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Displaying 6 - 9 of 9 entries.

I don’t have gender dysphoria

  • Posted on July 23, 2014 at 8:10 pm

I have told friends before and written it here somewhere. Years before I came to really understand the way I was, I would slip out from my office, cross the narrow street and spend a lunchtime in the Brighton (Triratna) Buddhist Centre. No religion, no doctrines, no god, just a chance to experience guided meditation and a break from a busy day.

There I would step out of my shoes, leave my role behind, grab cushions and fold my stockinged feet (no, not socks) into meditative balance. I felt the ‘wrong’ appearances may be at least understood a little. And these little hints were certainly beginning to slip out. Nobody minded, if they noticed at all.

And there I sat, deeply mindful, cultivating loving kindness, or just sitting. And in just sitting, my inner perception of my body was serenely different. I could no longer feel the presence of my bits, crammed into the ‘wrong’ underwear (since my teens – no, not ideal) but I was aware of an inner anatomy not my own, and of ‘my’ breasts. Quietly and calmly, I was not a man at all. It wasn’t distracting, or exciting. It simply was. Equally, it was unshakeable. Was it somehow ‘real’? Or was it a developing delusion to get me out of the impossible situation I was heading towards?

Somewhere in intervening years, I learned what a female orgasm was. Too much info.? Come on, these are likeable things we all do. The important thing for me was the discovery that a completely different kind of stimulus, in different and imagined (inaccessible) places could have a completely different outcome, even when my body was as it was. I ‘knew’ the parts of me that weren’t there, and I knew exactly where they were! OK, I admit that the tuition of 30 years marriage meant few secrets, and I’m a highly intuitive person … But then there was today.

Uncomfortable about genitals? Look away now. Come back next week. But I have always maintained the principle of real observation in this blog, and I feel this is important.

Today was the grand unveiling. This morning all surgical dressings were removed and for the first time I had to open (dilate) my vagina. Shiny perspex ‘stents’ are used, in various sizes, in order to stretch and maintain the channel created by surgery. It isn’t painful (or pleasurable yet). During the reconstructive surgery your own tissue is rearranged, including nerve endings. Isn’t this going to feel like a muddle? What is this opening that has never existed before? What direction? How deep? Of course you don’t know until you’ve been shown, and try it.

I saw exactly what I’d expected. You really do need to work through the surgical outcomes pictures before this moment. My outcomes included minimal or no bruising, textbook normal. Next, the first insertion. In it went, all the way and I held it there, relaxing for the required time. Weird? No. The only impression I had was of normality, as if I’d done this lots of times before. In my mind I had; and in my mind, as in the meditation, I’d somehow got it right.

This reminds me of my dance that came from nowhere. Both will continue to improve, both are intuitive. And both are, for me, a profound affirmation of what and who I am.

I used to have gender dysphoria. Now I don’t.

No, I still can’t explain it, or rationalise it. I do know for certain I wouldn’t be here now if it was a matter of preference or choice, and that this has been the only practical resolution. If you feel it is a choice, don’t do it. But if it is the only way out, I can reassure that it is not an escape but a very positive authentic act. It may also be that you too can never find sufficient explanation for those bemused friends or family who simply cannot imagine why anyone could want this. That is not our concern. I have received a gift here for which I shall be eternally grateful, but only because it was more important than anything else in being true to myself.

Good luck in your journey, or being alongside another’s.

Lady in waiting. Proud

  • Posted on July 8, 2014 at 11:17 pm

What an incredible feeling it is to be in the last week with this body-as-born. Everything continues to fall into place, things are drawing to a close quite neatly and orderly. No spare time (except for the innate impulse to write), but time still to be ready. And time to reflect on what in the end has been a four-year journey.

How did I get here? I mean, if I had stacked the odds four years ago against the achievement, and gratitude and resolution I feel today, I would not have dared believe it.

I count the formal permissions I have sought, the doctors, psychiatrists, counsellors, therapists, the administrators, the letters, the deed poll, the notifications, the regrettable divorce, and next the Gender Recognition Panel. For which again, I have to pay. How many times have I had, in this time, to persuade, convince and appeal to people who have no experience of being born transsexual, that my birth certificate was inaccurate?

Have you ever had to do that?

I shall never need to do this ever again.

I began by asserting that it was quite normal to be transgender. To keep love in my life I tried persuading myself that I could be ‘two-spirit’. I fought myself, accepting others’ needs for me to be what they wanted me to be. Bit by bit I watched it all taken away (see Through my eyes) as those nearest me failed to recognise me any more. I hit a suicidal low as I realised I may never know love and intimacy in my life ever again. And despite everything, gradually, I became fully myself, with an inner peace I had never before known.


