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TWO LIVES - A transsexual's story and the fight for recognition.


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Two Lives: A Transsexual’s story and the fight for recognition is a heart-wrenching read. The author shares her painful, yet sometimes happy journey through a tormented life that many could not imagine. From early childhood and being born a boy called Frank, Kathy felt something was not right with her gender. As she matured her body shape and physical appearance leant towards female, but it was the turmoil inside her mind that caused her the greatest anxiety. 

As a man she married and had a family and tried in vain to be ‘normal’ as society would say, while in private she dressed in her wife’s clothes. There would be another marriage and it was in this one that she came out and declared she would be changing her life to the female she   always knew she had to be.  

With sex re-assignment surgery Kathy emerged to bravely fight the long, difficult battle for recognition. 

Kathy’s honesty and strength gives the reader a truly informative and insightful look into the subject of transsexuals and their struggle through Government and political departments and laws pertaining to their rights.  

There is a huge amount of research and documented data contained in this amazing story that will give knowledge and hopefully a better  understanding of the transgender community. 

In Store Price: $29.95 
Online Price:   $28.95

ISBN: 978-1-921731-55-6   
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 370
Genre: Non Fiction

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Author: Kathy Anne Noble
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2011
Language: English

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 FOREWORD

By Susan Booth

Senior Member, Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal and former Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner 

This is a most personal account of a brave, delightful and stubborn woman.

Kathy Noble is made of tough stuff. Born just before World War II – she just didn’t live through the bombing of London – she was old enough to worry if her mother would come home from work each day.

But she also began to wonder about her own life. Although it would take another 50 years to complete what she knew at six years of age – that her sex and gender were not the same.

And so her life journey to become the woman she really was began at six when Kathy finally transitioned in 2001.

So it is not surprising that after a lifetime of waiting for something that she would discover that transitioning, including the drugs, hormones and surgery was the easy bit.

What followed has become her personal quest. 

This book is about Kathy’s life – her wonderful journey to become who she really is. And who is that? A woman who just won’t accept discrimination and unfairness.

Kathy writes of two unfair and discriminatory aspects of current laws.

The first is that despite her gender recognition certificate from the UK that means she has appropriately amended her birth certificate, it is not enough. This is because, although she has an Australian and UK passport that recognises who she is, she cannot obtain a Recognition Certificate in Queensland. This is because she was born overseas.

While I was Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, in 2009, I sought to highlight both the unfairness and possible discrimination of this hurtful and unwarranted legislation. I wrote to the Attorney General, noting that: 

The ADCQ is of the view that while an amendment of this type will only affect a very small proportion of the Queensland population, for that small group it will have a significant benefit in helping ‘some of them to achieve legal recognition of their gender identity in their place of birth’.

This is particularly so for individuals born in the UK, Scotland, the USA, New Zealand and in the Netherlands, and possibly a number of other countries as well. Such recognition in their country of birth not only assists the individual in gaining similar legal recognition in Australia, but also in some instances when they are travelling internationally. From a human rights perspective, such recognition can have the benefit of reducing stigma and discrimination for the individuals concerned.  

So far, this unfair provision remains. In this book, Kathy carefully explains what is necessary and how simple it would be to remove this unnecessary discrimination.

If dedication and commitment mean anything, Kathy will have success soon. When you read her story I am sure you will agree.  

Finally Kathy speaks on behalf of another small group: transgender people who wish to stay married after they have transitioned. Seems fair to me, it is consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that allows every human the right to marry and form a family. Staying married when the people in that marriage wish to do so – is both fair and right.

This book is one woman’s most personal story. It is a story of hope and humour. And along with her readers it can be a triumph – we need to work with Kathy to ensure that the legal rights of transgender people are not left to just a few of the brave and dedicated like Kathy but all of us. We need to ensure our community is inclusive and non-discriminatory.

So congratulations to all who have supported Kathy’s story – her family, her friends and the community. Let’s ensure that hers is personal triumph too.

My personal and sincere congratulations are to you, Kathy. Our lives are richer for your magnificent contribution.

 INTRODUCTION 

Written by Phil/Julia Crawshaw

[The Seahorse Society N.S.W. INC.]   

