Friday, 8 December 2017

Hair, hormones and Transliving

Lucy has been growing her natural hair for nearly a year now. It is longer than shoulder length and VERY curly! So curly in fact that it is growing out sidewards rather than down. This is mainly because she has not had it cut at all so it has no shape or style. I know the feeling when you want to grow your hair and don't want to cut it but it would look so much better after a trim. She is also constantly wearing baseball caps to try and hide it - she must have 15 of these piled round the house. I have to admit I'm really not a fan of her wearing these, they just flatten the hair on top to her head and make it even more bushy on the sides. They will also be rubbing her hair which is not good when you are trying to grow it!

I have been nagging her to have it cut. She could have used my hairdresser who has her own hair salon at home but Lucy was worried about her reaction (I'm sure she will be fine) and also she may say something to her son who goes to the same school as our daughter. 

Last week we both took a day off for Christmas shopping and spent the day together. We went to Lakeside Shopping Centre which is a huge shopping complex about 45 mins from home (it took 2.5 hours to get there on the day but that's another story). We were walking around and we saw a Supercuts salon and we hovered outside for a bit with Lucy umming and ahhing about going in and having her hair cut. I could see she was nervous, even though the salon was empty. Anyway she chickened out and we walked away. She admitted that she had been really tempted but was feeling very nervous. About an hour or so later we found ourselves back at the salon where she plucked up enough courage to go in. We had a rushed whispered conversation where I told her she needed to tell the stylist her situation as the last thing she wanted was a 'mans' cut after spending all this time growing it. The receptionist said that they would take off about an inch and we both said' noooooo' and that the smallest amount needed to be cut off.

The salon was still empty and she sat down in the chair and an older stylist came to cut her hair. I saw them having a whispered conversation and knew that she was telling the stylist her situation. This lady gave Lucy a really lovely cut and style and there was minimal hair on the floor. It now looks so much better and she is wearing the baseball caps less when I am around which is great. It has a lovely style to it and I know she is pleased with it. 

I previously mentioned that the GIC had now taken over the hormone treatment using shared care with our GP. She was switched from patches which her skin was reacting very badly to, over to tablets. She has been on the tablets for about 6 weeks and last week started to suffer severe sleeplessness and was waking up in the night with bad chest pains and pain in both her arms. As you can imagine we were both really worried about these episodes. She made an appointment with her GP this week who checked her out. He didn't seem to think it was heart related as it was not happening when she was being active (she referees football several times a week and carries around all the dj gear although her muscle strength is not what it used to be) and he suspected it was a reaction to the tablets. He has now prescribed gel which she has been on for 4 days now and the chest and arm pains have gone, and she is sleeping a bit better. She has a full medical check up next week as well which was already booked. It was a bit of a scary time.

This is a UK based international support group and lifestyle magazine for the cross dressing and transgendered community, TransLiving International is an established group within the Transgender community with members all over the world. They publish TransLiving magazine in printed and digital format on a quarterly basis and have a regular feature called 'Partners' Corner'. 

A little while ago a friend of mine (thanks Amy!) noticed they were looking for a partner to contribute for their next edition and she thought it would be something that would interest me. I messaged the editor to find out exactly what they were looking for and I was given a very brief outline. Basically anything goes, they just wanted something from a partners prospective and wanted 1,200 words. 

I was more than happy to do this but wasn't sure how Lucy would feel about it. As we now have quite a few people we actually know in real life that read my blog now I am more careful with what I write. For me it is writing about our situation and our life together but for Lucy this is private details about her life and transition I write about. She does read all my blog posts and so far has been okay with everything but I just want to make sure I don't step over the line. I wrote something up and actually had problems getting the word count down, unlike the essays I used to write for school where I always had trouble reaching the word count required! In the end after cutting it down it was 1,300 words but I was assured by the editor this was fine and then he mentioned not to forget the pictures.... pictures??.... no one had said anything about pictures! Lucy read it over and was okay with what I had written. Then I dropped the bombshell that they wanted pictures....... we have hundreds of pictures on both our Facebook profiles however only friends can see them and we have the odd one or ten (!) on the Pinks official photo page but nothing else out in the public domain. This was a big deal....  I'm the identifiable person and Lucy looks nothing like the male mask she wears but would be identified by association with me .... what if someone we knew but didn't know about Lucy saw them..... but thinking realistically if someone we did know saw the pictures in a transgender publication, to confront us with them they would have to out themselves. I think the risk is minimal and in any case she is going full time in the next month or so.

