Further to Rose’s article published earlier this year, From One Girl and Her Dog, Transpire member Rose has kindly shared with us her own personal journey through transition, hardship, love and hope.
My name is Rose. However, for many years I grew up as a boy.
My life started back in the early fifties. My mother put me into care and I grew up with a foster mother. During my time in foster care, I was dressed as a girl whenever possible. At the age of three, you rely on your mother to make sure you are brought up as your designated sex requires. In my case, this did not happen.
As time passed I began to realise that it felt right. I would run home from school, so I could have a bath. I could get dressed as girl. Holiday time was lovely. I could be a girl every day. Even going out with my mother and her friends, my aunties. When I reached my teenage years, things began to change. I wasn’t able to go out as much in girl mode. Though when visiting her friends I could get away with it.
At the age of eighteen, I was set free of the children’s department. I had learned by then, that society would not accept me as a girl, so I had a choice. Tell the world I was really a girl and end up in a mental institution, or hide it. I chose the Latter.
I had been in sixteen different jobs from the age of fifteen to eighteen. But with everything in my head in turmoil, I was unable to hold onto a job. I was still able to go home and submerge myself in my true life as a girl. This was a saving grace that kept me sane. But when I reached eighteen I made the decision to move away and so I went to the other side of the country and became a farm worker.
However, as all this was going on my eyesight, which wasn’t that good to start with – I was born Myopic – started to get worse. I was fortunate in the fact I had an understanding boss, who, when I was no longer able to drive tractors etc., offered me the job as dairyman. As my love for animals knew no bounds I jumped at it. All this time, I thought that I was winning the battle with the girl inside me. My male persona was strong. I was living the life society expected of me. Then my eyesight took a dive and I knew that I would have to give this job up.
By this time I had met and fallen in love with a lovely lady. She knew about my eyesight, but I couldn’t tell her about the girl inside. We were married in the early eighties and like all married men, I became a father. However, because of the close proximity of women’s clothes, the girl within became stronger. So, I took the plunge and one day I plucked up the courage and told her about my childhood and the girl I longed to be. After a while, she told me it was a perversion and not to mention it again. It was devastating but I knew if I pursued the matter, I would lose my soul mate. So once again I had to bury my inner self deep, deep down.
Then in the year 2006, I lost that lovely lady to cancer. After all the family had been and gone and I was left alone the man I had been for years started to lose his strength. The girl with no name began to drag herself up. I moved down to England in 2007 and in 2009 I met someone else. We grew closer, so I decided to let her into my secret life. To my surprise, she accepted it and encouraged it. We ended up getting married. It was never a really happy marriage as the girl became stronger and stronger. Eventually, she asked me if I was wanting to be a girl all the time. Yes was my answer. It was the beginning of the end of our marriage. We separated just after I had asked my GP to refer me to the GIC which he did, after saying he was wondering when I would ask. I was also surprised at how many of my friends weren’t surprised. According to my psychiatrist, this is quite common. They see things we do not realise.
I joined a local support group and some of the girls there, gave me advice on what I should do, before my first appointment at the GIC. Then came the day that Rose became official. The 10th of May 2014. Then came the letter. My first appointment. With head held high, I walk into my first appointment and handed the psychiatrist a folder full of papers: deed poll, all letters of acknowledgment from DWP, HMRC Local Authority etc. etc. Since then Rose has gone from strength to strength. Yes, there have been bad times. I was sexually assaulted by a man a couple of months after I came out. He was found guilty.
I started to meet other girls. But I went out of my own area as I felt safer. My first long journey was to Colchester. There I met Queen Bea. She introduced me to others and we became friends. I became a regular visitor to Colchester. Then I got the chance to go to Pink Punters in Milton Keynes. I loved it and like everywhere they made me welcome but more importantly they made Finley, my Guide Dog welcome. I was then encouraged to go to a TLI Weekend in Eastbourne. It was fantastic.
Here, at Eastbourne is where Rose started to blossom. I watched the girls taking part in Miss Transliving International. Someone said that I should take part. I nearly spilled my malt. I will never take part were my words. Rose couldn’t compete with the beauty that was there. These girls had confidence as well as beauty.
Then came March 2016. Rose had been on HRT for almost ten months. Had started her testosterone blockers, lost almost two stone in weight, had come through the assault – a big thanks to her friends. I had moved further South – Chelmsford, to be closer to friends. There I was sitting in the Haddon Hall Hotel, minding my own business being asked if I was going to enter Miss Transliving International. Once again my answer was no. However, I thought, why not. I turned to a friend and said well I will think about it. Next thing I knew was: I had entered.
It was that moment in time, I knew Rose had come of age. She had been voted Miss Transliving Diamond Girl 2016. A girl who had been to hell and back, the long way round had been accepted by her peers.
When filling in the registration form for the contest, I was asked who my role model was. I said, a girl called Hope. My reason for this was and is this: There have been a number of people who have helped me along this path. They opened the door, held out their hand and asked me if I was ready to go through. I was, so I took that hand. Now that I am Miss Transliving Diamond Girl. I want to be one of those holding her hand out to others. To give them the hope and chance that I was given.
There are still two things left for me to do. Have my GRS and fall in love. Not necessarily in that order. Through all of Rose’s coming out there has been a constant companion by my side. Many of you have met him and many others know of him. Without him I could never have come as far as I have, so to my guide dog and champion I say, thank you from the bottom of my heart. To all of you out there I thank you for accepting us.
Take care. Stay safe. Till we meet again.
Love From Miss Transliving Diamond Girl 2016. Rough cut, but 100% Pure. xx
A version of Rose’s story has previously been published in Transliving Magazine, for more information about Transliving visit: http://www.transliving.co.uk/