BLAIR 2 TRANSCRIPT
INTERVIEWER: How did that make you feel, when you father passed away? Was that before or after?
It lifted a weight off my mind.
INTERVIEWER: Did he pass away before you transitioned?
INTERVIEWER: And do you feel like that was a liberating point… a liberating moment for you to explore that further?
Yes. Yes, because that fear, which had followed me all my life, about being locked up. That threat seemed to be removed when he died. But by this time, like I say I was living part-time, etcetera, etcetera. But my body was changing obviously. And so I had to actually… I was also fighting demons of telling my mum. And there was this inner conflict of, well you can walk away and disappear and she doesn’t have to face it. And then there was this other side of me that was sat on my other shoulder saying ‘but you can’t do that, she’s going to be so hurt if suddenly you disappear out of her life. It’s not going to be fair on her. And it’s her choice. At the end of the day, it’s not your choice whether she accepts you or not. It’s her choice.’ And so, on this particular weekend, I arranged to go for the weekend to actually talk to her. And that was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. I couldn’t actually come out and tell her. I had to make up this… it seems absolutely feeble now, this story about a friend of mine, and this was happening to my friend. And basically, my friend was going to tell his mum about how he felt, and I just wanted a mother’s reaction. How would you react to a situation like this? Because I knew, I wouldn’t have been able to tell her. I’d have just broken down. So I was telling her how this friend felt about themselves, and the agony they’d gone through, and all this sort of stuff. And as I was telling her, I could feel… it felt as if someone was actually strangling me, because my voice was getting sort of more and more strangled. I could feel the tears starting to prick my eyes. I didn’t get to the end of the story, and she just said ‘and that little boy was you’. And she just said, just came over to me and gave me a hug and said ‘we’ll get through this together’.
Like I say, this was about 1973. It was not known about, and yet there was my mum, completely accepting. Wanting to help. And it was just absolutely incredible. Obviously, she had to tell the rest of the family. And the rest of the family were great about it. Considering the year, I’ve got aunties and uncles, and my mum came from a huge family. There was 13 brothers and sisters. And they were all accepting. All my cousins were accepting. All my nephews and nieces were accepting. And when you consider the year, it was just incredible. There was just so much acceptance and love. It just blew me away.
Anyway, all that happened… lots of different levels were happening at the same time. It was also… when I actually transitioned, I had to notify the university, because I wanted to change my degrees over. Which was fine. They said it would have to go before senate for approval, because no-one had ever done this before. So it was ratified and I got my new degrees. By this time, I was having job interviews to get back in to work. I kept getting rejection after rejection after rejection. I was getting more and more depressed, you know. Why? Why? And I went to an interview in London, and the sort of what you call human resources now, she interviewed me. The head of the company interviewed me. And again, I was rejected. But she’d been so nice, I phoned her up and said ‘what am I doing wrong at these interviews? You know, I’ve had a few and I keep on getting rejected. What am I doing wrong?’ And she said ‘you’re not doing anything wrong.’ She said ‘when we sort of received your references, one of your colleagues from your other place of work was saying ‘when I worked with this person, he was a man’.’ The year was 1975, ’76. It was not acceptable. We didn’t have laws to protect us back in those days. They could do what they liked. And they just didn’t want the aggro. So that’s why I was getting all the rejections. And I thought ‘some friend’.