I have ten days left. Ten days of living in the wrong gender. Ten more days to put up with this existence. Ten days until my life changes forever. Ten days until I become permanently female. There is so much going on right now that I’m a little bit stressed, but I’m coping ok. I want to use this post to make a note of everything that’s happening. As I have said before, I’m very happy for anyone to read this blog, and I welcome any comments that you make, but the main audience for this is my future self. So for the sake of posterity, this is a snapshot of what is happening.
Today is the 21st of June. I have ordered my deed poll, which will hopefully arrive within the next couple of days, to legally change by name to Kirsty to be effective from 1st July 2017, 10 days from now. This timing is to do with my house move. It is looking increasingly positive that I will get the keys to my new home on Friday 30th June. That’s not to say that I will be moving in on that day, realistically I’m allowing myself a week to turn an empty house into something liveable, but I will get the keys on that day. That being the case, I want to be able to sign all the documentation for the new house in Bob’s name because introducing a name change at this late hour would be most confusing for the mortgage, the transfer deed, all that legal gubbins that needs done. At the same time, my marital agreement with Mrs K should also be signed by that date, meaning it won’t need redrafted with my new name either. Just trying to keep things simple.
I have settees and a bed ordered and due to arrive within a few days of me taking ownership of the new home. My daughters and I have been doing the tours of IKEA and the like looking at furniture for the house, and for their bedrooms in particular. We have been to B&Q picking paint colours for their rooms. I have also chosen (but not purchased) various items of furniture such as wardrobes, kitchen table, TV unit, dressing tables etc. Not to mention all the non-furniture items that I need like crockery, cutlery, iron, ironing board, vacuum cleaner, microwave, toaster, kettle… well you get the idea. There’s going to be a huge splurge of shopping to be done. All very exciting. Just as well I have nearly 3 weeks off work to sort the worst of it all out.
On the subject of work, the management team in my department were informed of my transition by my line manager Beth on Monday last week. There are five of them, and every one of them took me aside to offer words of support and encouragement. I also came out to another person with whom I am fairly friendly just yesterday, as she is going on holiday next week and so will miss the general announcement on my final day. Again, she was brilliantly supportive and for the first time in one of these “outing” conversations, she said that she wasn’t surprised. Good, I suppose.
A number of other senior managers in the company working in the business units around Northern Ireland were informed in a conference call yesterday, and they have all been invited to attend a diversity awareness session being run by SAIL next Monday. Slightly worryingly, they found out yesterday afternoon and I haven’t heard a peep from any of them today. Let’s hope it’s a case of no news being good news. Once they have been on that awareness session next Monday they will be informing their own staff, who all co-manage clients with me, and those staff will in turn attend another SAIL session at the end of that week. Then, during my period of leave, those people will be the ones who advise my clients of my transition. The idea being that by the time I return to work on the 20th of July (a Thursday) all my clients will know of my transition and my new name, and I can just carry on with the job. And that’s when things get really real.
I wrote before that after I came out to Beth and she brought HR into the conversation, Kelly in HR did some research and discovered that I am the first person in our company to transition. That’s a company with over 10,000 staff. Well I am feeling somewhat usurped, because I can no longer claim that record. On Monday last week a new female staff member in another department approached her line manager. This person has been working for the company for just two weeks. Still in the initial induction period. And this person announced that they were trans, and would be coming to work as a man. The line manger was somewhat taken aback, but arranged a meeting with HR for Wednesday. Said employee rocked up to the HR meeting two days later in a suit and tie, and that was it. Samantha is now Samuel and that’s all there is to it. So I’m still the first person to advise of their transition in the company, and I’m still the first trans woman in the company, but I can no longer claim to the be the first transitioner. As an aside, Kelly in HR did say that she was very thankful that we have been through the long lead-in process for my transition because from being in a position of being caught somewhat on the hop with me, for Samuel HR got to come across as very well-informed and able to take this all their stride.
I really am counting down the days. I’m also counting down the shirts. I have six more days at work as Bob. Two more days this week and four next week. Then that’s it. I have four of Bob’s shirts ironed and hanging in the wardrobe. I will need to iron two more man’s shirts for myself ever, for the rest of my life. Then that’s it. That’s the sum total of my remaining male ironing. That might seem rather petty, but it feels somehow significant to me. In fact, for the last few weeks items of Bobswear have been popping up in the ironing basket and I have just thought “sod that, I’m never going to wear that again” and not bothering to iron it.