I danced through the past year as I released the bonds reluctantly with my loved ones, and found a real home among people who only knew me, as the dancer-poet-musician. I worked my way through from the rather obvious trans employee among a team of men (she’ll understand, she used to be a man!), to feeling now that I can go anywhere and do anything I choose.


I am proud. Not for being transsexual, but for being me. For beating the adversities, the misunderstanding, the distrust, the dis-ownership and the uncoupling. I am proud for being here, and being greater than all these things. I am proud for finally being released from doing, being, making others what they want to be – by not being authentically me.


And I understand: I am not beautiful. I am not slim. I will always have attributes that make people look or think twice. I do not have a girl’s teenage experience. I was not the pregnant and breast-feeding mother. I have never been chased by unwanted men (though I have been abused in the street as a woman). I do not have the ‘right’ history to remember. And I am not male, in any sense or memory at all. I never was.


I have yet to find anyone who finds me attractive. I have come to regard human love very differently, and that another love can exist that I value, but that is hard to find. I am not really unloved, because people have told me that they do, and in a way that I understand, accept and appreciate. I wrote the poem Realisations in 2012, even before I finally let go the old way of living, and sadly it is still true and with me today. I’ve grown to like it again though …

No, the sadness is still there as I watch so many other couples and families survive and refind their loving, when one of them goes through the unravelling of transition, and see instead ‘the wonderful unfolding of flowers’.


And yet in these last days before my surgery, I feel so empowered that I feel the world belongs to me. The surgery will flatten me for a while, and I expect post-natal blues as well, as all the effort comes to fruition with little more to do ahead than rebuild strength.

But my goodness, I am a woman with such a grasp on life that I am free, and I am strong. I have taken complete responsibility for my life, and I shall go wherever I like to make the utmost of it.


  • Posted on July 8, 2014 at 10:57 pm

There is never a choice, but only many choices
never a coming out, rather many revelations

and never a realisation, just one after another again –
as a morning veil withdrawn across the sky

with that natal, waking, feeling of something new,
like the wonderful unfolding of flowers.


She waits quietly in a place she has made her own
able only to be what dawnings have revealed

and through the choices, the constant revelations
the realisations, the makings of herself

one thing holds true: the bud, the early flower, dew
were never seen – the morning but a dream.


Now never more real, never more ready for life, one
single sadness: she has never been loved.

Not taken, not possessed, not seduced, persuaded or
taken home – but met, embraced and wanted –

even desired, simply for who she is, without sense
of being tainted, but rather, perfumed by her love.


2012 © Andie Davidson

From the book, Realisations


  • Posted on July 6, 2014 at 9:51 am


This week I had a conversation with a cat. I had gone to deliver a birthday card to be delivered by my former wife to my daughter who lives I know not where. I don’t even know if the envelope will be opened. Who else would send a card in an envelope written in purple with just her name? Will her partner suggest she opens it? Just to see? My guess is that they never mention me to each other. I wonder what the conversation would be if they did? There was no message, only love and happy birthday.

Anyway, I stepped out of my car to meet my old cat, a ginger tom, one of two, which I do miss. I tickled his ears as I always did, squeaked as I always did, talked to him and told him how I missed him. He was appreciative and did all the right things. I must have given him a full five minutes before ringing the bell. I handed the card, she took it. No smile or welcome, just an uncertain holding of the front door, shooing the cat out as he tried to go in. She explained, after repeated attempts to set the cat on his way in any other direction but this, that this was a spitting-image neighbour cat, not ‘mine’.

There was no real conversation; our last evening out had been ‘difficult’. I left, feeling like the cat. He looked the same and was rejected for not being the right one. I don’t look the same, and was rejected even though I was the right one.


I spent a delightful morning with a friend from Bristol. After friending on Facebook largely because I already had met her daughters, this father (yes, that’s right), a professional surgeon, was coming over to Brighton and we agreed to meet. What made the conversation lively was in part due to my book of poetry Realisations, which she found thoughtful, evocative, even helpful. But more than that, here was someone happy to live as I at first had, in a dual role, male and female. This I found fascinating, because I remember those days, when I too asked permission to be female in certain spaces, because I didn’t want to cause offence or alienate, whilst inside I was screaming to be allowed out. My friend does it very well, and will never follow the same route as I have. Her daughter joined us for lunch, and we had a lovely time together: one bisexual, one transgender dual-role parent and one transitioned transsexual friend of both. None of us had any difficulty with this, and no shortage of conversation.

And this father, this respected professional, had told me of their being outed by The Sun newspaper. A deliberate attempt to sensationalise being transgender in order to invite rejection and ridicule.

