A man(?) leaves a Sect: A true story – Part 3

Hazel’s final part of her story of the struggles of being born, and living in a Sect.  Read part 1 and part 2 here.

So we left. This was at the time of our youngest son being born. My mother asked to come and see him, which she did. My sister drove her to the house but sat in the car while Mother came and held the baby for a few minutes. She then said to my wife, “you realise I will not be able to see him again unless you come back?”  This was the only time she held her grandson.

During this time several of us had become disillusioned and we would meet up Saturday afternoons. We bought a 16 mm projector and would hire films to watch. We would do things for the children then put them to bed and start to party, but of course we got into trouble and were told to repent or be excommunicated. Apparently we were holding drunken, debauched pyjama parties. The only ones in pyjamas were the children! Never the less we chose to leave.

Having found ourselves on the outside, we tried several other churches but sooner or later we left those. We did not fit in. We had so much to learn, so much to find out about. We started to make friends through the school, and cubs and scouts. I became involved in fund raising for them, and it was following an evening organising a jumble sale that, when I got home, Rachel told me that my dad had died. Apparently he had a heart attack in the morning and was taken to hospital.

Later on, after they had visited him, he had three more and passed away. I rushed down the house and asked, “why did you not tell me?”

They said, “you know why.”

I was devastated. I still cry when I hear Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics (listen to it and you might understand the hurt I felt).  The funeral was arranged, which Rachel and I attended, but I missed the graveside service as I tried to get my eldest brother to come and stand together to say goodbye. (His part of the sect had fallen out with the others so he intended to hold his own service after.) So when I got back, it was all over. They could not wait for me.  Some ten years late the same happened to my mother. She had a fall and hit her head on the bath and did not recover. I was told several hours later. All I can say is, I did my best. I visited them both regularly even though it was uncomfortable. They would make me a cup of tea but would not drink one with me.

So during all this time I ran my own business refurbishing pubs, where I met several East End characters. We were told we had a reputation for being honest and reliable. I employed several staff and all would have gone well had we not met and worked for a publican who set out to bankrupt me. Due to my naivety I walked into the trap. He refused to pay a large sum of money, so I lost everything. I took him to the High Court. This took five years to sort out and during this time I had to sell my house to pay off debts, and we became homeless. We were given a council house. We eventually won the court case but most was swallowed up by legal fees, but we were able to buy a small cottage and start again.

So what was happening during this time to my desires to dress and be a girl? I fought hard to keep it away, but it would keep coming back. If I got an opportunity when my wife was out I would use it, only to be caught out. So I started counselling, because Rachel said it was my problem, sort it out. She did agree to come along for couple counselling, but would try and avoid talking about it, until one counsellor insisted and eventually she agreed to leaving me to explore my feminine side for twelve months. I agreed to be considerate and discrete because of the children. I ordered two dresses and spent time on-line where I discovered I was not the only one. I found the Beaumont society and joined. Three months into this period Rachel was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and the prognosis was not good. I felt I was to blame. My father’s comments had come true. Not only had my business failed spectacularly, but the woman who I loved more than anything was faced with this horrible disease.

‘All My Fault’, so I said I would give up. I did everything I could to look after her before, during and after her operation. Thanks to the support of my children and the surgeon’s skill, she pulled through, and ten years later she was given the all clear.

By this time the children had moved away and set up their own homes. Rachel had gone back to work and sometimes was away overnight. So, yes, out came the items I had hidden away, but for most of the time I suppressed my desires. I was always found out. Some would say I wanted to be found out, but rest assured I did not. All the upset it caused her upset me so much, but I could not change. One doctor told me prayer would help but I assured him that God was not listening to me. I had tried so many times banging my head on anything to try and make him answer me, but to no avail.

I resumed counselling hoping to find a ‘cure’. We did the couple thing again but this time she would not talk about it at all, and used the time to talk about anything else. After all she had been through, I did not blame her. To face your own mortality is something not many of us can understand. For me the need to dress grew stronger, but I still managed to hide it. I had learned that it was not okay to wear her clothes, so I bought bits of my own. I learned to be careful. A few time I was able to work away, so I sometimes attended sessions dressed during the day when she was at work, taking great care to clear up when I got back. The only way I could cope was working. I would turn anything into work. We went away together. We had a love of walking, but she would not be able to do as much as she used to, but in any spare time I would find something to work at. If I bought a car it would need work doing to it. We bought a beech hut which I pulled down and rebuilt. We learnt the joy of sailing, so I bought a dingy which I worked on. Eventually a bigger boat which I spent hours on. Was I happy? Yes, I was. Rachel was my soul-mate. We would argue about money, work (both hers and mine), but would never let the sun go down on our anger. Many a night we stayed up until the small hours sorting things out, but we loved each other. My only regret is I wished I could change so as to stop deceiving and hurting her. I came to understand I did not chose to be the way I was.

In 2016 my world came crashing down. Rachel woke up one Saturday morning with a head ache which tablets did not touch. She had been to the GP several times previously; he’d put her on BP tablets but did not take her seriously. I called 111 at midday and eventually at 2am Sunday morning a doctor arrived, and called 999 for an ambulance. She had a blood pressure reading of 210, but as it was a weekend nothing happened until Monday, when they carried out several tests. On Tuesday they told us she had a serious BP problem. What was of more concern was that she had lesions on her liver. The consultant referred her to the oncology department. The following day he came by and was surprised to see she had not been moved to the correct ward, so he contacted them and was told they were too busy. He would have to carry out a biopsy and then they said to send her home to wait for an outpatients’ appointment. After weeks of backwards and forwards, whilst she was getting worse, she ended up at a London hospital where she passed away on 16th June 2016. During her last week’s her two sisters visited her and she asked to see her younger brother. These had left the sect at the same time as us but had got on with their own lives. But none of my family came to see her.

After she had passed away my sister sent me a text saying, “it is good to know she safe in the arms of Jesus.” I replied, “but I want her in my arms.”

My eldest brother sent an email saying, “sorry to hear, if I need help let him know.” My other brother phoned and started talking nonsense so I put the phone down. My youngest sister was the only one who cared.

At the funeral all our friends and work colleagues came, but only her two sisters and youngest brother, also my baby sister.

