That’s a controversial headline! Lets dive right in before someone bites my head off for it….


I want to preface everything below by saying firstly that I work for the NHS. I’m not going to say anything else about my job or where I work because firstly it’s against my trust policy to talk about my work without clearing it through our communications team (and I’m not out at work), and secondly because I know if I do someone will track me down and start harassing me. That’s the world we live in.

The reason I say I work for the NHS is because I know exactly the troubles the system faces, better than most. My particular role brings me into contact with a vast amount of information, oversight of complaints and patient records, and I can see a real whole picture of a service. The NHS is struggling mainly because of a conservative government determined to sell it off in bits to their mates, and there’s nothing the country can do about that other than vote them out.

That said……


For those of you outside the UK (or inside the UK who don’t pay attention) the NHS, or National Health Service, is the UK’s healthcare system. The NHS is a “free at point of access” system meaning you will always be given your care and the cost part is worked out later. The NHS generates money from a national tax (your “NHS Contribution”) that is set based on your salary.

The way the NHS runs is that the money all goes into a big pot and is then divvied out to “Care Commissioning Groups” (CCGs) who cover a set number of GP practices across the country. These CCGs get x pounds per patient they cover and then decide how that money will be spent in their area to buy services they need, like hospitals etc. They generally employ Trusts to provide a bunch of services to their population and your local hospital is likely a Trust that does all of your acute physical needs from x-rays to surgery.

The NHS is a remarkable system and something that our country should reasonably be proud of. Universal healthcare regardless of your financial ability is one thing, but a standardisation of care that is monitored nationally and trusts are held accountable, along with the NHS’s purchasing power (meaning pharmacies can’t hold the country to ransom by increasing drug costs 1000x like they have been in America) gives us something hugely beneficial.

It’s also fundamentally broken if you want gender services.


So the crux of the matter. This is something I didn’t really know about until I realised I was trans, but if you are transgender the NHS does nothing to help you. I’m going to look at this in 2 age brackets (because that’s how the NHS does it); under 18 and over 18. Interestingly most of the NHS works to this 18 year old split despite the fact it has routinely been criticised for being a completely arbitrary cutoff point that is often actively harmful for patients transitioning from children’s service to adult services. More and more commissioners are moving to a split at 25 but this is ridiculously slow to be picked up.

If you’re under 18 and you realise you’re trans you are in for a fight. To start with you’ll need to talk to your GP, and that is going to be a battle on its own. There are some truly superb GPs across England, unfortunately there are far more who are incompetent or uncaring. Even if you get one who does care the odds are they have no idea what to do and will refer you to local mental health services, who will bounce your referral because they’re not commissioned to deal with gender identity.

So eventually your GP will get the idea they need to do something else (although GPs across the country have a catastrophic lack of clinical curiosity and if a referral comes back negative, or a test inconclusive, they’ll just stop doing anything until you the patient chase them for it). They may hit the old Google and find out that there is only one place in England they can refer you; the Tavistock Centre, the Gender Identity Development Services clinic in London. That’s it, just one place.

So eventually you get a referral made to them. GPs probably won’t like doing this either as a GP has to pay per referral, so your best bet is to go around April when they’re flush with cash as if you go at the start of the new year they’ll be broke and not want to refer anyone (true story).

Now you’re on the waiting list for gender services! Yay! Now you wait. And wait. Currently the GIDS are seeing people who were referred June 2017. That’s a wait of 20 months to be seen.


Here I would like to highlight that the NHS has a set of targets that are enshrined as what you as a person entitled to NHS care can expect. These targets are highlighted as national ones that every trust and organisation across the country must report to, and failure to meet these targets is seen as a breach of commissioning standards. There’s a handful of them, for example if you attend A&E you are expected to be seen within 4 hours of arriving at the latest. These targets can’t always be met but when they aren’t the expectation is that the trust can and will explain why they didn’t meet them as well as to outline what they’re going to do to ensure they do meet them in the future.

For non-emergency care there is a standard called “RTT” or “Referral To Treatment”, the time every patient should be seen within. This is 18 weeks, or approximately 4.5 months. Let that sink in; the NHS has set out a target that all people must be seen within and also has a service that has a waiting list 4x longer than that.

And that waiting list isn’t referral to treatment, it’s for referral to initial assessment. We’ll get on to treatment in a moment.


So you’ve now been seen by the GIDS and things are moving. What next? Well we’ll have to have a set of assessment, between 3 and 6 according to their website. Usually 6 according to people who’ve gone through it. These sessions are around an hour each, usually nowhere near where you live (remember; single team) and will be held with a variety of people present from you on your own, to you with parents, to one parent etc.

The staff you get will be a real role of the dice too. For some unknown reason the NHS has decided that mental health professionals are okay to assess people with mental health needs (fine), and that social workers are interchangeable with mental health professionals. So the person who sees you may just be a social worker who has experience working with children, that’s it. Helpful. Remember all those scandals a little while back where social care were letting children be abused and assaulted without doing anything? Those people are going to do an assessment.


So where are we? We’ve been waiting 20 months (at least), been waiting at least 6 weeks more whilst we’ve been being assessed (but likely much much longer), and through all this we’ve been constantly telling people we’re not our assigned-at-birth gender and being disbelieved, questioned, prodded, poked, and made to justify our existence over and over again to a bunch of professional social workers. Surely now we can start treatment?