Support group

There is an invaluable drop-in support group in Brighton for gender-questioning people of all ages, called the Clare Project. Once a month I have the option of joining them for an evening meal out in Brighton. Thankfully there are plenty of places in Brighton that do not mind a very motley crew of maybe 30 gender-questioning and transitioned people. And we are diverse. This week, as ‘my last’, I made the effort to go along, even though I make no effort these days to inhabit trans spaces. I bumped into someone I only knew on Facebook, recognised them easily (early days) and was not recognised because they had felt accosted by just a woman in the street. But the evening was a chance to meet my favourite trans man, there was someone who went my way at the same hospital just a I was coming out, and a friend who joined the group soon after me. There were others who are moving nicely along, as well as a few cis folk friends and partners, and some non-transitioners. I did say diverse …

We don’t just talk about gender things; we have real lives. But we do have things in common, such as broken families, loss of affection, triumphs and loneliness, battles with ignorant people, even difficulties finding an income or a friendly place to live. I was just high on the excitement of impending closure, full of energy.

My trans man friend said how much he simply missed cuddles. Me too. We hugged.


I was passed over for a job opportunity that I wanted, and that I could quite easily have done. I felt a judgement against me was unfair. I checked it out with colleagues in sporadic conversations, and they felt the same. I wondered whether my first year in this first job as a woman had tainted my record, and reflected on how the past two years have changed me. I had walked in just weeks after transitioning from ever expressing as male again, into a new corporate environment led by and full of men. To consult and advise. I got a contract, then a job. As a trans woman (everyone was told). In a wig and silicone boobs. I got on with it, survived inhabiting an entirely male office, found my feet (albeit with a slightly belligerent side to assert my non-maleness), and went through months when I cried all the way to work as my life fell apart, rejected by family and ultimately beginning a single life away from all I held dear. Including the cats.

I had this conversation with my current manager, who is now to be replaced as my manager by the person who got the job I wanted. I am one layer further down the organisation, just as I am craving to rise again! I related how I know what it is like to be a woman at work. But also a man among men, with those expectations. An advantage? Certainly eye-opening from both sides. And I reflected with her how the two years had treated me, and how newly-empowered I now feel. When I return to work and complete my healing, I shall have left behind all requests for permission and proofs for the existence of me as a woman. This will be a real difference, and the future is wide open to me. I have grasped responsibility for my own life, found my own authenticity, and I shall never give it away again.

This kind of conversation has an honesty I could never previously have expressed at work.

The world

It has also been an interesting week of online conversation. Brynn Tannehill wrote in the Huffington Post this week about the very thing I have blogged, regarding family treatment of transitioning parents, partners, children, and how the sheer distaste is boosted by public othering of transgender people. This is transphobia: unlike many other phobias it is fear. Fear that there is something horribly odd about us, corrupting and changing anyone who comes close. Yes, I too am ‘icky’ when it comes to imagining affection and intimacy with me. You might have fucked someone for decades, lovingly, passionately. But now as trans? Yuk!

Then Julie Bindel launched her new book, with a chapter on sexuality being a choice. A good time to launch this, being Pride season. But aside from her complete misunderstanding of gender dysphoria (if she believe it exists at all) here she has she muddled what may be her own bisexuality, with being simply lesbian or gay. It is interesting to know what the causality of any sexuality or gender identity is, but it must never be used to define people in or out of existence. There is to be a debate/discussion featuring Julie Bindel, Qazi Rahman, Stella Duffy, Patrick Strudwick and Kira Cochrane, which I am sure will be fascinating, but I don’t seriously think we know very much. Who knows whether the cause of being lesbian by nature is the same as that of being gay? Or whether there is any link at all between gender and sexuality, or whether the origins are of a completely different kind.

What I do know is that Paul McHugh, writing in the Wall Street Journal, and who still asserts that people like me are suffering a psychological disorder and delusion, is wrong. I can tell you whether gender confirmation surgery (or genital reconstruction, or whatever) is a final cure, in just two weeks time. Right now, I already have no doubt.

If anyone said, ‘you can have all the love and affection in the world again, if only you keep your bits’ I would say no. Some of my conversations have been bad, most good. But it is my conversation that really counts, not anyone else’s opinion. And my conversation decides who I might meet, work with, love, even (I can hope) fuck, without it being icky.

These are just a week’s conversations, but at least people are talking, and little by little, some understanding is growing.

A colleague (yes, you!) expressed the hope that I would keep writing after my surgery. Yes, of course. There are too many conversations to ignore, and anyway, I was born like this: a writer.