22 Mar My Adventure Coming out as Trans
Hi my name is Aine, I was born in 1955 and I recently transitioned into a woman on June 5th, 2017. I would like to share the adventure of my life with you.
For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a woman. From a young age I wore my mom’s clothing, I often wore her bras, garter belts, stockings, dresses, and shoes. I screamed at my mom that I wanted to be a woman, but she ignored my request and insisted that because I was born a boy I should dress as a boy. My mom is one of those people who cares more about what the neighbours think, and less about what I want and how I want to live my life. I was devastated that my mom didn’t accept me and was forced to hide in my bedroom if I wanted to dress as a woman. This experience with my mom has caused a tremendous negative affect on my life.
I had a difficult time in grade school, I failed grade three because they thought I was lazy and didn’t want to learn. I couldn’t pay attention in class, I was constantly staring out the window and not paying attention to the teacher. My mom met with my teachers and I expressed my desires again, however nobody listened to my needs and they decided to send me to a school for children with special needs. This new school they sent me to turned out to be a really good experience. I learned that no matter what your abilities are everyone is intelligent, talented, and unique in their own way.
I was sent to a vocational high school, where they offered a variety of shop classes. I really liked machine shop and printing but I hated going to class, my anxiety prevented me from participating a lot of the time. When my teachers centred me out my face to turned red and I had a burning sensation, all the students in my class would ridicule me and call me ‘red flasher’. Often the taunting would get the best of me and I would run home crying and upset. I would go to my bedroom and put on my mom’s clothing because it made feel safe and secure being in my comfort zone. After a while my teacher’s thought I was a nuisance and I found myself feeling very uncomfortable in their classes. I chose to spend my school days in shop classes instead. After four years I didn’t have much of an education other than printing shop, but I loved it and after graduation I got a job in the printing industry.
I spent high school planning to transition after I graduate, but couldn’t get the medical support I needed being under my mom’s OHIP. After I became employed and had my own OHIP I was thinking I could finally transition, but then I began having second thoughts. I worried about whether or not my employer and co-workers would accept me and if I would lose my job all together. I decided not to transition at this time because I didn’t want to risk losing my job. I had no social or health care support so I was forced to endure my life as a man.
But after 40 years of work I retired and my life took a turn for the better…
Oh yeah, there is a dad somewhere in all of this but he had a way to avoid the family. My dad was salesman, he invented a product which gave him the excuse to travel around the world. He would be gone for 2 to 3 months at a time selling his product, leaving me a “honey to do” list. I can remember when I was eleven my dad handed me a list of chores (because back in the sixties women were responsible for the domestic labour and men had to go to work) my dad took care of the outside of the house, which he passed on to me. One of the chores on the list was to scrape and paint the eaves trough which I couldn’t do because I was terrified of heights. My dad didn’t care, he called me a suck and told me I was to do it anyways. I ripped up the list into little pieces, I’d rather be in my bedroom wearing my dresses.
I had a key lock on my door with three large sliding locks, I really wanted my privacy…for obvious reasons. One day my dad came home; I was blasting hard rock music on my record player when he tried to come in my room. He began banging on the door and told me to open the door, so I quickly changed out of my dress and opened the door…what a mistake that was. He didn’t ask how my day was or how school was he just wanted to know why I didn’t do the chores. He began yelling at me and took his belt off and beat me with it. As you may have already guessed, my dad had quite the temper and he needed someone to take his aggression out on. Now do you think my dad would be the type to accept me as a transgender woman? I think not.
Anyways, when he started to beat me tears came to my eyes but then I started to laugh instead, I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction. I said to him after he was finished, “Do you feel better now?”, he didn’t reply and left in a huff. I slammed my bedroom door, locked it, put my dress back on and hugged my best friend, my teddy bear (my backside was still sore). I called my teddy bear Wish Bear, she was a very special bear to me. I had gone to my favourite store and hugged every teddy bear on the shelf and talked to them until I finally found the very special friend I was looking for, and named her Wish Bear. Wish Bear was special because she listened to me and helped me get through tough times, I told her I wished that in the future I could be who I wanted to be.
I’m going to take you back to my childhood again. I’ll let you hang for a bit… you’ll be surprised by the ending of my story! I wasn’t always in my bedroom. I needed money, so I got myself a paper route delivering in apartment buildings; this is how I was able to buy by teddy bear, Wish Bear. My three-piece set from my favourite store (bra, panties, and garter belt). I had 100 papers to deliver. There were a lot of seniors living in these apartments, and these buildings had milk boxes. Everyone asked me to put the papers in the milk boxes because they didn’t like opening their doors. I collected payment every week, and got great tips for this; and of course, I was wearing my three-piece set under my clothes. My mom did one right thing for me: she saw much money I had, and took me down to the bank to open an account for me. I had over twenty dollars to deposit, but by the time I had turned 16, I had over 2000 in the bank.
