For 30 years, I’ve battled with issues around my gender identity. This is my candid, reflective and queer adventure…
As a child, I loved climbing trees. I longed to escape, touch the sky and fly away. I was a little aloof and I enjoyed my own company. Mostly, I’d traipse the shoreline of Rosneath beach in search of shells, or hide in an alcove of one of the boulders by the marina, intrigued by the village youth, smoking and making out.
Then, at the edge of eight years old. I watched for the first time, the Eurovision Song Contest. I was glued to the TV as Israel’s entry – Dana International – won. She was trans! I knew then I’d found the reason for why I was feeling disconnected with my body.
Home life was difficult. I’d do anything to get out of the house, away from the neglect. No matter how hard I tried, my parents wouldn’t provide me with the love and attention I so desperately craved for. I’d become a recalcitrant sprog, and I lived in fear they’d find out about my secret.
It was the beginning of a persona non grata which led to making capricious decisions, self-harm, unsafe promiscuity, cocaine use, alcohol, and prison!
I celebrated my 25th birthday in a male prison, head full of mixter-maxter –a gender dysphoric.
I was a divergent and the press hounded me for it, publishing unwarranted and unfair articles which circulated the wing, painting a picture of a monster. I endured threats for three long and arduous years. I fought the political red tape to have my gender recognised and won. I transferred to a female establishment with medical intervention and a plan to undergo full reassignment surgery.
Incarceration has brought with it a certain expected code of behaviour; a nuance of living in a conventional way. I’ve weathered the storm of recent bureaucrats knee-jerk reactions and regained my sense of worth, yet, in some ways I’m still that wee shoogly fawn, starting out, eyes googling entering HMP, placing each step with trepidation, and in other ways, I’ve grown into a stalwart and gracious doe.
After 10 years, I’m finally non-conforming and settling into a steady stream of serenity: now that’s liberating! I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I’ve gotten myself a stable and loving partner, an accepting adoptive family and a safe space to enjoy the wonders of transitioning.
I graduated this year from The Open University with a degree in the Arts and Humanities, and I call myself an Abstract Expressionist.
I don’t live in perpetual fear anymore; I’m free. The years yearning to be reborn have finally arrived, and as exhausting as the journey has been, I wouldn’t change any of it. I’m set for life. It’s a new chapter; a crossing over. I’ll always be a pariah, but a proud one.
I’m no longer chained to my erstwhile life. There’s no skeletons in my closet, and nobody can take anything away from me, because I stand tall, liberated, and rehabilitated: that’s all that matters.