So, the digital TransLiving magazine edition 58 was published yesterday and is available, for a fee, here. Page 70 is Partners' Corner. You can also subscribe to to one or more edition in digital or paper format. My printed magazine should arrive next week. Lucy has downloaded already and her reaction was 'oh gawd'!

Friday, 1 December 2017

So, my boys met Lucy

As you are aware, my final 2 sons and their girlfriends were eager to meet Lucy. We sorted out a date when we could all go together to Pinks and had hotel rooms at the Doubletree next to each other.

Due to work commitments they arrived much later than we did so by the time they were ready we had already been out for a meal at TGI Fridays with our friend Paulette. We made our way back to the hotel bar to meet them all where they were all waiting, drinks in hand.

Lucy peeked through the window and waved and they all got up and came to meet her and gave her a hug. It was quite an emotional moment but also very euphoric. We all sat together chatting and they were introduced to Paulette and once all the drinks were finished it was time to take them to Pinks.

When we walked in there were lots of people we knew and we introduced everyone. We showed them all round the place and of course the famous pink room and they all thought it was great. We ended up back down by the open fires for a bit and Lucy sat with the girlfriends who were asking some relevant questions and having girly chats. It was nice that they were all interacting with Lucy like they had known her forever (well they have, but just not looking like Lucy).

We all went round to the various dance floors and settled into our usual ground floor spot where we partied away the rest of the evening. Drinks were flowing and it was really fantastic to see everyone relaxing and having a totally fun time. My youngest sons girlfriend has only been seeing him for a year and a half and it was the first time we had seen her truly let her hair down and what a fun girl she is, so perfect for my son, just like the other girlfriend and wife of my other 2 sons. We just had great fun with lots of laughter, dancing and of course lots and lots of pictures and videos.

This was probably one of the best nights we have ever had at Pinks along with the times when my eldest son, his wife and my daughter came with us. I am so proud of all their reactions and positive attitude towards to Lucy. Of course I will take a little credit for the adults they have turned out to be and I am obviously so proud of them anyway with the achievements they have made in their own lives, but also credit to them all personally for being the open minded, non judgemental and loving people they are and for picking partners who feel the same.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Lucy so far....... 13 months on HRT

At last the GIC have written to our GP. It took quite a few weeks from the last appointment back in July and the further delays as her GP wanted her to come in to discuss the treatment and have her blood pressure taken. It was easy for this GP to blithely tell Lucy to make an appointment but trying to get one with any specific GP at our practice is a nightmare and if you are lucky you may get one in a few weeks time. After 2 weeks of trying to get an appointment with the specific GP, Lucy rung him and said that she had be unable to get an appointment with him and was desperate to get the new medication. Lo and behold he sorted out an appointment for the Lucy the next day.

After the GIC appointment she also had a blood test and the results were great and have put her in well into the ranges she was looking to achieve. I'm still waiting for all the big mood swings that everyone keeps talking about but she seems to be exactly the same as she always been with the exception of a couple of spiky moments which are not too bad.

Lucy had asked the GIC to prescribe oestrogen in tablet format (6mg) as she was having reactions to the patches. It didn't matter where we put the patches they would end up irritating her and making her skin itchy and sore plus she did have a habit of leaving a sticky residue anywhere she sat when she wasn't dressed. We had a few friends advise that tablet was not the best format and that patches (or injectable format which is not available in the UK) were better but due to the reaction she was having tablets was her preferred option. The GP took her blood pressure and all was ok and Lucy walked away with her tablets.

There does not seemed to have been any effect on her changing the hormone source. Everything is continuing to change at the same pace and the changes are still happening. She has got herself into a routine with taking the tablets at the same time every day so at the moment everything is all good. Roll on February 2018 for her pre-op consultation.