Her eldest brother came to the door as we arrived with the coffin to greet us but would not come any further. I had told him if he could not join us to stay away and not interrupt us as I and my two sons and son-in-law would be carrying Rachel in but of course he did not have any respect. My daughter, to her credit, went up to him and gave him a kiss on the mouth, (that would have been the first time he had tasted lipstick).

So I came back home after spending a few days with my daughter getting over things. I felt terrible, sad, lonely and hurt, and blamed myself. All my father’s comments were coming true.

Here I was alone in my house. I had a bedroom full of my wife’s clothes with my suitcases hidden in the roof void. What was I to do? I had been doing my wife’s washing. I had things to put away, one item of which was a skirt which I just had to wear. I wanted to feel bad, guilty, but I felt so close to her. That night I slept in a nightdress. When morning came I tried to find work to do, to keep my mind occupied, but for the next few days I was unable to do anything but walk around lost. One morning, as I was waking, I felt her hand in mine. It was so real that I thought the past few weeks had been a bad dream that I was waking from. I turned over expecting her to be there but she was not, but I then knew she now understood, and accepted, I should do what I had to do.

So, bit by bit, over the next few weeks, Hazel came out of hiding. I started hanging her clothes in my wardrobe, I revisited a counsellor but she had got as far as she could go with me. I felt we were going around in circles, so I remembered the Beaumont Society and I re-joined. it was so refreshing to talk to the girls there. I had been on other sites but could not understand all the arguments people were having; the BS was different. I then found the contact details of a lady counsellor on the site and she has been a great help. I came to accept I was transgender. Her help was so practical; she helped me to examine how I wanted to be seen as I came out of hiding. I then decided I wanted to tell my children because I have always tried to be honest with them, so I wrote a letter to my daughter, wondering when would I be able to give it to her, but two days’ later she asked if she could visit for the evening and stay over. I jumped at this opportunity. We went out for a meal, then I gave her the letter to read after we got back home. She was brilliant and understanding. I explained about the BS and my visit to Harrogate, and who I wanted be. She has been a great help. We decided it was not the right time to let my sons know, but by the time you will read this they will know.

I was in touch with my counsellor by phone as she is based in Scotland, but after my first visit to Harrogate, it was pointed out to me I could talk to her via Skype. This was so much better. We have talked a lot about gender and she has introduced me to the probability of a third gender, as accepted by other cultures, which makes so much sense to me, as I have always asked: how did it all start? How was it I was transgender? I had not read about it; I had not met anyone else who was trans. I decided I admired them so much I wanted to be the same. As I keep saying, I did not chose to be so, so where, oh where, did it start?

During my second Skype session she looked at me and, as I was wearing a tee shirt over my bra, she said, “My dear, looking at you, I think it is strong possibility you were born Intersex. You have breast development which I would expect to see on a trans person who has been on hormones for a year.”

Well this took me by surprise, but the more I think about it, the more it seems to be the truth. So many things that have happened since I was a child would support that idea. For example: –

  • My mother told Rachel about my birth being different. I now wonder if Rachel told me everything, or whether she felt it best to keep things from me.
  • It would explain the doll I was given and kept for so many years.
  • I was told as a small boy by my aunt, “Your eyes are wasted on a boy.”  “Your nails are wasted on a boy.”
  • It would explain why I felt so difficult to pass as a brother in the sect. Other men who I have talked to said it was just something you had to do.
  • It would explain why for as long as can remember I felt I wanted to be a girl.
  • It would perhaps explain why the girl my father and her father expected me to marry, who was butch, is still single. Could we both have been born different?  Possibly they hoped we would get by together.
  • And why my breasts have been prominent for as long as I can remember. Rachel had a real problem with them.  She offered to pay for reduction surgery. We were on holiday on a beach once and people nearby were talking loudly in Spanish. She told me they were talking about me, so I have not been swimming since then.

So where am I now? I have visited the gender clinic in Wardour Street following blood tests. I was put on the NHS pathway for this some years ago but somehow my details went astray. I will be referred to specialists who may have answers.

I know I feel female and am more comfortable living as one, but I have to take into consideration my children’s views on how they want my grandchildren to know me.

Do I feel the need for surgery? I have been told I am too old for this to be done by the NHS and most likely the gender clinic surgeon. I can accept that without feeling disadvantaged. what about hormones? I am not sure until I speak to the specialist, but do I feel at a disadvantage without them.

I just want to live my life now as a woman as best I can. I am not too bothered about people around me, but I will be moving to a new area where I can start afresh. The present house has no happy memories, anyway. I have spent so much of my life being male, and learned a male trade. I expect to carry on but with a female view and hopefully female logic, for which I have learned to have a great regard for.

I will continue exploring the concept of the third gender. it seems, in some of our cases, this might be the obvious answer, but also I am sure it is not so in all cases, as we are so different. I do have to say that, if I really was born Intersex, I feel sad and angry that my parents did not tell me as I was growing up. I have a friend who has a grandchild who was born Intersex and has been allowed to grow up and now, at the age of 16, is making a decision of how he wants to be. This is so much better. He is now taking hormones to develop his male side.

And what about my faith, as I am often asked? All I can say is that the sect did not give me any faith worth keeping, but I what little I do have, I can be strong enough to challenge. Maybe I will write about this more, one day.

Well that is all folks! In writing I do not ask or expect sympathy but I feel it is a story that had to be told. So many children are being brainwashed in this sect and others like it.

I also dare to hope someone might find help and comfort from within this ramble. We need each other sometimes to lean on, sometimes to encourage, sometimes to advise.

We need to accept and celebrate the diversity within our ranks.

But I think, most of all, to laugh with.

Also, as the grace says, “Ever mindful of those less fortunate than ourselves.”

Hazel King x    

A Boy(?) grows up in a Sect: A True Story – Part 2

We continue Hazel’s story…..Missed part one read it here.

So my school time passed on, with few friends as it was a pointless exercise, making friends. I would not be allowed to visit their houses or socialise with them in anyway, as they had TVs and radios which were “unclean”. A girl who I had got on with during dancing lessons asked if I would walk her home after school. She said she would wait at the school gate, so I found an excuse to avoid this; she gave up after a few days.

I left school at fifteen and started working with my father in a family business. This lasted for a few years until my Uncle, who’s business it was, left the sect to set up his own version, so we had to leave. Father decided we would set up as a building company doing work mainly for church members. We were asked to build a new church hall, which was a massive project for three people to manage. It was made clear to us how privileged we were to “serve the Lord and the Brethren” therefore we should not expect to make much money at it. My wages were £10 per week while others were earning £40.