I didn’t like playing boys’ things baseball and football; I’d rather play house and with dolls. I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere. I was alone, and didn’t let anyone close to me, besides playing with the kids on the street. I felt like I couldn’t cope everyday, but Wish Bear was always there for me. I was always crying, and easily slept until noon on the weekends when I didn’t go to school, except on Saturday when cartoons were on from 7-12. I had breakfast and lunch, and then went back to my bedroom to put my dress back on. I loved to wash my clothes; we had a wringer washer where two rollers squeeze water from the clothes. I’d take them to my bedroom, and put them on the clothes lines I had strung around my room. I had black lights and fluorescent posters on my wall to give my room a glow. I always played my records real loud, and I had an electric guitar with which I drove my neighbours nuts. I got my records at my favourite store. If you remember the CHUM charts, they posted the top 30 hits. 45 RPM records were 25 cents, and LPs were about 5 dollars.
When I finally left school, I got a job printing. I was 17 years old then, and decided I wanted a car. They had a driver training program called Pro Drivers; 25 hours in the classroom and 25 hours in the car. I passed the first time, and I bought my first car: a 1966 Dodge Polara. It had a 318 engine and was white. This car gave me a new sense of freedom. It was 200 dollars, and my insurance was 600 dollars! I drove that car everywhere. After work, I would drive to Wasaga Beach and stop at KFC before I got there and would sit on the beach and watch the sun set while listening to the radio and reading my book. I would have my underthings on, thinking about wearing my dress, but was worried about what others would say.
Once my work probation was over, and I was employed permanently, I rented myself an apartment (more freedom!) and decorated it bright orange. I stayed in my apartment as much as I could, dressed in my dresses, and left only when I had to. I didn’t socialize with the other tenants in the building, and I had to be careful when the superintendent came in; I had to make sure that all of my clothes were put away and out of sight.
I want to take you to when I retired after 40 years of work, but first, I’ve been asked to describe who I am. The name I chose for myself is Aine Gordon. I volunteer for the Southeast Grey Community Health Centre in Markdale. I run a walking program in two locations, a pole walking class on Wednesday mornings, and on February the 28th 2018 I started an LGBTQ support group that runs the last Wednesday of each month. In May I received my pin recognizing 5 years of volunteer service.
Back to my story: I retired 4 years early (my job disappeared). In 2012 I decided to live in Markdale. On March 28th of that year I woke up to a blood clot in my left leg; it was swollen to twice the size of my other leg, and so off to Markdale hospital I went. The surgeon told me that I needed a new doctor to look after me, and it was at the Southeast Grey Community Health Centre that I met the most passionate doctor that I had ever met. Due to life’s problems, I put on a lot of weight from drinking beer and comfort food. I told my doctor that I needed to lose weight. This is when I started in the walking program and was referred to the dietitian. In 10 months, I lost 82 pounds. Then, in 2013 I got the nerve to tell my doctor that I wanted to be a woman. I was started on estrogen patches. I have to say that this has been an incredible journey, my emotions were getting the best of me. I was always crying at the smallest things. The breast growth I was experiencing was very painful, but it was a good pain. But at times I could hardly breathe. In the beginning it was easy to hide them, but after several years it became harder to. I wore my large dress shirts I used to own in my attempts to hide them. This is when I decided to transition: June 5th 2017. I said that I didn’t want to hide anymore; it was time to show the world the real Aine: a transgender woman. This is how I did this: I told my coordinators right from the start that I wanted to be a woman. When I told them the date that I wanted to transition, I took two weeks off, and the first week the coordinators went to all of the places I volunteer for and read my message to all of the participants. Then they had the other week to think about it. On the Monday I returned, I was so scared (sugar-coated) that no one would show up, but everyone did; they wanted to meet Aine. I was told I was beautiful and I cried; the whole week was wonderful. Everyone gave me great support in my programs, which is why I wanted to start and LGBTQ support meeting group. I have a great team at the Health Centre and good turn outs from the community. I’m a caring and loving person, and especially want to help others that want to transition. In all my life, this is the happiest I have ever been. It’s been the best year, and so many doors have opened up for me. I’ve received a lot of attention and congratulations, and have been to events for the Health Centre such as the health fair, the senior’s fair, the farmer’s market, etc. When it comes to volunteering, I’m there! I feel so comfortable talking to people since my change, and I love meeting new people.
In our recent meeting at the Health Centre, it was suggested that we start a transgender support group to help people transition in the community. We should be starting in the Fall, but we still have to determine a date. Anybody that is interested in receiving more information can call the Health Centre: (519) 986-2222 ext. 6376. Calls to the Centre are confidential. We have posters on display. I’d love to meet you!
Thanks for reading my story! Soon I will have a book out detailing more of my life experiences and traumas. Watch for it soon!
From Aine Gordon ♥