Well hopefully we weren’t over 15 when this started! Because if we were we’re now getting a bit old for GIDS and there’s a reasonable chance we’re going to be discharged to the adult services with no follow up.

If we were under 15 hopefully the service managed to get everything complete before puberty for maximum effectiveness of hormonal treatment, but unlikely.

Now we might get to talk about hormonal therapy, this doesn’t get done by GIDS though! It’s a referral to an endocrinology team who have their own waiting list and we get to start all over again!


So what you can see from the above is that if everything goes right we’re looking at waiting 3 years to start treatment. Remember that 18 weeks? we’re at 156 weeks. Over 8.5x longer than the NHS has decided is acceptable. Remember that 18 week target was set by the NHS, by professionals, by the government, and held as the minimum standard patients can expect to hold the NHS to.

So what if you’re an adult? You’re looking at about the same 20 weeks to get into the service. Once you’re there it gets a bit easier as they’ll start hormonal therapy after minimum 2 appointments.

Once you’ve had that agreed you’re in for a whole other work of hurt though, back to your trusty ol’ GP!

GPs frequently actively refuse any part of transgender care, refusing to prescribe the medication under Shared Care agreements (where a GP agreed to prescribe the medication at the advice of a specialist), repeatedly denying prescriptions, denying to undertake required blood tests, and generally being arsey about the whole thing.


So what can you do? The alternative is going private. This one costs money, you’re going to be paying a really variable amount for gender services. The advantage is there waiting lists are usually much shorted, if they exist at all. The biggest problem is if you thought a GP could be ignorant about NHS Shared Care it’s got nothing on private Shared Care. Despite the fact the NHS has sent out a memo to all surgeries instructing them that they must treat people who have engaged with private clinics the same as NHS clinics they frequently won’t (by the way; if you’re in this situation feel free to take and use this letter as ammo).


So where does that leave this particularly depressing post? There is no easy service for us anywhere. Despite medical standards applying across the board these break down when it comes to our specific needs and nobody cares. Professionals are at least usually confused if not outright hostile.

What should you do? That’s a decision only you can make. Talk to your professionals and support network, complain left right and center, fight for your rights. We shouldn’t have to, but we will keep needing to.

As for me? I’ll be going private. And heaven help and GP that gets in my way.

With love,

Sammy

P.s. this is a bit of a grim blog post. If you’re in this situation remember we’re all fighting for you, you are valid, you do matter. If you’re feeling really down or suicidal you can always contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or the NHS 111 service and talk to them. Stay strong.

Hiya everyone,

How do you know when to come of out the closet? To come out and be trans? That’s a scary question.


I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I think it’s because I’m at a crossroads. My current gender expression is limited to hanging around the house, days we’re not going to go anywhere at the weekend. I might slip on some of my underwear under my old clothes and hang just in that. Sometimes I slip on my pads and wander around with breasts, and rarely I spend a day or part of it in my gorgeous dress with the whole getup going on.

But that’s it.

There’s a lot of questions for me about what I do next, do I keep this up? It’s okay, I can do that. Do I keep moving forwards? Pushing what I’m comfortable doing to get more towards what I want to do? Or do I back off and go back to what’s familiar and easy?

The main next steps for me to consider are (in no particular order):

  • Facial hair; I’ve got a lot of it
  • Body hair; I am so hairy everywhere
  • Head hair; do I grow mine out or buy a wig?
  • Wardrobe; expanding it, do I go dresses, skirts with existing t-shirts, new t-shirts/jeans? Secondary consideration on this point: money!
Me Currently. This will make more sense further down, but not much.

The trouble I have with wardrobe is that it’s the most expensive part, there’s only so much I can buy from amazon’s bargain section, and it’s really limiting when I can wear it so any great expense on something beautiful feels wasteful at best.

The massive issue with everything else comes back to the question at the top of the article. I have always been hairy and especially for people who I’ve worked with for the past 4 years I have been bearded and gruff. If I start shaving to confirm my gender I’m going to be asked a lot of questions. I really doubt anyone is going to go with “aha, I see you’ve shaved, transgendered are we?” but as someone who is naturally shy and doesn’t like a lot of personal questions anyway even just asking “so what made you want to do this?” is going to fluster me. Even worse is whatever I say is going to be a lie, and I’m going to know that, which will make it much harder for me.


Back to the point…. When do you tell people? And who do you tell?

My wife, obviously, knows everything. She’s my wonderful rock who tempers my excitement with calming reminders and always calls me pretty, even when I know I look at best like a hairy-potato.

What about other people? My family? I honestly don’t even know how they’d react. My sister came out as a lesbian a few years ago and they took that pretty well, she’s getting married to her partner at some point (who might also be be trans?). They don’t have a problem with this, their biggest concern is the planning. But if it was me? And they were basically forced to accept me as a woman? I don’t know.

When I was much younger we used to watch things like Fear Factor, for those who were lucky enough to miss it; contestant on a TV show would have to do gross of scary stuff to win prize money. It was pretty gross including picking up dead rats in their mouths to get a key. I do wonder now looking back how much of it was real and how much was staged. The only reason it was ever on was because it was prelude to what we really wanted to watch; Doctor Who, but we needed to put something on in the half hour or so beforehand to kill the time.