Lucy has also started her electrolysis and laser hair removal treatment on her face and has already had 2 sessions of each and a third session tomorrow. She hates the fact that she cannot shave for 24 hours before and what doesnt help is the hair on her face is one of the things she is most dysphoric about. As she has both treatments on the same day and shortly after each other, she manages to have a cup of tea and a shave before going for her laser treatment. She purchased the emular cream which has to be put on her skin an hour before the electrolysis which she says does help however she finds the electrolysis so far to be much less painful than the laser treatment. Apparently it is something to do with the density of the hair root which makes the laser painful. This makes sense as at home we have an IPL that we both use on our faces and I have it on the highest setting and it gives me no pain at all whereas for Lucy she cannot use the highest setting as it hurts too much so we are presuming that my hair root is less dense (I would just like to point out that I do not have a very hairy face, just those odd irritating hairs that you get).

Her hair is getting very long and curly. The longer it gets the straighter the top bit is probably partly because she wears baseball caps during the day and her hair comes out sideways underneath. The thinning patch is disappearing although the new hair is still quite fine and a lighter colour to the rest of her hair. I had been on at her for ages about letting me dye her hair as it would make the patch less visible and she eventually agreed. I bought a dark brown dye as her hair is naturally quite dark (or used to be) and put it on for the required time. I have been dying my own hair for years using professional dyes and quite often dye my friends hair for them so I knew what I was doing..... or so I thought! I had forgotten that as this was the first time her hair had ever been dyed and was virgin hair (ooeer) that it would take very well and of course it did. Only problem was that it was so dark brown that it almost looked black! It certainly was a bit of a shock when we first saw it but as I had thought, the thinning patch was even less visible so that was good news. She was worried about friends and people at football noticing however it has been over 3 weeks now and only 2 people have said anything and none of it bad. It has also faded a little and now looks a very dark brown which to be honest matches the hair colour of the hair she uses anyway and we have all got used to it. It couldn't have been that bad or there would have been more comments especially when she was refereeing. It will need to be done again soon however she wants something less dark so watch this space.

As her hair is now so long and full-time is looming (date yet still TBA!) this does mean we can start looking at the option of extensions to give her the look she wants. I'm not sure how she will cope with them as she struggles to brush and wash the wigs she has without my help and it will be harder when it is extensions attached on her head. She also does not have a lot of patience and gets defeatist when it is not going how she wants.

13 months on HRT and counting.......

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

My children

After being officially told about Lucy it seems all my sons want to come out with us and meet Lucy properly. This is amazing. My eldest S and his pregnant wife C came out with us last month for BNO at Pinks. We got them all booked into the Hilton Doubletree hotel with the room next to us. We all got changed and prepared and were going out for dinner first but before that of course they had to meet Lucy properly!

Lucy was understandably very nervous. We messaged them when we were ready and they met us at our room door. They were totally amazing with lots of smiles and hugs and of course lots of pictures. We went off for dinner together where we had a really lovely meal. They both asked lots of great questions and Lucy and I answered everything. It was quite emotional as they were both really very interested and were very keen to understand and support Lucy. Bearing in mind how new this was for them both (well not that new as they had known for well over a year) not once did they use the wrong name on incorrect pronoun. Actually since finding out S uses the name Lucy all the time. Her dead name is dead to him and his wife which again is amazing!

Off we went to Pinks where it turned out our daughter in law had forgotten her ID (she is 28 and pregnant) and after a fraught few minutes where we didn't think she was going to get in, they did let her in after a discussion with the head of security called by one of the main doormen who is a friend of ours (unfortunately for some reason the doorman we were dealing with seemed to have an issue with us). They came and met many of our friends and were happily interacting and chatting with everyone without batting an eye or being surprised at any of the people they met. It was great showing them around to all the different places that make up Pinks.

Bearing in mind my daughter in law is pregnant, they both stayed out til gone 3am which is late for them at the best of times. The friends of ours they met they seemed to hit it off straight away with and S and C said they had an amazing time. All in all a great night.

For Oct BNO my son S decided he wanted to come again but this time with my daughter B (who has been a few times before). As we were already booked into the Doubletree we got 2 extra rooms, one for S and B and another for one of my friends (who has also been before). We always check in online and therefore we can get the rooms all next to each other and generally near the lift so we don't have to walk far.

As we had all managed to get the Friday off or a half day we left early which got us up to Milton Keynes early. This was great as it meant we could go shopping in the shops right by the hotel. There is a Primark there and as usual Lucy found a dress in there and despite the numerous dresses she had brought with her, she ended up wearing the newly purchased dress.

Again we all went out for dinner and met up with Paulette and her lovely girlfriend Lorraine and after made our way into Pinks with no issues.

