Ever wondered what is like to be gender fluid? Lets start with a simple definition: Orientation and / or Gender changes over time.
For me this path began long ago. My parents way back when assumed me to be straight. Over the years they have since learned that was not correct. Though the early years of my life, I created an illusion of being a straight male, while knowing deep inside me that I was meant to be female. Back in the early 1970’s not many people talked about Non Binary Orientations such as Transgender, Gay Lesbian Bisexual and so on in the household I grew up in.
Somewhere along the line, a lesbian couple bought and moved into a house up the street from where I lived. When people talked about them, it was with homophobic tones and derogatory terms; so at a young age, I learned that anything outside of the binary norm was somehow considered “wrong” for want of better words. Back then I couldn’t understand why, they were friendly people, who unlike some other neighbours, didn’t throw wild, loud parties most weekends.
At my primary school, I was frequently labelled a girl; Ironic really as that was who I was inside, even then. Later I was labelled as gay, queer and other phobic terms by other kids at school; something that would follow me right though to the end of my 7th form (UE) as it was known back then. There were rumors at high school about the gender of some of the teachers, ranging from Gay to Bisexual to Lesbian. In hind sight, one or 2 of my teachers were probably Intersex as well.
As the years rolled on by, the gender of people that I was attracted to started changing. Inside my self, I still yearned to be female, but had no idea how to explain that to my family, or doctors and so on without ending up in some sort of institution; so I remained repressed and silent about who I felt I was.
In the early 1990s, I was diagnosed as having depression, hardly surprising given that I had been repressing my true self for so long. Looking back, my Depression was a symptom of the need to transition. After I moved city, I came out as gay, although my parents tried to tell me I was Bisexual. While the Homosexual law reform was passed in 1986, there was still a lot of stigma and homophobia around in 1991. Even up here in the city where I live, which was socially about 5-10 years ahead of my birth town as I call it; within the LGBT community there was a lot of infighting between genders. This also lead me to hold of my transition even longer.
While I made friends with some cross dressers and transgender people, some were more accepting than others. Some of those friends went on to transition before I did, others reverted to dressing male full time. All during this time, I managed to remain friends with people from different genders and back grounds. This gave me hope that one day we would all be united in equality and recognised rights and learn to accept this simple fact; we are all human and all have our own unique qualities.
Over the years I dated a mix of people from different genders trying to find my ideal match of someone who would accept me as being me. 10 and bit years ago, I started the first steps towards my transition, Cross dressing firstly just behind the scenes, then later as my confidence grew, out in public. I began to live “out” full time, each day feeling more comfortable dressed “female” rather than “male” / gender neutral, learning the important things like walking in heels to how to apply make up and so on. I started to “test drive” names that felt like a good fit as to who I am. After 9 years and many names, I decided to test drive the name “Vicki”, the name I use today. I had finally found a name that was a good fit.
After a nasty experience, I became asexual overnight, and still am to this day to a large degree. My fluidity to this day means that some days I am more “fem” for want of better words than others.
After extensive research including side effects and asking my doctor about being put into the Hormone Replacement therapy program, I was referred me for an assessment, prior to starting hormone replacement therapy. At the initial Specialist appointment, My first prescription was written. The day started the treatment, I felt like I was one giant step closer to true me. Several months later, after blood tests, the specialist adjusted the prescription levels.
Over the last 10 years I have gradually introduced “Vicki” to friends and family. Those who have known me longest are finding it hardest to cope with, while new friends are more readily accepting as that is the only way they have known me.
Now I am at the point of legal name change and reassignment of gender to female, from my birth assigned gender; Its a big step; the loss of “male privilege” means statistically, any future job is likely to have a lower hourly rate, than if I had remained male. I think the price is worth it to be addressed as I identify, along with the pronouns They, Her, She and Miss; ideally my gender shouldn’t effect my hourly rate; within my life time I hope that will be true for all people of any gender.
I have left a bit out of the above, The battles with Gender and body dysphoria, The unpleasant parts of being out which are being dead named, or addressed by birth pronouns, rather than how you identify and so on. Those readers who are Transgender will know what it is like, for everyone else, imagine being addressed as your opposite gender, eg Tom being called Jane and those are just random names to show you what it is like. That is a form of bullying and can significantly affect a persons well being if addressed by it many times a day, all week long.
Since Vicki wrote this article for Pride matters she finally got her name and gender changed legally May 26th 2016 as the effective date.