Josephine 00:00:04:

Hi, I’m Josephine Hughes. I’m the mother of two transgender daughters who came out in their teens and early twenties. The personal is political. When I first came across feminist arguments during my sociology degree, I knew my life had changed forever, and I would always view society through a different lens. Since then, I’ve experienced a very personal change when my children came out as transgender. But increasingly, what was personal has become politicised during my recording of the third series of gloriously unready transgender issues have never been far away from the news. Sadly, identity politics are being used as a political football with no real consideration of the impact on transgender people and their families. So in gloriously unready series three, I want to give people a voice to express their love for their transgender children and their transgender partners. Yet the podcast cannot exist in isolation from the political situation, and all my guests describe how they are affected.

What I hope from this podcast series is to share that transgender people and their families are just human, just like the rest of us, and worthy of love and support. Moya and Beth Taylor. have been together for over 30 years and run the Chickenstock music festival together in Kent. I met up with them last year, having not seen them since before COVID and in that time, Beth had transitioned. They very kindly agreed to come on the show to share what that experience has been like for both of them and their grown up children. Beth has said it took 50 years and a lockdown to work out who she was. So I wanted to know more about her story.

Beth 00:02:19:

I’ve worked out it was about when I was nine years old, and I just realised that I wanted to be playing the same games as my sister, and I wanted to be dressing in the same clothes. And I remember my dad coming home from work and, you know, my mum had a dressing up box that we all used to play with, and I’d always be wearing, like, the ballerina’s costume and the nurse’s outfit and things like that. And I remember dad being quite negative about it, but mum never minded. She was a nursery nurse, so it didn’t matter to her. And then I sort of pushed everything to one side because of expectation, I think, and suppressed those feelings. And then after quite a few years, I met Moya, and we had a very exciting life, but a very loving relationship. And after three children and a move to a house that is completely in the middle of nowhere, our house is in the middle of a wood. It sort of loosened things up a bit.

And now having that opportunity, I’ve always dressed in very flamboyant and quite feminine clothing. So having moved here so 13 years ago, gave me the opportunity to dress as I want to when I was at home, but at work and out and about, I still made the effort. And then, yeah, it was really lockdown. And Moya had known me for long enough by then to know what I was exactly like. And having been through lockdown, I was locked down because of being at high risk. So for four months of not going out of the house and being able to do whatever we liked and dress how we like, I just turned around one night and I said, I can’t go back to being, you know, to lying, really. And. And Moya was extremely supportive, which is why I’m where I am now.

Josephine 00:04:19:

Yeah, that’s brilliant. I think it’s really interesting, actually, because I spoke to someone else, and they said that that was what really helped them. That being able to be separated out from, like, normal life in a way that for them, that gave them that space to really work it out for themselves, that they were able to realise that they were actually non binary. And it was lockdown that actually enabled that to happen because of being away from all those expectations and just free of. And having the space, I think, to think, as well, just gave them the space that they needed.

Beth 00:04:57:

Yeah, I think we base too much on other people’s expectations of what we think is just being normal. You’re right, having that time to think really did some good.

Josephine 00:05:13:

Yeah, and enabled you to be fully yourself. So for you, Moya, it was sort of like, almost like a gradual thing then that you saw, because Beth was dressing that way at home before she came out.

Moya 00:05:28:

Yeah, I mean, she’s been painting her toenails for as long as I can remember, wearing kilts and saying, it’s not a skirt, it’s a kilt. And things like growing her hair long. It’s been long for a very long time. So it really wasn’t a shock to me. We’d had another close family member that had transitioned, and I think that gave her a little bit more confidence after lockdown finished. But it really wasn’t a shock to me at all. And when she did say that she didn’t want to be who she was anymore and she wanted to be this beautiful new lady, most of our friends said, yeah, well, we’ve been expecting that for ages.

Josephine 00:06:12:

Oh, really?

Moya 00:06:13:

And most of our friends have been really, really supportive. Hasn’t been an easy journey for either of us. More so, I think, for me, in a way, I’m probably speaking a little bit out of turn because I’ve had people say things to me that they wouldn’t say to Beth, and then I’ve had to keep that in because I knew that if I spoke to Beth about it, she’d be really, really upset. So I have had to cushion her, I suppose, and protect her a little bit from ideas and other people’s judgments. I mean, I was on a course last week and I talked about my wife, and I have to say, saying my husband now just is completely alien to me. It just doesn’t feel right at all. But saying to people, you know, my wife and I, and we’ve been married for nearly 33 years, and somebody said, how can you be married for 33 years? Same sex marriages weren’t allowed. And I went, ah, yeah, that’s because when we got married, she was male.