This particular night was the busiest we have seen Pinks for very many years. It was totally rammed with all sorts of people but more importantly we saw so many of our community friends together for the first time in ages. It made for a totally great night and S and B had a great time and have now virtually met most of the important people in our life (except one very special couple Jenny and Ethan which we will have to sort out). My friend also had a great time. She has not been out with us for over a year and seemed to be getting on with a couple of friends of ours rather well......

When we got home and Lucy started to unpack she realised that we had not checked the wardrobe and she had left all her other dresses in there. A frantic call to the hotel and a wait until Monday, the dresses were confirmed as being safe and arrived this week.... phew! Sadly this is not the first time she has done this!

This now leaves my other two sons, J and N, they and their girlfriends who are all booked to come out with us for November BNO at Pinks which they all seem to be looking forward to. B and S have also said that they have had such a great time out with us that they also want to come again. S had better get in before the baby arrives ;) The only thing is that our youngest daughter M is quite envious that she is unable to join us on these events but we have promised her we will take as soon as she is 18 but that is a while off yet. We will still be going as we have always been party people and that won't change! :)

We have also booked a holiday for next year. Emma our nail lady has a villa in the Turkish part of Cyprus which she rents privately. It has 3 bedrooms and holds 6 people and has a private pool. Totally perfect for us so we have booked to go end of May/beginning of June and both daughters B and M are coming as are my son S, is wife C and the new baby. We all just can't wait!

The acceptance of my kids has been amazing. I keep saying that I always knew that they would be accepting as I knew how I had brought them up but their attitude has far surpassed anything I/we could have imagined. Knowing they are not just accepting but super supportive of Lucy makes me so incredibly proud but also will help tremendously with the journey we have ahead of us.

All this support and acceptance just makes it hit home how hard it must be for those people who don't have a partner or a supportive partner and those whose families are not supporting them or who have disowned them however we try to be super supportive of all our friends and those that have met the kids so far have also felt the love from them. We are under no illusions about how hard the road ahead will be but with all this loving support it can only make it an easier ride for us both. As much as I love my wider family, it is my immediate family unit that is the most important to me and that unit is Lucy, my children and their partners and our impending grandchild. I only hope that when we tell Lucy's sons that they can draw support and acceptance from their brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

My youngest sister and my brother in law

I am the eldest of 4 children. I have 2 sisters and a brother. As I have already written we are a close family. My parents and my brother live relatively close by, my 2 sisters live 40 mins or so from each other and the closest, my youngest sister lives just under 2 hours away.

She (A) is the one who probably looks the most like me apart from her red hair, and we have much in common despite the 7 year age gap. We have daughters the same age, 21 and 15, with only a few weeks gap between each of them and obviously this meant we were pregnant at the same time. We both have other children but our girls are particularly close and although they are cousins they are in many ways like sisters.

During the summer holidays I arranged to go and spend the day with her and our 2 youngest daughters. My other sister was away so was unable to come too but it was lovely spending quality time with A. We got there early and had a great time catching up and then went to walk her dog before we headed off to the shops and for lunch.

We were on our own as the girls had stayed behind as they were far too busy and having so much fun playing Just Dance to come with us. Whilst we were walking the dog we were talking about future plans and the mood was just right so I told her that we had some great plans for 2018 and that recent job changes and ‘him’ starting a new business were part of that plan. She was curious about what it all meant so I just blurted out that ‘he’ was transgendered.

She said that she was surprised but not shocked. She thought that 'he' had hidden it very well and understood at the way 'he' had portrayed himself to be something he wasn't. She was unexpectedly very understanding and supportive and asked several questions about Lucy and the situation and what the future plans were. She was very much of the attitude that you should live your life how you want to and not worry about everyone else. I showed her some pictures and she was amazed and said how you would have never have known this was the 'man' she knew and Lucy looked great. Lucy's birthday was only a few weeks away and she was adamant that she was going to send a female card to her and said there was no point sending anything male oriented as it wouldn't be right. Actually her support was amazing and we spent the rest of the day having snatched conversations when the girls were not in earshot. This gave me the opportunity to really convey how I feel but also explain this hidden part of our life. When it was time to go I did ask her not to tell her husband as I needed to tell Lucy I had told her first. 

