You are currently browsing the archives for June 2014.
Displaying 1 - 5 of 8 entries.


  • Posted on June 29, 2014 at 2:40 pm

The trouble with being a writer is that sometimes you just have to write. When I began this blog I wrote twice a week, and as the weeks close on my gender dysphoria, my mind is filling again.

‘Uncoupling’ has featured in three key ways over these past years. Firstly, it was uncoupling from an accustomed life, presumed male, involving work, family, relationships, activism, social activities and so on. Secondly, there was uncoupling from all the love in my life, as my family and marriage disintegrated and I was no longer wanted. This was accompanied by having to leave behind everything I had accrued, socially and materially and emotionally.

This time, the uncoupling is from the gender dysphoria itself, and this is no small thing. I wrote recently of it as emerging from a long tunnel into daylight, realising nothing was following or chasing, and nothing threatening ahead, just open air.

This weekend has been once more profound. Starting (again) in my dance group, I felt such welcome, acceptance, and dare I say it, love, that I left in a mist of sheer gratitude. I had asked the whole group, that if any felt so minded, I would welcome anyone to track me down and call by during my coming absence from the dance. I do believe they would even stretcher me there simply to lie in the midst of the dance if necessary! But I shall be very sensible … And I know some will call round, and it will be lovely.

Some understand why I shall be away, and I do mean understand: that this is a fundamental and life-affirming thing for me, and that it will finally change important parts of my psyche. Some, not knowing the reason, have been afraid that perhaps I am fighting cancer, and I can only reassure this is not life-threatening, but something I have waited a long time for.

So as I face this uncoupling from my gender dysphoria, I have a small dilemma: to tell one who does not know, why I shall be away, places me in the category of transsexual (‘used to be a man’), where I do not want to be. Even this blog blows my cover, if that is what I aspire to. Uncoupling is not denial, though. It is just that this step is a very final and transforming one. It was my decision to ask for it and to go through with it, and is solely my responsibility.

Why this matters

I had imagined that everything would be smooth and gradual, a daily ‘getting there’. Then last week, I told of realising my body had changed more than I’d noticed. The summer clothes from last year and before just don’t fit as well. Red is a colour I can wear with confidence. I checked my bra size today. You know, I last did this properly when I didn’t have boobs, and had to buy some! I got the smallest cup size bra I could, and silicone fillers to fit that. When I didn’t need them any more, I simply went for the smallest cup size I could find online (40A isn’t in the shops much!) and it was OK. But today I am 38B, and that just feels more normal. And I tucked a favourite skirt waistband in a bit too.

It does just feel like getting more normal again. I don’t mean to say that being transsexual is not normal (other than in the statistical sense of average), but that I am a woman in a very normal way.

Last night I was chatting to a number of women musicians from Australia about bands, and countries, and travel and all the things we have in common. A year ago I would have been wary about being noticeably ‘different’, but nowadays it is only in reflection that being anything other than normal enters my mind. Being trans is a state of being I am leaving behind, and others are forgetting it too. This is good.

After the coming-to-terms and acknowledging the fear of surgery itself, a few weeks ago, things have changed. There is so much to prepare for, so that my return home is as straightforward as possible. Some will go against the grain out of sheer practicality, including ready-meals and a microwave oven, but only for a while. Right now, under the duress of zero hormones, I could be feeling down. My body and facial hair are unrestrained by oestrogen, and it annoys me! My moods may yet change and I may become irritable. I do know already that I shall be glad to be back on the pills.

Instead, I feel excited. I really, really want this, and I am almost there. I feel full of energy, and above all, incredibly empowered. That’s right, I, a transsexual woman who has come through serial psychiatric assessment and intervention, to live in a world where both women and transsexual people can be disadvantaged, having lost everything that meant most to me, without lasting financial security, and with no loving relationship, feel empowered. Remind me, as I struggle through the first month of recovery: I am strong.

And so I am expecting further change in the next six months, as I grasp this final uncoupling, this last big thing that has been holding me back.

