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Pages Rachael Bullingham, Verity Postlethwaite. Andrew C. Billings, Leigh M. Moscowitz, Zachary W. Back Matter Pages Even he finds it hard to fathom how he ended up like this. The eldest of three sons, born to a military man, Peter talks of a childhood in Portsmouth spent dressing up in his dad's old uniforms to play soldiers with his brothers and going for 30km cycle rides.
I liked being a man and have always been attracted to women. He then had a variety of jobs, including diesel mechanic, bus driver, support worker, civil servant, NHS driver, care assistant and — most recently — telephone interviewer. Peter believes the confusion which led to his transition stemmed from a secret 'addiction' to cross-dressing, a fetish which started in adolescence with a fascination with TV drag artist Danny La Rue. As a Christian man, it is something that causes him shame.
It led to the end of his first seven-year marriage, breaking up his family. He's spent his life trying to repress those urges, and thought he'd succeeded during his third marriage to a nursing sister, whom he met at the hospital where he worked in But after her death, Peter sought solace from his loneliness on the internet. Mixing alcohol with anxiety and depression medication, he became obsessed with transsexual internet sites. Within the LGBT community he found the support, acceptance, female comfort, counselling and social contact he craved at a very vulnerable time in his life.
Peter pictured believes the confusion which led to his transition stemmed from a secret 'addiction' to cross-dressing, a fetish which started in adolescence with a fascination with TV drag artist Danny La Rue.
Attending a local transgender support group run by a charity, it felt good to be reassured by a counsellor he wasn't the 'freak' he thought he was, but a woman. In , less than a year after his wife's death, he told his GP: 'I want to be a woman'. He was advised to try living as a female full-time and come back after a month if he still felt the same way. He did, and was later referred to a consultant psychiatrist at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, who placed him on a waiting list for an appointment at a gender identity clinic in London. Referred privately to an endocrinologist at the same clinic, he was prescribed oestrogen and Decapeptyl injections to begin the process of lowering his testosterone levels and shrinking his testicles.
After a consultation with a different psychiatrist at the clinic, Peter was referred to have full gender reassignment surgery on the NHS.
My daughter drove me to the hospital and said: 'Good luck',' says Peter, who was beyond all persuasion. He told me I could change my mind at any time, even on the operating table, but I told him: 'Just do it'. When I came round I asked the nurse: 'Is that it?
Has it gone? I felt euphoric to begin with, but it didn't last. Peter spent a week on a ward with around seven other transgender women who'd had the same surgery to remove their male genitalia and fashion female sex organs. Peter's son collected him from hospital and drove him back to Hampshire. He didn't understand, he thought I'd come out of the operation transformed into a woman,' says Peter. The comment upset Peter at the time, but he says now: 'My son was the only person who spoke the truth during this whole process.
He was refused an NHS breast augmentation, and couldn't afford to have this, or any other cosmetic enhancements, done privately. Worried that he did not 'pass' sufficiently as a woman, Peter often feared ridicule, verbal abuse or worse when he went out as Victoria, although he can only recall one occasion when a man threatened him in a pub.
Indeed, he was grateful for the laws which protected Victoria from discrimination. Peter admits he was quick to correct those who 'misgendered' Victoria by calling her 'him'.
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He once complained to a pool manager when a woman objected to his presence in the ladies' changing room. He was alert to any sign of what he saw as 'transphobia'. But ultimately this was the crushing realisation that life as a woman would never live up to the fantasy and was, in fact, infinitely worse than being a man.
At Easter, he decided to detransition. He emptied the contents of his wardrobe into bin bags and dumped them at a charity shop, before replacing them with the men's clothes he wears today. He gave all his jewellery away and chucked his make-up in the bin. As a woman, it could take me an hour to get out of the door. My anxiety levels would be sky-high. I was a wreck. It was like having agoraphobia.
Such forms were both amenable to the generic play of the contemporary musical and textually flexible enough to withstand such narrative interruptions. These bacchanalian events tend to devolve into drunkenness, drug-taking, partial nudity and food fights. Both Oscar and Mina have Asian ancestry and complicated, dysfunctional family histories. The musical did not suddenly burst on the small screen in the nineties, but shifts in television, film, and theatre led to the cultivation of an environment that invited a renewed musicalization across television forms, one that transcended underscoring or musical montages and allowed a space for otherwise nonmusical characters in established nonmusical worlds to burst into diegetic song, and for the narrative worlds to momentarily become ones akin to the movie or stage musical where life is communicated through song. The visuals in "The Story" reflect the high style and heterogeneous nature of music video as they, all the while maintaining aural continuity, eschew diegetic spatial and temporal coherence through a series of jump cuts that occur as the camera continues a series of degree rotations around a belting OOB Callie.
Being a woman was making me ill. Peter believes his story is just the beginning of a backlash. He predicts that more people will seek help to detransition, and may start to question their diagnoses and the treatment they received. This month it was reported that Charlie Evans, 28, who was born female but identified as male for almost ten years before deciding to identify as a woman again, was launching a support group: The Detransition Advocacy Network.
She said she had been contacted by 'hundreds' of people who want to undo their surgery. Many were young, 'same-sex attracted' people, who were often autistic. This week, it was reported that a mother is taking legal action against a London child gender clinic, run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, to stop it treating her autistic daughter, 15, without a court's approval. But can Peter Benjamin really blame medical professionals for giving him what he desperately wanted at the time, based on beliefs he genuinely held then?
When you're confused and desperate, it's so easy to say all the right things, to lie and say, 'I don't drink', or, 'I don't have anxiety and I am not depressed. You never see those psychiatrists again and they don't ever get to see the consequences.