During all this time I was very friendly with Rachel’s brother and visited his house at every opportunity as it was the only way I could get near her. I used to walk home from church some six or seven miles, (she lived closer) in hopes of getting a chance to talk alone with her, (members would drive by and stop to offer a lift). Little did I know she was doing the same, until one evening I crossed the road when they all had driven past, and walked beside her and we talked, to this day I do not know what we said to each other. This we managed several times, until one evening she suggested she walked a bit further, and we ended up holding hands and we had our first kiss. I was 18 she was 19.  I knew then I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, but how could I tell her about my disgusting desires? How could I expect such a beautiful girl to want to be with me?

But I had other problems ahead, I spoke to her father who was happy for us, but I had to tell my father too. It took two weeks before I plucked up courage, he was annoyed by it all. Firstly, I was the youngest boy. Secondly, how had I found the time to make such a major decision without talking to him first. Thirdly, he had decided years ago I was going to marry his friend’s daughter who I had only met four or five times (more about her later), but he said he would talk later with mother and I was to talk with him the following evening. So the next evening I was summoned. He was annoyed because mother had told him about the love letter I had received. He had however talked to her father and realised he was outnumbered so he gave us his blessing, and handed me a cheque for £50 to buy an engagement ring. For the first time in my life I stood up him and refused to accept, I had saved up £28 which I was determined to spend on this ring. We decided we would get engaged and planned a trip to Bravingtons; just the two of us. But before I could do this I told Rachel about me and how dirty and disgusting I was, but she assured me she loved me, and when I was with a real woman it would all sort itself out.

So everything in the garden was fine?  No!  The Leader of the brethren decided to make a new rule, there should be no such thing as long engagements; they should be three to six months at the most. This put the dampers on the whole situation because on £10 a week I would not be able to buy a house. It was also decided that during the waiting time we were not allowed to be alone together. This was to make sure that there would be no sex before marriage. During the next twelve months we met at her house with her family around and talked on the phone. Also during this time another boy proposed to her, and I found out later that my eldest brother was weighing up his chances!

Then we were told her mother had walked past an estate agent and seen a house that had just come on the market for £2800.00. She went in and paid a £500 deposit which would be our wedding present. It was also directly opposite the “meeting room” and my father–in-law to be had arranged a mortgage with an elderly sister for the balance. I should say building societies were not allowed. She was charging 10% interest. I later got a mortgage for 2.5%.

Did we care? No, we could now get engaged and better still be seen together, albeit only at church or home or walking between the two. No cinemas, pubs, meals out and most of the time we had a chaperone.

We could not wait to be alone together in our little two up two down cottage. It had no bathroom, just an outside loo. It needed an extension with a kitchen and bathroom which was done. Father also decided we needed to make downstairs a through room so we would be able to entertain brethren. We were hoping to spend most of our time alone.

Eventually a day in March 1967 arrived: our wedding day. We were told we could not get married on a Saturday, and the service had to be in the evening, so it was a Tuesday at a registry office, midday and we sat around with a few family people, and those church members who never missed a free lunch, eating, if I remember right, cucumber sandwiches and cake. I found out later my new brother had hidden a bottle of sherry which he and my brothers drank.

Then, much to father’s disgust, we went down to Devon the next day to stay with a family. The wife had been one who we had grown up with us and moved when she married. We had little quality time as we were expected to take their children out during the week for visits to the seaside.

Twelve months later our son was born and eighteen months after our daughter was born. It was hard bringing up two children on my wages I was given a raise to £12. Of course wives were not allowed to work, and anyway she had her hands full with two children, but I was kept being told the “lord will provide”. We could not afford a car so every night during the week I would get home from work at about 6.30 pm, have a quick wash and eat dinner and rush up the road for a lift by 7 pm. No time with the children, no time to talk to my wife about how the day had been, but I had to turn up and pretend I was interested in the goings on, which I did as I did not want to go to hell. Sunday was full on, taking two babies to church at 6 am and most Saturdays we would be taken somewhere, but we started to have reasons to stay at home and try and be a normal family. I put my feelings away we did talk a little but there was so much else to discuss.

By this time, we were getting a bit fed up with all the restrictions and nonsense that was happening. This is not the place to go into the details, but suffice to say I missed my lift one evening and for the first time we spent the evening together not knowing what to say. But things started to change, we wanted to be a normal family, and then the straw that broke the camel’s back was the main-man deciding it was God’s will that if he needed/wanted it, he could ask any sister to “wash his feet with her tears”; in other words, he could commit adultery without it being wrong. This was enough. I told my dad I was leaving along with several other people.

He assured me that if I did that I could expect every pestilence known to man to be visited on my head, and as I explained I was setting up my own business he guaranteed it would fail.

So we started to live as normal people, only we had no idea how to do it, we still lived opposite the meeting room, but they would ignore/shun us. I acquired a record player and our love of country music started then. Jim Reeves, Roy Orbison, The Shadows, The Seekers, etc. Yes, we got a second hand TV. The first programme we saw was Sergeant Bilko. If they were having a meeting opposite we would watch it with the lights off, forgetting that the flickering light could be seen through the curtains so they all knew how wicked we were.

I had to start working for myself. My father-in law, who had joined in the exodus but was not pleased with how far we had gone down “the Worldly” route, helped by getting me to fit a new kitchen, and more work came in. I will come back to my business later.

We were expecting our third child by now so we decided to move. Our youngest son arrived several months after we settled in to our new house (with a new TV). Rachel’s parents were happy to visit as long as we covered the telly. However, my parents and family were not happy. My mother did get my sister to bring her to the house to see the baby, which she held for a few minutes, then said, “you realise that unless you repent and return to the Brethren, I will not be able to see him again,” and then left.

So time went by. I made a point of calling in to see my father and mother, although these meetings were difficult and filled with constant pressure to make me see how bad I was, which of course I did not need, as the desire to cross-dress was always with me, making me feel bad anyway.

Sadly, one morning my father was rushed into hospital and passed away in the evening. I was not told till later that night. I went straightaway to visit Mother to see what I could do. I ended up helping my middle brother to do the funeral arrangements over the next few days. We were allowed to attend the funeral service but had to sit at the back with all the other “Worldly” families. I should say here that my father became very fond of Rachel and she of him. He doted on his eldest grandson, but as soon as we left this was not allowed to be seen.