Anyway, there’s a point to this I promise…. There was a “game” my mum like to play with the contestants called “spot the man”. I’ll bet you can see where this is going? When a slim busty woman comes on try and spot if she’s actually a post-op transsexual. Big hands? A man. Prominent adams apple? A man.

At the time I didn’t really understand it, or care particularly. I didn’t get the implications of “used to be” a man, and couldn’t understand why it mattered that they used to be anything when they were clearly a woman now.

This kind of casual transphobia is something I’m most afraid of, not being shunned or ridiculed over it but just being told I’m wrong, I’m just a man and that’s that.

Don’t get me wrong, my parents are great, they’re both really caring and I couldn’t have wished for a better life growing up. They’ve had to content with 3 neurodiverse children, hosts of health issues, and they’ve come through it generally smiling and laughing.

For me personally though now wouldn’t be a good time to start pointing out the size of my adams apple or how hairy my knuckles are.


What about work colleagues? How will that go? I know that we’ve got at least a few trans individuals in my workplace (to be fair my workplace is huge, like over 3,000 people, so there’s a few everything in it) and we have a fairly prominent LGBTQ+ group as well as an equalities lead so from the discrimination point of view I’d have a lot of ammo to go with… from the personal though? I don’t know how I could handle all the questions, the sidelong glances, the whispering behind my back. To compound this I’m not going to be particularly good at “passing”, certainly not for a long time if ever.

Friends? I don’t have a large number of friends but the ones I have tend to be close. I know for a fact at least a few of them already know another trans person and they get on well, but both of them met this person after their decision and switch to full-time living as their gender. I’m not sure how things would go during that process.

There’s another question about if I actually want everyone to know. As someone who has done more than a bit of psychology and read more than a bit of Terry Pratchett I’m quite adept at what he called “second thoughts”.


In Terry’s “Wee Free Men” series the young Witch Tiffany learns about the 2 most important things a Witch needs. She needs First Sight, and Second Thoughts.

Tiffany Aching, Witch of the Chalk

First Sight is seeing what’s really there, rather than what should be there. In these books there’s a habit for people to ignore anything that shouldn’t be possible, meaning magic gets away with a lot by just going unnoticed.

Second Thoughts, meanwhile, is the ability to think about what you’ve just thought about. That’s a confusing sentence to write but thing of it this way; if you think “eww, look at that person” that’s your first thought. Your second thought might be “that’s not fair, look at this etc.”. It’s basically mentally keeping tabs on yourself. In the series Tiffany (our young Witch) takes things even further and had Third Thoughts as well, keeping tabs on what her Second Thoughts are thinking. It all gets a bit complicated.


So knowing about my own mind (lol) I wonder if this blog is an attempt to put my thoughts out in a way people can see and discover. If anyone who knows me were to read this the level of detail I’ve put would mean they’d probably guess it was me. A few things I’ve mentioned are cornerstones of my identity and would flag up to anyone who knows me even a little.

Do I want people to see this? To read about my thoughts? Would that be pushing the onus and responsibility of the thing onto them, rather than have it rest on me? Rather than telling them and letting them react I’m leaving it open for them to consume the thoughts, devise a reaction, and bring it to me? How arrogant would that be?

And I can’t really answer one way or another if that’s the case.


So my questions kind of boil down less to who do I tell and when, because I’ve happily convinced myself it’s a bad idea to tell anyone ever… but about what I should do next.

Shaving is going to be my White Whale, it’s going to completely change the way I look to myself and allow me to start exploring a lot of other stuff (wigs and makeup), but it will also open a can of worms for me in my life. It’ll be a bit of a turning point for my closer relationships as I try to decide if then it the moment I should tell people I care about, and something I’ll also have to practice lying about convincingly to those I care less about.

For now, I guess, that’s it?

With love,

Sammy

It had been a really long day, one of those tough ones where work doesn’t seem to stop and you get home and still have to make dinner. We’d both stayed up later than we should but were in bed cuddling just before we would head off to sleep.

I narrated to my wife, as we sometimes do to each other, “Your husband; he’s had a really long day” or words to that effect.

I paused as soon as I’d said it, and she picked up and said “you just used ‘he’, is that the pronoun you want to use?” and I panicked and said I would rather between us we used ‘she/her’ for the time being. She was accepting of this, but it caught me out… I’d just mis-gendered myself.

At that point more self-doubt hit; was I really trans if I still called myself ‘he’? Was this all just a big mistake again and I was actually just male and confused? It wasn’t a fun loop of thoughts to get caught in.


I did what came natural; research. Surely someone on the internet has had the same experience and I’ll be able to guide my thinking from that?

You may notice a common theme here, that as soon as I become doubtful I rush to find something to back up my point of view. It’s not escaped my notice and I’ll get to that a bit more down below….

Anyway, of course I found lots of stories about people doing exactly the same thing. Some people said they had trouble in their own internal narration not using the wrong pronouns, and some people just said it randomly happened when they were talking.

It boiled down to habit; most of us have been using the wrong pronouns fo r years (if not decades) and that’s a hard habit to break! It’s not easy to suddenly change what you’re referred to as in much the same way changing name is something quite hard to figure out.

I breathed a sigh of relief. Mid-gendering yourself doesn’t mean your not trans anymore.

