Thursday, 21 April 2016

Absolutely fuming!!! Lloyds Bank AGAIN!

This isn’t the blog post I was going to write this week however I am so livid I need to vent my frustration.

If you read my blog regularly you will already know that in March (Judgements and gender presumptions) Lucy had a run in at a Lloyds Bank branch where she was paying money into her account while in male mode. To do this she had to present her debit card and type her pin into the card reader. On this occasion she was berated by the bank teller for using someone else’s card. She didn’t say anything at the time to him but did tweet Lloyds about the situation and they did apologise.

Well yesterday Lucy went to pay money into her bank account again but in a different branch this time and again in male mode. This time she had a female teller who told her off for using someone else’s card. Lucy retorted that she could not know for certain that she was using another person’s card and asked her what made her think that it was not hers. “Because you are not Mrs Lucy XXXXX” was the response”. Lucy asked her how she knew for sure that was not her and that it was not her card but the teller continued to accuse Lucy of using someone else's card and pin saying that she should take the card off Lucy as it obviously was not hers. Lucy ended the conversation by saying she was not being rude or pedantic but there is no way that she could know for sure that it was not her card and walked out. Luckily she did manage to pay the money in as the lecture from the teller started afterwards. How embarrassing for Lucy.

I’m not being funny but she was paying money in, not withdrawing, and if there was any doubt in the tellers mind about Lucy’s identity then a discreet request for proof of identity would have cleared the situation up with absolutely no drama or awkwardness at all. Lucy carries a copy of her change of name deed poll with her at all times. What makes this even worse is that Lloyds Banking Group is number 2 on the Stonewall 2016 Top 100 Employers for LGBT! They may be good employers however they are certainly not offering a good service to their transgendered customers (I cannot comment on the LGB).

Yet again Lucy has tweeted Lloyds explaining the situation and also told them that she is transgendered, has changed her name legally and changed it on all documents in advance of her going full time. They apologised and said that they would get a customer service representative to ring her. Eventually they did ring back today and left a message for Lucy to get back to them.

I’ve promised Lucy I’m not going to get involved however my blood is boiling. I know that people’s bank accounts need protecting however there are plenty of ways to verify an individual’s identity should there been any question. It appears any outwardly female presenting person could pay money into Lucy’s account, just not Lucy herself. It is obvious Lloyds need to train their counter and customer facing staff as it seems they have had none at all when it comes to the issue of being transgendered. It is not just a matter of standing up for Lucy but standing up for all the transgendered people out there.

Poor service Lloyds Banking Group!

Lloyds have rung and spoken to Lucy. They have sent a letter out but wanted to speak to her personally. They apologised and have admitted that there is a gap in the training that does not cover transgendered people who may present differently to their real gender. They have raised the issue to the relevant department. 

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Future plans

Obviously every step we take is heading in the direction of full transition and completion for Lucy to be the person she truly is. Some of these are small steps now, some are huge steps and some we have to really plan for.

Firstly Lucy needs to learn to do her own make-up so she is not reliant on me. Although my older daughter and I have shown and told her what to do she is still very reluctant to try herself. I have told her there is a wealth of information on You Tube including lots of tutorials and she could practice these herself. For some reason she does not seem very keen and wants to have make-up lessons from a beautician. I’m feeling that this could be an unnecessary expense but I suppose if she wants to do it then that is up to her. Back in the day I learnt from trial and error but I have had more years to try that she has although I’m still learning tips now. This is not just for going out in the evening but for day to day wear too. One of the essentials I feel.

This year we are planning a holiday for us and our 13 year old daughter. This will be the last one before significant changes happen to Lucy. Previously when we have been on holiday with our daughter, Lucy ceased shaving a couple of months before so for all intents and purposes she looks like our daughters dad. I always felt bad for her doing this and tried to disuade her as so many cis males shave everything these days but it was always something she felt she had to do. Historically we have gone to the same country and same place for many years and therefore we are very well known by the locals there. This year I don’t think Lucy should stop shaving (we didn't have a holiday last year so shaving continued) however this means 1. That we need to tell our daughter about Lucy as she has already noticed Lucy's shaven arms which we said was doe to getting the tattoos covered up and 2. We cannot go to the usual place as the shaving would be noticed by the people we know and although they probably won't say anything Lucy does not feel very comfortable with that. So for now we are looking for a cheap but nice holiday somewhere warm where no one knows us and therefore no awkward questions.

However telling our daughter is a different matter altogether. I think we have now aligned our thinking and have accepted that she does need to be told this year and before we go away on holiday if we do manage to find something. I’m kind of thinking that the start of the summer school holidays would be a good time as she would not have to go to school, she would know before we go away, she can spend time at home with Lucy (remember Lucy works nights so is around at home some afternoons), I can arrange to be at home for her and also we can arrange counselling should she need it without interrupting her schooling or any awkward conversations with the school. Obviously the school will need to be informed when she goes back so they can provide support for her should she need it.