We were asked back to his house for refreshments, but the other church members went to my sisters, it was definitely “Them and Us”. It was then I found out that my baby sister was also “out of fellowship”. She had promised my mother and other sister she would keep away from me, as we were seemingly involved in wicked pursuits such as partying, going to pubs and getting drunk, smoking, going to discos, wife swapping. You name it, she had a complete list. We were both gob-smacked as to how they could spread such rubbish. Rachel and I have always been faithful. Yes, we had been drunk on a couple of occasions and yes, we smoked now and then. Yes, we did have friends around for dinner parties. In fact, we were living a “normal life”.  Yes, I did frequent pubs.  I was involved in the renovation of several East End Public Houses!

I made a point of visiting my mother as often as I could. Rachel would take the children but they were difficult times as she was not allowed to eat with us. I always made a point of having a cuppa and biscuit with her, but she would let the tea go cold and refuse the biscuit. Always she would try to get me to see the error of my ways. I would try and convince her I was a good person. If only I could have talked to her about my desire to cross-dress, perhaps she could have told me about my birth. I will always regret I was unable to discuss this with her but I was ignorant as to where I was in the whole matter. Sadly, the same happened to her. She fell early one morning in the bathroom hitting her head on the bath and never regained consciousness and, yes, I was not told. So in both my father and mother’s passing I was never given the chance to say goodbye. This I will never forget, or understand WHY.

To be continued….

Hazel x

A Boy (?) born Into a Sect: A True Story – Part 1

Some time ago, Hazel put pen to paper to tell us about the things trans people do. After reading the post Ultra-Orthodox and trans she wanted to tell us about being born into a Sect.  This was first published in the Beaumont magazine.

This is a story I have long wanted to write but had no idea where to start, so I suppose the best place to start is the beginning.

I was born in January 1947, the third male child to a family that were part of a religious sect. My grandfather was bought into it during the first world war. Quite why or how, I never managed to find out because his family were all publicans, and my grandmothers family were never part of it, but it happened. During my early years  I was not aware that my father was strongly involved. At that time he was one of nine children, and only one of his brothers and two of his sisters had joined and became part of the sect.

I suppose at this point I should mention that I learnt many years later that my mother was convinced I was going to be a girl, everything about me was apparently different, but I will talk about that later.

When I was four, it would appear that father was asked by the Brethren”to move to a town in Essex to help sort out a problem in a meeting” there. I will not go any further with that as it will appear far-fetched. But there it was; we went and my father became, with another brother, the elders responsible to clean things up. Looking back I can see how my father came under the spell of the other person; he was a domineering character who rose to be a leading light within the sect while my father was content to play second fiddle. I only mention this to give some idea how things were.

My sister would have been born before we moved, so Mother had the girl she wanted. Several years later my baby sister was born, so I was now the middle child of five. This is probably the time to mention my birth. I am convinced my mother wanted a girl so badly that, until the arrival of my sister, I was that girl. I can remember being given a doll with a china head, when at the same time my two brothers were given cars, this dolly was my constant companion until I was about six. I loved her. When I wasn’t playing with her she stayed tucked up in my bed. This was until I was about six, when my mother asked me to hand her over and she was put in the dustbin because “boys do not play with dolls”. Needless to say as soon as Mother’s back was turned I rescued her and hid her under the bed. But, of course, mothers find everything, and once again dolly ended up in the bin, only this time I was told to get a hammer and her head was smashed. I can only think that she took such drastic action because she wanted to exorcise some inner guilt feeling she had about the way I was bought up at the very beginning because, lets face it, she could have insisted I give the doll to my sister. In those days children had only a few toys and I am sure my sister would have been delighted.

So I grew up and arrived at the age when I would be expected to become interested in becoming a “Brother”, learning about the bible and listening to my elders, because I needed to be saved* so I could become a fully fledged member of the meeting. I could give at this point a history of what this sect was about but that would be for another time and place, as this article is about how I coped with it but, suffice to say, it was full on. This is how a week would go:

Monday 7.30 pm: prayer meeting.

Tuesday  – 7.30 pm: ministry meeting (once a month “Care” meeting to discuss  the running of things).

Wednesday – 7.30 pm: mid week reading meeting at the main meeting room.

Thursday  – 7.30 pm: reading meeting where we would visit nearby gatherings.

Friday  – 7. 30 pm: same as above.

Saturday – 9.00 / 10.00 am: Fellowship meeting in nearby towns. Usually they would hire a school and brethren from surrounding areas would meet up and invite a“Ministering brother” to conduct the proceedings. This would have three main meeting with intervals where food would be served, and would finish at 3 or 4 pm. These gatherings would have 100 or more members. They hired Westminster Central Hall / Alexandra Palace for special occasions and these would be filled.

Going back in time here, I was beginning to feel different to others. At around the age of 6 or 7,  I was aware of my mothers stockings hanging up in the bathroom and, after a lot of longing, I had to touch them and then I plucked up courage and tried them on. The exhilaration I experienced was soon followed by a fear of what was happening. I was also aware of the girls in the gathering who wore wonderful full skirts with layered petticoats or, alternatively, short skirts. I would keep looking and longing to be one of them. The attraction was not sexual as I had no idea what sex was, I just wanted to be a girl and sit with them. I wanted to join in with them and talk with them. But no, I was a brother and had to pretend to be different and spiritual. I had also found a corset that had belonged to an aunt who used to live with us. I wore that a lot, hidden away in the bathroom, on the odd occasion I managed to find an excuse to stay behind in the evening looking after my sisters.

I started to have feelings of disgust with myself. We were constantly told about evil thoughts and feelings and I knew how God would punish me. One day all my family would be taken up to heaven with all the brethren, and I would be left behind with everybody else and end up in Hell. But I could not stop; I so wanted to be a girl.

I thought one of the girls, Rachel was special, really beautiful. When I was seven she slipped a note in my pocket that read, “I love you and I am going to marry you.“ I was taken aback and so happy. I put it in my pocket but my mother found it a few days later when she was checking my “go to the meeting best suit”.  She informed me she had talked to Rachel’s mother to make sure no more notes were sent, because I was not to think about such things for years.

