It has been a long journey to where I am today, living as a woman, over fifty years of evolving in fact. It started by wondering why girls wore clothes that I felt were right for me, leading to wearing my sister’s dresses and feeling it was indeed right. Through the years I retained that feeling and dressed when I could. Eventually I came out and things progressed further by getting my own wardrobe, gaining support of family, then friends, leading to the slow transition from male to female. My life changed on retirement, first going full time, then reentering the world of work. It was then that I was meeting people who only know the female me and nothing of my past; this was a new chapter. I had not changed my name officially, nor undergone surgery.
I had interviews and job offers, which all went very well, with the employers protecting my identity from co-workers, customers or clients. My first job was in a shop and my first co-worker was one that I also interviewed, and I took her on. She was lovely and we got on so well, she even introduced me to her family. The customers seemed quite oblivious on the whole and I loved the job. I was chatting to my co-worker one day and I let slip my trans status in conversation, thinking she knew, as the owner was a good friend of mine and may have mentioned it. The shocked look on her face when I said it, ‘Oh my god, I thought you were a lady!’ was enough to shock me too, but it was a salient lesson that I should not say a thing. It didn’t change anything about our friendship, however, because although the shop closed down, I still see her and her family to this day. I also have some new friends now that have given no indication that I am anything other than a female to them.
This got me thinking about how I see myself against how others see me, as my feelings are that I know what I am, but I’m still very sensitive that others will always see through me and my flaws, such as my voice. My appearance is fine, as my friends and family tell me; I have no problems being accepted, having had no issues at my workplace or with any clients at all. The nature of my work means that I have to deal with individuals with issues, family and other partners involved in their care. I have sat with a client and her mother discussing what are quite intimate female issues and it was quite professional and natural. There is more, and all the time I feel that I am what I appear to be, yet I still have insecurities.
Why? Why do I have these feelings? It was understandable in my early forays out in the world as I was evolving as a female. I accept that sometimes people may read me and have had the odd glance or murmur among themselves, but with no incident; it happens. There are those that may wish to ask pertinent questions, but have company policy and the law made it that no one feels safe commenting or having their feelings known in case they might offend and suffer sanctions? Do they know or do they actually care? I have always made it clear to my employers that if anyone has any questions, I will talk to them; if clients object then I will not make an issue of it. Nothing has been asked and no clients have objected. I am in an enviable situation to a lot of girls and, on the face of it, have an almost perfect life. I am blessed and should have no fears, yet I do.