This piece was first published on the NHS choices website to help support TG’s by sharing other aspects of the TG community and showing alternatives to transitioning. This article is reposted by Author permission.

Most of the time Dawn lives as a man using a male name. However, she considers herself to be transgender.
Dawn, who works as an occupational health nurse on an oil platform, describes growing up as a boy who liked to dress in girls’ clothes. She hid that part of her identity when she was in the Air Force, but in recent years she’s become more open about her feminine side.
“As far back as infant school I remember playing with dolls and dressing in my sister’s clothes. I also remember feeling upset that girls wore skirts and boys didn’t.
“When I was about 10 or 11, I used to escape through the bedroom window at night and walk around town in girls’ clothes. Once, I got caught by the police and taken home. My mother then took me to see a psychologist.
“I think we saw the psychologist two or three times. At one stage, he asked me: ‘Do you want to be a girl?’ My parents were sitting with me, so I gave an answer they wanted to hear rather than the truthful answer. Looking back, I think if they hadn’t been there, things might have been different.
“After that, I kept that side of me hidden even more because it upset my parents. I kept myself as busy as possible at home, but the feelings never went away.
“I chose the name Dawn when I was about 12 years old. I wanted to be ‘me’, and my given male name didn’t have a female version. I thought for a long time before settling on Dawn.
“Dawn has many meanings: the start of a new day, or a realisation. But I chose it mainly because I like the name, and the few people I knew who were called Dawn seemed like nice people.
“I lived in a small town in Wiltshire with few job prospects, so when I was 16 I joined the Air Force. I became an aircraft mechanic for a short time before switching to nursing. That’s what I’ve done ever since.
“Back then, being trans in the Air Force was a big problem, so I kept it hidden. I found out about trans groups through other people and from newspaper articles. In the 1970s and 1980s there wasn’t much publicity, so you heard about it from agony aunts such as Clare Rayner and Marje Proops.
“While I was still in the Air Force, I visited trans groups in Bristol and London. It was an opportunity to meet like-minded people and to realise that I wasn’t alone.”

Meeting my partner, Jules

“In 1985 I moved to London and left the Air Force. It was the first time I’d lived completely on my own. As I was away from family and friends, I seriously considered transitioning [living full-time as a woman]. For nearly one year I dressed as a woman except when I was at work.
“Then I met Jules, my partner, an absolutely wonderful woman. I decided that my priority was to stay with her rather than transition.
“Shortly after we started going out together, we moved to the coast. Cornwall, our new home, was very different from London, and I hid my trans side initially.
“Only in recent years have we started being more open. I dress in women’s clothes maybe once or twice a week when I’m at home, and when Jules and I go to National Trust places, to the cinema or for dinner. But we generally do it away from our home town so that people who know us won’t see us.
 
“My two sisters know that I’m trans. My parents don’t know, or if they do know they haven’t said anything about it. Jules’ parents know. She told them when we first started dating, and I’ve been out with them dressed in women’s clothes.
“We try to tell people only if they need to know, but I don’t like hiding it. l’d like everyone to know and not worry about it, but Jules would rather keep it a bit quieter.”

Being found out at work

“Recently I was found out at work. I’m a nurse on an oil platform, and I was moving to another platform. Somebody emptied my locker for me and sent the contents to the next platform. People on my new platform also saw photographs of me on the internet.
“It was quite upsetting when I got a phone call warning me to be careful at work because all this information was out.
“I was expecting ridicule, abuse and possibly discrimination from the management team, but it was the total opposite. The management team supported me 100%, and the people who made a big fuss about it were taken off the platform.
“Being accepted at work was a humbling experience. My work colleagues’ support and relaxed attitude has made me feel valued and wanted.
“I don’t tell people that I’m trans. It doesn’t come up in conversation, and it’s not important to my work, but I don’t have to keep it a secret any more.
“Being a transgender person isn’t easy, although I’ve had an easier time than most people. I’ve had a lot of frustration. I’ve had to keep my feminine side secret, and I try to conform to what society expects. But now that I’m older, I feel more confident about my gender identity.
“I like to think that having a strong feminine side has helped me to help other people, which is good for my nursing. It possibly gives me a more caring nature. But as I’ve always been trans, I have nothing to compare it against.
“I know that if I were given the option, I wouldn’t like to lose the feminine side of my life. I wouldn’t be me.”
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14 Comments
  1. Leonara 3 months ago

