to be the same spiel so we were not really paying much attention except this time they mentioned the Mirror and we heard the words 'transgender referee' and all our eyes darted to the television. The full screen in front of us showed us what was the front page of the Mirror, Lucy WAS the whole  front page! We all screamed NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! and hysterical screaming of horror and surprise ensued and the place was in pandemonium so much so our daughter Megan came running downstairs from her room. Almost immediately my phone rang and it was one of my cousins and his wife video calling us so virtually they joined in the chaos and shouts of disbelief. I will never, ever, ever forget that night....... 


Sunday, 19 August 2018

Kellie Maloney and the newspapers

As you know, we have had Kellie Maloney on the radio station a few times and she is a great supporter. Her and Lucy have formed a great friendship and with the sporting connection have so much in common.

A few weeks ago she rung up for one of her chats with Lucy and commented that she didn't know much about her personal life and relationships. She didn't even know we were married or that I even existed. As part of this conversation Lucy mentioned that she was a referee and her plans to 'come out' but still stay as an active referee and how the FA seemed to be dragging their feet as although they have all the great policies they don't know what to do or how to support Lucy as she will be the first openly trans referee in English football across the world. A scary thought!

This sparked Kellie off and she said that this was going to be news and likely to hit the papers whether we liked it or not so her suggestion was to head it off and contact the papers ourselves so we could get our story out first (no doubt there will be lots of positive and negative comments from in and out the community) but also may force the FA to be more supportive.

So we were caught in a little bit of a whirlwind and before we knew it Kellie was approaching newspapers and put us in touch with her solicitor. We discussed it between us and thought that if the story was going to hit the newspapers anyway, it would be good to control the first story that was going to be put out there. At least this way we would have an input although we know that any 'trans' news story will attract positive and negative comments from our community and outside. We already deal with 'TERFS' and the like on the radio station social media so nothing there really changes. It also gives a definitive date that Lucy will have to tell the remaining friends of our situation and when all the noise quietens down will enable us to start properly living our life together and no more worrying of being caught out.

Fast forward a few weeks and we are sat here with key dates looming. A few offers from papers came in and a decision was made to go with the Mirror as they would give us headline and copy rights so we can ensure the right message is given over. They have agreed that we can provide photos rather than reply on them taking any, we are to be interviewed together and on Sunday 19th August they will publish Lucy's story and on the same day will come down to cover the womens football match she will be refereeing which will form the basis of a follow up article the following Sunday. On Monday 20th August they will apparently publish my interview which we were not expecting. They are also going to be mentioning Trans Radio too.

In the meantime Lucy contacted the FA again and once she had explained the situation with the press she was put in touch with the head of referees who was very supportive. Lucy does still want to referee mens matches however she feels that maybe for the first couple of months she would prefer to do the womens and when the dust has settled a bit then resume the mens matches. The moment she steps out on any football pitch as the true her it will start the chatter within the football community. The FA are supportive of this and going to ensure we gets allocated womans matches to the same level as the mens she was doing. They also want to do a press release to coincide with the newspaper article.

So quite a bit going on in our lives at the moment!