Then I had a though…. Why was I so worried about it? Surely, as discovered back in the start of this, if I was worried enough to be questioning it then that basically answered my question anyway. In other words if I was worried that this would “prove” I wasn’t a woman that meant I wanted to be a woman.

A more pressing question for me was why I leapt for validation from rando’s on the internet for my internal thinking and processing. What was it that made this the way I decided if what I felt was right or not? And should it? If you’r reading this then you’ve been on the internet long enough to see that some dreadful things come out of it, some truly hateful people with opinions best consigned to history, so should I be trying to weigh my feelings against it?


After a lot of thought I’ve realised it’s not about whether I should or not, but more about if I can stop…. I’m in unfamiliar territory. I’ve got no real bearing to go by for what to do, everything I thought was good and solid isn’t anymore. I’m probably going to keep checking the internet and browsing the more police parts of Reddit to see if people share the same experiences but I’m going to try and stop doing it as a way to validate myself and more for solidarity.

At the end of the day my goal (and new years resolution) is to develop myself in ways that make me happy. Rather than worry if I’m trans, or trans “enough”, I’m going to keep doing the things that appeal to me. If it appeals to someone else who is in a similar situation then great! If not; too bad, it’s about making me happy, not them.

With fierce love,

Sammy

Wow that’s a big question.

So since starting this out I’ve been doing a lot more research and trying to understand and answer that question.


It’s a difficult question to ask, especially when looking at other people’s experiences. One of the biggest themes I’ve seen is that people suddenly realise that they’re not their assigned gender and it all makes sense. For where I am now there’s not as much of a click that my gender is wrong, more of a desire for my gender to be female. I’m not as much unhappy in my body as I am happier as something else.

It turns out this is the difference between Gender Dysphoria and Gender Euphoria. Gender Dysphoria is the feeling that you’re not right in your gender, whereas Euphoria is that you’re happier in a different gender. Judging by how I feel when I wear my dress and my forms (as I sit and write this) I am firmly in the latter group.

One of the articles I read did highlight that a really obvious point is that if you’re asking yourself this question to begin with then you’re probably not 100% happy with your gender. If you were happy with the gender you were assigned at birth (Cisgendered) then you wouldn’t think about being another gender.

The second article (reddit post) I read was really comprehensive. Obviously it’s been written because the /r/asktransgender was flooded with people in the same situation as me asking if they were trans and so someone write a fantastic long post about stuff to consider that might answer your question immediately.

The first point ws simple “nobody can tell you for sure”…. great.

Point 3 was asking about having fantasies about being the other gender, and I realise I have always had this. I’ve often wished I was a girl, wanted to wake up one day and a magic body-swapping spell had taken place, or that there was a pill I could take that would suddenly make me a woman (physiology and all).

Point 10 asked if you feel jealous seeing other people who look like the gender you’re not, and I’m not sure about that one to be honest. I’ve always liked looking at cute and pretty women, has that been out of a sense of desire to have, to be, or both? I’m not sure on that one.

Lastly how do you feel being called the gendered pronouns for the gender you want to be? It makes me happy. It feels right and nice.


The most important theme seems to be that nobody can tell you for sure, but that sometimes you’ll just know, and other times you’ll just wish.

I am a trans woman.

Writing that was surprisingly hard, especially the knowledge that I’m going to schedule this to automatically post in a few weeks and it’ll be out there.

I’m not sure I’ll never change my mind again, that I won’t want to be more masculine, but for now I feel that I am a woman, and I want to be more like that self.

It’s fitting that today is the first of January 2019, a new year and a new start. I’m sitting in my living room whilst my wife plays video games, wearing my dress and panties, with what I’m coming to think of more and more as my breasts, and I feel happy. Happy in a way I didn’t know I wasn’t before.

Let’s see what the new year brings.

With love,

Sammy

Where did we leave off last time then? I believe I owned a dress, some panties, tights, and a satin chemise. Over the course of 2 weeks I slipped into them more than once. It’s lucky it was over the Christmas period where I had time off and spent a whole day in my dress, and another in my pyjamas (having a lazy day) with a pair of panties underneath. I was getting bolder.

The next obvious step was my chest, but I couldn’t really do much with it. My wife, again, leant me a bra. She is many things but small-chested is something she could never be accused of being. It fit me around the chest reasonably, but the cups were sad and empty. We tried socks; pro-tip is don’t try socks. That looked even sadder.

I did some research and found the plethora of options, but boy was it confusing! The best option looked like silicon breast forms, but they were expensive with some looking around £50 each. There were whole chest-forms which were vaguely eerie looking on the mannequins and far more than I was able to spend. There were little gel pads which were mostly advertised at making women’s natural breasts more perky or bigger, which wouldn’t really have helped me.

Eventually I found my way to Oxford’s LGBTQ+ student group and their page of resources for MTF Trans people to use. Amusingly to me at the time they had Marks and Spencers on there. If you’re not from the UK you may not know the reputation M&S has, but “Trans Friendly” wasn’t what came to mind.

What they did have, though, was an avenue I hadn’t considered pursuing, and one that made me feel vaguely guilty. Their range of post-op breast forms and bras. Designed for women who have undergone a mastectomy 1A surgery to remove one or both breasts, often performed on women with breast cancer. these were foam pads and bras with pockets for holding forms. They were also within my price range and came with a wonderful guide of sizing explaining what cup size the Small, Medium, Large, and L-Large would come up as depending on chest size. This was obviously designed so that women could buy the form they needed to match the bra they already used, but for me it let me pick what cup size I wanted based on my existing chest measurement.

