In 1987, my Dad made the shocking confession that he was a transsexual and wished to become a woman.
Although I wanted to be supportive, I didn’t want to lose my dad, and it was hard to accept his decision. In those days, asking for help wasn’t the norm, and gender issues like this were swept under the carpet. Throughout the years of emotional, conflicting and tormenting thought processes, I wondered if life was ever going to feel normal again.
We all have life stories to tell. I share my journey of acceptance when my dad became Joan. The heart ache process of learning to be self-honest about my thoughts and feelings. ‘When Dad Became Joan’ is an honest and open rendition of my grief for the man I once knew and acceptance of the person who continued to love me like a daughter.
Even though transgender issues are talked about more openly on social media there is still a lot that is unsaid. Through talking more openly I hope to bring these unsaid conversations into the open to help the families who are struggling to accept this massive change in direction for them as a family and support those who are finding the acceptance of this change. Explaining the benefits of self-honesty and how to start creating an authentic family life again.
When I began this journey of my Dad's transition in 1987, I certainly didn't have any friends whose Dad had had a sex change. There was no social media to search for advice and, as a grown woman, when I did eventually go in search of support I hit a different sort of brick wall.
Through my life coaching courses I learnt how to overcome the bereavement cycle of change and loss I was experiencing. Coming to the end of this cycle was uplifting and freeing. This allowed me to look after both my parents through their end of life process knowing I had done the very best that I could.
It would be so easy for other families to live a lifetime of regret. I have experienced these issues first hand. Talking openly will help alleviate this for other families and at their eulogy to stand proud and talk about their loved one with pride and joy.
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