In 2011 I was low and I was confused. I didn’t feel I knew who or what I was.
I hated going out and socialising, I just felt so uncomfortable. I was robotic at work and avoided interacting with colleagues on any meaningful level.
I also knew I liked dressing up as a girl in my spare time, so I wondered if I was just a gay guy with this as his sexual kink. But I never used wigs or makeup because I felt I would look stupid.
I had seen trans-related sites. I’d even started creating a profile on one before deciding that these people were in a different league, they were real people and I wasn’t like them.
I’d experimented briefly with hormones having read in horror that the older you were the less effective they would be, but my self-doubt meant I never kept it up long term.
And then, in November 2011 I saw the first episode of My Transsexual Summer.
Realisation hit me like a slap in the face.
I was transgender.
And it was ok.
The show featured 7 real people who were in various stages of their own transitions. There were some who were like me, just starting out in coming to terms with their identity. Then there were also more established people, comfortable with themselves, living full-time, and preparing for operations.
There were 4 episodes which brought the people together to share their experiences. The producers arranged activities like everybody going to a local pub and self-defence classes together. They were able to support and help each other. The show also looked at their relationships with family and friends, and their hopes for the future.
It was my first exposure to real transgender living, they were real people, living their real lives.
After the first episode I bought a proper wig, not one of those cheap fancy dress style ones I had in the box under my bed.
After the second episode I took a picture and put it online. I’d had pictures on the web before, but with my eyes blanked out or looking away. This however, was a picture of my face, and I haven’t looked back since…
Sometimes we need an external trigger to help us realise something about ourselves, and My Transsexual Summer was definitely mine.
My Transsexual Summer is available on 4OD. Watch it here.