Monday, 31 March 2008

Becoming Jen (Part 13)


Doctor, Doctor
After the success of my visit to my brother Billy's I again settled into a rhythm with my life. I was pretty much full time, fun time Jenny, away from work, and scruffy self loathing Geoff at work. Only my closest colleague knew, and she was really discrete. I must admit I was staggered that people weren't noticing some changes. My eyebrows were thinning, my nails more shapely, with a subtle sheen, which jarred terribly with my ill fitting trousers and barely ironed shirt. I guess some things looked so odd that brains did not compute. I have seen that happen since. When I first met my father in law as jenny. He was an unreconstructed northern farmer with whom my relationship was to talk about football, business and football. He was never going to be a flag-waver for LGBT rights. A decent hard working, blunt man, he walked into the room, me sitting there in a sleeveless top and short skirt and did he not bat the slightest of eyelashes. "Did you see United last night he said", "Yeah they did well" my reply..That was it. As far as he was concerned, he had no point of reference for my change so his brain just chose to ignore it. Whenever we spoke after that, nothing changed, whatever I looked like. That was ok by me.

Anyway, back to my work. I knew I couldn’t keep things secret forever. I decided to slowly expand my "Circle of Trust". So as a good Trade Union organizer I set about a finely calculated programme of briefing sessions, to a hand picked few. Of course I could never stick to a plan. I started with some more of my Trade Union colleagues. Women onlyy, at first of course. Talking to a man about being a Transgendered was going to be another level of trickiness. I used my tried and tested, picture method. Mainly if I'm honest because I got a bit of a kick out of surprising them that I could look so good as a girl. (I do accept this picture was a fluke, not looking like a goggle eyed giant!) "I can't believe its you. You look so good" I would reply with a touch of disingenuous modesty. I have to be honest I loved these compliments, however much I pleaded otherwise. I still do. The only time anyone passed comments on my appearance previously were of the "tuck your shirt in", "Your flies are undone" or "Would it have killed you to have a bath" variety.
For the first time in my life I was getting praise for my appearance, even if it was just a photo. No, there was one other occasion. People did say I looked good at my wedding. They were absolutely wrong however. I looked like a bouncer, stuffed in an ill fitting mourning suit, with a severe pudding bowl haircut. Now if I had been allowed to dress in my wife’s gorgeous wedding dress then the compliments would have been due. I did manage to 'borrow' that dress one day, but I don't think it was designed for housework (with a train and hoover entanglement being one pitfall)...Focus Jenny...

I was getting unanimously positive feedback from my self outing sessions. Like any other drug I needed more. I started telling some of the managers, old colleagues, fast food vendors and even people I wasn’t close too! Pretty soon there was an extensive underground movement of Jenny knowers, each unaware of the existence of others. I of course told each one separately, that hardly anyone else knew, and it was such a great secret that I was only telling them because they were special (When only my kebab shop man was really special!. There is no greater bond than that forged through a Donner Kebab in Nam Bread) This way, not only did I feel good about the revelation, but those I told felt pleased to be trusted. Such hubris on my part. This Secret Society of Jenn-ites should have had a secret sign, just like the Freemason’s. Perhaps a waved limp wrist!

I knew that eventually, a critical mass would be reached. That would be when enough people knew that it couldn’t possibly be contained. I was also getting more reckless with my Revalatees (not sure this is a word) I was telling people who I knew could keep a secret about as well as I keep things tidy! Just like the US government insisting that JFK was killed by the lone gunmen, I would be living as a man, while everyone knew the real truth. However I still wasn’t 100% sure what my plan was. I had said to all my victims that I was telling them because one day I may start to come to work full time as Jenny. I said this at the same time I didn’t really believe it. If I am honest with myself in the beginning this rationale was as much as anything an excuse to reveal all. However these revelations were becoming a self fulfilling prophecy. I very soon realized that once the message became firstly gossip and then common knowledge, I would have to make a decision. For the first time I started to realistically consider being able o live as Jenny Full Time and forever. This was such an exciting and enticing prospect. As a born again worrying pessimist I tried to think of every reason why I shouldn’t pursue this goal, but I was too far gone. I was totally captivated by the possibilities

It was at this time that I started to consider the practicalities of Transition. If I wanted to live true to myself, I also wanted to have a body that was true to me. To do this I would need hormone therapy and eventually the dreaded surgery. When I was talking to my confidees, and was asked about Gender Reassignment (though everyone did use the outdated Sex Change term), I used to deflect the question, or downright lie and say I hadn’t thought about it. I have always thought about it, and craved it. I just never thought it a realistic proposition. Now was different. If I was going to live full time as a woman, why on earth couldn’t I have the medical support I would need. So this thought in hand I set off to my GP. I felt I needed to go in fully Jen mode so that morning I had dressed in my best working woman clothes (I mean skirt suit not the other euphemistic use of the term). I felt so uncomfortable as I stood in the queue of the crowded sniffle filled waiting room. My turn came and I whispered to the receptionist. “Geoff Harvey for the doctor please, but when you call my name can you use Miss Harvey instead". The receptionists was fine with this, once she had deciphered my whispering.
I sat at the back of the waiting room and did what the room demanded, I waited. I kept my head down not wanting to draw attention. I have discovered this is exactly the wrong thing to do. Trying to look like you don’t want to be noticed, just makes you look a bit shifty. There is a term “Throwing Shade”. Meaning the best way to pass is to “hide” in plain sight. I leant this from my first tentative shopping trips, that if I stopped ducking and hiding behind the shelved and just went about my business normally then no one would really notice. Anyway digression aside my turn came. “Miss Harvey for the Doctor” This was the first time I had heard myself referred to as Miss and I have to admit it felt wonderful. I sashayed my way through the coughing throng. I was nervous about what I was going to say to the Doc, but I was heartened when I saw whoit was. It was the female Dr X. Obviously X was not her real name (although it would have been fun to have a mysterious X figure as my doctor) for reasons of privacy. She was a lovely, personable doctor who had been really kind to Caroline and me previously. I felt she would understand.
“Hello” she said in a quizzical but comforting way. “What can we do for you…err?”, “Jenny” I completed. “I err …I would like to be referred to someone about my gender” Not the most complete and helpful of statements. My Doctor knew straight away what to do. We will refer you to Consultant Y (here I go again, perhaps I should just make some names up), at The Harplands Hospital. Because of my job, which covers members of staff at this hospital I actually knew Consultant Y, with whom I had sat on a couple of committees. A straange situation, but I didn't mind. I thanked Dr X, and asked if they had any other patients like me. “Oh we have 4 others from this practice. I should have been pleased that I wasn’t alone, but the egotist in me was saddened that I was not so special!
Anyway, in that space of 2 minutes I went from confused semi closeted T girl to a pre op Gender Dysphoria patient. I left the surgery with my mind in a whirl of possibilities and trepidations. It didn’t last long, I had to go straight home to change back into my drab male garb, my drab male persona, and get back to work.

Now for the first time, I had a plan…well sort of

1 comment:

simon greaves said...

Hi Jenny Simon from Liverpool poly lost touch when changed to sky so virgin account could not access.New email is greaves.s1@sky.com

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