There are a lot of other niggly little practical things that need done in the coming week or two. All the domestic utilities (phone, broadband, TV, electricity, gas, rates etc not to mention various insurances) need to be transferred from my name into Mrs K’s. I need to arrange home insurance for my new home. Then I need to change my name on everything, from bank accounts to utilities in the new house (the downside of buying the house in my old name) to web-based things like Amazon, Apple and eBay. As I may have mentioned on here before, I currently have two Facebook profiles, one for Bob and one for Kirsty. At the end of next week I/Kirsty will send friend requests to Bob’s Facebook friends, or at least the ones I want to keep – it’s a great opportunity for a Facebook cull, which all social media users should do from time to time.
I’m still not quite sure how to do the big Facebook switchover. There are a fair few people on Bob’s profile that I only know a little bit, friends of friends and so on. There are also plenty of Bob’s friends who already know about Kirsty, but there is currently zero crossover between the two lists. Because there is that chunk of people on Bob’s friends list who don’t yet know, I don’t want the ones who do know to befriend Kirsty on FB, then have a notification pop up on a mutual friend’s FB feed that “Joe Bloggs and Kirsty Roberts are now friends”, and have someone reading that wonder if Kirsty Roberts is related to Bob Roberts, come to think of it they do look rather alike… hang on a minute!!!
As I see it I have two options on Facebook. A general announcement on Bob’s Facebook page that I am transitioning and there will be no further activity from Bob because Bob will no longer exist, followed by a flurry of friend requests going out from Kirsty to those friends I want to carry across. Alternatively, I may privately message the friends I’m hoping to carry across to let them know of my transition (the ones who don’t already know) and then send out the new friend requests. Bob’s Facebook page will then go silent (but not dark, too many shared memories with Mrs K and the family that I don’t want to lose) leaving those “friends” that I’m ditching to wonder what happened to Bob, athough I’m sure they will find out eventually. I’m leaning towards the latter option although I’m open to suggestions for how others have dealt with Facebook in transition. For any readers who are Facebook refuseniks, that is your right, but I’m really not up for a lecture on the evils of Zuckerberg’s information farm right now. My eyes are open.
Family support (even Mrs K, in her own way) continues to be more than I could ever have expected. Both my sister Patsy and my brother John have stepped in to sit with the kids when I have been going to various support groups, my daughters are spending increased amounts of time with their “mum” and the wider family is completely accepting. I dropped in at my niece Rachel’s house last weekend (to lend her a book), and it turned out her whole clan was there, her mum Patsy (my sister), both Patsy’s other daughters and her son, plus Patsy’s two granddaughters (aged 12 and 17) who got to meet their Great Aunt Kirsty for the first time (and what a great aunt I am too!) and treated me just the same as they always have done – one of the family. Plus I just learned last week that Rachel is pregnant with her first child, so her little ‘un will be the first person in the family to only ever know me as Kirsty. That makes me smile. Incidentally, Rachel only married her husband in September last year, and he has the same first name and middle name as Bob. So I have informed him that the real reason I am transitioning is that the family isn’t big enough to accommodate two people with the same name.
I have also been told to keep the 20th of August free, as there is going to be a party and barbecue (weather permitting) held in my honour by all four of my siblings and wider family. It’s only a few days away from my birthday, so they say they want to mark the occasion of my first birthday as the real me with what amounts to a coming-out party, a sign of welcome and acceptance. How could I ever have even hoped in my wildest dreams that this would ever be possible?
As for my emotional state, as with what I wrote in my last post it continues to be very mixed. However that’s not necessarily a negative. There is just so much going on that there’s bound to be some nerves. The thing is, my nerves aren’t really to do with the transition per se. The nerves are to do with the house move all happening at the right time, getting the divorce finalised properly, and a big chunk of worry about the finances of all this, which will undoubtedly be very tight. But I have not one single flicker of doubt that I am doing the right thing. I am completely certain that this is what I need to do, because I am completely certain that despite surface appearances, I am a woman. And if I am a woman, I can’t be a man. It’s that simple. I need to be a woman. In ten days, I will be.
With everything that’s going on I can’t imagine I’m going to have time to write another blog for a couple of weeks, so I am going to say now that unless something goes dramatically wrong, this will be my final blog post as a part-timer. The next time I write a blog post, I will be living full-time as a woman.
See you on the other side.