Saturday, 30 July 2016

Update on M

Since telling M life has just gone on as usual except the frantic hiding of stuff has gone which has been great.

When I took M out to the theme park with her friend she was putting her make up on in the car and realised she didn't have any lipstick. I told her there were probably a couple in my handbag she could use which she did however she turned to her friend (who knows nothing of Lucy) and said "my mum has LOTS of lipsticks". The funny thing is that she has not referring to me but Lucy! This really made me smile.

M also asked to have Lucy's mobile phone number and Snapchat (Lucy's are separate to his) which she now has and has been snapchatting Lucy. We are now all connected with our other Facebook profiles and she has been through all of the pictures that we both have and really enjoyed looking at them. She also sat down with me and went through the friends I have on my other profile asking who was who and kept saying that she cannot wait to meet some of these people. She had a little giggle when I referred to Lucy as 'Luc' and really enjoys all the stories about the places we have been to.

M has asked Lucy why she picked the name Lucy and did not use one of the feminine versions of 'his' name. We have both explained that Lucy wanted a name she identified with and something completely different to her birth name and Lucy's middle name 'Emily' was chosen by our older daughter.

She has asked about the places we go and really wants to come out and about with us. She has also made it clear she really wants to be involved in Lucy's journey. M also keeps on at wanting to help Lucy with her make up and a couple of days ago even sent Lucy a link to new make up tips she had found. Lucy was able to sit down in the lounge the other day while I filed and polished her toenails while M was around which was a total first and she could keep her toes out around the house while the polish dried. I have a nail lady that comes to the house once every 4/5 weeks and does my toenails with nail varnish and designs and she is due in a couple of weeks. She is a great person and has been doing my nails for over 10 years so really has become a friend too and we are going to tell her about Lucy so she can have her nails done too. 

M is also very keen to see Lucy dressed at home so we are planning a girlie evening where Lucy can dress fully. We are going on holiday to Spain at the end of August for one week which will be the last holiday with 'him'. We have checked that she is ok with 'him' being shaved when we go and she was totally fine with it and has asked how often Lucy has to shave. We also told her about all the other family holidays we have had where 'he' has had to stop shaving in the summer so when we went on holiday it would not arouse suspicion from people we know.  M has been surprised at some of the lengths we went to in order to keep Lucy away from general view when she is charading as 'him'.

M knows that Lucy officially changed her name last year and has changed it in a few places. Now M knows about her, Lucy can change her name in all the other places she needs to (except her passport) as there is no worry about M seeing the post.

As it is school holidays M is obviously going to be around at home quite a bit but even in the 5 days that she has known about Lucy she has not batted an eye at Lucy being able to wear her pink fluffy dressing gown or fluffy slippers. It truly has made our home a safe haven for us all. So much has changed in these last 5 days and M continuing positive reactions to everything have been amazing.

Monday, 25 July 2016

'M' Day...... telling our 13 year old daughter

Today was 'M' day..... the day we told our 13 year old daughter about Lucy.

We originally picked last Wednesday to be the day as it was the last day of term and would have given her the whole school holidays to come to terms with the information one way or another but we then changed our minds as we thought we would let her have a few days off school without this additional worry. As it was it was a good decision as M's boyfriend split up with her the following day and over the weekend one of our rabbits died.

I had booked this week off work deliberately so I would be around in the day if after being told M had any questions but also to just take her out and spend some quality time with her.

On Sunday in the day Lucy had a bit of a wobble and was getting all upset about telling M and changing her life forever. M also had a totally fantastic school report this year and Lucy was worried that knowing about her may affect her school grades.  She even considered stopping transition as it would affect too many other peoples lives. I have told her many times that this is her time and she has considered everyone else all her life and it is time to consider herself. If she pushed the Lucy part of her away it will only come back and bite her on the bum as this is who she truly should be. Being very honest I also said that I am fed up of living in the twilight world at home and continually having to make sure we are not leaving clues for M to find and that home should be our safe place. Lucy was really worried that M knowing could change their relationship forever...... she thought negatively however I always believed it would be a positive. I also didn't want M to find out about Lucy in a few years time and feel guilty for indirectly stopping Lucy transitioning. That wouldn't be fair.

