On Tuesday evening I sat down with Mrs K and informed her that I intend to approach my GP to request a referral to the Gender Identity Clinic, with the target of beginning to live full-time as a woman at some point in the first half of 2017.
Now, I’ve got that out of the way, I can begin to explain how I arrived at that decision, and how I explained it, and how it has gone down. The first part of that is quite simple. I think that really I have known for quite a while that transition was likely to be my ultimate destination, but there is so much at stake that I didn’t want to admit it to myself. It was probably October 2015 when I actually started planning for what felt like a realistic schedule to achieve this. I think I have written about this already, my transition schedule spreadsheet. There are a lot of things to do. In fact, when I write them down it is pretty intimidating, and that’s without considering that through my naivety I have probably omitted more steps than I have included. But I can’t consider things I don’t know about yet. So for the last three months this spreadsheet has been a work-in-progress, and continues to be, but I kept telling myself it was hypothetical, there if I needed to “flick the switch” and make it real, but otherwise an academic exercise. However by early December I knew I was going to have to flick the switch at some point. I decided that the switch-flicking would take place in January, once Christmas and New Year was out of the way. I didn’t want the fallout from this to ruin Christmas for my family. However as they say, it’s not over till it’s over, so even though I kind-of-thought it was going to happen, until I actually opened my mouth and told Mrs K what I have been thinking, it was all just in my mind and subject to me bottling out at any time. To a certain extent, it still is. So when I wrote my previous post at the start of this week, it was all churning round in my head that I knew what I needed to do but I still didn’t trust myself to do it and I might still just go for purging and a male life. That bird seems to have flown now.
I had decided that the conversation with Mrs K was going to happen some time in January, but I didn’t know how I was going to broach the subject. Was it better on a week night or at the weekend? Early or late evening? What would be my opening conversational gambit? As it happened an unexpected opportunity presented itself. On Tuesday morning a new post appeared from Amy, or precisely Amy’s wife. Amy and I joined the Angels forum within a few days of each other back in February 2014, and it was actually her blog that had inspired me to start my own. Mrs K had seen her blog back then, and had been particularly interested in the fact that occasionally Amy’s wife would write blog posts. I was hugely impressed with her supportive attitude in the face of what must be a startling revelation for any wife. Mrs K was more sceptical, describing her as “too good to be true”. She has also said the same thing about Ruth’s other half, the famously sainted Kate, although having met Kate in person I can confirm that she is indeed as she appears to be from Ruth’s descriptions. Anyway, Amy’s blog had gone quiet after two or three months, so until Tuesday morning all had been silent from her in the blogosphere for at least a year and a half. Because she had been interested in Amy’s story given she seemed to be in a similar domestic set-up to myself, Mrs K would from time to time ask if I had heard any more about how she had been getting on. The answer was always no. On Tuesday evening, after daughter no 2 had gone to bed and while daughter no 1 was in her bedroom doing whatever it is that 13-year-old girls do, I was able to say to Mrs K;
– You’ll never guess who put up a blog post today?
– Do you remember “I May Be Amy?”
– Oh yes. Is she ok?
– Sort of. She has moved on a bit since I last heard from her. She’s on a waiting list for the clinic now. Her wife went to the GP with her. You know, to show solidarity.
– Could you ever imagine you would do that? Would you come to the GP with me?
And that was the start of it. Of course she wouldn’t come to the GP with me. Not a chance. I’m on my own in that regard. But that’s not a problem in itself. So I said that the reason I was asking, was because that was what I wanted. I wanted to go to see our GP to get a referral. And then it all came out. My schedule, my estimate that I would be going to the GP around April/May, that hopefully I would be at GIC by late Summer. I would begin outing myself properly to family, friends, work from January 2017 onwards and would be full time upon completion of that process. As I said to Mrs K, I’m telling her now, but nothing will happen for 3 months (until I go to the GP) and nothing irreversible will happen for a year (when I start telling everyone). There was no screaming, no shouting, no shaking, surprisingly few tears. Just a strong sense of betrayal on her part. That I’m just being horribly selfish, putting my own wants ahead of hers and most significantly ahead of our children’s. She may have a point.
In the hope that I was going to have the guts to make this confession to her, I had gone ahead and booked a Summer holiday for the family last weekend. Menorca, if you’re interested. Somewhere we have been before several times and loved. In one of her occasional bouts of despair over my transness, Mrs K had previously said she was drifting through everything wondering if it was going to be the last time she would get to do a whole range of things with her husband before he disappeared. So I wanted her to know that she would get one last holiday with him. And one last Christmas with him too, which was part of my thinking in the early 2017 date for going full-time. I’m trying to be considerate in doing this most selfish of selfish acts. In fact, she did ask if I would still be Bob when we went on holiday this year so at least I was able to reassure her about that.
