Living as a Transgenderist
President Beaumont Society
Then again as society changes and new label's come into use, so the meanings of the old labels change as well. We are all familiar with some of the most used labels, but are we sure of their meanings?
Transvestite, for example, first coined in the mid thirties, by Magnus Hirschfeld, before that we used the term Eonist, to describe Men who Dressed as Women. This was after the Chevalier D`Eon du Beaumont. a famous 18th century crossdresser, perhaps today we would call him a Transgenderist. So the word Transvestite, came into use to describe both men and women, who preferred to dress in the clothes of their chosen gender rather than their born sex. This was often seen by those who studied them, as a sexual deviation, because those who sought medical help, would often confess to some form of sexual pleasure derived from the wearing of the clothing.
So the word Transvestite, became synonymous with one form or another of sexual deviation, and would be lumped together with Sadomasochism, Bondage, Pedophilia, and Femme Domination. This made it very difficult to admit to those needs to express any feminine desire, if you were a man, without being seen as some kind of deviant.
When I got married in 1958, my wife, did know about my desire to dress in women's clothes from time to time, which at first was not that often, and never led to any sexual activity, so was seen as unusual, but not worrying. In 1960, she became pregnant with our first child, so asked me to get cured. I saw our doctor, who when I said that I dressed in women's clothes, and wanted to stop, told me that I was a Transvestite. He said that he could send me to see a Psychiatrist who had a reputation of having success with Aversion Therapy. I agreed to see him, and eventually started treatment.
When I returned home from the doctor's, I told my wife that he had told me that I was a Trans-something, which when we looked it up in the Dictionary, found the word 'Transvestite', which it described, as Men who dress in women's clothes for the sexual thrill and excitement derived from the act, a mild perversion.
My young wife was expecting our first child, and here I was described as a pervert, our marriage nearly ended there and then.
I started the Aversion treatment, it lasted nearly 6 months, before I said that I no longer had the need to dress in Women's clothes.
In 1960, there was no help available or any support groups. The Beaumont Society did not come into life until 1966. It was several years later and another child, when my wife found that I had never been cured.
Around 1969/70 we heard about the Beaumont Society, and I joined.
Through the Society I found one friend, who I kept in touch with for many years. But in general, it was not much help, unless I could go to meetings, which was not possible.
It was in the early 1960's, that a publishing company started in America, called the Chevalier Publishing Company, named after the Chevalier D`Eon.
Through their publication, 'Transvestia', founded by Virginia Prince, came the seeds of the beginnings of the Beaumont Society.
It was in the 1950's, that we had the first reported Sex Change Operation, and the general use of the word Transsexual.
Around 1970, we started to find the word Crossdressing, being used instead of Transvestite. This seemed to have a different connotation, and lost the deviant tag, although it meant much the same thing.
It was in the late 1970's, and early 80's, that Transgenderist started to come into general use.
My membership of the Beaumont Society lapsed, mostly through family financial commitments and lack of any useful support. I later found another more active support group in London, called the TV/TS Support Group, I joined in 1985, and was able to attend several meetings during 1986 and 1987.
I found that as I got older my desire to dress seemed to grew stronger, but my wife was unable to accommodate any of my needs, in the home. I became very dependant on those rare meetings in London.
Fate took a hand in 1987, two years after my sons had found out about my crossdressing, my wife died suddenly of a heart attack. The dam broke and I came out in a rush. I lost my family, my sons had lost their Mother and Father. A bad time all round.
I moved to a new home six months after her death, and started to build a new life. I carried on working in my male role, while building a life for myself as a 'Woman', in my own time.
I slowly rebuilt my relationship with my sons. My new neighbours saw less of the Telephone Engineer, and more of the Woman, who lived next door. I decided to live full time after I retired, and informed my sons of my plans.
They said it was my life, and that I should enjoy it. In describing myself, I called myself a Transgenderist. I later met Virgina Prince at one of my social meetings, and when I described myself as a Transgenderist, she went on about how she first coined the word, and that I was not a Transgenderist, as I did not work and live as a woman. She went on to explain that a Transgenderist, was a person who lived in their chosen Gender role full time without medication or surgery. Her argument was that if you had any kind of surgery or medication, you would be a pre-op transsexual. I bowed to her greater experience.
I was unexpectedly offered early retirement from my job, in late 1991, so on the 31st December 1991, I retired as a Telephone Engineer, and on the thirteenth January 1992, Terence George Turner ceased to exist and became Janett Scott. This was the official start of my new life, genuinely as a Transgenderist.
This really was the start of my new life. I had spent four years getting ready for this moment, although I did not expect it to happen for another two years at least.
I had been elected to the position of President of the Beaumont Society, some two years earlier, and I was now free to be more open and take a more public position with the press and television.
