My mum blamed herselfBy Edward
PHOTOGRAPH by Sharon Kilgannon, Alonglines.com
I don't have a particularly close family, and there’s not a lot of us but we see each other from time to time.
So really my family is my mum and my sister and maybe a couple of aunts and a handful of cousins. Everyone has been always fine with it and there’s been a number of occasions where everyone’s been like “Yes, absolutely, we support you. We don’t really understand it but we support you”.
And then, you know, five years later it’s turned out that they had the wrong idea about something, the whole time. They never asked me about it. They never really wanted to talk about what transgender meant, what transsexualism is, why I was doing it, how it affected me as a child. My mum blamed herself, but of course there was nothing she did that made me trans. My dad I don’t see often, and I’m not actually sure what he thinks about it. I kept sending him pictures as I transitioned, showing him what I was up to but also so he could see the changes so I wasn’t a shock next time we actually met.
I once went to a support group for families and trans people, and I took my mum along because it was in her town. I thought maybe that’ll be a thing to generate some conversation. And when she came out of it she said, “It’s funny to think that you’ve been doing this for three years now”. I said, “I’ve been doing this for ten years now mum, not three.” And she was like “Oh yeah.” So, I don’t know, on the one hand it’s great that they’ve been supportive, but on the other hand I don’t know what they think they've been supporting.
This is Ed's testimony in Chapter Two (Background, childhood, family, parenting, friends, school) of the ground-breaking Brighton Trans*formed book.
To read more intimate, heart-breaking and heart-warming stories from transgender people, click here.
This page was amended on 19/12/2014