Lucy nearly told M last night however our other daughter and her boyfriend were around and the timings just didn't work. We wanted it to be just us when we told her and M to be in the right mood. It was understandably very important to Lucy that M was told under the right circumstances.

So today was the day. M was in a good mood as I was taking her to get another piercing in her ears, older daughter was at work and her boyfriend was in her room. M was sat on the sofa downstairs while I was faffing around tidying up. Lucy came in (as him) and said that she needed to chat with her and to turn the TV off and put her phone down. Lucy explained that she had done nothing wrong, that there was nothing wrong with either of us health wise and that we were not splitting up and were madly in love with each other. You could see the look of confusion on M's face.

Nervously Lucy explained that the issue was that she was transgendered. M laughed and thought Lucy was joking. Lucy explained how she had felt all her life and that our nights and weekends away were when we were going out us, A and Lucy. She spoke of the friends we have made and told of the places we had been to especially Sparkle and Pink Punters. M asked to see pictures and Lucy showed her loads of us out and about and also a couple of the older pics from years ago so M knew this was something I had known about and was fine with for a very long time. She loved the pictures and kept saying 'wow', smiling and commented on what fantastic legs Lucy had. This made us both smile.

I did offer her the opportunity to chat to a 15 year old girl whose father had fully transitioned MtF however she said she was fine and didn't feel the need to speak to anyone. This offer will still be there at any time should she change her mind. Lucy also said that there are some videos etc on the internet about the operation and other things should she want to see them. We were carefull not to overload her with too much information.

Lucy was getting emotional and kept saying she was sorry and M gave her a hug and said that she had nothing to feel sorry for. She said that she wanted to be involved in the journey from now on. We explained that we had to pick the right time to tell her and told her of the people that did know however we also needed her to keep this a secret until we had told other family members which will not be until early next year. M made the point very clear that she was very good at keeping secrets. We mentioned her brothers (Lucys sons) and she did make a comment about the older one (who we think may not take this well). M has volunteered to be there when Lucy tells him. How thoughtful of her. She also believes that my other sons will probably deal with this ok. It also transpired that all the things I though M would have noticed that in fact she had noticed but thought nothing of. So much so that she has decided she need to be more aware of things in life in general as when we told her all the signs she was amazed that she had taken no notice. 

M was totally fantastic. What a girl! It turns out she has another Facebook account alias that she has but doesn't really use  This is great as she can use this profile to connect with our trans profiles and have access to our friends and pictures. 

Lucy told her that she was lesbian and has been wearing a lesbian thumb ring for nearly a year without M noticing. When she was shown M was amazed especially when I said that her dad changing from 'him' to Lucy didn't bother me as I was so in love with the person inside the outside didn't matter but also that I consider myself to be bisexual too so the outside really doesn't matter. M loved this and you could see she really connected with us. 

We told her that she could ask any questions she liked but she really didn't have any however she really wanted to see the makeup and stuff Lucy had to we took her to our bedroom where she could see everything and pointed out all the clues. She really laughed and wondered how on earth she had missed it all! She also said that she would love to help Lucy do her make up and was in awe of all the clothes and shoes Lucy had. 

She has said that she wants to properly meet Lucy all dressed up and also wants to come out with us to any events she can. It is such a shame we didn't stick to the original time line of last Wednesday to tell her as this weekend just gone was Brighton Trans Pride which is only a 40 minute drive from home so we could have popped down there with her however we are already planning on going and staying in a hotel the 3 of us next year. She is also very keen to meet some of our trans community friends which is great. She has been so positive it has blown us both away. In my heart I knew she would be fine however her attitude surpassed anything I could have hoped for and I am just so incredibly proud.

We have told her that Lucy will always be her dad but what she chooses to call Lucy is up to her. M made it clear that in her eyes nothing has changed and did have a little laugh about she will have a mum and a mum. In time I am sure she will find her own words she wants to use. I did explain that until Lucy is full time she may find it difficult like I do to use the right words and pronouns at the right time. She asked the time lines we were planning and we told her about the GP, gender GP and hormones etc and that currently Lucy is not planning on going full time until after M's exams in June next year as we want her to go through these with no peer pressure due to Lucy. 