This girl was special. As I grew older I worshipped her, but I was too shy and embarrassed to talk to her. I had this terrible secret which I was carrying. I knew I was not worthy of her. I was struggling to be a good member of the sect. I tried hard to be good and function as a brother, but all the while I was longing to be one of the girls or  sisters as they were known. I did manage to cope and passed muster. I asked to be accepted into “fellowship” at about the age of twelve, which meant I had to try really hard to participate, which for the most part I did. looking back now, did I understand what I was saying? Did it make sense? I doubt it, but I wanted to put behind me all those wicked evil thoughts. I did not want to go to hell. I also wanted to be worthy of Rachel. She was also attracting the attention of other boys. I was very jealous, but I thought they were better for her than I could be. One of these boy’s family was later excommunicated and became “worldly” and she was stopped  from having anything to do with them.

All this time I was at school, which was difficult because at home we did not have television or radio. We were not allowed to go to the cinema. I no idea about any of these things, and hated it when I was questioned by teachers and pupils. I did not know what to say. We would be asked to write about programmes or films that other children had seen. I had to admit I did not have such worldly things. I had to reply with the answer that the brethren told us to give: “We love Jesus and he says these things are not good.”

During my secondary school we had to be asked to be excused from school weekly assembly and religious instruction lessons because in these activities we were being taught things that the sect did not agree with. This made me personally feel isolated and different. I tried to get involved in other things at school, and I was so proud to be asked to play for the school rugby team as the master felt I was a natural “hooker” in the scrum, but when I got home late from school, because I stayed for practise, I was in deep trouble. It was explained in no uncertain terms that all my spare time was to be spent at the meetings, so there would be no time on Saturdays or after school. I was told to tell the master the “I love Jesus” line.  A similar thing happened with the cricket and athletics teams. I was told I was a good bowler but I made sure I bowled overs of wides  and no-balls, and when it came to the semi-final of the hurdles, where I was told I was going to be asked to represent my house at sports day,  I made sure I knocked half of them down. Otherwise I would have had to explain why I could not take part on Saturdays and after school. At the same time as having to deal with this, I was still agonising with my inner feelings. I wanted to be a girl, I longed to wear pretty things, and I was struggling so hard to be the opposite. I did not want to pray out loud and make comments about any passage of the bible we would happen to be studying.

To be continued….

Hazel x

Glossary of terms

Brethren:- Was the name they went by and also referred to each group as.

Meeting :- Was a gathering of Brethren they did not use the term church, also it referred to service i.e. prayer meeting etc.

In Fellowship:- you had to be “in fellowship” to be able to partake and participate

Saved:- you had to be saved and ask to be taken into fellowship before you could participate, believe you me they gave you no rest until you got there.

Julie’s story

Julie contacted me early June interested in coming to Oasis.  I do hope we will be able to meet her on the “other side” of Covid-19.  She wanted to tell her story as an introduction to coming to Oasis.

Lovely to have found you and made contact, my name is Julie, I have been travelling my road now for the best part of fifty years, so I am no spring chicken!, from very early on I knew I didn’t fit in, it was and still is to an extent very difficult to come to terms with, and I am sure all of us can tell a similar story…

I am to all practical intents and purposes an ordinary, fairly well balanced guy, single but with a secure full time job and a home of my own, I have a range of hobbies including singing and playing music, though not that well, I’m a much better and more confident singer than musician, I have even done several open mic nights and been well received, sadly at the moment of course all of that is cancelled, and I am really missing it, but with the extra time I am getting on with other stuff which is demanding my attention at home including fitting out my kitchen

My biggest problem I feel was the conflict within myself, I was only six when I first tried anything on from my sisters old clothes which were in the attic at the time, I could say I resisted the temptation for a long while, but that wouldn’t be true, I seized it with both hands!, it was still just my little secret though,  later in school life I had to suppress it, and more so when I found myself at a boys only boarding school!, I discovered then I am not Gay, I won’t go in to detail, he was older, and fortunately for me a nice guy who took no for an answer, we did become friends, and he stuck up for me against some very cruel people, I really missed him when he left, as he had seen something in me other’s didn’t see…

When I left school it was a traumatic time for me for all sorts of reasons I won’t share right now and my real self became submerged again for some time, in my later teen’s and with my own money I ventured over the forbidden threshold once more, I think buying my first pair of panties was one of the most terrifying experiences I had had at the time, now I am very casual about clothes shopping generally, in fact after my first admittedly bad experience, I had no trouble really,  no internet options back then but I managed, I live in a village, and my local market town is not very big but I still shopped there, even in the small privately owned lingerie shop we had at the time!

While I’m on that subject, It has come to my notice and I am sure many more of us would agree that the “buying a present gambit” doesn’t fool experienced lady shop assistants, regardless of their age, but if your nice, polite and approach them properly the girls are very happy to help as I am sure they meet a lot like us, and they appear to be very understanding in my experience, or perhaps I have just been lucky!

I think the major turning point for me was when I properly acknowledged my true self, she has a lot more confidence than I did, and I wouldn’t be the person I now am without her, she used to be entirely in the background, but now she has come to the fore I am now much happier, more confident,comfortable and generally a much nicer person to be around, I regret not accepting her sooner, she’s lovely and has opened up my world, I used to really struggle with meeting new people especially socially, I didn’t join clubs or really go out much, now I’m with her I don’t feel so alone, I love meeting people, and take a genuine interest in them, I’m a proper chatterbox, and I belong to three different clubs mainly connected with music, I find work easier to cope with, I am nowhere near as stressed as I used to be, I was like a coiled spring some days!, but now I just sail through most of the time, and I wouldn’t put my genie back in her bottle if I could, the only question remaining is do I live with her, or become her full time, I’m still not sure on that one, but I do know one thing, she’s here to stay and I love her with all my heart….

I am not completely “out” but I’m not in either!, I have not told family or most friends yet, as you don’t want to spoil a long standing friendship, or alienate yourself from your relatives, it’s a difficult choice, and one big reason I am making contact with you all is to gain some perspective from others who are on this difficult journey as well, I am not totally out but it’s not the secret it once was, as one day when out off duty in my usual smarter than average well fitted outfit I happened to run in to three of my younger female colleagues from my  current work, I wasn’t sure where to put myself, but decided to brazen it out, smiled and acknowledged the three of them by name and explained I couldn’t stop to chat as I had an appointment with my opticians!, which was actually true I was walking there from my car.

