INTERVIEWER: Can I ask a bit about that and the coming out process? With regard to your family.
Well, my mum had died many years previously. So my dad’s remarried. And again, 2002 was that year, obviously, and I remember that whole ‘I’ve got tell my father at some point’. My brother… I’ve got a brother. And it was just trying to find that moment. I mean, you must have found that… have you come out to your family?
INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah.
And it’s finding that moment to sit your parents down, say ‘I’ve got something to say to you’. And I think, it’s one of things where I suddenly find myself… I didn’t plan it in advance. It just suddenly, you think, I was sat in the conservatory at my dad’s, one Sunday afternoon in his conservatory, and it just started coming out. I don’t, you know… and it’s sounds the most awful cliched stuff, I was just telling him ‘I’ve got something to tell you dad’ and you know, blah-blah-blah, ‘and I’ve always felt uncomfortable in my body’, you know. All that kind of thing. You cringe thinking about it, but how else do you tell them? And it’s a difficult thing to tell people. Very difficult. He was shocked and he was upset. He was upset I think… his instant response was to blame himself, he thought that he was responsible. I had to assure him ‘it was nothing to do with you, it was nothing to do with the way I was brought up. It’s just the way I am, nothing to do…’ You know. And at first, he would say ‘if you want to talk about, you just come… don’t sit alone and worry about it’. But then we had the conversation ‘well, why do you want to do it?’ You know. ‘You’ll lose your hair’. I thought, ‘yeah’. ‘And there’s other people worse off than you’. But not too much of that. And then he went quiet about it.
We get on fine. We get on as well as we did before I transitioned, but it soon became clear really that he doesn’t want to talk about it. So that’s what I was saying earlier about, you know, you read articles by people like Rod Liddle and others, this stuff about anti-trans stuff. And I think he reads the stuff, he reads the paper. How do you sit down and try and put him right? Say ‘look, you know, a lot of this stuff’s rubbish’. I feel like I’m being undermined by these people who really don’t understand. Any trans person is being undermined by all this garbage that’s in the press at the moment. I did tell him I was going to have some surgery. I didn’t tell him exactly what. I said ‘it’s routine stuff’, he doesn’t want details. But then I think, a couple of weeks later he came to pick me up because I was going down to his for Sunday dinner or something. He was shocked that I could hardly walk, I had a walking stick. He said ‘you didn’t tell me you were going to have…’ and he said ‘a hysterectomy’. I think he deduced, and I said ‘I didn’t…’
When I came to my phalloplasty surgery, what would that have been? A couple of years later, three or four years later. Oh that’s right, I’m being confusing. I didn’t tell him about my chest surgery. I slipped that one under the radar. He didn’t know. It was my first stage after having the hysto that I said to him, because I thought, if I die on the operating table, you know, it’s going to come as an awful shock. He needs to know I’m going to have this done.
INTERVIEWER: Were you worried that you were…?
Yeah, I thought, you know, it’s more major than having chest surgery, and I just thought, if something happens, even if I was suddenly taken ill or went down with MRSA or something, you know, you hear sort of stories. He needs to know, because you don’t want to get a phone call out of the blue saying ‘oh, so-and-so’s in hospital and they’re very unwell’ or something. So he knew about my first stage. The second stage I decided I wouldn’t tell him, but I told his wife, just in case something happened. But apparently, she kept getting texts and things, one of which was from, that he kept asking her ‘what are all these texts you’re getting?’ Blah-blah-blah. And in the end, she told him. So I saw him again after the second stage, he said to me, he said ‘I’m very sorry but I don’t want to talk about your surgery’. I said ‘that’s fine’. He says ‘I know you’re having it but I don’t want to talk about it’. That’s fine, don’t want to talk about it. And so I don’t talk about anything like that now with him or my brother. My brother’s fine too, I came out to my brother. He was understanding but again, if you mention trans stuff, there’s that kind of embarrassed silence. So we don’t talk about it.