The Early years
A lot of people asked me “how come you had a sex change?”. Here I will try and explain. So …. let the story begin! For now .. its a work in progress and I will add to my story as often as I can!
I was born in January 1969 in a town called Benoni in South Africa. My parents got divorced when I was 1 year old, and through circumstances, I ended up staying with my father, a train driver at the time, and my grand mother. From earliest memories, I did what felt natural to me … and that was being a girl. In our community there wasnt that many kids to play with, but I befriended 2 girl, sisters, and we became best friends. I played all the girls plays with them. At first my grandmother and father didnt mind much, but as I grew up, they did start to mind, as I was starting to act way too girlish for their liking. I was then kept away from them and being encouraged to play with the boys in the area instead. Of course I did not like that and got in trouble more often than I care to remember. I remember a couple of times when I tried to tell my grandmother that I was a girl, but she would have none of it.
At around the age of 6 I went to stay with my mother and step father. I found that I had 2 sisters too and this made me very happy. Once again I could play girl games with my sisters and no one seemed to mind. It was also around this age, if I can recall correctly, that my step dad wanted to know why I was so girlish for a boy. I mean this rough and tough guy didnt want a girlish son. I tried to explain to him how I felt and that I am a girl, but he would have none of it either. He took it on him to “toughen” me up as he called it. After a couple of severe beatings I realise, that how I felt, I better keep it to myself.
I was 8 when my brother was born. Being the eldest had its advantages. I got to look after my 2 younger sisters and brother a lot, as both my mother and step father were working most of the time and we were left in the care of a domestic worker. So during the day I played with my sisters ,”house”, while pretending to be a mother to my little brother. I was considered very responsible for my age, especialy since I was a boy and all.
By now, I was as confused as anything. I knew I was a girl but everyone saw me as a boy and expected me to be a boy , so what was I to do?. Nobody wanted to listen to me when I tried to tell them I was a girl. So, the only other option for me at the time was to be a boy. I tried to be the best boy that I could be, doing all the boys stuff, partake in all the sports that I could. Yet, the feeling inside me that I am a girl never left me. Every day of my life I looked at other girls with sad envious eyes, wishing I could be one of them. Wondering how come I ended up in this boy body when every other fiber in my being shouts girl.
Late Teens and Twenties
I finished school at the age of 17 and was drafted into the army for military service. I tried to fit in, even obtained some rank, but I was never part of the “boys” . I always felt out of place and was mostly a loner. I almost didnt survive the 2 years in the army, but by some miracle I did. Once done with the army, I managed to get a job as a computer operator with a good computer firm. My life started to take direction, although it was not the direction I wanted it to go.
I felt very lonely at the time and the way I felt inside was growing stronger by the day. I had a couple of disastrous relationships which never should have been.The only good that came out of one of these relationships, was the birth of my son. I then met this woman, although 7 years older than me, seemed to need me. Through my pity for her and my own loneliness, I married her. It was the biggest mistake of my life! I tried for 10 years to make it work but in the end, we went our seperate ways. I could never tell her how I feel inside as she was too self absorbed and would never have understood my needs and feelings.
Shortly after my break up, I met Raven through the internet. We connected instantly and one thing lead to another and soon, Raven ended up in South Africa married to me! We had an amazing relationship. For the first time in my life I met someone I could share anything with. A couple of times I came very close to share my secret with Raven, but was too scared. I finally got to the point where I couldn’t live with secret anymore. I had to make a decision. Tell or die! At this stage our amazing relationship started to suffer and Raven thought it was her fault. I thought that I at least owed it to her to tell her it was not her fault and then I could kill myself.
I was not quite prepared for the response I got from Raven once I told her. Yes, there was shock and a lot of tears, but once we worked out that we still love each other, she accepted me. At first, as a crossdresser, as I thought this was what I was. She encouraged me to start experiencing to wear womens clothes. Yes, it was nice, but still something was wrong. I could not put my finger on it and couldn’t quite explain it either.
Then it happened. I read about a transsexual who had a sex change. I started to read about the subject. I read other people’s stories on the internet and found that I could identify with them. For the first time in all my life I could put a name to what I was feeling inside. The clever people call it Gender Dysphoria. People who suffer from it are called Transsexuals. Finally there was light in the dark tunnel of my life. I read everything I could get my hands on. Raven saw what I was reading and read a lot about it too. She realised that I was much more than just a crossdresser. At this stage I got very scared, cause now I knew what was wrong with me and through all the information available to me also knew the action I had to take to correct my problem. This would surely mean the end of my relationship with Raven? To my surprise Raven said to me one night ” Honey, if you need to go all the way, I will be there with you every step of the way”.