We took her out and she had the extra piercings in her ears she wanted and she was happily chatting away. One of her best friends at school is a transgendered boy and although she knows she has to wait she cannot wait until she can tell him about Lucy as she thinks it will connect them even more than they are. Lucy has said that she will organise a girlie night in so M can properly meet Lucy and also that she will take her out to MAC to get coloured matched too.

All in all a very successful day. Understandably Lucy is totally relieved that M took everything so well and has been unbelievably supportive. The atmosphere in our house tonight is in a bit of a high. From this point onwards home now can be Lucy's safe place and no longer does anything need to be hidden and we can involve M so much more.

And tomorrow I'm off with M to Thorpe Park a local theme park for the day so she will have plenty of opportunity to chat with me if she wishes. Very good times :)

Friday, 22 July 2016

Transitioned vs transitioning

Why is is that people who have fully transitioned seem to look down on and take snide swipes at those that are in the earlier stages of transition and also further down the line?

I see these comments so many times on forums and Facebook pages and I just cannot understand why there is this attitude amongst those that have fully transitioned, they make it and them and us situation. It seems to me that they have lost sight of the journey they themselves made to transition especially the early stages before they were full time in their correct gender and this gives them no right to make the comments they do.

It always causes heated debates when people make these sort of comments and observations on a public forum. For example, many girls were excited about the Sparkle weekend and although this covers people on the whole spectrum of transness, for many pre-transition girls in particular it is their first opportunity to dress fully in the day (and the evening) and go out and about in a fairly 'normal' but safe environment. The excitement of some of these girls sparked many discussions about what clothes and shoes to take and how many! Exciting and scary times with mixed emotions. However the way some post transition girls posted was awful calling these excited girls hobbyists and berating them for taking so many changes of clothes.

Hang on.... I am cis female and I took MORE shoes than Lucy and probably just as many change of clothes as she did; 
1. I had to allow for the very interchangeable and unpredictable English weather, 
2. cater for any accidental spills,
3. allow for different places we may be going to (other than the ball we had nothing actually planned). 
The day of the ball I changed 3 times and 2 of these were in the evening. Does this make me a hobbyist doing exactly the same things as my trans counterparts? And no, I didn't wear them all but had them there just in case.

Does it matter how people choose to dress? This is another thing that was slated. In my cis life I have plenty of very unique and colourful cis friends who dress in a very eclectic manner. Just because someone is transgendered who is it that dictates how they have to dress? Everyone whether trans or not should be able to dress in their own style. In every walk of life there are those that dress flamboyantly and some damn right outrageously but good on them! They are being themselves and not causing any harm to anyone else.

These critical people are supposed to be in the same community and I just cannot understand why they have this sort of attitude. Obviously it is not all people who have fully transitioned that have this attitude however these few are very vocal and just do not understand the damage they are doing to peoples confidence. Lucy and I had a discussion about this situation because of several forum topics she had seen and shared with me and the one thing she is adamant about it she will never forget the journey she is on and will never look down on anyone at an earlier stage than her, even when she has fully transitioned.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Sparkling at Sparkle Manchester (long post!)

So Sparkle was this weekend just gone. To be honest neither Lucy or I really knew what to expect but we were both really looking forward to it.

It started on Friday morning with Lucy leaving the house as 'him' and we pulled up a couple of miles from home where Lucy got changed and put her makeup on ready for the journey. This was the first time she had been dressed in the day out of the house (a first). We had a nightmare drive which took far longer than it should but every minute was a minute that Lucy was being herself in public so she wasn't too bothered and in any case I was driving so she just sat there and chilled and took lots of selfies, ha ha.

The parking for the hotel was round the block and not connected to the hotel so we parked up and took our loads of cases and bags round to the hotel. The car park had a marshall there who called us both 'ladies' and directed us to the pedestrian entrance. His whole attitude and words made us both smile. The receptionists at the hotel did not bat an eyelid and were very friendly as we checked in.

As we were later than planned we got everything up into the room, Lucy unpacked all her stuff and we got ready fairly quickly to go and and meet another trans friend, Paulette, we had only met in the last month (at Pink Punters). We got our glad rags on and Lucy did her own makeup..... actually she did it day and night all weekend and is quite good now. Very proud she made the effort.

