Who’s that boy?

I was born with a female body. Before I was 10, I prayed for a penis. My father was a Church of England rector so this was the obvious thing to do. It was so disappointing that my prayers were not answered. I have never been a girl or a woman. Right from when I was little. Of course back then in the 60s I had no idea what was possible.

Sexuality was a different issue and yes I was gay from fairly early on, certainly had to hide that at my all girls’ school, a girls’ school which accepted boys in the sixth form just as I reached the 6th form. For a time we only had one boy who is still my friend now. I had plenty of male lovers, some of them were also gay. Then I settled into being gay, I’ve never been comfortable with the word lesbian. In terms of sexuality now, I don’t really care anymore, what’s more important to me is what is in a person’s heart.

Carol was a godsend because we were both able to be who we wanted to be. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t doing that before just it was an intense connection and a lot of the attraction between us. We used to go to The Mineshaft club (gay men’s leather club) in Manchester and no-one batted an eye, well we were quite shocked at the poor standard of dancing! We were good, so good we were beaten up for being gay boys. That was a tough one, for instance, on 9th July 1994, Carol proposed to me. Of course we couldn’t get married then so it was a long engagement. We were deliriously happy that day and the scummy boys in Ripon couldn’t deal with that so they rained on our parade big time. We got stoned as in hit by stones, outside Carol’s flat in Salford as well. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been beaten up.

This is wrong on several points – the landlord and the customers of the Golden Lion made no attempt to help us whatsoever which is why we had to get out of there to get to the B&B which was on the same street; the 2 attackers were together all the time so were jointly complicit in what they did; flattering as it is, we were aged 36 and 33 which is not exactly young though I don’t really know when young stops!; we were not cross dressers; we were Gays (with a capital G) and homosexuals; we were not women.

For the sake of ease in my working life, I passed as a gay female. That’s what it felt like. I was always out as gay and that served me well, I was able to contribute to changes in my workplaces that ended up making policies better for everybody not just gays.

It was only during the last few years at work that I had the privilege to work with 2 men who totally got me being a boy. That was so good and healthy and it really mattered when the people I loved were sick and dying, that I had a tiny piece of space where I could be me.

I never had the guts to undertake any surgery or drug therapies, I’m terrified of that and have huge admiration for those that do follow that path. I have always been a boy, even now at 62, daft though that may sound to some. Now that I’m not a person who menstruates I’m even more of a boy. I so hated the monthly reminder that I wasn’t quite who I wanted to be.

I do not accept anybody else’s definitions of who I am. Last year an old friend refused to accept what I was saying about myself. This was quite soon after Carol had died and it was inappropriate because I think newly bereaved people need a bit of care and consideration. Not to say that they need to be agreed with on everything but just choose the battles you want to have with them carefully. It mattered because this person was denying the whole structure of my relationship with Carol and how and why it worked for us. It’s nearly 18 months now since Carol died and I’m a lot stronger and I tell you I will fight back now.

Sometimes I get quite confused with all the terminology being banded around and have to look very basic things up. I had no idea what doxxing was (a breach of privacy). That’s why I thought I’d put this into my own words. On one level I just want to be Jak without any labels but then I think about all the trans people who are denied basic rights, who are murdered every day and we have speak out. I’m transgender, genderqueer. I’m Jak.

12 thoughts on “Who’s that boy?”

  1. That is such a moving piece of writing. You have had so much undeserved suffering and yet you still shine through.
    I am proud to say I am that first boy from the 6th form all those years ago. I am honoured and proud to still be Jak’s friend.
    Much love

    1. Thank you, there’s a lot going on at the moment and it seemed the right time to shout it out a bit! x

  2. Hi Jak. To me, you’ve always ‘Jak from the boat’! Since we became Facebook friends you have given me lots of food for thought on various matters, have entertained me with your blog posts, have made me laugh and cry with your life events but mostly, you’ve inspired me to be a better person ❤

  3. Wow, it takes a certain bravery to lay it out like that. As you say people are who they are. And today with all that is happening maybe people need to take a step back and think about that and accept people. Accept those for what they are.

  4. I’m glad that you feel able to shout this now. I’m sad that anyone has to shout it and it’s distressing how many different things humans can manage to discriminate against. I love you for being Jak.

  5. Hi Jak,
    To me you’ll always be Jak, Judy’s best mate who bought me a Slade tape for Christmas to go with my funky new cassette recorder! So sad that some people couldn’t just accept you for what you are. Go on being you, the only you you can be. I’ll be happy to have that beer with you next time I’m near Halifax.


    1. Hi Rob
      Thank you, it’s great being in touch again.
      I’d forgotten about the Slade tape!
      Looking forward to the beers. Lots of good pubs up here, when they’re open.
      J x

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