I bought a pair, opting for C cup, nothing too big or flashy but definitely noticeable.


Back to waiting. Far from Amazon’s 1 day shipping I had to wait 3 days for them to come! 3 days which fell nicely over the Christmas bank holidays! In the end I spent Christmas out with family and didn’t get a lot of time to dwell or fret, but it was 5 days for them to get back to my house and they arrived the day we returned from visiting relatives.

Again, I felt slightly guilty (theme of the month) that whilst I was saying goodbye to my parents all I could think was “can we hurry this up so I can try on my breasts?”…. not how I thought I’d be ending the year.

Trying on foam breast forms without a bra is tricky. They don’t naturally stick, especially when they’re made of foam and upside down. We returned to my wife’s bra but it was still to big, and only loosely held them in place. Eventually I tried my first dress which was tight enough on the chest it actually held them in place reasonably well, well enough for my wife to take my measurements and determine I was a 38C.

I hit the internet again. I needed a bra now, I had cute panties, I had a gorgeous dress, I had some breasts, just something to tie them all together. I ordered an adorable matching set of very racy lingerie in a burlesque style, tight little bra and hipster brief in red and black with lace and fake string in a crossed pattern. They were cute, sexy, and when they arrived the next day about 2 sizes smaller than me. That was disappointing.


They’d arrived on a Saturday that we both had off, so my wife suggested we go out to try and buy a bra at a shop (Yours, one she has visited in the past).

That was a big surprise, and a big step. Going into the world? Into a shop? With people?!

She rightly pointed out that if we played it safe nobody would care. She was a woman with breasts of her own who had bought bras in there before, nobody would be thinking it was for me, we just go in, have a look, and get outta there. I still wasn’t 100% sold though, but I wanted to do it.


One thing I’d read online was how people’s exploration of their gender changed over time, with people starting saying that they were only expressing their gender in their room, then that evolving into around the house. This then develops into going out at night, when it’s hard to be seen, before finally, potentially, going out in the day.

To me going and buying a bra, even through the medium of my wife, meant two things:

  1. it validated me, it was confirming that this was something I wanted to do and that I would go and do it, and
  2. it was expanding the limits of my bravery.

So that’s what we did. We drove to town, stopped off for lunch, then headed to the busiest part of town that Yours was situated in. Yikes. Clutching my wife’s hand tightly we went in, we quickly separated due to the absolutely tiny gaps between hangers, and she made a beeline for the underwear at the back. I tagged along, hoping to look the disgruntled boyfriend.

When we got there they had maybe 2 shelves of bras, a handful of designs in multiple sizes, and a few pairs of matching panties. Nothing exciting if you were assigned woman at birth, maybe even something annoying or frustrating, but exciting and desirable for me.

We had a look at a few with my wife talking about the benefits and negatives of each type (do I want underwire? Full cup?). I feel embarrassed now that I shushed her because I was worried one of the sales assistants would think it was weird.

I don’t like this about myself, but it’s something that’s been hammered into me to not be weird or out of place. This is something I’d like to work on, I don’t want to be beaten down to not being and presenting as myself. This might be a bigger hurdle than I can tackle now though.

So back to the shop, we settled on one that was a cute full-cup underwired t-shirt bra. It caught my eye being plain colours (beige and black) but was still lacy and had a cute bow on the front. Silly? Maybe, but I wanted it.

At the same time my wife picked up one for herself and took both up to the till while I loitered and tried to look like I wasn’t there to buy a bra. We left, got some more bits, and came home.

I had to try it on immediately, so I rushed upstairs, pulled it on, adjusted the straps, and slipped my forms into it. At that point I looked down again and saw (unsurprisingly) breasts. They weren’t perfect but the bra covered them enough that I couldn’t see the forms, and it was easy enough to suspend my disbelief, and believe they were real and mine.

I’m purposefully avoiding using certain words because I’ve got a post lined up with a lot of knowledge I’ve gained in. I’m trying to write these posts with what was in my mind at the time, so I won’t say “Gender Euphoria” but just say that looking down felt and looked right. I was obsessing over them, running my hands down my side to feel the curve there, looking in the mirror (carefully below the neck only), I was entranced.

I slipped on my dress and it was even better, with my tights on I was passable from the neck down, ignoring my hairy arms. I was delighted with the look, even when I took the dress off and changed back into my old clothes I kept the bra on, wearing it round the house under my t-shirt.

My wife was, I think, slightly perturbed. She certainly wasn’t used to her bearded husband having breasts, but for me it felt so natural and so nice to look down and see.

That’s all I’ve got for this time, the next post I’m going to write is me “now”, after some deep research and a lot of learning. Until then.

With love,

Sammy

The second question my wife asked me when I came out to her was “why are you telling me now?”. To put that question in a little context I was terrified that night and had been promising myself all day that I would tell her, so to stop myself weaseling out of it that’s what I said; “I’ve been promising myself all day I’d tell you this”.


As discussed last time when I now look back on my childhood and early years as an adult I can see a lot of patterns that suggested I wasn’t comfortable with my gender. What was it that finally pushed me to actually consider that gender was the common theme?