We met Paulette and went for dinner together (a first) at a lovely Italian restaurant. The staff were great and the meal was lovely. After we went for a walk down Canal Street to have a look around and the place was packed and busy with lots of lively bars and trans girls everywhere. We hopped around a few and found a couple of places that we liked. We danced the night away and stumbled back to our hotel at stupid o'clock in the morning.

We had been told of a local hairdresser before we went so I booked an appointment for Lucy to go on the Saturday and have the fringes sorted out on the two new wigs. This meant we had to get up out and about relatively early for us as we were also meeting up with some friends afterwards at Sparkle in the park. We trotted off to the Village Hairdressers for Lucy's appointment with Kurt. He was fantastic and as she sat in the salon chair (a first) he made Lucy feel really comfortable. She swapped the wigs around and he sorted out the fringes and made both look amazing and gave Lucy tips on how to care for them. It was such a great experience for her which she really enjoyed. She is looking forward to being able to go to the hairdressers again and can see how sitting having your hair washed, cut, dried and styled could be a great thing.

We went on to the Sparkle park which had loads of stalls giving advice and selling wares. Lucy bought herself a new pair of boobs (only until she develops her own) which are far superior and realistic than what she had although they were about 15 years old. She was very brave standing by the stall all dressed up letting the stallholder lady do all the adjustments (a first). Lloyds Banking Group also had a stall seeking positive and negative experiences and we were able to tell them about out negative experiences with Lloyds bank which they had eventually turned into positive experiences (Lucy has no trouble at all now with the bank). They were very keen to take notes and learn by what had happened and also it was great to hear that they were actively trying to recruit trans people to their work force.

We had booked tickets for the Sparkle lounge which was a raised platform with seating and a private bar. Although in reality it was a lot of money for what you got it was nice to have that area so we didn't get as muddy as everyone else where it had been raining and mostly we were able to find seats. We met up with some people and their partners that I have met on the Facebook support group I mentioned in my previous post. Such lovely people and one couple in particular we spent a huge amount of time with, Jennie and Ethan.

Saturday evening was the Sparkle ball in the ballroom of a local hotel. The venue was lovely with crystal chandeliers and a large sweeping staircase at the front so there were plenty of photo opportunities for everyone. This was great as Lucy was able to dress up in a long dress (a first and she looked totally gorgeous) and attend a ball (a first). Paulette went too and we met up with a few other friends there. The only real negative was that the ballroom was so very hot even with mobile aircon units every 10 ft and the music was a little old fashioned. However the overall event was great.

We left a bit early (it seemed that most people were too) and we went back to the hotel to get changed, Lucy wore her famous Batgirl dress) and off back out to Canal Street where we met up with some of our friends (Paulette came along a bit later). We started at a few bars and ended up at G.A.Y which was great fun and met some other friends along the way way who came with us. While we were in there a petite young cis girl came in with a friend with a funky haircut and loads of personality, dancing away. We spent some time with her having a dance and having pictures taken. It was only the following day did we realise that we had been partying away with Cody Frost from the UK Voice. Apparently she had been performing on the Sparkle stage in the park as well as a club in Canal Street. Yet again we staggered in at silly o'clock and feeling very euphoric from the atmosphere and Lucy being just Lucy.

Lucy popped out for a quick cigarette after we had got back to the hotel and when she came back she had a tale to tell. As she had gone out the hotel door another girl has asked for her help. It appears there had been a group of lads and one in particular had been very abusive and threatening and the girl had hit him. She was absolutely terrified and Lucy could see the lads were coming back. As with all groups there is a ring leader who was very brazen and abusive to Lucy and the other girl. Well Batgirl Lucy was having none of this nonsense and when he demanded she suck his d**k she threw some quick retorts back which threw him off-guard. His mates then ushered him away as they were embarrassed at his behaviour and one in particular, a ginger hair lad, came up to Lucy to apologise and said that in every group of lads there was the ginger one (him) and an idiot (the other lad). This diffused the situation and the lads all moved on. The other girl was very grateful to Lucy for saving her. As you can imagine Lucy was buzzing at the situation and how she had managed to handle the abusive lads (a first) face to face.