 

‘Men are born to dream – women are born to nurture and encourage those dreams to happen.’ 

Kathy has done both. She has dared to dream – and has spent her life nurturing others and helping them find their own dream.

In life, we all face the journey through experiences, the joy and sorrow, the highs and lows, even the cross that some bear – to face challenges and make new direction changes when encountering some of these cross roads of life. Now looking back into her own personal history; Kathy shares a life journey and experiences in her biography, where she describes her own personal experiences, challenges and decisions made; even when cross roads were found, and still even today, being negotiated.

I congratulate you now my dear friend; you have found and achieved your “dream of many years ago” that is, to discover and accept your complete self, and “To be and become – who I truly am”.  

Keep on keeping on. With much regard and thanks.

INTRODUCTION 

 

I had been married at 18 whilst in the RAF and started to give into my feelings of wrongness by cross-dressing as every opportunity presented itself. I wore my wife’s clothes, until I started buying my own. In 1956 our son was born, but in 1957, at one year and one week old, he died. From that point on I used to present as a pregnant female until our daughter was born in 1958.  

In 1957 I was in the centre of Bristol in the West Country of UK dressed as a pregnant woman and making my way back to my car. I was wearing high heel boots and an A line dress and coat. As I walked my heel caught in the pavement and I started to go forward, when seemingly out of nowhere a hand caught hold of me and a voice said, “Now my dear, we don’t want you on the floor in your condition, do we?” I looked up to see a Bobby standing there, I just ran as soon as I could to my car to stop shaking. You see at that time I could have been taken to the Police station and sectioned. Put into a hospital for the mentally ill, given shock therapy and possibly put into a straight jacket. Funny thing is that it did not deter me from doing it again.

This book is based on my feelings, my problems, my issues and my research. It may not be what everyone who is transsexual has encountered because we are all different in our approach to this problem, as well as our individual metabolisms all being different.

If people wish to question what I have written, it is their right to do so, but by the time they do, I may well be long gone from this life.

I make no apologies for what follows as it is, as I said my account of how, this whole medical phenomena affected me personally. I wish and hope that you all have the same outcomes as I have arrived at. The fact is that the last years belong to Kathy, and I thank all of my family for making that possible, but most of all Frank, for making it at all possible.

Later you will read where I consider that he virtually killed himself in order for Kathy to emerge. He had lost a long and protracted war with his/her demons. The demons of Transsexualism finally won after 63 years when I finally came out to my partner.

Normal, and I use that word advisedly, people cannot comprehend the fight we have from virtually day one of our existence. I have tried to portray what we have to go through in order to finally arrive at our true self.

The loss of loved ones and for many being ejected from their family into an unknown world, for no other reason than being born into the wrong body, due to a quirk of nature. They now have to rely on the support and understanding of their peers and support groups.

I was very fortunate in that this did not happen to me, as my family supported me. However, I did lose my partner due to a car accident, who strange as it may seem, I dearly loved, as I do all of my family and do not regret having gone down this path. That statement will be looked upon as diametrically opposed to what I later write, because a lot of people will question how a trans woman can love and marry a natal woman, have children and enjoy the family atmosphere, but that is what we do, in the hope that it will cure our problems. This is because we bury the feelings of transness for as long as we are able to in the vain hope of finding, not just love, but an answer to our problems. In my case I did this until I was 63, a very long time to hide those demons. 

I see it happen all too often to people around me because of not explaining what is wrong with us from when we realise that we are different. We dare not express these problems to parents, siblings or friends because of lack of understanding and ridicule. Add to this the very strong possibility of several types of abuse, and perhaps you will realise why we bury the truth that is inside of us, and only we know what the inevitable outcome will be. Later in life we do not allow partners and family the time to come to terms with this problem. We have lived with it for years and have made some horrendous mistakes because of looking for love as a solution and also a way of suppressing the demons. Many of us have married, had children and in some cases grandchildren, when in all truth we should not have gone down this path.

We openly blame society for this as it expects us to be male or female, but our brain/gender tells us otherwise, so we make these horrendous mistakes in order to appease society. We also do it in order to cover our real feelings of wrongness, in the hope that they will wash away our fears and problems. Wrong, they always catch up with you in the end and we now have a great deal of explaining to do to those that we really do love.

