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Jaqui Lazelle in the BBC Suffolk Studio
Jaqui Lazelle in the BBC Suffolk Studio

Jaqui's Story - Part 1

Jaqui Lazelle has been talking to BBC Suffolk's Lesley Dolphin. In the first part of her story Jaqui talks about her career, her wife and her family. But she has lost all that now. Lesley asks Jaqui how she felt, to give up so much...

 JAQUI: Dreadful, absolutely dreadful.  People say: do you feel like a woman? But I don't know what a woman feels like.  You know I just felt like me and there was something wrong about me and the way I was presenting myself in the past and it just wasn't right. 

When I was a child I often dreamed I was a girl.  It just didn't seem right to be a boy at that stage but I suppressed my feelings for quite sometime and I suppose I lived in denial for quite a few years.  I even had an aran jumper, grew a beard.  In the sixties it was the in thing, I tried to look studious. 

I tried to suppress the way I was feeling, I just felt like a pressure cooker that was building up pressure all the time, throughout my life, 27 years of marriage.  At the end of that I just felt like the valve was blowing.  I just needed something else in my life, something that was missing for so many years. 

So when I was made redundant I just needed to do something about that, so I went to the doctor and said: look what are these feelings?

LESLEY: You knew there was something missing, but how did you know it was to do with not feeling you were a man, that perhaps you 'd got feelings that were more like being a woman.  How did you know that?

JAQUI: I just didn't like being and doing what a man does, it just didn't feel right.  I felt more comfortable in feminine company.  I just wanted to be in the same situation as most women, it just felt that that was the right way to go.  That to be a woman was what I should have been really.  It just seemed I had been heading in the wrong direction all my life. 

To say, what did I feel is very tricky really, because feeling's a very personal thing, isn't it? I don't think one person feels the same as the next.  I probably don't feel like a woman would feel and I definitely don't feel like a man should feel.  I don't know, I'm just me.  I just needed to, I don't know, cross over to a feminine side if you like, and it just felt right and far more comfortable than ever I was as a man.

LESLEY: So when you were a young man you say you almost didn't look at this side of yourself did you, you ignored it, did the opposite, grew your beard, aran jumper and you did get married.  Was that still trying to deny what you felt?

JAQUI: I think so, yes, because there was something missing, something totally missing, although I tried to think, well okay I'm a bloke, let's do what a bloke does.  I fell in love - which I did, definitely, and I can say quite honestly that I still love that woman.  Everything seemed to be quite mechanical, those were the days when you had an engagement and then three years later you got married and two years after that you had your first child, the reception was paid by my mother-in-law....

Although I was doing things mechanically there was something totally wrong with it and I couldn't express those feelings at all.  There was no way, because I felt daft, stupid, ridiculous - how could I tell anyone if I was to be a woman, or anything like that, or even try putting womens clothing on, which seems a bit....whoa...! 

LESLEY: Did you do that?

JAQUI: Yes, I did - in secret.

LESLEY: When did you first do that?

JAQUI: I first did it as a child, as a very small child.  You will get this from most people who are transgendered in any way.  You have a fascination for anything female, anything feminine.  Even my own Mother said that even as a baby I  liked to be snuggled up to a piece of silk or anything like that that I had, it was something a bit more feminine, not rough and ready like anything male, if you like.

LESLEY: I spoke to Kirsty about this as well and Kirsty likes to dress in women's clothes but still is married and I know you wish you could do that, in a way, don't you?

JAQUI: Oh absolutely, yeah.

LESLEY: Kirsty sort of denied that side of things as a child she liked to dress up and went back to it when she was older.  Is that something that happened to you as well?

JAQUI: I couldn't stop, really.  I tried to deny the fact that I needed something through marriage, but it wouldn't stop, nothing would go away.  It was something I couldn't tell anyone about, I felt so stupid about it.  And if I told anyone they'd think I was out of my mind, needed brain testing or something...

LESLEY: Were you almost ashamed of it yourself?

JAQUI: Absolutely, absolutely ashamed.  I wasn't a very sociable person at all, because anything sociable was to do with either pubs, football or anything and it just didn't suit me at all.  I just didn't like that at all, anything to do with going out, like going out with the lads - I did it a few times, but I hated it, really hated it, it just wasn't right.  I just wished I could go out with a group of girls or something, that would feel a lot better, but I just couldn't do it.  It wasn't the done thing was it?

LESLEY: So you had all these feelings you couldn't talk about, so did you ever think you were gay, which you obviously weren't because you were in love with your wife?

JAQUI: No, I never felt that I was gay, as a teenager I wouldn't even have known what that was, until later in life when I realised I had a gay boss.  The thought of being with another man was absolutely wrong to me and it still would be.  At the moment, I've been a woman now for a couple of years, and I would still prefer female company to male.

LESLEY: To all intents and purposes you were outwardly a very successful man really.  You'd got a family, grown up children, wore your suit, went to work and yet you had to give all that up?

JAQUI: I really did, yeah and I felt it was necessary.  I just couldn't cope.

last updated: 15/09/06
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Ava
From the age of five,I knew something was wrong.Iwas supposed to be a girl.Transitioned four years ago by medical necessity.Cause-testicular cancer.Am now post-op and correct in every way,a happy girl.