I have met with my former wife a couple of times recently, so uncoupling still has a ring there too. I know I feel no differently about her than I ever did. I also know that there is no echo. This has all been too strange, and it is not something she ever has to come to terms with. I am still here, all of me, though released. It is unexpected; I look different, I ask directions, I call the waitress over; I am a woman. But not loved. Uncoupled.


  • Posted on June 28, 2014 at 9:00 am

Because you were the one with whom I knew the need
to scream, and cry, unfathomable, come to you to feed.

Like the one who had been there, when rich, in health—
and now such sickness of this heart, diminished wealth

because yours were the breasts I held, loved, blessed
and envied, reliably, faithfully, each night at rest

because you were the one whose girls’ nights out
meant anything but me—at home alone in doubt

changing, glamorous, unnoticed, pearl in shell,
waiting to be pierced, for the wand, the spell.


Because I wanted you to be the one to say
that I look lovely in my dress and pearls

because I wanted you to see the change in me
that makes me wholly one of all the girls

because I wanted you to be the one to hold
my breasts, admiring how they’ve grown

because I wanted you to be the one just there
bonded, welcoming, to this my home.

Like our babies you bore, whose unnerving screams
and unfathomable nights destroyed our dreams.


2013 © Andie Davidson

Maid of la mer

  • Posted on June 28, 2014 at 8:41 am

One finger tip one thumb
and a pinch of finest sea-dust
fallen in an age, storm-stolen, stilled

where was it when I was drowning?

Calm now as the silence depth brings
unvoiced and needless of air
reprieved not of towering waves

but the fear of breathing.

You have no idea how much noise
a drowning person adds out there
all arms, all legs, all desperation

and the relief when they are gone.

Imagine them half-sunk, tossed
slowly filling, absorbing ocean
in all their life-filled spaces.


Be honest, you tired of flailing limbs
since you turned back to safe shores
we both forgave the futility

imagined debts we never owed.

One moment we were laughing
swimming in a widening world
the next my feet seemed caught

grabbed to a gravity, a floor.

Now here I swim, gilled, serene and
reach to marvel at sea-dust in my hand
oblivious to white horses and sanctity of sky

this is my tail, and the scale of it.


2014 © Andie Davidson

Mirror, mirror …

  • Posted on June 28, 2014 at 8:05 am

Last week I told how it felt to see a photo of me from only two years ago, and not recognise myself easily. And how I look forward in the next step, to seeing myself naked in a mirror, to seeing myself as I know I should be.

Mirrors and gender dysphoria are a nasty combination for some, though never a terror for me personally. But that doesn’t mean I even liked my face before; I didn’t. I used to think of myself as ugly, but accepted that was what blokes my age had to be like. I am not beautiful, though. Just acceptable as a woman of a certain age, with slightly craggy features. I have considered a future plan for a slight tuck under the ears though: it would make a difference. We shall see.

This is not about mirrors and narcissism, but about being at peace with oneself after a lifetime disliking and living in some hate of some parts of what you are. Not all, just important parts. So what do I see differently, and why is the way I see myself so different from how others do? You may (possibly rightly) groan inwardly as I revisit yet again the idea of identity and relationships of any kind. It is just the awful irony that the more I see myself change, the more I want to be seen as the same person but more fulfilled. I mean, don’t you like me better as a happy person, with no self-hates and fears? No?

When you look at a trans* person, and reflect

You too are a mirror to a trans* friend, partner, divorcée … When they look at you from the same heart, through the same eyes, but at peace – what do they see in your face? Fear? Disgust? Coldness? Distance? In fact those things they always felt, looking at themselves as they used to appear in a mirror. I would surmise that you have also thought that we shouldn’t have had these thoughts about ourselves. After all, you liked us as we were, inauthentic and pained as it was. You wanted us to stay that way.