Once our daughter has been told then we need to tell Lucy’s sons. I have to admit I think this will be a difficult one based on the general attitude of her eldest who is 22. Her younger son who is 20 is a bit of an unknown quantity. I have reassured Lucy I will be there when she tells them both so she has the support from me she needs. After this then my remaining 2 sons and their partners will need to be told (1 son and daughter know already). I genuinely feel that they will be fine. I think they may be concerned for me but once they know I am fine (and hopefully read this blog) they will be ok. Lucy is wimping out of being there with me when I tell them!

In the meantime Lucy is speaking to the GP with a view to self-medicating as I hsve mentioned in a previous post. She is going to ask for a blood test before she starts and will ask the GP to regularly monitor her. She knows of a few examples of when a person has approached their GP in this manner and that they have actually issued the hormones so will let you know how this works out. Nothing though will happen until after my son’s wedding in June as Lucy is keen to appear male at that time for the pictures etc. After then Lucy will also start growing her hair and we will have an idea what her natural hair will look like and if we need to consider something like transplants and hair dye to cover any grey. We have no idea what her long her will look like as the last time she had it shoulder length was in her teens! For the time being we have ordered another 2 wigs the same as she already has so we are not reliant on one. She likes the consistancy of looking the same all the time and does not want to change the hair style she has until she has her longer natural hair.

Obviously the tattoo issue is high on the agenda and Lucy is very conscious of the very male tattoos she has. She has 3 and were all done within a week when she was in her early 20’s. The tattoo place Lucy messaged has come back and said that she needs to consider American Old School or Traditional Japanese type patterns and they need to be fairly dark as a cover up. We have had a quick look at these and as yet there is nothing that jumps out at us as Lucy definitely wants something more feminine. I've set up a Pinterest board to collect ideas we can look at together. We will keep looking though.

As Lucy is planning on going full time next year we also need to look at hair removal for the facial area and this is a top priority. This will be expensive and will take many sessions. We need to get the costings on this and find somewhere localish as really the treatment needs to start tail end of 2016.

Although in the last 18 months Lucy has lost a significant amount of weight (nearly 6 stone!!) she wants to lose a bit more as she knows once the hormone treatment starts her body shape will change and she may put on weight. She is already slimmer than me now anyway which even now I find weird as she doesn’t feel like she used to. I suppose I will have more of this but in other ways over the coming years. I’m still getting used to this slimmer person and now she wants to lose more. To top it all it just makes me took fatter when I’m stood next to her!

Of course we will have the rest of our close friends and family to tell….. quite when this will be we do not know yet. They only need to be told after hormone treatment has started and then there is the wider range of family and friends. No doubt this will generate a heap of discussion between themselves and with us. We know there will be people who will not understand and cut contact, this seems to be standard practice. There will be those that still don’t understand but will stay in touch and hopefully there will be 1 or 2 (hopefully more), who will understand and be supportive. I come from a very large close family and Lucy has been worried about what the reaction will be when they are told. If my family are as close and supportive as they maintain they are then there should be no problem and if there is an issue, they are not the family members they claim to be. We know that some people will struggle with the news and we appreciate this will be difficult for some people to deal with. However it does not directly affect anyone’s day to day life other than Lucy’s and maybe mine. Yes this will change things for our children but they can all live their lives as they want without being directly affected. At the end of the day I love Lucy unequivocally and I will be by her side no matter what forever.

We are also making plans to get ‘married’ again once full transition is completed. We are hoping that this will be 2020 and therefore will tie in with our tenth wedding anniversary. Lucy has a quite heavy male ring from our marriage and we are going to have this melted down to make 2 rings. One for her and one for me. This means we keep the symbol of our legal marriage but shared between us.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Fun week - no dramas

Well last week was a good week with some really smile moments.

Firstly Lucy was out working and got caught short while out and about. As she wears Lucy’s clothes under male drab clothes at the moment when she is working it was a bit difficult negotiating trousers, tights and a skirt so she did her first squat! I found it totally hilarious and this led into a conversation about how undirectional ‘women’s bits’ can be when having a tiddle and how much fun she will have with that when the time comes!

She also went and had her fortnightly eyebrow threading. Her brows were looking great after but we also tint them later at home. I say ‘we’ but really mean ‘I’ as it is always me that puts the tint on for her. Anyway I put it on for her and as usual left it for her to take off. I didn’t think any more about it until she came running out the shower over 25 minutes later as she had just realised she had not taken the tint off. I nearly wet myself laughing as after removing it her eyebrows looked solid pitch black! Looked so funny with the shaved head she has for day to day life. I still don’t know why some people (especially the football crowd) have not questioned how feminine her eyebrows look or even made a passing comment. To me she is looking more and more feminine every day.

Friday was spent at Pink Punters. We stayed at the Campanile again this time although Lucy has heard some good reviews about the Hilton Double Tree so we are booked in that for next time in May. It is a little further away but she quite likes the idea of a taxi ride to PP. As usual she brought several dresses and ended up wearing the one she thought she was least likely to wear. I have to say she looked totally gorgeous. We did all our usual stuff and tottered over the road (yes, I'm still doing her makeup!).

