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#I remember the first time screaming and running round shouting “no” as my mum tried to put a dress on me…………………………. at the age of 5 or 6 even the mention of a dress would panic me.

We visited Spain and when asked what I wanted for my birthday I replied “I would like my hair cut short ”. The lady in the hairdressers spent ages trying to convince my mum not to allow me to cut my hair. I was pretty lucky and my mum allowed me a lot of freedom when it came to clothes, toys & hairstyles. Years went by and I continued to keep my hair short, wearing mainly trousers and a t-shirt…………….. then came my first year of Comprehensive school and my nightmare began…forced to wear a skirt…… I hated school.

My mum and I began arguing a lot and we completely lost the connection becoming unable to communicate without an argument starting. I often missed school and began drinking with a group of friends on a daily basis. I tried to reach out and explain to my mum, but I just couldn’t find the right words. How do you explain that feeling and the confusion of my body just not matching how I felt inside. I had no access to the internet and couldn’t find any books in the library and what was I looking for ? Did others feel the same way?
The arguments between me and my mum got worst and social services became involved as she felt that she could no longer handle me. As I look back I feel shame for the way I treated her.

I had a group of friends who called me Kai….to them I was a boy and as I look back I realised that not one of them questioned me and just treated me how I wanted to be treated. Even my girlfriend at the time told her parents I was a boy. Puberty had begun and my confusion got worse and I pushed everyone away. I felt so alone and thought about ending it all. My friends kept me going, but the drinking got worst.

At 16 I moved out and was placed in supported accommodation. I went to college and ended up on anti-depressants. I lost all my friends and no one knew about the huge ball of confusion that was inside of me.

When I was 18 I met a woman who completely changed my life she told me that she was a Transsexual and at last I had a name for how I felt. She shared so much with me and I have never in my life felt like someone had solved my problems in just one word but when I went to the doctors and was referred to a psychiatrist……I ended up in a mental health hospital.

All I wanted was support and upon release from the hospital my problems worsened. I was on medication that sometimes made me sleep for up to 16 hours a day. I couldn’t communicate with anyone. I spent years living this way and made the decision to stop my treatment. Within a few weeks I had enrolled back into college and my life finally began. I completed my qualification, ended up working in Spain and I had a partner who completely accepted me and my life was finally on track.
I wasn’t in Spain very long when I got the call…. my mum had suffered a severe stroke………………………………….

Getting on a plane the very next day I visited my mum. I couldn’t go back to Spain as the stroke had left her severely disabled and we all needed to pitch in to support her.

I lived a split life for many years my partner & friends all knew about me, but I hid it from my mum and family. I knew that I could begin Testosterone therapy….however, I felt that I couldn’t put my mum through it and feared that hearing this would kill her.

Unsurprisingly It got more and more difficult living a lie and I ended up taking anti depressant for quite some time. I had regular contact with a counsellor and knew that I couldn’t keep going on living like that.
Then when I was very very close to telling my mum she was diagnosed with bowel cancer. They had to adjust her Warfarin medication for the stroke so that the chemo therapy would work. Soon she suffered a fatal stroke….for a week I stood by mum’s side as she lay unconscious in the hospital bed …. I held her as she took her last breath…

A year went by and I visited my GP I got everything out and was referred to a psychiatrist…and instead of ending up in hospital I was now seeing a counsellor…….

It took me about a year and a half but, I got my prescription for Testosterone and I started to feel like I was finally living instead of surviving day to day. My life no longer feels like a struggle, sure I get bad days and my transition was never easy…..but, I am finally me I can now look in the mirror and feel proud of who I am.
I am so thankful for my life and love waking up in the mornings and living my life…. I wanted to give back and started a group called Transgender In Wales….

In some ways I feel better for what I have been through. I have learned to appreciate so much and have got to meet some amazing people. Life is never easy for anyone, but it’s about using your experiences and realising without them you wouldn’t be you and as my favourite quote says “In a world where you can be anything, be yourself”

#I am male but not a man, a woman yet not female so is it any wonder I’m confused or why the people around me so often are. I am Trans, transgendered and transsexual but not a crossdresser, transvestite or tranny. This is my story.  .