When I got home Lucy guessed that I had told A and I then told my sister Lucy knew she knew. This sparked some lovely texts from A to Lucy which was great. Lucy said that it was unfair to expect her to keep such a big secret from her husband M and said she could update him......

Over the years Male Lucy and M have had a brilliant relationship. Very much a bromance and a mutual admiration and deep friendship full of laughter and drunken antics. Our families have holidayed together, as adults we have been to the adult only Warner holidays and we have had lots of fun times together and M is always asking after 'him' (because male Lucy does not go to many family events as 'he' just does not feel comfortable).

I'm not sure what sort of reaction we were expecting. Up until this point everyone who had been told had been really supportive and accepting. We knew that this couldn't continue.....

For a while we were on tenderhooks knowing that A was telling M and we kept checking my phone for messages. Eventually A messaged..... M had taken it very badly.... he was absolutely devastated and had likened the loss he was feeling akin to a bereavement. He was mourning the loss of one of his best friends and the relationship they had had and was physically very upset. We were shocked and very saddened at the feelings M was having. Having not met Lucy, M could not know that she was exactly the same person inside, it was just the outside appearance was changing. The messages we were getting were that M was trying to be accepting but needed time to come to terms with the situation and in time he would feel in a position to meet and communicate with Lucy. I could see what this situation was doing to Lucy.... she was upset too and then all the self blame started to surface and she just felt so bad that her situation was causing so much distress.

We didn't hear much for a couple of days until my sister messaged me again to say that M was still very upset, so much so she was worried that their youngest daughter thought the cause of the upset was that they were splitting up and she asked if they could let her know the situation followed by their other 2 older children. The problem we were faced with was that we could not be sure that their children would be able to not say anything to anyone about this huge secret. Whereas my kids and our daughter knew, we knew they would be more discrete as it involved their parents.... this would not be the case for my nieces and nephew. I did message her back with a long explanation as to why we felt uncomfortable about them telling their children and the worry of them outing Lucy before 'go-live day' especially as we still have Lucy's 2 sons to tell but I did end it saying that if they felt they had no other choice then it would be their decision as their parents to make.

To this day we do not know if they have said anything. It is now nearly 2 months later and we have heard nothing from A or M on this subject. My sister has chatted about other things but still nothing has been said. We have no idea how M is doing either. We just hope that he has found a way to accept Lucy. One of my sons who has had a 'last man standing' competition with male Lucy on many occasions was laughing the other day saying that he would now win it by default as Lucy would be the last woman standing!

The reaction of M has been quite eye-opening. Male Lucy has 3 other very close male friends who have the same sort of close relationship with 'him' as M did. It has made us wonder how they will react.... each of these 3 are macho males and enjoy a similar bromance relationship with 'him'. Lucy says she wants to tell them all at the same time whereas I would prefer to stagger it as it could all be just as emotionally draining as the M situation just 3 times worse if dealing with the fallout from 3 friends at the same time. Watch this space!

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Transwidows - is this some sort of cult?!!

I have written about my transwidow stalker before. I call her a stalker as she just doesn't go away, goes quiet for a bit and then comes on all heavy. I'm thinking that this must be some sort of cult and she is trying to recruit me into as she just keeps on and on. From her comments and questions she poses it is totally clear that she not has not really read my blog posts as her questions would be clearly answered, even down to how many children I have had and their ages! Maybe I should be honoured I have this TERF who seems obsessed with me!

Why is she trawling through trans positive posts? What is her aim? I'm not sure what she is trying to achieve and nothing she says to me resonates with me at all. As anyone who reads my blog knows I am comfortable with my situation and enjoy being part of this community. She will never sway me with her TERF views and transphobic comments so why does she keep trying? Give up love, its a hopeless cause!

Although I have made all comments on my blog so they are approved first, it doesn't mean that I'm not prepared to share her comments, although this will probably we the last time as I am bored of her harassment. I just don't want all her negativity and hate in ad hoc comments against my blog. What some people in this community do not understand is that being a supportive partner can be quite difficult. We are not accepted in many trans forums because we are CIS/natal, God forbid! As partners they do not think we should or can have an opinion and that we are supportive but in a transphobic way..... yes, sadly we are called transphobic and are accused of it and tarred with the same brush as 'all' CIS people again who are generalised. 