A couple of day’s later I met one of them at work, she gave me a lovely smile and didn’t even mention it, I still work with her, we get on well and often chat, but we haven’t talked about and  I have heard nothing more about it from anyone at work,   and I’m not the talk of the town either as far as I know!, the only other comment from one of the other lasses I had seen that day was when my rather commodious work trousers were slipping down as I bent over to pick something up, and she suggested without a hint of humour that a ladies cut might suit me better…

I said are you saying I’m curvy?, she said well your not typically male, a truer word never spoken, so at least some of my co-workers know, and possibly more than I realize!

I said above that I am not completely in either, so a few words of explanation are due, although I haven’t been out and about fully made up and in a skirt or dress in public yet, I have been wearing a range of ladies clothes now for years, sometimes with stealth, but in more recent years openly, I think it’s a confidence thing which comes with age and experience, I find I just don’t care that much about what the world thinks about me anymore, also you probably pass with less notice when your over 21!

So I wear ladies trousers, skinny jeans and jegging’s, pretty blouses often in deep colours or with floral prints and embroidery together with a range of  smart well fitted jackets or a ladies pullover and appropriate shoes, often ankle boots when out shopping just in my little town, the only comments I generally hear are either positive, I get a lot of smiles, or just politely puzzled, on one occasion in a supermarket a young woman was walking behind me and noticed my boots, she said to her boyfriend he’s wearing ladies boots!, his reply was a classic, he said so, probably just one of those gender benders! I had to smile! and I am laughing till I cry just thinking about it, and it’s at least three years ago now, suffice to say I am a lot more relaxed in the shop nowadays and I haven’t had an off hand comment recently…

Love and hugs Julie 

Lana’s Story


This article was first published 18 years ago in the FXG Bulletin produced by Mary Johnston.

I “came out” in a small way, about a year ago. It was a heady feeling, very thrilling and exciting. I thought I would like to tell everyone about it. However, as I read more about the TV world and met more girls, I realised that I didn’t have much to tell that hadn’t already been told, many times before! My great adventure would probably be met with a big yawn and “been there, done that, got the tee-shirt”. The more I learned about the TV world the more I realised that, as a TV, I am perfectly “normal”. In a way this was quite a relief as I’ve never been one to stand out in a crowd and am quite happy to be “normal”.

But there is one chapter in my story which may be of interest, and this is the way adults can unwittingly implant the concept of cross-dressing in the mind of a child. When I was in my infant school the teacher planned, rather ambitiously, to put on a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Shakespeare buffs will recall there is a play within a play put on by a group of rustics in honour of the Duke’s wedding and my class of eight year olds was to perform that part of the play. One of the rustics, Flute the bellows-mender, was cast to play the romantic heroine, Thisbe, in the playlet and I was cast to play Flute and therefore also to be Thisbe! My sister, three years older than me, had recently been a bridesmaid at the wedding of an older cousin and it was decided, by whom I don’t know, that in my sub-role as Thisbe, I was to wear my sister’s bridesmaid ‘s dress. One day she brought the dress into my class to show my teacher and I can still remember the titter which went around the class of eight year olds at the thought of me putting it on. It was a long, frilly, candyfloss affair, typical of the 1940s. In the event, the production did not go ahead (I can’t remember why) so I never did appear on stage before the public wearing the dress. However, it must have been quite shortly after that episode that I started to experiment with feminine clothes, anything I could find, whenever I was alone in the house.

Thus began sixty and more years of secrecy and fantasising about cross-dressing, ebbing and flowing as it does, but never going away. Early last year, I discovered the Beaumont Society and FXG web sites and I became desperate to be “real”. It was now or never – and I hoped it would not be never. How to tell my wife of 41 years? I spent many weeks trying to work out what to say and two days after my seventieth birthday I asked her if she knew what a transvestite was – and told her that I was one! She was utterly astonished, matched only by my astonishment, and intense relief, that she did not react adversely. She does not understand, any more than I do, why I need to dress in feminine clothes but has accepted the fact and is supportive and helpful. In gratitude for her attitude I aim to be as discreet as possible in my comings and goings and make every effort not to betray her trust.

On joining the Beaumont Society, I was able to contact the Norwich Oasis and after a preliminary meeting with Barbara and Allison, have attended all their meetings. I have greatly benefited from the support and, encouragement, advice and friendship of the Oasis girls, help and advice, on make-up from Alice and hair from Anne in Wisbech. Do I “pass”? I don’t know but I draw some comfort from the fact that, having been invited to join the Oasis Ladies Luncheon Club, which meets periodically at a local restaurant, perhaps I don’t look too ridiculous.

Am I “read”? I don’t know. Does it matter? Perhaps not. Perhaps we don’t all share with equal passion Robbie Burns’ desire for “the gift to see ourselves as others see us”. It must be said however that, from where I stand, i.e. dressed, in front of a full-length mirror, no right-minded, clear-thinking, objective observer could possibly come to any other conclusion than that I am a well-dressed, well-groomed, elegant (attractive even), woman of seventy.



Hazel’s story – the things trans women do

Here is my current project. She’s a 52’ Bruce Roberts Spray, she is a sad story, involving famous people, drugs and altercations.  She was abandoned after having all her windows smashed, hatches opened, resulting in her being half full of water, unloved for several years. Her last owner a famous actor gave it to his son, sadly an addict.

So why did I, a trans woman, struggling to come to terms with life and all the doubts and concerns of being transgender, take her on? I asked this question of one of the staff at the London Transgender Clinic. “Simple” she said “you were both abandoned and left alone. Who better than you to sort her out!”

So that’s what I’m doing. With help I’ve spent the last 12 months pumping her out, removed 3 skips of rubbish from her, (people saw fit to dump their rubbish on her) replaced windows and hatches, and re-modelled her interior.

All the while like my boat, my family abandoned me with the exception of my children and grandchildren.  I’m coming to terms with being a trans woman, getting rid of clutter, letting people around me, friends and neighbours see the person inside.

My boat one day will be beautiful. I, well I’ll do my best, I don’t expect to aspire to great beauty but I’ll be me.

We both will change our names she will be “Colne Spray”, I will be Hazel Jane Samways.

As to our ongoing journey, I plan eventually to sail her around the UK. However due to the lockdown, the work on Colne Spray has halted, but the work on Hazel is ongoing, I’ve had time to reflect, to look at who I really am, accepting I’m a trans woman, and yes, how to paint and improve her appearance. Don’t you love shopping!