Donna Michelle
I have been in transition for 4 months now and it is the greatest adventure of my life. At last I am out of my bodily prison and making great headway as a woman. My only regret is that I did not admit to myself earlier in my life, due to the hurt that I would cause to my family. To me, life as a woman comes so naturally and I have not had any trouble or jibes what so ever. In transition, you have to have total confidence in yourself and do normal every day tasks and get on with life. I am amazed how many new friends I have made in the past 4 months who accept me for who I am. I am a regular at the local pub and the landlord, landlady and other frequent visitors have made me so welcome, it is almost unbelieveable. So many wonderful things have happened to make my transition as painless as possible. The only downside, is the emotional turmoil and the hurt that my family has suffered, which at times I really feel extremely guilty about, but they have told me not to feel guilty, which has helped a great deal. My family are very supportive of me, but the emotional pain is still there. When you love someone, but cann't be with them, it hurts like hell. But I have no choice and have to live my life has the woman that I should be and not the male I was born has. Good luck to all pre-op transexuals and may you all achieve your goals

julia
I transioned in 2000,it was a hill strugle but worth it.with out the help of any gods.

Christian Gender Specialist
As a fellow Christian to Michelle, I would urge her to meditate on her belief and think especially about the fundamental bases of her faith and those are Trust and Acceptance. We should be able to Trust and Accept the fact that our Lord has given us all free will but also to follow a path if it has been laid down for us. Somewhere along the line, there should also be a willingness to learn and to accept something if it is real and true. As Christians we sometimes deny science as going against our teaching but we must accept that modern methods of investigation have found evidence that just was not there when our Bible was written and we should adapt our belief, with God’s blessing to modern findings as with any other walk such as geography, species or anything else where new things are being discovered every day. This brings me to a point that Daniel made about our outward physical bodies. Over the last few years, scientists and biologists have found out and out proof that ‘sexual’ appearance and ability is in many cases in conflict to ‘Gender’, our genetic make up emanating from our brain. To bring in the old cliché; ‘A man living in a woman’s body’ or visa versa. Science has proven facts that a person can live with devastating inner turmoil not knowing the reason for their dreadful discomfort. As with any other deformity, Transsexuality is debilitating and medical science has endeavoured to find ways of overcoming this human dis-ease. Gender Reassignment Surgery, as it is known, brings into alignment the body and the brain giving immense relief to the sufferer. You have to trust me on this one, as bizarre as it may seem, I’m an expert in the field, and a strong Christian, praying to my Lord and listening to His answers. I also know, Michelle, that your ‘Auntie Jaqui’, as she is, found her answers to her questions regarding Faith and her Treatment in the same way. She may look a little different lately but she is still the same Person she ever was and maintains a great Love for her family she so sadly had to leave behind for the sake of her own sanity. You have to trust me on that one as well because I know, only too well. Yes, God does have a purpose for each and every one of us but who are we to say what that is. by accepting guidance we are led in ways that may seem quite radical to society and 'normal'(whatever that is), Christian ethic.

Michelle
This was my Uncle I supose now he/she is my Auntie. I guess now I ust to supose to come to terms with all this. But how do ever get over something like this? As I a Christain I have to agree with Daniel We are what God made us.Michelle

Daniel
No outward physical change can ever change the genetics and DNA make-up that determines gender. Although one may not feel happy with that determination, does that change what you are?God has a purpose for each one of our lives why do we run from it? Why can't we just be content with what we are? Why must we force ourselves to become something that no amount of surgery can ever make someone become?

Debbie
I to am going through transition and know the pitfalls that await me. i know this from speaking to other transexuals who are in the same position. I wish Jaqui every success for the future, and, who knows someday we may meet.

ann
Jaqui i and my partner are going through what you have gone through . you have done very whats right for you.

Monica
My heart went out to you Jaqui. I am a woman in a five year relationship with a man I adore and over the last year/eighteen months he has had the courage to confide in me similar feelings as yourself. I confess I found it hard, am finding it hard still, but desperately want to support him and try and understand. Above all I do not ever want him to feel judged. Reading your account has moved me and made me feel even stronger in my resolve to stand by him.

Philippa
Thanks for sharing your story Jacqui. I am going through exactly the same feelings and can relate to everything you say. We all feel alone in this but the more people come about about their experiences the more it becomes obvious that transsexuality is not a choice, but a very real clinical entity. Thank you for being brave.

Debbie
Writing your journey will probably make you feel good, but be prepared to struggle getting it published. It's been done many times before. I wish you good luck with your transitional process Jaquie. I hope that when you have achieve your goal you will move on from being a transexual woman and become a confident female who doesn't need 'convince' everyone that she is who she is.

Seneca
I think that this was a nessecary job that needed to be done on jaqi's end. Soceity may not cope with it but this is who she is and they just have to accept the fact that people feel differntly about their bodies.

Davina Daniels
Well done Jaqui - I just loved hearing your story and I now feel I understand the journey you are undertaking. Best of luck for the future and I hope to see you very soon. Hugs Dx

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