I feel a short preamble is necessary to explain the background to my first public appearance as Fiona.
I spent a great deal of my life in trying to find my true self. Whilst growing up I felt I was always too tall to be the woman I felt inside. I eventually grew to 6'5" or as I would prefer 5'17". I bolted down my true feelings and even thought I would be fine after marriage --- it would 'go away'. It never did and I did my crossdressing bit when and where I could.
I married in 1965 to a wonderful lady and spent 29 years happily married until she had a breakdown as a result of an attack by a pupil in the school she taught. I, together with our GP and a very good counsellor helped her out of an abyss. It was at this time I found myself under immense pressure at work and having seen eight very tall elegant ladies whilst doing some pre-Christmas shopping in London. Immediately I thought if they could do it then so could I. I was now much older and could cope with the 'slings and arrows' I would be showered with.
I felt the bolts, that had been in place for over 40 years, one by one fail. I could not cope any more just pretending and one day decided to take my own life. I spent five hours sitting in a rather precarious position on a cliff top near my home but could not bring myself to do it. Images of my wife and daughter kept slipping into and out of my mind. I eventually decided to seek medical help and ironically as I moved away from my perch I nearly fell to my death!
I wrote to a gender psychiatrist in London who replied fairly promptly. He said he found my letter very interesting and would see me whenever I felt ready. I made an appointment for early December 1995 and decided if I was going ahead with my transition I would have to prove to myself, as early as possible, I could present myself as my true self. I decided to attend my first appointment dressed as Fiona.
I decided to drive to London and consequently booked into a hotel. It catered for the gay and crossdresser community so I felt I would be more at ease there and have less explaining to do. I duly arrived and found my room. I unpacked my case and allowed my clothes to hang for a while. My appointment was at 5.30 pm so I tried to relax before getting ready for my first venture in public. I showered and began to dress about 3.00pm. I was ready by about 4.30pm and very happy with my appearance although a little concerned about the only shoes I had at that time. They were black leather court shoes with a 2" heel which didn't do much to give me confidence. I have since bought several pairs, mainly flat or very low heels.
One final check on make-up, hair and overall appearance. All in order! As my hand touched the door knob I just froze --- I couldn't move. I was shaking all over as I began to verbally reason with myself. I had travelled over two hundred miles, paid for the room and would have to pay for my appointment because I hadn't cancelled in the prescribed time... Suddenly the shaking stopped as abruptly as it started. I opened the door and walked slowly into the hallway. I closed the door, turned and caught sight of myself in a large mirror. I was well pleased and believe that gave me a boost in confidence - that is until I heard voices on the stairs. I was back in my room within a very short space of time! I was angry with myself again and loudly told myself I would have to pull myself together and keep the appointment or end my life. My options were just two. I could no longer continue to live as John for the rest of my life and if I couldn't make it in public then going on with life was pointless. The stark reality of my position was enough to goad me into a third attempt.
I threw caution to the wind and began walking down the stairs. Two gentlemen at the base parted to allow me passage and nodded a comment. I handed in my keys and had a pleasant comment regarding my appearance from the hall porter. The main door opened and the cold air of the chilly evening hit me as I stood on the top step. I descended the few steps to the pavement, turned right and proceeded down the street towards Warwick Road. Each time someone approached me I crossed the road. This happened several times and again I had to fight with myself to stop 'tacking' along the street. I eventually reached equilibrium and walked past several people before arriving at Warwick Road. It was like daylight and extremely busy with commuters returning home etc. I took a deep breath and walked with as much confidence as I could muster. I was both elated and terrified --- elated to be accepted as the lady I have always felt I am and terrified in case someone made a comment I couldn't handle.
I continued walking - past several bus queues and many many passers by. Everyone seemed to accept me although I never looked behind. I just felt I was fine and my confidence increased virtually with each step. I came to a pedestrian crossing and whilst waiting for the green light I couldn't help wondering what response I would get as I walked across the three lanes of traffic. The lights changed and crossing I had received no response! Everyone who I had passed had either not been bothered make any comment or action or had seen me as a very tall woman going about her business.
I walked into the consulting rooms and announced myself to the receptionist. I removed my black woollen coat and sitting down in a comfortable armchair gave my 'ordeal' some thought. I had come through my 'baptism of fire' with flying colours and was very pleased I had decided to 'test the water' before I had seen the psychiatrist. My meeting with him went well and he confirmed what I already knew - I was gender dysphoric . I thanked him at the end of the consultation and walked back to the hotel with more confidence. I collected my key, walked upstairs and opening the door went inside. I threw myself on the bed and burst into floods of tears --- I was finally on my way.
Because of current circumstances I have not been out many times since and am still very self conscious. I hope to begin RLT after voice surgery in July/August and hope to be able to stay with someone in London as a paying guest to live as Fiona for a week or two before I begin RLT in my own city. I feel I must gain confidence before I go full-time.
Our thanks to Fiona E. Scott for permission to re-publish this article.