• taylorhardingjenki

On my transition

  • This blog was written for Love What Matters, whose article can be found here.

  • This is about my transition, as it is the opening statement of “He Fell from Venus”. My point of view on French people didn’t change since then. And, whomever passed through something similar, please do not be afraid to talk aloud about this. Be proud of who you are. You are unique. And whatever choice you do in your life, you deserve to be loved.

A massive thank you for Amanda for her invitation.

As a writer, it’s always funny, you know. You have a story, you have many ideas, but you never know where to start. It’s odd, you know. For once I’m not writing in my blog. But for someone else’s, especially, across the Atlantic. Yeah, because, I am not based in the US.

A week ago, I’ve been contacted on my Instagram after I mentioned in a post that I was a trans woman. It’s the first time that I mention this. Ever. Even, this is not something I like to talk about. I think this is something intimate, but, I felt the need to share it with my community of followers since, well, I had a kind of a long break on social media. I am recusant of all those Instagram, Facebook, Twitter (especially Twitter, since we are in the great hours of the cancel culture nowadays and nothing stops me to think that Twitter is the biggest open-sky scrapyard humankind has ever had)… but I guess we have to live with our times.

So, my name is Taylor Harding-Jenkins. I am a British anonymous writer, who has published her book, Free Expensive Lies: Prologue last March, available worldwide. As a British, I live in the UK, of course, I live in London, and I’ve been in transition for the past three years. Now is the moment where you wonder, “then why the hell she says she’s an anonymous writer?”. Yeah, many of my readers wonder the same. And guess what, this is closely linked to the fact that I am transgender.


But, I’m not here to talk about my writer’s activities. I was born in France. During my childhood, in the Mediterranean sea, I used to go to the beach, the river, I was very lucky, the place where I was born has lovely countryside. You have an amazing seaside, and just a few kilometres away, you have mountains and rivers and nature, trust me, this is lovely. It’s a very tourist place, in summer, a lot of people coming from Paris use to come around to spend their holidays. Unfortunately, although this area isn’t rural, I mean, not entirely rural, it remains that the town where I’m from is really small, and… Obviously, very conservative. Not open to the new LGBT ideas, if you know what I mean.


As far as I recall, when I was at school, especially in high school (named College in France), there used to be a lot of bullying. Said in French, the words “faggots”, “trannies” and other slurs used to be very common once out of the mouth of those teenagers. Usually said to call someone just different, who generally wasn’t gay or trans. Moreover, when I was young, in my mind, just like I have been taught by the common imagination of my schoolmates, trans people used to be sex workers. But, meanwhile…


Meanwhile, this was a fact that I didn’t know yet, I was born with a genetic accident. I was born as a guy, but they found this out only days before my birth, during her entire pregnancy, my mother was expecting a girl. This was something I didn’t know, but I was born with XX sexual chromosome. But, I didn’t know this. No one knew this. So, I was born.

As a kid, I was fairly isolated, you know, the kind of nerd with his glasses and, that spends time reading books and trying to know everything about everything. It got me the privilege to be bullied. At my level, you know, when you’re a kid, you have a high-pitched voice, I had short hair but my hair used to grow up fast and since they were curly (they used to call me “the sheep” because of this)…


So I had to face that stupidity. In the meantime, my mother was depressive, my father was an alcoholic, also depressive, and… If I had to talk about my childhood memories, trust me, we could start writing a book. I mean, another. But, deep down, as a kid, before my puberty, I was feeling like, you know, I would remain this way. Like, having no beard just like every man used to grow once they grow up, my voice would never change… I knew this was due to happen, but, it was not easy for this to happen. I heard by some doctors that this was the very first step of what is called “gender dysphoria”, the “disease” (I won’t enter this debate here, I use the word disease as this was something I truly suffered from, but, of course, we all have a different opinion on this) trans people have.