We are not always accepted by general society as they don't understand why we would stay and support someone we love and as my Transwidow proves we are open to abuse from people whose relationships have failed due to their partner being trans. We also risk friendships and some family relationships to support our partners and sometimes we are victims of the same abusers as our partners or trans people within the community. But despite all this, we remain strong and supportive.

So lets get back to my lovely stalker....... what was so important than in the space of less than an hour she left me 7 messages.....

These were against my Transwidow Q & A post, she doesn't even cover the issue of transmen, all her vitriol is aimed towards transwomen (as this is obviously what her partner was that broke her) but this time she doesn't even warrant a response and not going to waste my time and feel free to visit her blog which she desperately keeps pushing..... I'm not going to read it as I already know from her comments the hatred and TERF comments it will contain.

  • i find it astonishing that you are ready to swallow this hook line and sinker without even rudimentary research.the fact that you could encourage your husband to mutilate his healthy body and go to these lengths to affirm his 'identity' without ever coming across the word autogynephile says it all really... all heterosexual transsexual males are autogynephilic to some degree or other.. most of us ex wives and partners recognise the signs like they are burned into our are being abused. your good nature is being appropriated for a mans sexual satisfaction and we feel sorry for you because you still havent realised what this man is doing to you. femininity does not equal female. he does not give one single shit about women or lesbians, though i bet he claims to be one in bed eh? or have you also given up your sex life so he doesnt have to be bothered with your needs anymore or do you not really find you are attracted to amputated penises and not sure what to do with the weird hole between his legs, the daily dilations, the nasty wee hairballs that grow inside his 'vag'? .. do you even know the first thing about this surgery? how much research have you actually done on his condition? you have put his sexual needs above yourself and your family. dont be surprised at the fallout. 
  • the sad person here is the blogger. truly. 
  • it actually was not a bad relationship? - it was a wonderful relationship that grew from a 30 year friendship. so youre wrong to presume anything about me. we were very happy until it turned out we werent because genda. ive had babies ive been a midwife and i know that WOMEN are people who menstruate, get pregnant, give birth, lactate, go through menopause, suffer infertility and patriarchal medicalisation to the point of trauma and suffer lifelong the male gaze and gender stereotypical societal expectations to the point of starving themselves to death and self harming in the name of beauty to please men. women do not get born with testicles and penises or impregnate, violate, rape or murder other women.
  • this woman had a 15 year very happy marriage thank you very much. the nature of the beast means you dont know you are being violated or understand the mechanism by which you are being abused until you are away from the gaslighter. these men are very prone to using women all up and then walking away with all the benefits built up over a long marriage.i very much doubt her loyalty will be repaid. and she just might find she has to pay a very high price in her other relationships. 
  • shared among my private 'survivors of trans relationships' groups... how old are you btw and how many children have you birthed, breastfed and raised? 

Thank you for comments transwidow Penelope and thank you for sharing my posts amongst your TERF groups but now is the time for you to f**k off move on to someone else as I am not the naive, uneducated, uninformed, unintelligent, timid, abused wife you think I am. My Lucy has not changed at all in the person she is but please remember, unlike you, I was told after only a few months so our relationship has not been based on deceit and lies, she still has the same hobbies and interests, we still laugh at the same things, we both give each other total consideration with decisions we make as we always have done, and her transition has not totally taken over our life. She doesn't force me to do anything, I chose the name of my blog, we have a very happy, loving and sensual relationship (our sexual relationship is going very strong thank you very much) and I am certainly not an abused wife..... I am an incredibly loved wife, she tells me and demonstrates that every single day and I feel the same way about Lucy and also tell her and demonstrate it to her every day too. She gives me loyalty which I also return without a second thought. I will never accept any of your TERF comments and views so move along nicely now..........

Monday, 7 August 2017

The Lloyds Bank not so 'merry' go round

If you have read my blog you will know the issues that Lucy has been having with Lloyds Bank. It has been happening for well over a year and a half now and is getting totally ridiculous. Despite assurances that the situation has been addressed it just keeps happening.

The latest incident which happened back in April was where a bank teller changed her pin without her authorisation just because they believed it was not Lucy's account and that she knew the pin number for the card that in their eyes was not in her name. The teller accused her of using someone elses card, did not request any proof of identity and without telling Lucy arranged for a new pin to be sent out. As you can imagine this was blinking inconvenient and all Lucy did was change the pin back to what it was.

