This is a short series of background stories featuring the admin team and members of the group. Today we meet the group secretary and Pride Liaison guy – Kris.
Kris is a railway engineer now living and working in Swindon. after spending time in Cardiff, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur and Mongolia. Kris grew up in a healthy and supportive community with lots of childhood of social activity such as church youth groups and Brownies. He enjoyed playing running games with his sisters and friends. However in the role play games, he always wanted to be Luke Skywalker.
At 10 years old when the early part of puberty started Kris became aware of his body and realised it did not match his self-perception.
“My favourite toy was my red mini; I always played with cars and trains. I preferred playing rough, wearing boys clothes and the company of other boys more than girls.”
Due to teenage acne, Kris had to keep his hair short and at his request, his mum would buy boys’ clothes so he felt comfortable. He believes it was this boyish presentation that protected him from a predatory youth worker in a youth group when he was a teenager. His sister was groomed and abused by that youth worker.
A psychiatrist told a teenage Kris he was mentally ill and whilst he may identify as a boy he would have to wait until he was an adult to do anything about it. Instead Kris tried to make the most of his life as a girl and eventually gained a place at university to study civil engineering. In his second year of university he got married but due to the volume of work, he switched to an HND course and went on to work as an engineer in Cardiff. After around ten years, his struggle with gender resurfaced with feelings of low self-esteem and discomfort at female social roles.
“I began to feel very dysphoric about my female gender when I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis in 2007.”
After several courses of gynaecological hormone treatment, Kris underwent a hysterectomy in 2009 and he realised if he had not struggled to remain female, the problem would not have become so severe.
“When the hysterectomy was done, the surgeon encountered an unexpected frozen pelvis and I lost three pints of blood during the surgery. I was really annoyed that I hadn’t done anything about this before.”
It was after his surgery that Kris’s marriage ended and stayed with a friend from church while arranging a bedsit. Sub-consciously he started testing his sexuality and gender to find out what felt right. During his divorce Kris had been self-harming. In a last attempt to accept himself as female, he relocated to Taiwan for two years.
On returning to the UK, Kris was met with disbelief when he talked to medical professionals about his gender identity, despite the long track record of mental health issues surrounding his dysphoria.
“I was told that sort of thing is not available on the NHS.”
Having used the private option for both hormone and chest reconstruction Kris now feels he is able to live openly as himself.
When asked why he felt the work of TransSwindon is important Kris said – “I’m passionate about my right to live and speak freely. No one else is going to do it for me; I have to stand up for myself!”