To say 2017 was the biggest year of my life would be an understatement. Born female but living as a man for the last two years, I had long presumed that having children would be out of the question. But after falling pregnant last year, I gave birth to my daughter Sara in April. Now aged eight months-old, this precious new arrival has changed everything – in the best of ways. I always wanted children, but I didn’t know how it would happen, so I pushed the thoughts away.
This was especially the case after I decided to live as a man. But I fell pregnant before I started taking testosterone. In a relationship with my partner Ron – who was also born female but has identified as male for the last four years - we are bringing up Sara together.
It wasn’t planned but life threw us a curve ball and Ron and I found ourselves on the pathway to parenthood. We were more than happy to do it together. Sara’s genetic father is a friend of ours and he sees her regularly. She is so well loved by all of our families.
It’s a unique feeling, identifying as male and giving birth. It’s a bit surreal but carrying my daughter gave me peace about my body parts that I never thought I’d find. They had a purpose, the best purpose in the world - giving me my child.
Looking back, I always sensed that I was different to other girls. I remember being as young as four or five and telling my sister that I wanted to have a sex change. I must have seen a documentary on TV.
Then there was the fact that I would always insist on being called ‘Tom’ or ‘Clark’ instead of my birth name. I told my mum how I felt but she didn’t fully understand. It was 1997 and the Internet hadn’t taken off yet, so she didn’t have access to information like parents do today. She had her hands full bringing up me and my four sisters, and I had been diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening rare lung condition when I was four called Idiopathic Pulmonary Hemosiderosis, so her focus was much more on that.
Mum has always been my super hero and wanted to protect me from potential bullies, so she encouraged me to fit in in. I totally understand why she did it, especially since having a daughter of my own. I hate the thought of her being picked on for being different and feeling like I did.
While mum never stopped me from playing with boys’ toys, when I had temper tantrums about not wanting to shop in the girls’ section for clothes, she mistook this for me being a stroppy child, which I often could be.
So, as I grew up I subconsciously compromised by choosing the most androgynous clothes I could find. It wasn’t until I was 21 and finishing my degree at the University of Kent that I discovered the concept of being trans.
I came across the actress Ruby Rose, who is gender fluid, on YouTube and that led me to videos of trans people, especially men, which I couldn’t stop watching.
Watching their stories, something just clicked in my brain and I thought, ‘Oh I can be happier than I am now’. I had always longed for an Adam’s apple and to shave my face, and suddenly realised that maybe they could happen to me.
Being a student, I didn’t have much money, but I started shopping in the reduced section of the men’s department in Primark and it felt like a wave of relief crashing over me when I tried the clothes on for the first time. Ordering a binder on the Internet to flatten my chest was my next step, trying that on for the first time was incredible. It was like I could finally breathe.
Until that point I had kept it very much a secret. The first person I told was my then-partner who I had been with for three years. Bursting into tears, I was terrified he would think I was a freak, but he was lovely about it. His positive reaction gave me the strength to write a letter to my sisters, and then I told my parents and the rest of my family. While they were worried for me, they all accepted it.
The best comment I got was from my 75-year-old nan who said, “I’d still love you if you had horns or two noses, or if you were a murderer or a bank robber, but especially a bank robber.” She’s always had a great sense of humour.
It moved quite quickly from there as I knew it was definitely what I wanted to do.
Living as Scott since May 2015, I changed my name by deed poll and cut my hair into a cropped style. In June 2016, I was placed on the NHS transition programme and started hormone therapy last month.
I’ve noticed a lot of changes already. I’ve been feeling like a teenage boy – grumpy, a bit spotty and I’ve even started sporting a faint five o’clock shadow on my top lip. My facial shape has begun to change ever so slightly, and my voice has deepened.
Within the next couple of years, I will have surgery to remove my breasts, and further procedures might follow beyond that if I decide they are right for me.
For now, Ron and I are focusing on Sara and moving cities. We are both from Kent originally but moved to Brighton in 2016. We faced quite a lot of hostility back home when we showed affection to each other in public, but in Brighton we are treated like any other family. It’s great here but we are seriously considering moving back to Kent in 2018 to be closer to family to help with Sara.It does make me worry about how she will be treated by the other pupils and their parents when she starts school there.
In a bid to highlight the fact that families like ours exist and are no different to any others, I teamed up with Fixers, the national charity that gives young people a voice on any subject that matters to them. They helped me to launch a campaign to help people accept and celebrate gay, transgender and alternative families. I even appeared on ITV regional news to discuss the issue. Watch it here.
By sharing my story publicly, I hope it will help people to understand that families come in all shapes and sizes.
Two mums, two dads, a dad that gave birth to their child, what does that matter as long as the child is loved, supported and cared for?