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Home  »   LGBT+Member Voice   »   My transition journey

My transition journey

In our latest member voice article, read about locum community pharmacist and PDA LGBT+ Network member Jenny's transition journey. Jenny also discusses the support available for other transgender pharmacists.

Mon 13th December 2021 The PDA

I transitioned nearly 20 years ago when I worked in industry, in research and development. There were around 30 of us working in UK labs. The company I worked for was technically excellent about the changes, and I faced no ‘challenges’ from anyone. However, a year later, I was made redundant.

I was then incredibly fortunate to find a position with a small, independent pharmacy chain, which had very accepting management. My colleagues were amazing, and I encouraged them to ask anything, I’ve always been open because I think it’s important to enable others to learn.

I looked a mess as my hormones hadn’t kicked in and I couldn’t afford electrolysis. I had to use an epilator on my face every day. My initial customers were good, but I experienced problems with the teenagers from the local school. After I moved into the village, they found out where I lived and I faced over two years of daily abuse, which drove me to severe anger and depression. Three of the people who abused me now have criminal records due to their actions at the time.

As a Christian, I used my faith wrongly as a defence against the Jenny who was inside me from the age of 14 to 39. Then the death of my brother and the illness of my then-wife meant that I faced a life crisis to the point where I was considering suicide. It was at that point that I realised that Jenny had to be. Whilst I am still a Christian now, Jenny has been released. Thankfully, my Church has supported me, and the Sibyls support group for transgender Christians has helped me a lot over the years.

There were ‘no same-sex marriages by the back door’ in those days, and so I had to be divorced in order to change my birth certificate as part of the transition process. Leaving my wife and three young sons was so difficult and induced enormous guilt, but we stuck together while apart. Now we get on really well and our boys have emerged as sensitive, open individuals.

If you are thinking about your true self, the beginnings of therapy, or approaching transition, I would recommend sharing with someone, especially if you have a partner. It’s much easier to share these days, and the NHS is more approachable now. Unfortunately, I experienced so many problems at the time that I had to go privately for everything as things were very different then.

Support is available

If you know or meet someone who is transgender (or any other ‘letter’), listen to them. If you’d like to be an ally, don’t judge, or say ‘have you tried…?’ Just give them time, and do your best to understand, however difficult it may be.

Since joining the PDA LGBT+ Network, I have learned much from others about many problems I had never come across before, and I am able to apply this knowledge to my daily work as a locum community pharmacist, as well as to my life in general. I am happy to be able to give something back to the group too and hope that my story will help others.

Remember that there is always support available, no matter how difficult your circumstances are, you are not alone. The PDA LGBT+ Network is here to provide a safe space to share, along with specialist services like LGBT Foundation, Galop, the Samaritans and Pharmacist Support who can all offer help.

By Jenny, locum community pharmacist and PDA LGBT+ Network member 

Related links

Get involved

  • Join the PDA LGBT+ network here.
  • Follow the PDA LGBT+ Network on social media using the hashtag #PDAlgbt
  • Contact the PDA LGBT+ Network committee know by emailing lgbt@the-pda.org

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