She complained to Lloyds and they offered for someone to ring her back. Weeks went by with no response and after Lucy had rung back several times eventually someone did ring and leave a message but when she returned the call there was no answer. 3 months later she was still waiting......

Now I truly understand that the bank are making sure Lucy's account is secure and when she uses the bank she is not always presenting 'en femme' however she has been assured on numerous times that there are notes on her account advising of her circumstances. If there are notes they are either not displaying in a way the teller can see, are not obvious or are being blatantly ignored. If there is any doubt to Lucy's identity all it takes is a request for proof of id which she carries with her at all times. What is unacceptable is every time this happens she is never asked for this and is always aggressively challenged and accused of using someone elses card. From a company that is Stonewalls number 1 employer for 2017 and a main sponsor of Sparkle, this is even more unacceptable. They need to have provisions for customers in the process of transitioning or as Lucy says 'work in progress'.

At the Sparkle ball Lloyds had paid for several tables and as you can imagine I was keen to find those tables so I could discuss the situation with them (we had a discussion with some representatives at last years Sparkle) however Lucy did not want me to. We later found out that there were some very senior Lloyds staff in attendance and they were pointed out to us. After the meal Lucy approached one of them and had a chat with her and she apologised for the issues Lucy had been experiencing and she also called over another colleague who was also a senior member of staff, Richard. They were very interested in Lucy's experience and freely admitted that although they are making changes from the top down, it is taking longer than they would like to filter down to the branches and local training programmes. They wanted to use Lucy's experience as a case study but also address the issue so it does not happen again. They were at great pains to explain that it should not matter how you present, it should be about getting the service you deserve. No customer should be judged by the way they dress and be accused of using someone elses details whether they fit the binary stereotype or not. Richard took Lucy's number and promised to ring her Monday afternoon.

As promised Richard rang Lucy on Monday and she went through the issues she had been experiencing especially about the recent branch situation. He again apologised and said that this was not how they want their trans customers (or any customer) treated. He took all the details down and asked Lucy what outcome was she looking for. She said she just wanted to be treated respectfully when using the bank and it would be great if they undertook training to educate the staff. Lucy cannot be the only person suffering this sort of treatment. Richard promised that he would make sure the situation was addressed. He said for Lucy to contact him if she had any further problems.

A few days later she received a bouquet of flowers from the branch manager of the branch in question and the next day she received a letter again apologising but also stating that branch training had been undertaken to ensure this situation did not arise again. The branch manager also rung her and re-iterated what was in the letter. Interestingly he mentioned that the specific bank teller had been spoken to and in her defence she said that Lucy had said she was using her wife's card and pin which clearly was not true! Lucy would have no reason to say this! No excuses!

We happened to be in the area 2 weeks ago so together we popped into the branch again. This time Lucy was fully dressed and she presented her card to pay money in. It was a different female teller however we are sure that the training must have been successful as she didn't challenge anything and in fact was very, very friendly and chatty and did not question anything. This was probably the friendliest reception I have ever encountered at any branch let alone Lucy!

Any way, after this we thought the matter was all sorted until a couple of weeks ago when Lucy went into our local branch (different to the one before) to deposit some money. The male teller was one that she had seen on many occasions when paying money in and he has not said anything before but on this occasion he aggressively challenged Lucy and told her off for using someone elses card. She told him several times to check the notes on the account and when he eventually did he continued the transaction but there was no acknowledgement of his error or apology and his attitude didn't change either. So Lucy rang Richard and advised him of what had happened. Again he took all the details and said to leave it with him and he would contact the branch.

As yet we have not heard anything further however last week Lucy purchased a vehicle and went to the same branch to withdraw cash from her account. She wasn't fully dressed and was her usual casual 'work in progress'. It was a different teller however she she did not challenge anything. The only thing she did do in addition to getting her to enter her pin in to withdraw the cash was to sign a withdrawal slip and checked her signature. Again she was friendly and the situation went without a hitch.

So it is looking like Lloyds are sticking by their pledge to train staff to understand the whole trans situation. It is a shame that this training has only happened because of Lucy's experiences and only in the branches she mentioned. They need to learn that for many trans people specifically that during transition (and possibly after) that the outward presentation may not match their perception of who they are based on the name on the account. I doubt that this is an easy fix and will take sometime to ensure that all their staff are suitably trained but it is definitely steps in the right direction.