And then you get the barrage of questions, oh, how do you feel about it? And what’s your sex life like? And has she had the surgery? And I just say to people, would you ask your straight friend whether her husband still performs really well after 30 years of marriage? Would you ask somebody that you didn’t know very well what their genitals looked like? You wouldn’t. So why. And I know it’s curiosity, but actually, it’s quite rude to expect an answer for that, but I’m perfectly open to questions. If people want to ask me something, I’ll say, you can ask me whatever you like, but I’m not going to guarantee that I’m going to answer it. If I think it’s too personal or quite frankly, it’s none of your business, then I will politely decline to answer.

Josephine 00:08:09:

I mean, that’s a really sort of confident sort of way of being, I think, with people. What do you think sort of helped you to be such a sort of like a strong ally of Beth’s and to look after her like that, do you think?

Moya 00:05:27:

Because I saw that when she was being a lady, she was so much happier, she wasn’t living a lie, her sense of humour came back out. She was nicer because she wasn’t unhappy, she wasn’t being so critical of those around her to me, because she’s always had the long hair and worn nail varnish and bits and pieces and her clothing choices before. It wasn’t really a big change. Apart from the fact that she was happier and I have to call her by a new name. I’m not saying I don’t mess up occasionally. Even this weekend, she went to pick up an oven dish that had just come out of the oven and I dead named her. And I said, I think it’s because part of my brain that would have shouted a warning to you previously. I haven’t rebuilt those pathways yet, because you don’t do things like that very often.

But she’s really good if I do, she just goes, oh, got that wrong, didn’t you? Or. And things like that. So she knows that I. If anybody calls her by her old name, she never gets upset. She might inside. And afterwards you’ll go, for goodness sake, they did it three times. I corrected them and they started and said, yeah, but they’re not doing it on purpose, they’re not doing it to hurt you. It’s just they’ve been so used for 60 years of your life, to be calling you one thing and then to suddenly call you something different, that’s a really big change.

Josephine 00:09:57:

Yeah, yeah. How has it been for the rest of the family? I was just thinking, actually, then, because Beth talked about in a Facebook post, you talked about your dad calling you by your new name for the first time. Can you explain what, a bit more about that?

Beth 00:10:14:

My dad was the one that I always thought would find it difficult when it really came to it. It wasn’t that difficult for him. He was upset when I first told him, but he was. He’s just. He was a. He was just a lovely, supportive person. So he was great. But it was that.

I think the, yeah, the real breakthrough was he didn’t really know what to call me, so he didn’t bother calling me anything. He just. Yeah. And then it was the day that he called me Beth. Yeah, it was just special. Yeah, because it was great.

Moya 00:10:48:

Yeah, it was quite. He was in the merchant navy and if they had anybody that cross dressed or was gay or dressed up in the navy, they were always called Gloria. That was just. Didn’t matter what they wanted to be called.

Beth 00:11:00:

Allegedly, it’s a naval term.

Moya 00:11:02:

It’s a naval thing. So, anyway, when Beth told her, dad, am I going to have to call you Gloria? No dad. That’s not my name, but it was quite funny. And I think the other really special moment with Beth’s dad is the day you walked into the house and you were wearing a flowy dress and your dad turned around to you and went, oh, you just look so beautiful today. And that really touched you, didn’t it?

Beth 00:11:30:

He did, yeah. Yeah.

Josephine 00:11:32:

Yeah. That’s such an accepting thing to say, isn’t it? It really shows that your dad really loves you. For who you are. Yeah, yeah.

Moya 00:11:30:

And he was in his late eighties when Beth transitioned, and it is a different generation, a different mindset, you know, a different upbringing. You know, it wasn’t a thing when he was growing up. So the fact that he still loved you and used to come up for coffee. Yeah. He used to call you by your old name all the time, but I think a lot of that. Yeah, well, yeah, he called you Beth a few times, but I think a lot of that was the fact that he had the start of Alzheimer’s as well. And so, you know, just trying to remember any name was probably better than nothing at all.

Josephine 00:12:22:

I was gonna say, it’s so lovely to see Beth with her necklace on, which says, Beth.

Beth 00:12:27:

Beth! I have to have that to remind people.

Josephine 00:12:31:

It’s lovely, though.

Beth 00:12:31:

I don’t really.

Josephine 00:12:29:

It’s sort of like claiming, claiming your name. I think it’s lovely. Yeah. Did you. Did you say that you sort of told all your friends and they were sort of fairly okay with it then, Moya, was that what you were saying?

Moya 00:12:42:

Yeah, most were. A lot of our friends just went, well, tell us something we hadn’t already figured out ourselves or, Oh, really? A few friends have said they found it.

They don’t understand it. They can’t understand why. And I went, that’s because you’ve got a heterosexual brain. You’re not transgender yourself. You don’t understand how anybody else thinks, whether they’re, you know, transgender, straight. Thinking about whether going to go on holiday might be different to the way you think about going on holiday. Everybody’s brains is different. It’s just that Beth has had a girl’s brain inside a boy’s body and has had to hide that.