I mentioned in my very first post that the reason I’ve chosen Sammy as my username is wholeheartedly lifted from a webcomic called Raan’s Doll (very NSFW), written by Kannel (Patreon link). This webcomic starts with a young gentleman getting in an argument with his girlfriend and progresses to him understanding that he is a she, aided by her girlfriend who discovered she is more than okay with this. They continue to discover themselves with the help of a local trans/crossdressing cosplay scene.

It’s all very sweet and I originally only discovered it through some of Kannel’s *ahem* other art. Kannel is primarily a pornographic artist whose art happens to tick a lot of boxes for me, and by working through their stuff I discovered this comic and it hit a little closer to home than I was expecting.

I had also been playing through Skyrim on VR and had rolled up my previously mentioned cute Bosmer who took down everything with a well-placed arrow. Unbeknown to me then, but clearly apparent now, was that whenever everyone spoke to “me” they were using female pronouns, which felt really right and was one of the reasons I got hooked (again) on Skyrim.

Feeling this tug from Raan’s Doll, questions raised by Skyrim, getting a hint of my past experiences, I was immediately drawn in when Kotaku ran an article on Hardcoded (mildly NSFW).

A Sexy Cyberpunk Dating Sim About (And By) Trans Folk

https://kotaku.com/a-sexy-cyberpunk-dating-sim-about-and-by-trans-folk-1830309223

It sounded pretty good to me:

  • Sexy – I like sexy
  • Cyberpunk – I like cyberpunk
  • Dating Sim – I can take or leave?
  • About (and by) Trans Folk – That’s something I’m thinking about at the moment!! Win!

So I hopped over to the Patreon and had a look at it, downloaded the demo, and started playing. I ripped through it, really enjoying myself. I won’t deny that the game is a thin layer of reasoning over porn but it was also sweet and funny, cute and sexy, but most important genuine.

But it didn’t really help answer any of my personal questions, it was just another great big question hanging over my head, and I already knew I was bisexual so it didn’t uncover any great revelations. It did leave me with a cute android-avatar though…..

My HC from Hardcoded

It’s at this point I started doing research. I wasn’t even really sure what to start Googling and I certainly didn’t want to search for things like “Transsexual”, because that was too big of a step to admit to myself. So I Googled around it, I won’t repeat the searches as I think I Google’d every offensive term one after the other and was confused when I found nothing but porn.

In the end I started finding people talking about how they came to realise they were female not male. Reading these a lot of them worried me even more, a common theme seemed to be that people realised they were Trans, begun working towards their ideal self, faced abuse and bigotry, had loved ones abandon them, and came out stronger because of it. It may be pathetic, but I didn’t want to face those difficulties.


Weeks later I decided enough was enough, I had been dodging the question and doing everything possible to avoid and ignore it. In doing so I managed to make it my only thought at night for 4 weeks running. I decided to (ironically) “man up” and tell my wife, get her feedback, and see what I could do from there.

That picks up just where I started, at “So this Gender thing…. Part 1“. It also makes this the last of the 4 bulk posts I wanted to write. In writing these I’ve already got more ideas which I’ve planned out a little of, so I’ll probably keep writing these as long as I care to, and I’ve scheduled them to post automatically Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for now. I’m not sure if it’ll stick to that. Either way….

With love,

Sammy

The next two posts I’m going to make are based on two questions my wife asked me when I told her I was thinking about my gender. They were “How long have you you been thinking about this?” and “Why did you tell me now?”. I’m going to address each one in a separate post, and they’re mostly the same answers I gave her then but more considered and hopefully better written than incoherent 2am brain-farts.

So the first questions was how long have I been thinking about my gender, and the answer is a bit complicated. At the time I said a few months, but in looking on the internet and reading other people’s stories I’ve realised there’s a lot of similar themes that go back much further.


One of my earliest memories is when I was 8 or 9. I had a cabin bed which had a desk under it and a wardrobe to the side. The way it was laid out meant that if you ducked under the desk and crawled round a little there was an area behind the wardrobe that was out of sight. I remember I had taken one of my younger sisters dresses from a pile of clothes that had been cleaned and needed ironing. It was light blue and made of some sort of lycra/polyester I think?

Anyway, I snuck back into the hidden space late at night once everyone else had gone to sleep and retrieved the dress from where I’d stashed it before pulling it on. I’m not really sure why, or what I was doing, and I don’t remember much else except taking it off and scampering back to be feeling guilty.


I’ve always loved games and there will be many posts in the future about them, but my main love in games has always been escapism. I particularly love fantasy games, something sword and sorcery with lots of magic being thrown around. A close second is a dramatic about-face; hard cyberpunk dystopia games. In both of them I love games with a story, something I can really get my teeth into, and something ideally with choices that matter.

I’ve always tended to pick the female characters. One of my best gaming memories is the time spend with Commander Sheppard, a strong, kind hearted, fiery woman with a soft spot for the colour blue. I had great fun running through all 3 Mass Effects, building up a character from my choices. I don’t know why I picked FemShep to start with other than she looked cool. This, as it unsurprisingly turns out, is something I’ve noticed now as a pattern.