I could never hope to pinpoint the day “I knew”.  I can though remember the young child who at five or so sat down in the hall and wished he could be like “Veronica” and wanted so much to be a girl.  I can also remember the child who like every good catholic boy said his prayers at night.  God alone knows what the priests would have said had they known that the most fervent of them all was to wake up a girl.

Growing up I became aware that there were people like me out there but even then not knowing exactly who or what I was I moved between worlds. To some I was gay, to others straight; I wore skirts at home but could be overly macho in public.  To overcome the guilt and shame I felt I took drugs but the demons grew and I developed a cycle of needing drugs to beat the feelings but to beat the drugs I needed to express the feelings.

By 21, with both parents dead and my family alienated I was, due to the cocktail of drink and drugs, near death and even my doctor was close to giving up on me.  Friends though stepped in and gave me a route out, or so I thought, through religion.  Two years and a Christian rehab centre later I was clean but warned that if I didn’t suppress my transgendered identity I was doomed to misery and hell. So I suppressed. 

For just over a decade I became the perfect straight man.  I married and threw myself into work and the church all the time fighting the reality within.  Depression which had dogged me all my life continued to be my constant companion.

In 2002 having been brought to the point of near suicide I sought psychiatric help and was at last diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria recognising me as a transsexual and offering me treatment.  At the time however I felt I could not throw the life I had away in the seemingly useless hope that things would be better if I had gender re-assignment.  Nor did I feel I could hurt my homo- and transphophic wife by doing so.

For six more years I fought who I was, realising more and more that it was a losing battle.  Work suffered, I suffered, becoming almost a recluse and my relationship suffered.  At last this year I faced the reality that I had to end my life either by suicide or by becoming the real me, a woman with suicide often appearing the better option.

Again I saw a psychiatrist and again I was referred for treatment though being told that even to get approval for funding could take years.  This time though the pressure was too great; within months I had taken some of the biggest risks of my life.

Somehow I survived and bereft of choice I decided to be me despite the ongoing mental battles. So a new journey began or rather an old one took new form.  My employers, despite having all the policies, didn’t know what to do practically and it took time and pain to get everything in place.  I felt alone, isolated and without a future. 

With few close friends to speak of I had no choice but to come out to a cousin and although we had had little contact for years she accepted what I was doing, in fact she said she knew it would happen.  I ended my marriage leaving home to start again.  Almost four decades of my life were swept away as I started to become the “woman within”.  A new home, new friends and a new way of seeing the world and being seen by it beckoned.

Within three short but very long months I went from being seen and known as a man to being a woman.  At first the fear was paralysing and my steps were small not least because of the pencil skirts I wear but they were also liberating.  From my first weekly shop as a woman at midnight I now, as confidence grows, live and work full time.  Each day though grows no easier as everyday, without choice, I come out to every stranger and passer by who sees me.  There is abuse, cat calls in part but more often the subtle abuse of too close a stare often followed by a guffaw or giggle but this is I’m afraid now part of my life.

The Trans community has benefited from the experiences of the gay community.  Because of the troubles and fight for acceptance it has gone through we as Trans people are perhaps more accepted than we would have been otherwise.  We are though where the gay community was twenty or thirty years ago accepted but still thought of as a little strange. Although not trying to be cruel for some people having me as a “friend” is an affirmation of their own liberalism, a medal they can pin to their chest.

Unlike gay men or women we cannot hide who we are in public.  When I walk down a street the fact that I am Trans is obvious to all.  Although various surgeries and hair removal will help to lessen the impact (if it is funded or if I can afford to “go private”) my height, shoe size and build will probably always raise the question in people’s minds.  I cannot “butch” or “femme” up to hide myself from the stares or questions.

I thank the gay and Trans pioneers whose courage at staring society in the eye has paved a way. I also thank the LG and B community who have often welcomed the Trans community into their ranks and the support groups that encompass us all. However I am not gay and the issues that face me and those like me are often different and all too often both gay and straight out there fail to recognise this and problems ensue.  I will, for example, never be totally sure of my sexuality until I am comfortable with my gender identity and this causes confusion among both gay and straight people around me.  Am I a straight woman with a man’s body or a gay male?