After many tears and long, long hours of discussion between me and Raven, it was decided, I am to become the woman I was meant to be. Once that was decided, the first step was to find a therapist. Through a website I found the name of a therapist, called and made an apointment to see him. After explaining to him how I felt, we started to process of analizing me and my feelings. After 3 months I was diagnosed as a true transsexual and refered to an endocrinologist. With my first visit to the endo and after a thourough exam, we decided that the best would be if I go for a orchidectomy first, before I started on hormone treatment. This would eliminate testosterone from my body, which also means I could take lower doses of oestrogen which is much safer on the body.
Two big steps I had to take, was to tell my family and to come out at work. The prospect of both scared me to death but it had to be done. Family was first. I went to tell my mom and expected the worst. Yes, there was shock and tears, but in the end, acceptance. My brother and sisters all accepted my decision. My son, Eugene was great too. My dad had a little difficulty in the beginning but after he saw how happy I was by my choice, he accepted too. When I finaly came out at work I was surprised how well and smooth it went. Most admired my courage and I was suprised how easily I was accepted by most. There was a few glitches here and there but nothing major.
So all was said and done, and I got my apointment to do the orchidectomy a week after I saw the endo. The day I went for the orchi, was in a way for me a big milestone. When I woke up after the op, I had an intense feeling of accomplishment. Right at that very moment I knew that I was doing the right thing, cause if I had any feeling of loss there, I would have had to seriously reconsider. A month after the orchi I recieved my first dose of female hormones.
When I first saw the therapist he told me that I had at least 2 years of therapy ahead of me before he would even consider a referal for surgery. Exactly a year after I saw him the first time, I recieved my letter for surgery. I had allready started to plan where and who will do my surgery. After some extensive research, I decided on Dr.Chettawut in Thailand.
Thailand and the big OP.
Going to Thailand was not just for the op, it turned into an adventure for me and Raven, as it was my first time ever that I went overseas. Just being in Thailand was a wonderfull experience for me. I dont know if it was the fact that I had my big dream fullfilled there, but everything there was just so amazing to me. Having Raven there by my side made it even more special. The day of the op, I was very anxious, and a little scared. Not scared that I made the wrong decision, just scared that something might happen to stop me. Luckily nothing did and everything went smoothly. Dr. Chettawut is very good at what he does and proud of his work. For me , he created a masterpiece! I am extremely satisfied and gratefull with his work.
I now live a happy, wonderfull live with my partner, Raven. Through her support, guidance and encouragement , I got the strenght and courage to push through and did what was meant for me. I believe I was born a woman, but something went wrong with the body, and I was stuck in a male body. For a big part of my life I had to live as a man cause of social structure. People saw a male body and expected me to be a man. I never was a man! I was a woman living in the body of a man. Through medical science I was able to correct my body. A lot of people have all kind of problems and qualms about what I did. To them I say ….”TOUGH!” You didnt have to live through what I had to live through! Today I am legaly female and look in the mirror and see me as a woman, and I am happy!
As we are coming to the end of 2005 I think it is time for me to reflect on the past year. It was quite an amazing year. I am coming up on 2 years post op. Wow … time sure flies when you are having fun. At the start of the year I started to fully adjust to my life as a woman. I joined the ladies golf club and had a lot of fun throughout the year. The most amazing experience for me was when we went for our Christmas function. Here I was on a bus with 28 women and was seen as part of them. Some of them know about my past but most dont. It is not something I go around and advertise. It is not something I hide from. If someone asks me about it, I am more than willing to talk about my past, but I am not volanteering any information. I played in quite a few ladies golf competitions and even made it to the regional finals of the ladies Sanlam Cancer challenge. At first I was a little apprehensive of playing in compititions outside my own golf club. Within in the club I was quite comfortable. Outside was a whole different story. I was so scared that I might do or say something wrong. If I played too well will anybody accuse me of having an unfair advantage? I found that the more I played the more confidence I got. This was my first year of competitive golf and I learned a lot. Next year I plan to play more competitions and I am sure as I gain more experience will start to improve my performance and results.
As the year went on, I just got on with living life. I met some new people. That is one thing I do like. Everyone new I meet, only get to know Christelle. They have never knew me in my past life, and even if they find out about my past, they still only know me as I am now.
Raven and me also joined a fishing club. I think that was a bit strange for people at the fishing club. It is not a very common thing to see … 2 women fishing. But slowly but surely people is getting to know us and get more used to us.
I am not sure what 2006 have in stall for me , but I am looking forward to it and are ready for what comes my way. Life is wonderful and I plan to make the most of every second of it!
[note_box]This Life Story of Christelle was originally posted on her website christelle03.50megs.com. It has been re-published on Gender DynamiX with the permission of the Author. © Christelle Renee Delport, 2005[/note_box]