As I have said on this blog several times since arriving at this conclusion during counselling, I am not transitioning. Having said that, I sometimes wonder if there is a secret, subconscious part of me that is surreptitiously planning for transition without my conscious self’s knowledge? Mrs Kirsty has said to me on more than one occasion that she thinks I “secretly want to get caught”. I certainly don’t consciously want to get caught, if “caught” is the right word, but maybe she’s right. Maybe there is a part of me that wouldn’t mind so much. I wonder if I was somehow outed to all and sundry, would it push me into a position where since everyone knows about me being TS, I might as well go for full transition which I know is what I truly want anyway. Maybe so, but the sudden outing like that would be so traumatic for my family I can’t actively want it.
I suppose this all stems from that other part of my plan for how to have a female life without a full transition; namely that I’m not going to let fear stop me from doing what I want to do. This was particularly brought into focus earlier this week when I was chatting to my friend Lauren about what I had been up to last weekend, and particularly the shopping trip round Belfast City centre with Andrea on Saturday afternoon. Her immediate reaction to this was that sooner or later I am bound to get spotted by someone I know if I carry on escalating my female life like this, and such a person might not even tell me, they may just gossip to someone else and the next thing everyone knows before I am aware that anyone knows. And I am escalating my female life, there’s no doubt. I don’t want anywhere to be a no-go area for me just because I am a non-transitioning TS, and I want the female part of my life to be as full as possible and to be able to do what any other woman would do. In fact, I would go further and say that I need my female life to be as full and fulfilling as possible, primarily because it’s the main way that I am going to avoid full transition. That does of course carry risks, but the risk of being outed and all that goes with it is completely outweighed by the dread, the life-crushing horror of the prospect of putting Kirsty away and living 24/7 as Bob for the rest of my life. So here I am.
My conversation with Lauren moved on and she more or less asked me why I wasn’t transitioning since that is what I clearly wanted. I said what I had said in counselling, that I can’t put my family and specifically my children through that. But what, she said, if they find out despite me? In her view the more I go out in more places, the more the risk increases that I will be seen by someone who knows me. What if word gets back to my kids that their dad is a tranny (as it would no doubt be communicated)? Wouldn’t that be worse than them finding out directly from me in a way in which I am in control of how they hear it, and they get the truth instead of idle gossip and speculation? There’s just no way I can have that conversation with them for the foreseeable future, and I’m just going to have to hope that I’m not seen, or at least not recognised as Bob. There’s no easy answer to this. Perhaps she’s right, perhaps transition is where I’m heading and there’s nothing I can do about it. Rather than heading directly to my destination, perhaps I’m just taking the “scenic route”.
The final part of that conversation was a question she has never asked before, and we have had plenty of “wee chats” about me being transgender. The question was; if I could have “the op”, would I? My answer? Yes, in an ideal world where I could do so without affecting or hurting my wife and kids, I would definitely have a full transition with surgery. I think about it every day, in fact not an hour goes by when it’s not on my mind. I think Lauren was quite surprised with the speed and definitiveness of my response, and seemed to be trying to call my bluff – if i felt that strongly, then why am I not doing it? Why don’t I just go and see my GP and start the process? I couldn’t really answer that other than it was based on fear of hurting my children, but then we went back to the earlier chat about how I’m heading for getting caught, and wouldn’t it be better for the to find out directly from me, which would then make transition and surgery easier to deal with emotionally? I don’t know the answer, and I suspect I am a mass of contradictions.
The annual festival of exploitation that is Celebrity Big Brother has been on Channel 5 in the UK for the last few weeks. I mention this because one of the contestants is a trans woman, Kellie Maloney, formerly the boxing promoter Frank Maloney. I have no comment to make on Kellie at all, but her presence in the Big Brother house has all of a sudden made transgender issues a regular topic of conversation in my work. In particular, last Friday afternoon one of my female colleagues, Jane, was saying that she never knew who Frank Maloney was, so only knows Kellie as a woman and so can accept her as a woman. But, she said, it would be very difficult to accept someone who “all of a sudden” changed gender when you had known them in their previous gender for years. Trying to steer the conversation in a more sympathetic direction, I pointed out just how much bravery is required from the transitioning person, particularly on that first day in work in their preferred gender. She agreed, but then I was surprised by a comment from a male colleague, Albert, whom I had always believed to be a raging homophobe and transphobe. He said that it is hard to comprehend just how strong the urge must be to change gender and out yourself through all that trauma, both emotional and physical, and how we should sympathise with such people. Well, maybe transitioning in work wouldn’t be the complete impossibility that I had previously thought. Not among my team anyway, although I can still see bastions of intolerance in the wider department where I work.
Of course this is all moot anyway because I’m not transitioning, am I?