Monika: Today’s interview will be with Merryn Witherspoon, a video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Merryn!
Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
My doctor and I decided to leave telling him until as long as possible and, in the event, he died very recently and which thankfully has spared us both the trauma of that potential difficulty and for which I’m massively grateful.
When I did socialise, I was always far more comfortable with girls and still am to this day.
I hated school sport from the start and was totally useless a team sports especially. It was a constant source of major embarrassment for me, my peers and the teachers!
I’ve been a very active and quite high level musician and songwriter all my adult life and the last 10 years have been especially productive but I’m now taking a ‘sabbatical’ for while! I may take it up again publicly at some stage but right now I don’t feel any great need and am happy to have a decent break.
I had no compulsion for any sexual relationshps and to the greatest extent felt (if anything) that I was stuck on a genderless fence. That was increasingly uncomfortable but I felt unable to discuss it with anyone as my parents were very conservative and ‘black and white’ people and the idea of ‘shades of grey’ or non-standard issues didn’t really exist for them tho’ that was largely a common trait of their generation. I also had no siblings to discuss personal things with.
In the second term I turned 19 and plucked up the courage to see the college doctor about my issues. He was young and clueless and his reaction just sent me back into the shadows for years to come. It took me four years of self-help to sort the anxiety but when it finally disappeared I felt amazingly strong mentally and also far more aware of the world somehow like coming out of a long dark tunnel into bright sunlight.
As a result I seem to have managed to cope and deal with a continuous barrage of difficult and complex situations quite well ever since both of my own and others’.
After the first two or three it became a bit easier as by then I’d honed my patter and explanation but it was still always very nerve-wracking when I hit ‘Send’ – and still is.
In the past the tabloid coverage has been especially awful and has typically sought to sensationalise the topic by focusing on rather poor examples – and who often appear to be rabid attention-seekers and exhibitionists ready to complain to the press over the slightest perceived public slighted.
In fact, it largely seems to be that it’s the younger T generation who are really banding together and becoming more visible now and which makes sense on several levels and is reflective of both the point society has reached and modern 24x7 communications which are able to penetrate every corner of public and personal space.
I have a good teacher friend who is currently responsible for a 16 year old F2M student and I’m having to provide a lot of knowledge and information resources as the school has no procedures or guidance as to how to deal with such situations.
There’s a very good project running for younger people 18-30 called ‘All about trans’ and which is liaising with mainstream broadcast media like the BBC over the coverage and media perception of T people and I’m currently in touch with one of their researchers and providing access to some of my media contacts who I think will be interested.
I know I tend to wear too much black by default but I tend to soften it by choosing bright floral overprints. Pink, apricot, plum, wine and sage green are also good colours for me. Even though I’m only 5’3” I don’t like heels over 3” but very much currently need to buy some more footwear and especially for this coming summer.
I see signs of many younger T people online now which is great and who on the whole seem less afraid to rear their heads above the parapet.
There are always going to be ignorant, dangerous bigoted, chauvinistic and feminist factions who make life difficult not just for T people but all kinds of others too. Just try to avoid these where obviously possible and find the support from your local or national LGBT resource as a starting point.
I’m also now planning on having FFS with FacialTeam in 3-4 months. That aspect is especially important to me and I’m hoping will improve my public confidence levels. I’m also starting electrolysis and speech therapy in the next two weeks.
I hope to complete my full transition within 2-3 years and during this time I would like to keep working as I currently do. I have my mother to still look after and it's impossible to really know how long she might have left to live. I would certainly like to travel more again and maybe one day I will move abroad somewhere warm but still keep a foothold in England. I'm currently open to the idea of another relationship but it will have to be with someone quite special.