My eldest son, and his wife had their first baby in the September, my first grandchild, a boy. I now have two grandsons and a granddaughter.
It was at this time that I had a new doctor in my local practice, a woman doctor. So armed with my new name certificate I went and signed on the unemployed register, I had never been out of work, since I was 18 years old, when I was called up for National Service. So things had changed since then.
This was later. During the talk, I was asked "If I had, had any hospital experiences, as a Woman, following my change of documentation."
I have been in my local hospital as both an inpatient and as an outpatient. In 1999, I was taken in for a bladder problem, which during the examination, was discovered to be a Tumour, this turned out to be a malignant one, and I was again called in for it to be removed.
At all times, and in the proceeding two years, I have always been treated as a woman, even though I have had no surgery. It is only those who have direct access to my Hospital records are aware of my life style.
I was signed on as Janett Scott, Widow. A few weeks later, I was asked to speak to the supervisor in private. She explained that they had problems with my previous employer, and had I given them the correct National Insurance Number?
I confirmed my number as correct, then she said that British Telecom had that number registered to a Mr. Terence Turner. Oh, I said, then I produced a copy of my name change again, and showed her.
She looked surprised, and said could she have a copy for the records, I said that they should have one already in my files. Everything would be OK now she assured me, and to continue signing on in the normal way.
I decided to seek clarification from the Social Security office about my situation.
After checking through their guidelines, I was told. I could request a new National Insurance Number, but the number does not identify one's gender. I would not get the state pension until I was 65 and that I could not change my birth certificate, I said that I was aware of these rules, but nice to have the official explanation. I continued signing on every two weeks, and never encountered any difficulties from either members of staff or any of the other unemployed signee's. I was later offered and accepted some retraining schemes, which I found great fun, and made many new female friends, which I still have to this day.
During this time, with my change of name and status, I was able with the support of my doctor, change my Medical Card and Medical number, my driving licence and my Passport, all which now identified me as 'Female'.
My doctor had never met me as a 'Man', but although she did give me a full medical examination, she had only met 'Janett'.
With copies of my change of name, I also changed the details on my Gas, Telephone, Electric and Water bills, without any charge.
Interestingly the passport office, did call me to tell me that I would be given a female passport, but I could not use the title 'Mrs.' on official documents, as it inferred that I was a married woman. Funny really because without my asking, my driving licence does say Mrs.
When I reached 60, my unemployment benefit stopped, I called into the Social Security office, gave them my card and explained that I had, had only one weeks unemployment benefit, instead of the two weeks I was expecting. The girl looked up my details on the PC monitor, said that as I was now 60, I should be on my State pension. I smiled and said that I don't get that until I was 65. She checked further, said that she would need to seek her supervisors assistance. She came back after ten minutes, with a big smile on her face, "It is OK Mrs. Scott, our computer does not know the difference between sex and gender, it will be reinstated straight away."
Around this time I was also requested by the local hospital to attend the Breast Scan clinic, as I was in the 55 to 65 age group for Breast Screening. When next I called into see my doctor, I was telling her about the Social Security computer mix up, when she said, "I know that you will find this funny, as all the girls in the surgery thought so, but I have to call you in for a Cervical Smear test."
I told her about the Breast Screening request, she said that she had seen the request and asked what I had done about it, I told her that I had said "I was rather busy at the moment and could I leave them at the main entrance and call back later". She laughed and said that she would sort it out, she told me later that she had, had my records corrected to show that I was a Biological Male, but lived as a 'Woman'.
This over the years since has proved to be very helpful, as on my Hospital records I am shown as a female, but with a biological male sex. I have had to spend time in hospital and I am always given a side private ward off the female ward and I am treated as a 'Woman', by all the staff.
Over the last ten years that I have lived full time as a 'Woman', I have never, outside some members of my family and others in our community, found any hostility to my chosen lifestyle. What I have found through my appearances on television, articles in magazines and newspapers a very positive acceptance, I have travelled abroad many times, and found nothing but courtesy and politeness, but then I have made the effort to represent myself and the our community in a positive way.
We have now come almost full circle, and Transgender is a more common word to describe our whole community, from Transvestite all the way through to pre and post op transsexuals. We are now looking forwards to the changes to the Birth Certificate, as the last barrier for many in our community.
One last change to the list of words. GG, not Gender Girl, but Gender Gifted. I refer to myself as being "Gender Gifted, and I can think of no finer Gift."
Citation: Scott, J., (2002), Living as a Transgenderist, GENDYS 2002, The Seventh International Gender Dysphoria Conference, Manchester England.
Web page copyright GENDYS Network. Text copyright of the author. Last amended 28.06.06