Susie - One Year Old
It has really been a rollercoaster year and I'm just waiting for the wretched thing to slow to breakneck speed so that I can draw breath but basically it went like this:
June 2002 Sign my Statutory Declaration
July 2002 Begin the long process of my changing name
September 2002 Agree that our marriage is not sustainable
October 2002 Begin house hunting in the North of England
November 2002 Market our house in Hampshire
December 2002 Agree to purchase this house in Cheshire
January 2003 Accept offer for the house in Eastleigh
February 2003 Begin making friends and socialising in Cheshire
March 2003 Complete purchase in Cheshire and move in
April 2003 Lodger moves in and starts paying me rent
May 2003 Begin voluntary work
June 2003 I think that's the last address change (I hope!)
I hasten to add that all this was completed without the aid of a car or a safety net. PHEW!
It started with that wonderful institution, the Halifax Building Society. I walked in bearing my newly-signed Stat Dec and had great fun trying out my new name on the totally un-fazed young lady on the reception desk where I asked to change the details of my bank accounts. When I asked if she needed a copy of the Stat Dec for her records she replied, "No, it's now on the computer and the change will be made overnight. You'll get your new chequebooks and cards in the post in a few days." She was right, it was that easy.
Contrast this with the NHS which, despite the best endeavours of a very helpful lady at Winchester, took a mere 4 months to issue me with a new number and a further month to send the card.
I could go on about the many organisations which didn't bat an eyelid and the few who required signatures in blood before they would act (at the second or third time of asking). Surprisingly, the Inland Revenue were good and the Passport Office was promptness and politeness itself. One word of advice, though. Phone ahead and establish what documents are required. If that is done, the process should run quite smoothly.
Sadly the one casualty of my transition has been my marriage. We now live separate lives in separate homes two hundred and fifty or so miles apart. Having said that, we now seem to be closer friends that we have been for several years and only now can I appreciate the strain caused to the relationship by my dual, and then changed, identity. I know that this is not the case for everyone and there are as many different types of relationship as there are married Trans People. At the moment, this arrangement seems to work for us.
So, in October 2002, I started searching for a house in the North of England. I am registered partially-sighted and therefore good public transport links and nearby local shops were a must. So were lower house prices and lower cost of living. From the equity of the sale of our previous house, I had to purchase residences for both my Dearly Beloved and me. My 'DB' has remained in Hampshire, where she now has a first-floor one-bedroom flat, and I have moved to Cheshire where I have been able to purchase a three-bedroom end-of-terrace house in quite good structural order and in a 'quite nice' part of town. The railway station is 15 minutes walk, the local bus services are excellent and within 5 minutes walk of my front door.
We have good local shops and I am starting to build a circle of friends. I work one or two days a week for local charities (I am 'early retired') and am rapidly becoming immersed in the life of the community.And the landlady? Well, in December 2002, during one of my house-hunting visits, I was introduced to a single lady who needed a home. She moved in a few weeks after I did and has lived here ever since. She has no idea of my past and neither, to my knowledge, has anyone else here. I am as I appear - a 57 years young short-sighted redhead who is separated from her husband. For my part, I dress modestly, keep an orderly house, patronise the local shops, attend the local church and make my IT and bookkeeping skills available to local charities, who are glad of my expertise. I also have a friend who runs a bed-and-breakfast and she has already expressed interest in using my third bedroom as an 'overflow'. Oh well, who am I to stand in the way of a small business trying to expand a little???!!!
The future seems bright (not orange, thank goodness, more peach) and, having had my house re-wired and decorated my bedrooms, I look forward enthusiastically to enjoying my retirement at last as the person nature intended.
Web page copyright GENDYS Network. Text copyright of the author. Last amended 09.07.06