We spoke for around three hours in total, most of it calm and constructive, some of it teary, all of it difficult, but without regurgitating three hours’ worth of conversation, the key points were
– She doesn’t want to share a bed with me as a woman. As she has repeatedly stated, she is not a lesbian and can’t be romantically involved with another woman
– She repeatedly asserted that she believes I am going to attempt to usurp her position as the mother of our children. Even when I denied this, she stated that I wouldn’t be able to stop myself.
– She asked what happens if she gets a boyfriend. If I am no longer male (was I ever?) then she will view herself as available again. If I’m still there, I will essentially be a housemate.
– It is a big IF to say if I will still be in our home. She says she finds it hard to even be in the same room as Kirsty, or look at me presenting female.
– If she can’t be in the same house as me, one of us will have to go, in which case our family home no longer becomes financially viable.
– She says I am sacrificing her, and sacrificing our children, for my own indulgence
– She kept saying this is impossible, it’s not me, I was (in her view) perfectly happy for 15 years and then this all blew up from nowhere
– She hates the idea that she will be an object of pity and/or ridicule, but she feels that is what is going to happen
– She is very scared that our house will be attacked by a transphobic hate mob, derogatory terms painted on the door and bricks thrown through the windows
– I am dishonest and untrustworthy, because 18 months ago I promised her that I would never go full time. And now I am telling her that I will go full time. So I have broken my promise.
– She says she will become a widow as Kirsty is killing her husband. Even when I remind her that I’m not dying, and will still be the same person, she used the analogy that I will be like Doctor Who regenerating, still the Doctor but with a new body and a new and completely different personality.
– Even if I am the same person now whether presenting as Kirsty or Bob, HRT will change that.
– By doing this I have negated our entire 17 years of marriage, because it now appears that none of it was what it looked like at the time. As she has said before, she couldn’t even get a real man to find her attractive. Just me.
– She observed that now she understood why I had been so nice over Christmas. She said that for the last 2 or 3 weeks I had seemed really nice and positive. In fact she said it was like having the old Bob back, the one who disappeared a couple of years ago. It certainly wasn’t deliberate on my part, but I already intended to make this confession so maybe it had affected my mood.
There then followed a rather bizarre analogy. She repeated her statement that me transitioning is impossible, it just can’t happen, it doesn’t make sense. She said I have got this idea into my head that I am supposed to be female and because I have been spending a lot of time with other trans people, in person, in forums and on WordPress, that this belief has been continually reinforced for two years to the point where I am now telling her I am going to take this action. She then likened this to her deciding one day that she wasn’t in fact Mrs K at all, but that her true identity was bespectacled Greek easy listening songstress Nana Mouskouri. Yes, Nana Mouskouri. She then went on the internet and found forums and blogs from other people who all believed that they were Nana Mouskouri, all of whom encouraged her to embrace her true identity and live full time as Nana Mouskouri. So she asked me if it would be ok for her to do that and embrace her transMouskourian nature. Whatever turns your crank I suppose. Obviously I disagreed, because believing you are another person who obviously already exists (or existed) is not the same as believing your true nature is somewhat different from what you were conditioned to believe. And, I also added, at least you don’t think you’re Demis Roussos.
The discussion wasn’t all bad. Believe it or not there were moments of levity, even of laughter at how certain people might react. There was constructive discussion about how we might tell the children, how they might react, what we will do depending upon how they react. About how to tell my siblings. Some despair about how she is going to tell her parents – her dad has previously voiced concern that Mrs K’s 41-and-not-married brother might be “one of them”, and her mum recently stopped using a rainbow-coloured umbrella because in her words “rainbows are what the gays use now”.
Mrs K also commented that I was going to give a few people a hypocrisy test. I can think of at least five people, two of whom are my nieces, who would from time to time post trans-ally statements on their Facebook profiles. They don’t actually y’know, do anything, but they post some broadly trans-supportive meme on Facebook. So, as Jack Nicholson said in Tim Burton’s original Batman movie, “Wait till they get a load of me!”
So how do I feel about all this? Relieved, that I have finally accepted what I need to do and told the most important person that this is what I want. Sad and upset, for what it has done to her and what it may yet to do our kids. Excited, at this journey that I am going to take. Terrified, that Mrs K’s worst predictions might all come true. But mostly relieved. And a little bit apprehensive that I may still lose my nerve when the time comes.
Mrs K went to bed a few minutes before me. When I arrived upstairs I found her sitting up in bed in the dark, head between her knees, sobbing. What have I done?