Not even I know my future now.  I await the NHS to approve funding hoping that they will fund not only surgery and hormones but also hair removal, breast, butt and hip enlargement, deportment and speech therapy though unlikely.   Financial security is now a thing of the past.  Even if I could afford to buy a home again I have no idea if the money needed for that will have to fund private treatments to reduce my masculine features.  Will I ever have a long term partner again or will it just be me and my cat?  Most importantly of all, will I ever truly be a woman and leave the confused little boy behind?

I may be accepted but for many close to me they know both me and my past and it is as hard for me as it is for them to merge the two into my current identity as a woman. 

Time heals but is also to me an enemy. My past is no longer mine and my future too uncertain. I can only live in the present and hope without hoping that everything will somehow fall into place.

How can I look at photos of my past, my Mum or Dad and not be reminded?  How can people talk of past experiences and not think of me as male? How do I cope with the pain and sometimes embarrassment, mine and theirs? How do I shave my face before putting on my makeup and not, at times, feel abnormal?

Many of my family do not know of my choice, including my partner from whom I’ve separated. So, with many doors still closed to me I still seek some anonymity. 

I have delivered training on Trans issues and been available for one to one support and advice so please contact Fyne times if you think I can be of help to you.

#The monthly meet in Swansea was really nice. The only thing that spoilt it was the lack of sunshine in the beer garden! It was a beautiful day in Swansea that day and I was happy to have a friendly conversation and a giggle with fellow members from our group, both young and lets just say past 30 like me.
This has only been possible for me since I experienced real day to day life in the company of Kai. The founder of this facebook group. I have gained so much self confidence that I feel unstoppable! I guess I have always wanted to be me and it’s only been me that has held me back for so many years. Being in a group has helped no end. Apparently everyone knows about putting red lipstick on your face to cover beard shadow before putting foundation on. Well I for one didn't and I have learnt many more things by sharing experiences with the group. Its a fun and informative. A healthy balance. What made my first day as me so special? A young mother sitting next to me in a coffee shop holding her baby up to show me. The baby might have been more interested in the big Starbucks neon sign above the door but when I caught the babies attention I got a smile. Acceptance I guess. That’s what we all want and by social interaction that’s what we get. I really hope this group goes from strength to strength. Also in the future. . .watch out for Brian our group mascot. He might turn up in some strange place with an informative story to tell which directly relates to our lives.
Thanks for listening to me ramble on and if you ain’t in our group please give us a try before you go it alone or worse resign yourself to being unhappy for the rest of your life.

# "I visited my local lgbt organisation last year and they gave me a
link to a website that told me what transgender ment but they had no staff that could support me
as i dont think they had received any training. I felt really low at the time and the only
support i had was online.I felt really lonely I wasn't working and moved to london, i was homeless
for about 4 months then got involved with a local transgender youth group i now share a flat with
another transguy. my family still refuse to talk to me, but at least now i get to go to meet other
trangender people and have even now got a part time job. if i had the support things could have
been different, i dont feel that there is an lgbt as most have no idea what the t even means.
i think what your doing is really important and i cant wait to see what comes of it.
i feel like i know you so well from watching your videos so good luck brother"

# "I just watched ur new vid oh my u have lots of facial hair so cute xx
hmm yer I moved from Newport about 2 years ago it was impossible to transition.
There is just nothing and frankly the welsh lgbt community is so far behind.
Here there are more options just search Manchester transgender and you will see what I mean.
I am so glad that I left Newport don't get me wrong it was a hard move I left everything behind.
For a start to begin hormone treatment I would have needed to travel to charing cross,I was
unemployed how would that have been possible? I really wish you the best of luck with this Kai
and remember don't ever back down"

# "I was seriously bullied at university due to one of my lecturers accidentally
outing me in a tutorial. I ended up dropping the course because of it.
The university had no idea how to deal with the situation and that really bothered me.
I was too scared and lacked the resources to deal with the situation alone.
More awareness in the education system that people may need someone to talk to
about problems like this.
Good luck" 

# "I knew I was trans for a very long time due to personal reasons I couldn't take it any further. I needed support but my doctor wasn't very helpful I felt so alone and relied on online support. I am now very happy it took me a long time to get to this point and I do wonder how I survived :(
It has taken me a very long time to realise that how I feel is not abnormal and I am able to hold my head up and ignore the comments thanks for letting me join your group"

#"Thank you for setting up this group since joining my confidence has grown"