    Dawn,
    Thank you for your well thought out autobiography… You are very fortunate that you have an understanding partner.
    I am still part time CD who expresses my feminity when the opportunity presents itself. My wife knows but prefers not to participate in my alter ego.. She has outings with friends to give me the opportunity at home. However , I have managed to have two makeovers which have given me the realization that I loved to express my feminine side and express who I really am…
    To express my femine feelings were somewhat derailed when I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, spinal cord compression surgery which was life threatening…however, the side effects were losing strength in my arms & legs..after 9 weeks of hospital physical therapy, I can walk with an aid of a walker and I can manage to feed my self…..
    When I got home from the hospital, I realized my feelings to express my self as a woman were not altered by the operation because that is me . Thank you for giving the opportunity to express my story and my journey wherever that may lead. Leonara

  2. tammy baxter 3 months ago

    Hi Dawn.
    Thank you so much for your wonderful story, I am so f2f you have wonderful
    Supportive partner and works mate’s.
    Love and hugs to you both
    Tammy xx

  3. Author
    Dawn Wyvern 3 months ago

    Many thanks for your lovely comments Leonara.
    I hope that you are able to be your fem self when ever possible – its not how you look but how you feel that is important.
    Life is always throwing up issues that we are having to deal with on the way, and it seems to me that you have more than your fair share just now !
    I know that you are able to use the group here to keep your humour and fem side amused.
    hugs
    Dawn
    xx

  4. Author
    Dawn Wyvern 3 months ago

    Hi Tammy
    thanks for your kind words and hope that you have some support in your life when you need it too
    hugs
    Dawn
    x

  5. Sarah Daniels 3 months ago

    Thank You Dawn, Im in a similar dilema trying to figure out where to now and maybe I dont need to choose one way or the other and like you just be at peace being me.

    • Author
      Dawn Wyvern 3 months ago

      Hi Sarah,
      There is no need to comply with other peoples needs when it is better to be yourself.
      There is a lot of peer pressure to Transition .. but what is right for one is not always right for others. I have seen a lot of people who feel that they have been encouraged to go down a road that they don’t need to.
      Dont feel that you are a ‘2nd class TG’ because you are not on hormones or have gone full time. We are all unique and have no need to justify ourselves to people who dont know our lifestyles or have any influence on our daily lives.
      Some need to transition.. others don’t.
      As the song goes … ‘ I am what I am, I am my own special creation … ‘

      hugs
      Dawn
      x

      • Sarah Daniels 3 months ago

        Hugz Dawn!!

      • *skippy1965(Cynthia) 3 months ago

        Love your article Dawn-and great advice.It s up to each of us to discover our own path and destination(I’m still figuring mine out) but it is crucial that we don’t let anyone push us faster or farther than we want or need to go NOR to let anyone slow us down or prevent us from following the path we discover is ours!
        Cyn

  6. Gabriela Romani 3 months ago

    Dawn,

    I’m glad that you shared your story with us. Thank you.

    I guess acceptance and support can come when you least expect them, as it happened with you at work. And I’m happy for you!

    Gaby ♥

    • Author
      Dawn Wyvern 3 months ago

      Many thanks for your kind comments Gaby! as you say, you never know who your friends are till you need them, and they they come from an unexpected source.
      hugs
      Dawn
      x

  7. Love the article Dawn, and love how you have woven all parts of your life and your persona together. It is good when we can be who we are with a partner who supports us.

    Much love hon.
    April

  8. Helene van der Tee 3 months ago

    Thanks for the article Dawn. I, like many of us can relate to so much of what you have written. I think as we get older we realise that time not spent being ourselves is wasted so the constraints get stretched. I thought going to the local TG group was coming out of the closet but it was just moving to a bigger one, now I need to spread my wings a bit further and see what the future brings.

    • Author
      Dawn Wyvern 3 months ago

      thank you for your kind comments Helene ..
      we are all different and have different goals in life … Life is too short not to do some nice things from time to time.
      Just be the best ‘you’ you can be
      hugs
      Dawn
      x

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