I’ve written a more detailed article about “Colne Spray”, which will be entered on the JRA website (Junk Rig Association) under my proper name.  I asked for this to be done as I intend to be honest with myself and others from now on.

I asked if this would be a problem, the editors replied “I think the members will be more interested how a 73 year-old person has taken on such a massive daunting project to rescue a well respected designed boat, that they will, if you are trans woman”.

Rest assured I won’t do it on my own. I’ve made too many friends on this journey. My two eldest grandchildren 12 and 13 have booked passage to do the leg through the Caledonian canal.

So girls and boys, next year or sometime soon, I’ll see you around the UK!!

Point of Information – Joshua Slocum, was the first person to circumnavigate single handed the globe in a Bruce Roberts in 1895. (The proper way not popping up to the pole and back as they do nowadays) See his book “Sailing alone around the world” Sanford’s Travel Classics.

Hazel Samways


Hazel has only visited us at Oasis a few times including one of our Christmas meals and is very friendly with Joanna, It is lovely to catch up and read her story.

Do you have a story to tell in the new normal times we are in?

Lilly’s Story

Here is my story, Lilly’s tale, as told through the medium of my desert island disc selections. ‘DID’ can be heard on BBC Radio 4, nine o’clock each Friday morning, it’s a long running and always interesting show.

I rarely stray too far from the radio or my Spotify account. Music is the sound track of my life; here are eight records that express my feelings and my outlook on the world. I hope you this little bit of self indulgence. Mine is a happy, joyful story.


‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA – dedicated to Serena, my inspiration, my mentor, my confidant, my shopping partner in crime, my friend. Why this song? Well last year Serena, the beautiful Rachel (will you stop getting compliments please) and I went to see La Voix in Norwich. Oh what an evening, what fun; we were just three women having a wonderful time. The place was packed with a cross section of people. ‘Dancing Queen’ finished the show and everyone was up and dancing, all inhibition were well and truly gone. Serena lives in the real world and helps me do the same, she keeps me grounded. ‘Anybody could be that girl……. ‘ but this time it was we three.

‘Girls Just Want Have Fun’ by Cindy Lauper – dedicated to Dee and all the girls living full time. Dee and girls like Dee, Petra and Petra for example, walk the walk and talk the talk. Living full time is Dee’s dream and she has made that dream come true. Suffering the slings and arrows, she remains strong and determined to make her new life work. Every day during the lock down, Dee and I exchange a song for the day. This is one of her favourites; expressing how we feel and valuing what we what we are currently missing. We are certainly intend to have lots of fun when we all meet again. Oasis meetings will not be taken for granted, ever.

‘We are Family’ – Sister Sledge dedicated to Oasis. It’s two years since my first meeting, which is now such a treasured memory. I was made to feel so welcome, so special. Oasis has created a wonderful safe space where we can meet new friends and catch up with old ones. A place where we can experiment with our look, live out some of our dreams and discover we are no longer alone and oh, have a wonderful time. We are all custodians of Oasis, but I cannot give enough thanks to those who created, nurtured and developed Oasis. There are too many people to thank but nevertheless I insist on saying thank you to the brilliant Beccie, for that she has done and continues to do. Beccie always has a wonderful ability to make me smile. Thanks to all our partners, our friends, our Phyllis and Barry, our delicious Vicki, our Joanna, our Geri and Michelle (how much washing-up do you do? A thankless task). Thanks to Barbara Ross and the founding members, I’m sorry I don’t know you all but I’m thinking of Jenny, Rachel R, LTS, Carole, Alison… I’m thinking of the wonderful Lana, such an inspiration. ‘I’ve got all my Sisters with Me’, have I? Oh yes I have!

‘Rebel Girl’ – Bikini Kill dedicated to Angela, Anne (with an ‘e’) and all the girls out there, that don’t quite fit in. On our travels, I’ve been lucky to meet so many interesting and stimulating people, some Trans, some not. I guess we all know what is like to be an outsider; me, happily I did find a little home in the Punk scene. Though it may appear so, Punk wasn’t all about boys and there were also many amazing women too. Later, after Goths and Grunge, along came the Riot Girl movement and some brilliant girl bands. I choose this track simply because A & A will like it. Girls can’t play guitars. Oh I beg to differ!

‘Shame’ Evelyn Champagne King dedicated to all Trans Girls everywhere. Einstein said that he had stood on the shoulders of giants, one of whom was the brilliant female mathematician Emmy Nether, who helped him construct the mathematics required to express the 4D universe necessary for the theory of relativity. We Trans women are also using the shoulders of giants, those who have pushed back the boundaries that allow us the freedom to express ourselves in relative safely, here in the UK. Thank you to our predecessors, those brave Trans activists, those who have risked their health and their personal safety fighting for our rights. We in our turn, we must try to make this a better world for those who follow us. Small steps, little acts of kindness, and a generosity of spirit. ‘Shame’ is one of the greatest dance recolds ever, let’s dance around our handbags ladies.

‘This is Love’ – P.J. Harvey dedicated to all the women in the media who are helping us to get us through this current crisis. My favourite is Lauren Lavern, who presents on BBC Radio 6 and more recently Desert Island Discs. Lauren’s infectious enthusiasm for life shines through and always puts a smile on my face. I think of the wonderful pioneering DJ, Anne Nightingale. When Anne started in the 60’s, the male DJ’s made her life very difficult; she was subjected to a great deal of sexist abuse and belittling behaviour. Anne is strong, and she is still pushing back musical boundaries 50 years later. If you don’t know P.J. Harvey, she is a brilliant song writer, poet and musician. I love this song, I absolutely love Polly Harvey.

‘I’m every women’ by Chaka Khan, dedicated to the Feminist cause, dedicated to The UEA’s Feminist Book Club, dedicated to Women’s Hour, dedicated to all the female scientists, astromeners, mathematics, physicist, artists and authors written out of history. History is written by the winning side, it is certainly written by men! Take the case of Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Jocelyn discovered radio pulsars in 1967 but later when the Nobel Prize was awarded for this discovery, she was not included as a recipient, instead the prize was awarded to three men. The western world is slowly changing but if you have any doubts there is a long way to go, look up Laura Bates’ Every Day Sexism Project. The world needs to change for every woman, equal but different.