We know a few of the regular girls there so met up with them and some of the staff. We have made some great friends. Back in the day in 2005/6 when we first started going to PP it was much smaller however these days the place is far larger than it ever was with lots more rooms and security. Thinking back we did used to have lots of fun but nothing like we do now. We had noticed in club pictures there was a ‘pink room’ and the past few times we wondered where it was but were distracted by other things before we could investigate. This time our friend Ellie showed us where it was, upstairs off the loft room. We don't go in the loft room very often as it is very warm up there and tends to be packed with girls who just want to sit and chat all evening. As much as I love a chat I also like to boogie on down hence we rarely go there. Thee pink room is a small room (lloks so much bigger in the pictures), very pink but totally fabulous. Lots of mirrors on the wall but also angled on the ceiling so as you can imagine we took LOADS of pictures…. Well, let me rephrase that, Lucy took loads of pictures/selfies.

The evening was full of the usual drinking and dancing and was a totally fun. We met some other lovely new people too and there were no dramas at all, nothing lost!! Yay!! It is so funny watching back Lucy's snaps chats that she does. As she does a combination of pictures and videos and generally after a few drinks they are hilarious!

When we come home we both feel a bit deflated as we do alway have such a great time. We took loads of pictures this time and I really can't wait until Lucy is all out and I can share them with everyone. I have them hidden away on my phone which is all password protected so no one else can see them unless I chose to share.

This week Lucy has also contacted a tattoo place with a view to having her horrid tattoos covered over. She has even been brave enough to send pictures of them and an explanation as to who she is and why she wants them covered. Go Lucy!

Monday, 4 April 2016

Yikes - Crisis averted - just!

OMG!! Nearly had a huge crisis…. Well it kind of was one!

As previously explained as yet our 13 year old daughter has absolutely no knowledge of Lucy. She will be told when the time and situation is right but just not yet. Also Lucy has 2 phones, one for her and one for ‘him’….. bet you can guess where this is going…..

Our daughter has a time limit she has to be back home by and as it is half term at the moment on certain days she is out and about with her friends. On Friday she text her dad to ask for an extension to the time and he replied that it was ok. ‘He’ then sent a follow up text about whether or not she had a piano lesson so sent one word ‘piano?’. When she came in, he berated her for not replying to the text but she denied receiving it and she showed her phone. There was no text there however on his phone it was showing as delivered. We all thought it was a bit strange but thought nothing further.

Later that evening after Lucy had gone to work our daughter came up to me and said “who is as I have got the message about the piano lesson dad sent from this Lucy person as an email" and she showed me her phone. Well you can just imagine how I felt and my heart sunk. This was not the right time or situation to be telling her. I said I had no idea who it was or why it would have come from her dad like this, gave a puzzled face and said she should contact her dad. As she walked out the room she said to me “you need to speak to my dad!”. When she had gone I rang Lucy immediately and explained what had happen. Lucy was mortified as was I. How the hell could this have happened? We debated confessing all to her but thought this was not the right time or circumstance. We have had recent conversations with our daughter about truthfulness and honesty and this felt so hypercritical of us both to now be telling a lie to get out of this situation. We discussed various options but Lucy wanted to check how on earth this had happened first before deciding what stance to take.

Lucy rang me back a few minutes later and it transpires it is something to do with the new phone she has and the dual accounts she uses under the different names. I’m not as techie as her (but I’m not that bad) and don’t have an IPhone but apparently ICloud had synchronised the different accounts together so even though she sent the message from the right phone the message was sent via ICloud using the wrong user account. What a complete and utter nightmare!

Luckily (ish) there is a girl at my work also called Lucy Xxxxx and as we have been having parcels and post arriving at our house in our Lucy’s name (remember we have already done the name change) and if our daughter had seen any we have said that it is for the girl at work (using a viable reason for this as in the past we genuinely have had parcels and letters for my work colleagues due to someone being in at home during the day to sign for them). So we decided to tell her that her dad had bought a phone off the Lucy at work but had forgotten to reset the phone to wipe the accounts off hence it was sent from Our daughter had sent an email back to Lucy’s email asking who this was. Lucy spoke to her, explained and later in the evening I asked her if she had spoken to her dad and she said she had and that the email was to do with him buying a phone off Lucy from work. We had further conversations about how funny there was someone at work with the same surname as us and also about some of the funny names of a couple of people I used to work with which deflected the conversation and we had a bit of a laugh. So far it looks like our excuse has been accepted.

It seems we may have adverted this crisis this time but it really is only a matter of time before she either finds out, puts 2 and 2 together or we are forced to tell her. I would rather we were in control of telling her and it not being a reaction to something else that forces our hand. We really need to plan telling her sooner rather than later. If it had been solely my decision I would have told her a while ago so she has time to comprehend the situation while her dad still looks and acts relatively like her dad and not once other changes have started to happen. Lucy wants to leave it later……. It has to be a joint decision when to tell her and we need to both agree so we are united when the time comes. Is there ever a right time? I just don’t know……..