People invariably ask, “Why did you do this and create a family? Why did you wait so long before changing?” My answer is that for most of us it is in the vain hope that it will assuage those demons. It does not, so we have exacerbated these problems beyond belief, just in order to hope that we can totally deny what we are.

The end product for most of us is the fact that we eventually can no longer face the inevitable, that we must transition to our true self, or die. In doing so, most of us hurt loved ones who we have never intended to hurt. We have been selfish in our quest for our true self, and in so doing make some huge mistakes. I know we should have been open and honest and told them from day one what our true feelings are, but society at large does not allow this. When and if it ever does, then truly we will be at the point of understanding fully what drives us. Until then, we have to continue to live not just for ourselves, but for those that we truly love. This is unfortunately for us to live, as the opposite for many will be a life bereft of love with the very strong possibility of attempted or achieved suicide, the feelings are that strong.

In the future these problems will not arise, as society as a whole comes to understand us and comes to terms with the fact that humans are not just simply male or female, that there are so many combinations between that cover sex/gender/sexuality that must be taken into account.

Through lack of knowledge, understanding and empathy from society at large, we are forced to live in denial of our true self. This is further exacerbated by the people we have to deal with in order to be recognised for who we really are. Our lives could be made so much easier if both the medical fraternity and the politicians could come to understand us more and legislate to cover our problems and in so doing make our lives so much easier.

I consider it to be extremely lax of all governments in Australia that they do not recognise trans people who are born abroad. There are three States that do offer forms of recognition to us born abroad. They are South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria. New South Wales has now offered a Recognised Details Certificate (RDC) as from March 1st 2009.

We are welcomed as permanent residents after Sex Re-assignment Surgery (SRS) being ratified via form 283, Certificate of evidence of resident status and are granted amended citizenship status when we are allowed to apply as we are now required to have an amended birth certificate. However, under current legislation that is not enough to be recognised in the State/Territory that we now reside. All this actually does, is to create us as second class Australians.

This government intransigence causes untold harm to many people who if officially recognised would not suffer the problems they do.

This is an extract from the letter from the Anti Discrimination Commissioner to the Queensland Attorney-General.

Reassignment of Sex and the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act 2003.

In 2003 the Queensland Parliament passed the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act which contained a number of provisions of significant importance to the transgender community in Queensland. These sections (ss 22 to 24) allowed for the reassignment of a person’s sex after sexual reassignment surgery to be noted on a person’s entry in the register of births in certain circumstances. These provisions have had a significant legal consequence in assisting a number of individuals born in Queensland to achieve formal recognition of their gender status. This in turn has had an important impact in reducing the number of occasions where stigma and discrimination can occur due to the lack of formal recognition of an individual’s gender identity.

They are not affected by or educated in Transsexualism and do not appear to wish to become either. It would be nice if they put down the platitudes they espouse and try to understand us without the extreme denigration that they offer up.

Please remember that the only professional involved here is one who has gone through this harrowing experience of being transsexual. No amount of reading, or writing papers on this subject, can ever make up for the “Real life experience” if they have not gone through this and understand all of the implications, they cannot qualify to sit in judgement on us!

Governments move people about from department to department if they are becoming too close to understanding our problems, even in some small way. This is done to make sure that legislation is deemed to be in the best interest of government, not the transsexual community.

 

I wish you all love and peace in the hope that not too many suffer from this affliction. It is something that I would not wish on my worst enemy, and truly feel for other transsexuals coming through, especially the really young, who are only now being really considered, as to how they can be helped.

 

Kathy Anne Noble

Dedication 

As a Trans woman, I have been selected as one of the many women to represent Queensland in the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s day.

“I dedicate this to all Trans women as they strive to reach their known gender/sex. I also dedicate it to those who are repeatedly abused physically, sexually and mentally. To those who, are denied their rights to change their documentation, or are incarcerated in prison and left to the problems that will present. I dedicate this to those who suffer from all forms of frustration, depression and legal abuse. Most of all I dedicate this to those who are “bashed, raped, murdered and suicide due to the untold pressures we face”  

We need compassion and empathy to understand our many problems. We are not complex. It is the system that creates the complexities.

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