I’ve always loved skyrim as well, I can’t even count how many hours I’ve sunk into it, and I am indeed one of “those people” who owns it on multiple platforms. Not always by choice (I’m almost certain I’ve got 2 copies on PC from Humble Bundles) but sometimes I’m a sucker for a re-release with something new (the VR version blew me away).

Again, in Skyrim, I was a girl. A short willowy wood-elf who was moulded into a deadly beast with a bow and a flailing idiot with a greatsword.

This pattern goes back for as many games as I can remember playing where gender was a choice. I’ve always leaned into the female character. I remember that I’ve often justified it to myself as wanting to tell a more interesting story than “the hero guy does his thing as usual”, especially as some of my favourite fiction does a lot of work with strong female characters that were missing through much of my childhood.

Looking back on it now it’s another tick in a box that suddenly makes a lot more sense in a different way. I did want strong female characters but not just for the narrative, I wanted a strong female character that I could be, who could be the avatar of my ideal self.


I’ve known I was bisexual for a long time now, it’s something that’s not really impacted my life in any particularly earth-shattering way, but it’s something I’ve known about.

I came out to my wife shortly after she came out to me, I was really grateful that she, as my girlfriend at that point (some 7 or 8 years ago?), trusted me to support her and to not go through the stages of bi-anxiety; “Does this mean you’ll start dating girls?”, “Do we need an open relationship now?” and the usual ending point “Can I have a threesome with your friends?”. I like to think at the time I did support her, though I can’t remember my reaction very well, it’s not something I really cared about. She liked me and was with me, I liked her, that was it.

She was much more on-the-ball about it, though. She knew she was bi from a much younger age than I did, I only figured out just after secondary school (16/17 for my overseas readers). I was browsing the internet (and I’m going to add a much more NSFW later around this) when I realised that hey; girls are awesome and guys are awesome too. This revolution for me was less concerning than the one I’m going through because I knew some gay people and I knew a bunch of straight people, and at that point I didn’t know there was a whole specific branch of bigotry associated with being bisexual, so I just got on with things.

I’ve never actually been with a man, romantically or physically, but it’s something I know that I could have done just as easily as be with a woman. Meeting my future-wife and falling utterly in love with her didn’t put a stop on me exploring and figuring things out because I never needed to explore, it just made me not care about “trying the water” because I’d already found the perfect person, regardless of their gender.

Realising I might have something complex going on with my identity as well bought up a lot of questions I encountered about bisexuality only after the fact I had figured myself out. “How do you know?”, “Aren’t you just going through a phase?”, “You’re just doing this for attention!”…. Those last two still hurt to write.

Looking at them now with a more mature eye, the knowledge of how vile people can be and how little it matters, it’s easier again to see a pattern with how I’ve felt and how I feel: I’ve been considering who I am for many years and I probably should have started thinking about it earlier, if I’d had the emotional intelligence back when I first tried on that dress as I do now.


So when my wife asked me “how long have you been thinking about this?” I Said a few months. Turns out that was true, and not so true. I’ve been consciously thinking about it for a few months, but it looks like I’ve been unconsciously thinking about it for years, and only now am I getting a chance to do something about it.

With love,

Sammy

Where were we? Trying on my first ever dress1I’ll talk more about this in a later post coming very soon but this wasn’t quite my first ever dress.….

I’m not sure what I was expecting, if it would be momentous or there’s be thunder/rainbows/choirs? Obviously none of that happened, but it was easy to put on. A single zip running from butt to mid-back, then a pair of lovely dome buttons on the collar that do up really easily. I was shaking so much I appreciated that touch, made it possible for me to get it on by myself after I’d stepped into it.

My wife was there with me, encouraging me to put it on, and my usual habit of grinning like an idiot when I’m nervous came out.

Then it was on.


It felt nice, thick pleated skirt with a bit of weight to it, thin ad breezy top in some sort of faux-silk. It fit perfectly, draping down from my hips and hugging my neck just tight enough, and the chest looked natural lying completely flat. I remember distinctly that it swooshed when I spun around. It flared out from my hips slightly, moving gently with my motion.

It felt right. I looked down and saw it hanging off of me and it looked right. Up until that point I’d not really cared much about what I looked like, I’d never bothered to do anything with my hair other than keep it length 4 all over, and I realised that it was because I didn’t really care. Looking down at myself I realised that this is what I wanted to look like, that I was more happy with myself standing there in a dress with hairy legs and hairy feet, a full beard and a stupid grin, than I’d ever been before.


I talked to my wife after this, sat on the edge of the bed in a dress, not able to stop looking down at it, only just able to stop running my hands over it to appreciate that it was mine and I was wearing it. We talked about what this meant, and again what steps I should take next. She asked if it was something I’d ever want to do outside, I said I don’t know but that I was definitely not there yet. She asked about wigs, makeup, underwear? I was all for all of it, in stages. I hadn’t even thought about wigs.

I immediately went and ordered some panties, pictured below. I started with a lot of thinking on this one; the sites I’d browsed included information on tucking and gaffes, which I’ve still not tried yet, but I thought start simple. They arrived and they were another moment of joy, slipping them on and tucking myself out of the way as best I could, they were nice to wear. I left them on for the rest of the day (spent around the house) under my trousers.

My first panties, cheap and frilly, but so pretty.