For us, this is about sense of self. We covered up a lot, we got by, but we knew all along that we were not living our whole lives, in full recognition of who we should, and could, be. Much of the time, we were probably doing it for you. And I wonder how you reflect about that, when the trans* person has transitioned, and stands in front of you, so different, and yet so much the same inside. What was it that ever made you close? Their commitment to being what you wanted, as a kind of devotion or loyalty? Perhaps they gave you the identity you wanted, as the normal spouse or partner or friend.

It’s such an irony isn’t it? I swap my old mirror reflection for a fresh one, and in the process, your loving smile becomes a cold and fearful one. I became authentic, and now you protect your identity by shutting me out. (This is not just about spouses, by the way.)

So why do we think our identities are at risk from each other at all? It is because we are, essentially, quite superficial? I mean, let’s actually be honest. It sounds awful, and it’s the last thing we want to think about ourselves. Superficial sounds mean, shallow, unconsidered, uncaring, and certainly unloving. It feels derogatory, but what I mean by it is layered, reaching only down a short way, rather than to the true otherness of a person. I have concluded that we tend on the whole to think that love is very deep – but practice it is something rather less. We have a belief in love as something big and beyond ourselves, a greater than, and we actually do want to belong in that place. But in practice, our real love is tipped off the scales quite easily. The things we say, the sweet nothings, the chemistry of romance and being in love, the vows and promises, are very fragile in reality. And so are many years of harmony and mutual loyalty. We love saying these things, but …

Imagine promising when you are twenty-something: ‘I promise to support and love and cherish you even when you lose your looks, or become impotent, or disabled, because I truly love you and commit myself to you.’

Yes, we say ‘in sickness and in health’ and ‘forsaking all others’ because it sounds very grand and deep. But saying it in the above terms instead, is a bit raw isn’t it? Why can we not be more honest from the start: ‘I promise to love you so long as you meet my expectations, whereupon the deal is off.’? Because it would spoil the fairytale day?

A plea for an honest mirror

That’s why so many partnerships involving one being transsexual, hit the rocks. You might have found your true, happy, fearless and blissfully happy self … but baby, you’re on your own, because that is not what I want in you. I would rather have honesty, looking back. Then maybe I would have been able to face my own identity long ago, knowing that any commitment to me was humanly fragile in any case.

Really, the trans* partnership is no different from the husband running off with ‘a younger model’. No, really: ‘I don’t want the old, unattractive one any more, I need the right stimulus to feel alive, to feel wanted, desired as I feel I deserve.’ I mean, doesn’t that make pragmatic sense?

But when I say an honest mirror, dear Queen, I mean one that says ‘Snow White is OK!’ – not because the Queen is ugly, but because Snow White’s heart is in the right place, and should not be hated and rejected for her appearance. My bedroom mirror tells me now, not that I am the fairest of them all, but that I am real and authentic as I never was. Now I want someone who, as a mirror to me, reflects what they see in me as a person, not as a ‘man gone wrong’ and therefore no longer to be desired, but who I am inside: authentic and true to self. A mirror without fear that my reflection in their eyes changes everything.

You see, the question to the mirror was wrong. I never wanted to be the fairest, and I never wanted to compare myself. I wanted to know from my mirror how on earth I could be more fair. I wanted my mirror to show me how I could be more authentic, and in its dumb response, I could not find a way.

Learning from the trans* mirror?

What I would like others to see in me, as their mirror, is that nothing is fixed. That a person can change their appearance and be even more loving and generous, even if their body-sex is unexpected. I want someone to look in me and know that their identity is unchanged by mine, that they are safe, and I am safe, and that real love lies under the skin, and outlasts the changes all our bodies experience.

Do you fear becoming unloved simply for getting older?

Are you afraid that your friend, family member, partner, will walk out of your life and find you quite untouchable, just because you are ill, or disabled?

If anything, my trans* experience these last few years has taught me to re-evaluate what we mean by ‘love’ completely. Disillusioned? Yes, I am, but I have a much clearer idea of what real love requires. I still love someone who no longer loves me, but I mustn’t let it stop me finding someone who can.