And, then, my puberty. My voice changed, my beard started to grow, and… My parents still fighting, speaking of divorce, my father drank more and more, and, as a result of that, I needed to vent on my writings. But, you know, I had this problem, I knew there was something wrong, but I couldn’t place words on this, I couldn’t explain what was the problem. At the same time, I needed to wear woman outfits, so I stole some clothes, I crossdressed myself (this was the name it was called) and of course, this was my biggest shame. I needed to do that, it was like, something vital for me, but in the meantime, I was taught that a guy cannot wear woman clothing, this is a shame. A man has to be a man. And cannot have his weaknesses.


I made my best to keep this a secret, and, hopefully, I had the chance to be witty, and never get caught. They probably had suspicions, but… They were too busy to fight with one another. As I grew up, I started writing a story, and I needed to escape myself in the stories I created. I started writing long stories, and I started writing the story of Eleanor, one of my character. In the meantime, once I was back into reality, I still had this problem, this big problem of depression, this need to cross-dress once my parents were away, but deep down in my brain, I couldn’t associate the ideas, I couldn’t link them. And once I was done with crossdressing, depression was back, much hard, striking me… And I thought at first my depression was caused by my parents. So, I started hating them. I starting revolting. And…


And, in France, they have (pretty much like in the UK) free healthcare. You can go to the shrink for free. So they sent me to one. And, still, in my mind, I focused my problems on my parents, rather than on my crossdressing shame issue. This thing was my deepest secret, I never spoke about it to anyone. No one knew. Redirecting the problem to something else did not help and arrange anything. It was just, closing my eyes on this. Turning a blind eye on what was the real problem, problem that I couldn’t talk to anyone because, you know… “Trannies”…


My depression took over when I turned 16. I isolated myself, I dropped school, was more and more focused on my writings, and I was definitely out of reality. As my parents divorced and got kicked out of my house because my parents fucked up their parenting and I lived at my grandmother's place instead, I didn’t have the crossdressing escape. Instead, I had my writings. This was, by far, one of the toughest periods of my life (one of them, but it was not the worst compared to what I loved after), I had my friends, they all had girlfriends, playing console, going out with friends, drinking alcohol, whilst… I was isolated in a house, barely going out, in depression, single, and… I had no life. I was isolated, and didn’t have anyone, and was desperate. I considered for the first time killing myself, but… But, I turned 18.

I still had no money, no life, nothing, but at least, I had something new: Charlotte. Charlotte is my character, she is, yeah, with my wife now, the second woman of my life. Since I turned eighteen I worked on this book, Free Expensive Lies. On this series, shall I say. It is now published. But, I sometimes tend to believe that Charlotte was far more than a character, she was more than that. She opened my eyes. She changed my life, she taught me what the true problem was.


Things changed in 2017. I was 22. And, after so many fights and, like Churchill said, blood, toil, sweat and tears, I managed to find a job, move to London, then the Brexit referendum occurred and I decided as a consequence of that to move to Ireland, Dublin precisely, when… everything went wrong there. I messed up there, and it cost me all my savings. My father called me and, as he was annoyed that I moved abroad, he managed to offer me a job in France. And, and then this happened.


As I said, Charlotte opened my eyes. As I was writing the tenth chapter of the first opus (I mean, rererewriting this chapter… Even today, it is completely different), something happened in my brain. I thought back about my teenage years when I was cross-dressing, and, I was thinking about my depression. And, for the first time in my life, I had my cousin on the phone. She called me unexpectedly because I told her I’d be flying back to France in about two weeks, I was just enjoying some holidays in Dublin. For the very first time of my life, because I was morally exhausted, and she was speaking to me about a friend that started a transition… I realised that it could be possible that I may have the same problem. Perhaps, crossdressing was the key, perhaps, it was the thing that made me realise that it was what was wrong with me. So, I told her. And, believe it or not, but when I spoke about it, I have never been so relieved in my life. I realised after that phone call that the problem wasn’t the divorce of my parents, it wasn’t my school dropout, it wasn’t my situation in France, my isolation, the fact that I was single and it pissed me off, no. The problem was… That I was a woman. I just… My biggest shame, my biggest secret, my biggest unsaid problem… Suddenly became my biggest strength.


