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