And I shall not.

Getting there

  • Posted on June 21, 2014 at 11:32 pm

My personal motto over the past few years has been ‘I’m getting there!’

Partly, it has been recognition of slow and steady progress, partly it has been self-reassurance when another day goes by and nothing has happened. Now ‘getting there’ means just a few more weeks, and then nowhere particularly to get to. I shall re-evaluate where ‘next’ might mean, in completely different terms. First, simply healing and gaining confidence in my body again, but after that it will be things like: what work can I best do or find that will make a contribution to my pension before it’s too late. And perhaps, how might I find love and romance again? Some things will continue, such as facial electrolysis … But there’s no story in that!

‘Getting there’ also means that this blog may also change. I may not write every week, or it may be occasionally reflective but with more poetry. I think what I have liked about getting here, is that I have met other people along the way, helped a few, and learned so much. Have I said it all, with regards the male to female transition? Three years ago, information was on the Internet to be found, but social media groups were fewer than they are now. Sometimes it seems everyone who successfully transitions has an urge to set up another page, write another book, start another group. Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be more openness, and hopefully, more acceptance. Some people have suggested that I create a book out of this blog, and I might. Distilled down, perhaps I can take a different angle on the whole business of gender self-identification and the impact on other people.

Meanwhile, the next few weeks (I was advised to be busy, very busy!) will be strange. I still have a few important things to prepare, people I want to see, things to write and concerts to play. And I have refused to allow anything to interfere with dance. Mercifully, my decapeptyl (testosterone-blocker) dosage runs through to surgery. The three-monthly jab will have been almost exactly three months ago, so it means no rush of testosterone coming unwelcome at the last. (Never have I been more grateful for a drug than this.) Already, I have had to drop the oestrogen, because it holds a thrombosis risk in surgery. How my body will feel for the next six weeks without it I don’t yet know, but I will be very glad to be back on it. It will also be almost exactly a year since I was given official and full dosage, and in that time my body has significantly changed in its overall shape – not just breast growth, but waist and hips. I like what I see in the mirror (well, from that point up) and my legs are good. This is what ‘getting there’ has also meant.

And perhaps strangely, excitement lives with me. I say strangely, because this is major surgery, and as I explain my forthcoming absence to people who don’t know what is being done, they look terribly worried, and then I excitedly say not to, because it isn’t life-threatening! But I don’t explain. After all, I’m only ‘getting there’. Every time my ‘bits’ get in the way, feel awkward or painfully squished, I know it isn’t for much longer; and it simply feels good, very good. I’m so looking forward to looking in the mirror, naked, in less than one month’s time. And to simple things like my knickers fitting properly (!), and dancing in leggings, or wearing a swimsuit.

Encounters remind me of the distance travelled: people who notice my body looks different. Today I came across a photo of me and my former wife when she ran the Brighton marathon just three years ago. I wondered who the rather unattractive grey-headed bloke was, standing next to her, as I stared at the thumbnail icon on the computer. Enlarged, he was wearing an unfamiliar tee-shirt: ‘Proud husband of …’, thoughtfully procured by my since-estranged daughter. And then there was a photo of my last Christmas with wife and son. Who was the bulgy bloke with longer grey hair? And how could he have been attractive to the woman next to him? And I realise that she may find another similar to take my place. If that’s what she wanted, well, I am a long way away from that.

Other encounters are much simpler now; the poet who took the trouble to find and contact me to express appreciation – which was mutual. The dancer in tears from the emotional experience of a very shared dance with me. The busker who sang just the right song as I was passing, leaving me in deep, quiet tears in the middle of the street. The German lesbian visitor who described me to a friend as a strong woman. And all those who don’t know what ‘getting there’ means to me, as I arrange my two months’ absence. My masseuse who kneads my body back into shape each month, who has been so supportive over ten years and shares my gratitude for this journey.

If anything, I feel this week like someone who has run a marathon, who is walking the final yards because the time no longer matters, it’s not about the clock, just about getting there.