So, as I spoke with my cousin, I chose my new name. First of all, I always hated my previous name, my male name, and all the time, when I used to sign my books, I always used different pen names. I never used my official name. But I chose my new name (that I will not disclose here). And… And, the next day, I had to call my grandmother to inform her about what time my plane was due to land in two weeks, so she could come to pick me up. And, during the call, I told her, “oh, yeah, and, by the way, I am a woman”.


My grandmother has always been my greatest ally in this journey. Her reaction was, “come on, you’ve always been a woman anyway, so I’m not surprised… Wait, you’re serious?”. My grandmother has always been open on this, she used to have a gay brother who died two years before my birth, so, over transgender things... She was okay. She asked me under what name I wanted to be called from now on, and I told her this name. However, she told me, until I didn't tell my parents, she would call me under this name only in private. But that was the thing, I needed to tell my parents, and…


So I am a really brave person. I mean, courage is something I do have. So, about a month later, as I came back to France, as I signed for this job, (it wasn’t the job of my dreams but at least it allowed me to make another saving), the secret of my new identity went harsher. It was hard to carry again. So, I went a weekend to my cousin’s place, who lives in the Savoy region. And, instead of saying this face to face, I decided to take my phone instead. And calling them. And telling my parents. My father first, and then my mother.


I learned afterwards that on this day, afterwards, my father drank to forget this. My mother insulted me and told me to get the hell out of her life. The other thing I completely ignored was also that, at the same time, (we were in July 2017), my father had seven months left to live before to die. He had no disease, as you may think, but…


Towards the end of July, I started the final medical process of my transition, so, talking to psychiatrists about this issue, to get a certification, that I was okay to start a transition. I had this magic paper on the 24th of September 2017, and started my transition on the 27th, after an appointment with an endocrinologist.


So you may say, a happy ending, yeah? Okay, I didn’t talk about my father yet. Following my coming out to my parents, I published a picture of me on Facebook, showing that I am trans and formalising the thing. And, you remember, I told you about my job? At first, it was a three months contract, that was due to become a permanent place within the company. As the news of my transition leaked, I have been requested to explain myself with the big boss, and, as a result of this, it ended up as a prolongation of a one-month contract, only. This was to allow me to get unemployment benefits. Because, of course, you know, who wants to have a trans as an employee?


As my transition started on the 27th of September 2017, we had a conversation with my father regarding this. At least, unlike my mother, he tried to have a serious conversation with me. In the end, I have no idea whether he accepted me as a woman, as his daughter. In January, following the final stage of his depression, he ended up in prison and died in February 2018. This left me with PTSD.


At the same time, I had a boyfriend. It doesn’t end up well. And I won’t extend myself on this point, because if my depression was a coffin, he placed the very last screw on the lid.

Then I met my wife. My one and only. Together, after all this shitstorm, we moved back to London. Three years on, now, I am licking my wounds, I guess I am paying the hefty price for my transition, but, this was the price of my liberty. I never really felt any regret for what I did. Even though it cost me the price of severe depression.

So, this is my declassified story. I am very thankful to Amanda, to have contacted me and allow me to speak about this with you guys. To whoever passing through the same I passed through year’s ago, just remember, you guys are not alone. It may take time, it may take a while, but one day, someone will love you again, and, like my wife, will give you a hand and will pull you to a more stable life. If you pass through the same shit I passed through, then… Good luck. It may take a while for people to be aware of us, to understand that becoming a woman when we are born in the opposite gender or otherwise isn’t following the trends, it’s because there is a real pain behind. Let’s stand united, guys. Let’s stand united.

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