On the Sunday we had a lie in and then went to to the Sparkle lounge to meet up with Jennie, Ethan and Paulette. We had a very relaxed afternoon sitting and chatting together watching the entertainment on the stage. Paulette had entered the Miss Golden Sparkle contest and although she was very nervous we were cheering her on. Well when they announced the results, we were sure Paulette's name was called out as the winner and other people around us who knew her cheered too believing the same ...... however.... another lady came up to the stage to claim the title. We were all very confused. Paulette is a pretty unique name. We do think that the organisers need to rethink how this bit is done.

We were staying another night however Jennie, Ethan and Paulette were getting the train home that evening. We all went out for a lovely meal together which was tinged with sadness that they were going. Everyone was of the same opinion that we had all had a fantastic weekend. Not bad for 5 strangers at the start of the weekend spending so much time together. No longer strangers now though, firm friends. We just wish we all lived a little closer however we have already planned a night out at Pink Punters in October and have booked the hotel for Sparkle 2017.

Paulette went off first for her train and Jennie and Ethan came back to our hotel room for a cuppa. We stayed there chatting for over an hour and it it was great getting an insight into their lives and understanding the challenges of FtM from all perspectives which was really enlightening and we shared our stories too. We said goodbye to them which was sad as we now consider them good friends and got ready for another night out just the two of us.

By the time we got out it was about 11pm and many of the lively bars we had enjoyed time in over the last few days were closing early as it was a Sunday evening. We met up with a couple of people we had met who were staying at the same hotel as us and had a few drinks together and a chat. One went back to the hotel and we and the remaining lady went off to G.A.Y where the doorman Lee remembered Lucy and her name which she was dead chuffed about. We had a great time there and after a while escorted the other lady home as she was a little worse for wear and we wanted to ensure she got back safely.

While we were back at the hotel we popped into our room for a quick 'wee' break. This ended up being totally hilarious as we both rushed for the toilet and I ended up being pushed into the empty bath with my trousers half on. I laid there like a tortoise on its back with my arms and legs flailing around trying to get out the bath with my trousers round my knees..... I couldn't get out and Lucy couldn't help me as we were laughing so much. Such a funny end to a great day!

We had paid for an extended checkout time on the Monday to give us time to fully pack up (Lucy's stuff was EVERYWHERE) but also to give Lucy time to get ready. We left the hotel laden with bags and cases and trudged back to the car.

The journey home was long due to traffic and took about 5 hours. 4 hours 40 mins of this were spent just continually chatting, reminiscing about the weekend, the people we had met, the fun we had had and also making plans for the future and telling our daughter M next week. When we got nearer to home it was time for Lucy to take her makeup off and change out of her clothes into 'his'. This was a very emotional time for us both...... we both sat there with tears running down our cheeks. Lucy being able to be Lucy properly (or as much as she can be for now) had been totally amazing and only proves to me that she is doing the right thing. End of.....

As you will have seen, this whole weekend was full of amazing firsts. I'm sitting here two days later, missing like mad the Lucy that I spent all the time with over the four days and also missing the Lucy I have at home as she is out at work. Four days of being by her side 24/7 had been amazing and we will never ever forget this weekend.

I would like to say that there were no transphobic commments throughtout the weekend bearing in mind we were at a trans event which was based in the gay village in Manchester but I can't. Unfortunately even in this environment it proves there are bigots and those that feel they have the right to comment negatively on those that are different to themselves. From the trans lady outside the hotel, to comments thrown at Lucy (not bad) to another woman who had been accosted and robbed at a cashpoint. Unfortunately it is not just trans people who are at risk of biggoted people like this. However for Lucy she has risen above this and has treated this as one of lifes learning curve so she can be prepared for the future whatever it may bring. Whatever happens she can be sure I have her back no matter what.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Facebook partner support group and partner issues

As I mentioned a while ago I had joined a few partner support groups. I am not keen on those that are the Yahoo email type thing based however I did find one 'hidden' Facebook group which has actually been great.

This group is for 'accepting' partners of transgendered people however the level of acceptance between the members does vary quite considerably from those who are just about accepting and struggling with it all, to those that embrace everything in full. There are also members who really are firm supporters of non binary partners which is something to be honest I struggle to understand. These tend to be outspoken members so I generally avoid any potential dodgy conversations with these people as many of their comments I do not identify with. I feel sorry for some of the other partners as they are having enough of a problem struggling with the concept of their partner being transgendered without the added complication of binary and non binary conversations/observations being thrown into the mix.

