Dear friends and contacts on this Blog site and the wider world
Many of you have been aware at various times over the last few years I have been unsettled – much of that has been caused by working for RCHT and that remains the truth. But however, there is something I have been hiding from you all and the time has come to share this with you all
There is no easy way of approaching this subject so I will begin with this statement:-
I believe that I have GENDER DYSPHORIA.
It is a fancy name for a condition where a person believes they were born into the wrong gender; in my case I feel I should have been born female. I have always had these feelings, I have requested help once before (2008) but as the children were coming up to exams at that stage I abandoned that request then because as always, the children come first.
As for my darling Vicki. I love her, I will always love her and more importantly she is my best friend. I told her about my confused gender feelings in 1991 - well before we got married and before she was pregnant. She decided to support me in those early days; as the years moved on it became a subject to be ignored and hidden but more recently (the last 5 – 6 years) it has been something positive that we have both shared and to a certain extent she encouraged.
Truthfully, I have been going out in public dressed as a woman for over the last ten years. For the last five of these, Vicki has often accompanied me and has given me the wealth of her advice and guidance. For this, I cannot thank her enough.
All of you are on my contacts list because we have been friends / colleagues / students / mentors / advisors etc and although I physically haven’t seen many of you for years, you have chosen to keep me on your friends list. But now you must decide if that is want you want to continue; I will not take offence if my friends list suddenly goes down but request each of you consider carefully before throwing away any sort of relationships we have had.
But that is for each of you to decide. You must decide whether a female me is someone you want to know and be associated with. I would fully understand if you feel you must reject me and my situation, but if you come to this conclusion – please do not reject Vicki, Chris and Lucy. They are innocent of all of this and deserve nothing but support.
This situation of course, has been a complete shock to Vicki. While she has recently supported the part-time female part of me she never anticipated that I would want to seek help to go full-time. She was distressed that she would lose her husband along with hundreds of other concerns. (I have narrowed this point greatly, we have had similar conversations in the past – to which I had replied at those times I didn’t want a full-time life as a woman. That was truthful when it was spoken, but the confusion has always remained)
I can totally sympathise, empathise and to a greater extent agree with her. She is a marvellous, loving lady who has only ever been kind and caring towards me. I realised instantly the ramifications of what I had said.
Life continued; I made an appointment with the GP to be referred to “The Laurels”:- http://www.devonpartnership.nhs.uk/The-Laurels.372.0.html
This specialist clinic will be able to advise me on how to face the future, what the future holds, and whether the diagnosis myself and the GP have agreed on is accurate. Their waiting list is long, and I doubt that I’ll hear from them this side of Christmas 2012.
Vicki has struggled to cope with this situation. She has told me she doesn’t love me anymore (I do not blame her) and at one time she came close to hating me. She is the sort of person that bottles things up and struggles to ask for help, nor does she choose to speak openly to others. I could see she was having major problems so I put my trust into the two people she trusts more in the world after me – Christopher and Lucy.
I told them – as I say for support of Vicki – but also because the way the things were going they too would need to know sooner than later. They were brilliant, both understandably shocked but both supportive of me and more importantly of Vicki.
Up until this point, only a selected few were within the secret loop (until two weeks ago it was just Vicki and my GP). Now, please consider this as public knowledge and talk to whoever you wish to about this.
I apologise for not speaking sooner but I hope you understand this isn’t the sort of thing you can just drop casually into the conversation!
What the future holds is unsure. My darling Vicki has decided that our marriage must end. I ask you all to support her in this decision but please do not influence her – this is something she has come to herself.
What I want she knows. I love her still (more than ever), she’s my best friend and I will be devastated to finish a relationship that has weathered every storm it faced over the last 22 years. BUT because of my love for her, I will never stand in her way and her final decision will be one I will completely abide by.
So that brings us up to date. Now this information is going into the wider world it will now be treated as public knowledge rather than a family secret. I have posted a version of this letter to various members of our family and friends. No more hiding, no more lies.
Therefore, I will be presenting more and more as a female. In this “limbo” time I will continue to present both as male and female at various times – but the female side will be permanent within the year. (Irregardless of the Laurels / treatment etc).
So, I apologise fully to have shocked you. Some of you may disagree with my situation and that is your right. But please keep those opinions to yourself when around myself, Christopher or Lucy. If you do not want me in your life anymore, again I understand fully but please keep in contact with Christopher, Lucy and most especially Vicki.
If you do have sympathy with my position – thank you. If you want to learn more I can send various links but really, I suggest you take a couple of days to digest this news fully before coming to any definite conclusion. The reaction you have after reading this letter may be very different to the one you have after another 48 hours.
No doubt in the back of your mind you’re wondering how I will present and what I will be called. As for presentation I try to dress for my age – so there will be no inappropriate attire. I aim to fit in to the background as I have for the last decade or so in my part-time life as a woman. As for my name – again nothing shocking – I will keep the same initials C.H.Stocker – but will be known as Claire Holly Stocker. But until Deed poll is carried out legally I remain Clive.
And indeed I will always answer to Clive. After almost 44 years as Clive / Pops / Old man etc I can hardly ignore those titles so if you feel more comfortable please continue using them. I just ask that when I present as a female I am referred to as “her or she” as opposed to “he or him”.
My penultimate point is long so please consider the following paragraphs carefully:
· Please, please support Christopher and Lucy in any way you can. They are both the primary concern by me and Vicki and while they may be adults (Lucy will be very soon) they still need the love and support of their family
· At time of writing, our marriage is still in existence, albeit as a friendship relationship. Please respect this when criticising either of us or offering advice. Until the house is sold (or Vicki decides otherwise), this will be the status quo.
· When our marriage does split up, we (Vicki and I) will make final decisions over finances and how to proceed. We will remain on friendly, talking terms at all times I feel and will need support with emotional aspects only. Again, she is and will always be my best friend.
Thank you for reading this letter; take your time in digesting the news before coming to a final conclusion. Please be aware that Vicki has been included in the writing of this letter (it was written at her request) and she has had the right to veto any information I have written – which she hasn’t had to do.
I finish by saying this is a carefully worded letter prepared for just for Facebook. If you wish to get in touch with me, I will of course send a far more personal reply.
However, please email me or write. I will not be able to text a reply as I find texting too difficult!
Clive Stocker (eventually to be Claire Stocker)