My wife suggested I tried on a pair of her tights next, to see what I thought of them. We’re about the same size height-wise, so they fit pretty well. Comfortable, functional at hiding my hair, they were another thing to add to the list.

My tights, garter included

Buying these I got 2 things, a pair that were far from standard wear, and a nightshirt that was far more scandalous than I would have ever considered. My logic (what remained of it) decided that if I wanted to try this girl thing I should really lean into it, and the stuff I was being drawn to was the ultra-effeminate, pink and lace. Practical? No, but then I wasn’t going anywhere in it.

This comes up a lot shorter in the picture, but it feels nice enough I didn’t care

That brings us closer to today. I’ve got a small set of women’s clothes I’ve worn. I love all of them, and they make me feel more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have before.

I’m not sure what this means for me. I know I want to keep going, to keep exploring, but does this mean I’m a woman? I’m certainly not 100% happy with being male, but there’s a lot of spectrum past just “male”.

I’ve decided for this blog to go by Sammy, there’s a reason for this I’ll expand upon later, but I’ve taken it from a webcomic that inspired me to talk to my wife in the first place; Raan’s Doll by Kannel Art (warning, very NSFW). I’ve got a few more things to write about before I get to “now”, so I’ll start working on those next. I’m queuing my posts up as much as possible to be regular, but we’ll see how long that lasts!! Probably just until this buffer runs out, but my new years’ resolution is to do this better than my previous attempts so I can look back on this in a few years time and remember what journey I took. For now though?

With love,

Sammy

These first couple of posts are being written in bulk. I decided to create this about a month after things started, so I’ve got a month’s worth of writing to catch up on. I’m going to try and write them in a single go, so they’re going to follow on a bit more fluidly than can be normally expected.


So this Gender thing?

Well it’s the reason I’m here, writing this, at least. I was born male and for my life up until now I’ve identified as such. I’m also bisexual so I’ve never had an issue with fluid or queer sexuality, and this has really extended to gender as well. I couldn’t care less about what gender people are or what they have in their pants (or if they match), but that’s been something of an academic point for me as it never meant anything to me personally.

About a month ago now I told my wife, cuddling in bed at about 1am, that I was interested in crossdressing and femininity, and that I wasn’t sure about anything else. Was it just a fetish thing? Was it something I was interested in from afar but not for me? Was I trans? I couldn’t really answer.


It’s worth pointing out here that my wife is awesome. She’s amazingly supportive, bisexual herself, and a firm supporter of gender, sexuality, and neurodiversity rights. I can already feel a post just about her coming up, but for now I’ll keep it simple (so she can check what I publish before I do it!).

My wife told me that it was okay, she supported and loved me regardless, and asked me about what I thought the motivation was (I didn’t know), how long I’d been thinking about this for (that month), if there was any reason I’d told her today (I promised myself I’d tell her that day so I’d stop putting it off), and what I wanted to do about it.

That last one caught me out. I hadn’t considered I could do something about it. I felt odd and uneasy, I was terrified that I’d told her, worried what she would say, and I didn’t even want to think about what came after that. The relief that she just went “okay” was indescribable.


So what next? What could, or should, I do? As a bit of an academic the first place I started was research. I’d done research already in the month leading up to telling her but very perfunctory. I realise now that I didn’t want to admit anything to myself or make any definitive statements in case it proved true and caused me problems, but now I was able to take a moment to look around I found a lot of friendly and helpful advice. The best piece was that things take time.

As someone who has always considered themselves male by default I am about as far away from the femininity that intrigued me as possible. I’m not tall but not short, reasonably thin but with a bit of a belly developing over the past year, short hair when I remember to cut it, a thick very dark beard ranging from short to bushy, and hair on basically every other part of my body.

My wife suggested taking things slow and bit by bit. First place to start was try on some female clothing, see if that did anything for me. We might be able to work from there to see if it was purely sexual for me or if there was an element of identity in it.

But what should I get? Just start buying women’s clothing and hope? Measurements were no problem to get, we had a tailors measuring tape, but what style? What sort of clothing, even?

Again my wife was to the rescue. She suggested that she had a set of fashion books she had bought in preparation for sewing and that, although she’d not looked at them in a while, we could go through them together to see what I liked.

We spent a chilly Sunday afternoon pouring over these books before moving to the related websites full of patterns, her explaining what things were and all the components to them, what would work best for my figure (rectangle, if you were wondering), what fabrics were a good idea, what styles were flattering…. it was a lovely experience, something I smile at remembering. It made me feel utterly comfortable.

We moved to amazon for the purchase, and wrangled the sales page on the women’s dresses before I finally settled on the piece below. A simple dress, sleeveless, pretty material and a lovely coloured floral pattern. The nervousness as I hit “buy now” was almost overwhelming and I remember she had to encourage me to actually take the step and do it.

The first dress I bought

The waiting was intense. I had work the next day and spent most of it checking my phone for the live postage updates. I knew when it arrived and I was a mixture of hyper-excited and hyper-nervous at the same time. The walk home was terrifying.

There it was waiting for me. Lighter than I thought (although maybe I just expected it to weigh more from my expectations?) and smaller, but when I opened it it felt wonderful.

My wife once more reminded me to be careful, not to be too excited and not to be too disappointed if it didn’t “work”. Neither of us were sure what would happen, if anything. So I went upstairs, carrying my dress, and tried it on.


With love,

Sammy