Jaqui: There have been times when I've been sobbing at people's feet saying look, do something about this because this is the way I feel. I discovered through blood tests and other tests that you can have that really it's not just a state of mind. A lot of people say that it's a state of mind but it's not it's more than that. It's a complete mix up of hormones and chromosomes, I don't know the technicallities, I'm not a medical boffin but it's all there in your body and it's completely messing up your way of life.
Lesley: In some ways it must be comforting to know that?
Jaqui: Absolutely, to actually be told that the way you've been feeling all your life is right. I feel absolutely elated that now I feel positive in the way I can go out and talk to people like I'm talking to you now. I might sound like a man occasionally, I've had voice therapy but it doesn't seem to have worked very well.
Lesley: It just shows complicated the whole issue is doesn't it? You've mentioned surgery to me so you obviously do want to do the whole thing do you?
Jaqui: Yes, but the silly thing is I've never had surgery in my life. I felt nervous and scared just to go and have my ears pierced you know but I'm going for this surgery and it doesn't bother me in the slightest, well it doesn't worry me because it's the way I need to go.
Lesley: No doubts?
Jaqui: No absolutely no doubts at all.
Lesley: So what's happened so far? You've been and they've talked you through it to make sure you understand what's going to happen and they're giving you hormone therapy?
Jaqui: Yes the second visit I made to Charing Cross was in February this year and I started on my hormone therapy. In a few days time I'm going to change the hormone to a stronger one. On the last visit my specialist increased the dosage so now it's probably about twice the strength of HRT. I have to be checked for blood clots and heart problems, liver problems and all the rest of it.
Lesley: So this is going to develop the female side of your body but will it also stop the masculine side?
Jaqui: It will slow it down but it won't stop it unfortunately. I could probably get a job at the moment in the circus as the bearded lady. I still have to shave which is a right bother. Being a woman is hard work to start with but with having to shave as well I'm scare that it might show through every now and again and I have to wear very heavy make-up still.
Lesley: Ho does it feel to have bits of your body growing that you don't have before?
Jaqui: It feels normal in a way because I've got breasts now. They hurt like dickens, they really do hurt, but I've put up with that. I bumped into a door the other day and it felt like I was dying. It feels they should be there. When I look in the mirror its like wow that's me and yeah that feels right.
Lesley: So you're going to have to keep going back to Charing Cross loads of times before they'll do the surgery?
Jaqui: Yes, the last person I saw was a hormone specialist, and he told me that I'm very susceptible to breast cancer, more so than a natural born woman. All the time they're making sure that I'm sure in my mind.
Lesley: So what's the next step?
Jaqui: Well my next vsit will be back to my original specialist. I don't know how many visits I'll need but it will gradually work up to a stay in hospital to have the surgery. I hope nothing goes wrong, I'm 57 now and I've spent an awful long time waiting for this. In my own mind I feel I left it far too late.
Lesley: Is it exciting?
Jaqui: Yes it is, scary but exciting. Incredibly scary but exciting at the same time because I just want to be how I've been feeling all this time. Well want is the wrong word, I need to be how I've been feeling all this time.
Lesley: Have you any regrets?
Jaqui: yes I suppose I really do. I regret having to upset so many people. i think that perhaps I've gone about it in totally the wrong way. I regret moving out on my family when perhaps we could have talked it through.
Lesley: But the actual wanting to become a woman, you don't regret that?
Jaqui: Oh no, there is no way that I want to back peddle and go backwards to how it was. That's not to say I haven't thought sometimes that it would be and awful lot easier to have a haircut, start growing some stubble and go back to the way it was. I'd get a job a lot easier I can tell you but I am hopeful of the future. I'm hopeful that things will turn out right. Financially things are a bit grim at the moment but I have this vision of a que of people outside Smith's waiting to get my book signed. I'm still two years behind on what I'm writing, on where I am, my next chapter would actually be about beginning to live as a woman.
Lesley: Have you got a title for it yet?
Jaqui: This feeling inside... and I think well I've had this feeling for a long time so it's time to get a bit more of it on the outside really.