In general it is a really supportive and informative group with some very interesting topics of conversation and many very relevant to me. All posts get quite a few responses even if it is just people giving moral support as well as first hand experiences. Actually one person made a comment the other day which really struck a chord with me; "I mean, I'm OK with it but I miss that bloke like crazy". Ha, yes I really get that but I'm not sure that I ever really knew 'that bloke'! 

Sometimes reading the challenges that some of them are going through gives me a little wobble in my world. Lucy will know when this is happening but she does not know why I am like this (she will do now). Usually I seek reassurance from her that she isn't going to leave me and inevitably she always asks me if I am mad as she thinks if anyone is going to leave it will be me..... but of course I'm not going anywhere!

This week alone two partners of different transgendered people (one MTF and the other FTM) have posted within days of each other on the same group about their partners pushing them away, their partners being told by other people in the trans community to ditch their spouses, being told that they are hindering the transition and accused of not being as readily accepting as their trans partners expect them to be. In both cases the partners have only recently been told about their spouses 'transness' and although trying to be supportive they are struggling to make sense of the situation they have found themselves in. Neither consider themselves gay/bi but are now in relationships with someone who considers themselves the same sex as they are and are trying to 'burst out' and come out to one and all without really considering the struggle their spouses are going through. It is only in the past few months that these partners have known anything at all about their partners struggles with being transgendered and it has been a shock for them and I totally understand how they feel. In this Facebook group there are some staunch lesbians whose partners are FTM who are trying to get their heads round being considered now to be in a heterosexual relationship. Some of these women have had real struggles in the past standing up to lesbian prejudice and are very uncomfortable with being viewed as heterosexual. By the same token some who were in heterosexual relationships struggle being outwardly considered to be gay when they really feel they are not. One partner has come up with the term 'heteroflexible' which means that if while you are together and one of you transitions and because that person is so special to you, you make an exception just for that one very special person. A perfect word to describe the situation many people find themselves in.

I know that I am only hearing one side of the story however these partners are really trying their best when their whole world has been completely thrown upside down and into turmoil and a common theme I see in quite a few of the posts, both in this Facebook group but also in some of the Yahoo groups, is how selfish the partners think their trans spouses are. Much of this is perpetuated by the fact that they have hidden or denied their transness from their partners who now think that their whole life together has been a lie. I have to admit that reading about their behaviours I am drawn the same conclusion but do not identify with what they are saying as for me and Lucy, this is not how it is.

I am eternally grateful that she told me very early in our relationship so I had a get out clause if I wanted it. Actually by the time she told me I was totally in love with her anyway and nothing was ever going to change that! I have had so much longer than many partners to assimilate the information and have thought hard and fast about whether or not I can do this. Every time the answer is yes.

Lucy if anything has been very selfless with being transgendered. She has always considered everyone else first which is why only now at 45 years old she is in the process of transitioning. Several times she has tried to convince herself she can push aside and ignore these feelings inside her even when I have told her it was not possible and she threw everything (well nearly) away a couple of times. I kept telling her couldn't deny her true self and that 'it' would come back and bite her on the bum! We have a constant open line of communication between us and have no secrets and we share all our worries, concerns and excitement too. Lucy has been and will always be my best friend and soulmate.

Even now I know she still has her wobbly days where she worries about the impact on the children and my family. As I have said before I'm sure most of the children will be fine as they are older and I'm still sure M our 13 year old daughter will be fine when we tell her. Actually one of the partners in the Facebook group has a 14 year old daughter in the same position who would be happy to chat should M need it. As for my family.... who knows.... and actually I don't really care. It will be great if they are all accepting which I suspect the majority may be but there are a couple I think won't be however they are people whose opinions mean nothing to me anyway. In any case we will never know how people will be until the time comes.

I think what I am saying overall is that it can be be so difficult being the partner of someone who is trans. I have read so many bitter posts and heard stories from those that have split up in the worst way possible, those that have parted but remained on good terms and those that have stayed together (some only just and others very happily). The key to me seems to keep the lines of communication open, honesty and listening to each other. Both sides can be guilty of not doing this. It doesn't mean the relationship 'as is' can stay the same or even be saved but being open and honest with each other can only help in such a life changing situation for everyone.