‘Like a Prayer’ by Madonna dedicated to all members of the LQBTQI+ community. We are a community, though some times not always in complete harmony. On my way to my first Norwich Pride, on the radio I heard a story of a gay man, and how Madonna and her songs, helped him through the sadness and isolation he felt growing up. Later as we paraded through the streets, I found myself walking with and talking to, a young gay man in a Madonna T-shirt. I wonder if he was the same boy?

I hope you have enjoyed my little selection. If you would like, please send me your choices. Stay safe, lots of love to you and your families.

‘Jeepster’ by T-Rex next to Mum’s Eighties style record player.

Side note:

I was amazed to find the first record I ever bought with my own money. No not ‘We’ll Meet Again’ but, from WH Smiths in Margate High Street, sometime in 1972.

Stay Safe

Lilly x 

Geri’s Story

I started cross dressing when I was very young. I can’t be certain when, but I was still at junior school, so, was probably about ten; around 1956.

My family shared a three-storey, Victorian, terraced house in North London with my maternal grandmother. The first items of clothing I tried on were stockings and suspenders. My Nan always called her suspenders her “stays” and my mother referred to hers as her “belt.”

In later life I attended some dog training classes and in answer to my question, the trainer said that if an animal stole food, they would always be a food thief as the rewards was too great. That was how I felt in female clothing- the reward was huge.

To this day, I can shut my eyes and be transported back to those times when I was ten and recall the sights, sounds and smells. The reward was so great that I can have instant recall to this day.

As time passed I continued to flirt with female clothing and wanted a female form. I never felt that I was trapped inside the wrong body, just that I would have preferred to be female. This seemed especially strong when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I was married at eighteen and divorced at thirty-six.

I continued to cross dress on and off throughout this married period of my life, mainly by wearing female underclothes. So, I would present as a professional person in a suit and tie, but only I knew what was underneath.

After I separated from my wife, whilst staying in the marital home with both children, the urge to dress completely as a female was very strong. I could not wait to get home from work on a Friday night, when the children would be absent visiting their mother over the weekend, in order that I could become female and under cover of darkness would often go out. I would drive to a secluded location taking my dog with me, and use her as a pretext for a walk. I suspect neighbours knew I was behaving oddly but they never challenged me over my behaviour.

When I was forty I met someone and got married again. During the years we were together I kept my feminine side largely suppressed, without a lot of pain.

Following the breakdown of that marriage I re-located to my current address and the old desire grew strong again. I was cross dressing in the seclusion of my home until a neighbour called unexpectedly one day. I put a bath robe on but in my haste, forgot about the earrings! From then on I was “out” and leading a largely female life.

I consulted with my GP on what was happening to me to try and understand why. He recommended some counselling which was not particularly helpful but that led me to Gender Agenda and Oasis.

I had a long telephone consultation with the former and became a fairly regular attendee at Oasis gatherings.

In 2017 I told both my children of my circumstance. My daughter, who I had not been close to for nearly thirty years was upset and has taken time to adapt. My son accepted things but made the request that when we met, I be in “Dad clothes.” I accepted that but soon learnt it was a mistake and advised him I could not continue on that basis. He has accepted that and I am very relieved.

In the meantime, I had seen my GP again, by which time I was living virtually full time as a female and he referred me to the Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) at Charing Cross Hospital (CX), where I was accepted as a patient. However, the lead time for appointments was eighteen months plus.

Knowing that time was not on my side I looked on line at the consultants in the GIC. I selected one and following an internet search discovered she had a private practice. I made an appointment and have seen her three times. She diagnosed Gender Dysphoria and put me in touch with a voice coach and endocrinologist, as well as dispensing some sound advice and guidance.

The voice coach only required a single consultation but a lot of exercises and practice. I am now overdue a follow up appointment with the endocrinologist, due to Covid-19, but have been taking female hormones for about eight months.

My first ex has learned of my cross dressing in the last few years, our children advising her after I “came out” to them. However, I don’t think the second ex knows and she now lives on the Isle of Mann so is unlikely to find out. I am not bothered about who knows. I take the view that if I was concerned, I probably should not have done it in the first place.

I have been asked if have any regrets and the answer is “Yes, I do.”  But that is only because I have wasted years and should have publicly acknowledged my dysphoria years ago.

Geri Gibbs

Vicky’s Story

Covid-19 and me

Since the lockdown, which now seems such a long time ago, I have been on furlough as I work in a coffee shop. During this time, I have found it surprising easy to adopt new routines. It’s good for the soul to eat fresh baking bread (though sourcing ingredients are difficult). Cooking the family meals, different styles whether they like it or not, whiles away my time. Also my girls clothing has all been sorted, some destined for the charity shop or more likely the bin (knowing my style). My shoes all cleaned and sorted out in to different styles.

Oasis and me

I have been a member for 11 years and it has given me pleasure and pain. Happy times are sorting out my outfit for the evening and arranging the catering. Bad times are sometimes feeling totally out of place. I have always struggled with talking with people, I know, in large or small groups. So sometimes going to Oasis or related events can fill me with dread. However, I cope by finding things to do, cooking or outside for a cigarette. But, hey we all have a cross to bear! On the plus side I have meet some lovely people at Oasis, truly warm-hearted and gorgeous looking.

Dressing and me

I love dressing. It took me a long while to get a style and make up that I felt happy about. It’s probably a bit of the “drag” in me, that makes me want to stick out! Dressing for me is always a light at the end of the tunnel, when I am down and hating myself, dressing always makes me happy to be alive. Not really concerned with trying to pass only concerned with looking like a very stylish bloke in a dress! I feel, we as trans bods, bring a bit of colour to a somewhat dreary world!

Shoes and me

Why do I love my shoes so much? Why do I find a reason to buy yet another pair of black high heeled shiny shoes, that are so impractical to wander around in? Well because, of course, it makes me so happy.

Beccie and me

Been friends with her for 9 years, it took 2 years before she realised that I could cook. Oasis you are welcome! Do so admire her for her tireless efforts at Oasis and here God given ability to talk to anyone at great lengths. She has another great skill of totally believing in her ability to be mistaken for a real life woman any time she walks out her door dressed. I love her for that! I totally love Beccie’s wife, Annie for putting up with her, and still loving each other. Thank you both for being my friend x

The future and me

Looking so forward to doing some my favourite things …

Shopping, drinking coffee at Costa and wearing totally inappropriate clothes.

And of course going back to work … Sort off!

Be safe everybody

all my love. Vicky x