Girl power

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Sit­ting down in the kitchen, I took a deep breath and looked at my girl­friend, Ni­cola, 26.

It was June 2001 and I had a con­fes­sion to make.

‘I’m trans­gen­der,’ I sud­denly blurted out.

If she was shocked, she didn’t show it. With­out hes­i­ta­tion, she gave me the big­gest cud­dle.

At 6ft 4in, with a body­builder’s physique, I worked as a per­sonal trainer.

Typ­i­cal al­pha male...

‘I’m still madly in love with you,’ I said. ‘Noth­ing will ever change that.’

‘I’m glad you were hon­est. I’ll al­ways sup­port you,’ Ni­cola said.

As we squeezed each other tightly, relief washed over me.

For as long as I could re­mem­ber, I’d known I was dif­fer­ent. In more ways than one. Not only had I felt a deep con­nec­tion with spir­its, but I felt trapped in the wrong body. A man’s body... I’d never told a soul. But I loved Ni­cola, and af­ter a happy six months to­gether, I trusted her.

Some­thing told me she’d ac­cept me, no mat­ter what. So I’d come clean. And she never let me down.

It was Ni­cola who en­cour­aged me to start hor­mone re­place­ment ther­apy, then go un­der the knife in 2003 to soften my mas­cu­line looks.

Sur­geons spent 12 hours trans­form­ing my nose, eyes and cheek­bones, plus in­serted 18 screws and four metal plates in my jaw.

A dra­matic change, but I was thrilled with the re­sults.

Af­ter Ni­cola and I tied the

Becs Sawyer, 59, Es­sex I was a per­sonal trainer. Typ­i­cal al­pha male When I fi­nally ac­cepted who I re­ally was, a whole new world came call­ing...

knot in Fe­bru­ary 2006, the ef­fects of the med­i­ca­tion grad­u­ally be­gan to show.

It took two years, but my chest grew to a perky B-cup.

Then I had laser hair re­moval to get rid of my stub­ble.

Thank­fully, I’d never had a prom­i­nent Adam’s ap­ple.

Then, in March 2008, I of­fi­cially changed my name by deed poll to Re­becca.

Af­ter I started tran­si­tion­ing to the woman I was born to be, my con­nec­tion with the spir­i­tual world was open­ing up.

I’d al­ways be­lieved in it – but for so long, I’d sup­pressed my emo­tions, hadn’t been true to my­self, phys­i­cally or men­tally.

I took part in open cir­cle ses­sions, where you sit with a group of peo­ple and con­nect to the spir­its

around you. Then in De­cem­ber 2008, I flew to Colorado, Amer­ica, and had gen­der-re­as­sign­ment surgery.

Five hours later, I came round ...groggy but ex­cited.

I could fi­nally be Becs. Didn’t have to hide from the world.

Now I was an open book, spir­its were flood­ing in.

As al­ways, Ni­cola took it in her stride. Reck­oned I had a gift. ‘Em­brace it,’ she soothed. So I em­braced it. Us­ing the skills I learnt, I started prac­tis­ing as a medium.

I or­gan­ised events around the coun­try, where I’d con­nect mem­bers of the au­di­ence with loved ones they’d lost.

Though I couldn’t see them, I felt them all around, and was able to give them a voice.

Most of the time, they were friendly.

But some­times, they could be rude.

‘You’re a bit of a wrong’un,’ the spirit of an old lady once said.

She couldn’t un­der­stand why I chose to live as a woman.

I didn’t take it to heart.

It wasn’t just the spir­its who were con­fused. At a char­ity night, a girl in the au­di­ence shouted out, ‘Are you a man or a woman?’

I smiled and ex­plained, ‘I used to be a boy but it didn’t feel right. Now I’m a woman.’

She nod­ded her head with un­der­stand­ing.

A lot of par­ents with trans kids now come to me for ad­vice.

I tell them to sup­port their chil­dren, re­as­sure them ev­ery­thing will be OK.

Those mo­ments mean so much – when I know I’m help­ing oth­ers go­ing through the same hard­ship.

Things are so dif­fer­ent now to when I was grow­ing up.

Be­ing trans isn’t weird for the next gen­er­a­tion, just an­other way of liv­ing. I’m grate­ful for that. Now I spend my daily life as a woman, still hap­pily mar­ried to Ni­cola.

She even does my make-up for me some­times!

But be­ing a spir­i­tual medium is the call­ing I’ve had all my life.

I just never had the courage to pur­sue it prop­erly.

Now, as Becs, I’m so grate­ful I can ful­fil my true po­ten­tial.

Now I was an open book, the spir­its flooded in

True to my­self

The old me: I felt trapped

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