We have had a couple of friends that, and actually probably our closest friends who we’ve lost. Not lost contact with completely, but it’s definitely not the same. And our eldest child, our eldest daughter, had a real problem getting to terms with it, but she was a real daddy’s girl, and suddenly she wasn’t going to be her daddy anymore. She understood why. And, you know, we’ve got other family members that have transgendered, and she’s been absolutely fine with them, but I think with it being her dad, it.

Beth 00:13:58:

She found it hard.

Moya 00:13:59:

Yeah. She was going through mental health issues at the time as well, but she actually said, I need to cut ties with both of you until I can process this. And she’s got our only grandchild so that was really, really hard for both of us. We were absolutely devastated and about three months later, I got a phone call out of the blue, just like I’m ready to talk now. So her husband won’t have Beth in the house. Beth’s not allowed to go to their house. We’re not allowed to babysit.

He doesn’t want anything to do with Beth, but we sort of manage that. You know, we’re never going to have a family Christmas with all three of our children and our grandchildren and our children’s partners. That’s never going to happen. But if one of them was living in Australia, it wouldn’t happen either. So we’ve just got to be pragmatic about it. I’m not saying she doesn’t find losing her daddy difficult, but as I keep saying to her, still the same person, just a different name, different exterior. Beth doesn’t love her any less, you know, still got all the same memories of when she was a child and growing up. But it’s something that she’s had to come to terms with. She has really struggled.

Josephine 00:15:19:

Yeah, it’s very hard, isn’t it? Because, like you say, we can’t do anything about what other people feel. And while we might want to have harmony, sometimes that just can’t happen, unfortunately. It makes it difficult, doesn’t it? That must have been lovely when she did come back to you, when you had that phone call, because when it first happened, you didn’t know where it was going.

Moya 00:15:43:

No, exactly.

Josephine 00:15:44:


Moya 00:15:46:

I have to say, the majority of people have been really, really supportive, have been brilliant. We’ve had no prejudice, no nasty comments. Well, maybe behind our backs, but what we don’t hear, we don’t know about isn’t going to hurt us. But on the whole, people are lovely and are really supportive and I think human beings, there are more nice ones out there than nasty ones, and I don’t think people intend to be nasty.

Josephine 00:16:13:

Yeah, yeah, agree. I’m just sort of going to circle back for a moment, actually, but just thinking about what it was like for you, preparing to tell your dad because you said it was really that was. You thought it was going to be the hardest conversation of all. And I just think it must be so difficult to actually to come out to your parents.

Beth 00:16:36:

Yeah. In a way, I wish I’d had the chance to while my mum was still alive, because she was, she was very understanding of everything. She supported me through my. Through my dancing and all of that, so she was great. And I think it would have made it an awful lot easier.

But I don’t think she was. She wasn’t stupid. I think she’d already worked it out from when I was a child. But in fact, to the point that when we got married, she was quite surprised.

Josephine 00:17:11:

Yeah. She’d know what a good one you picked.

Beth 00:17:12:

Well, that’s right. Exactly.

Moya 00:17:14:

Oh, she gave us a year!

Beth 00:17:16:

I think she did, yes.

Josephine 00:17:17:

Oh, really?

Beth 00:17:17:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Josephine 00:17:20:

But she was wrong, wasn’t she?

Moya 00:17:19:

Oh, yeah. On our wedding day, she, you know, you do the lineup when you’re coming in. She said, I’ll give you a year before you’ve left him.

Josephine 00:17:27:

Oh, really?

Beth 00:17:32:

Yeah, she was lovely. 

Moya 00:17:32:

She was born in Yorkshire and she always spoke her mind.

Beth 00:17:36:

Yeah, yeah.

Josephine 00:17:37:

She hadn’t got the measure of you at that point, Moya, obviously.

Moya 00:17:39:


Josephine 00:17:41:

Yeah, yeah. So did you feel so really worried about telling your dad?

Beth 00:17:46:

I did, yes. But. But when it came to it, it wasn’t a problem at all. It was amazing.

Josephine 00:17:53:

Yeah, yeah. So when I’ve spoken to one of my daughters about coming out, you know, she said how difficult it was to tell us that she kept wanting to say something and then, oh, no, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. And it was only because in the end, I asked her a question and I just waited for her to actually answer. And she got to that point where she actually said it. But she said, up till that point, it was really hard, because it’s sort of like you’re risking so much when you come out to people that you love. Was it difficult to come out to Moya, or was it.

Beth 00:18:25:

No, I think it was a it was a natural transition. It just naturally happened one evening. We were just sitting, cuddling and. And you weren’t surprised, were you? I don’t think.

Moya 00:18:38:

No. And I think the conversation had gone that you were really worried about going back to work and having to dress as a man and be a man again. And I just said, well, you’ve got to do what’s right for you and I will support you with whatever you choose to do. You know, we had some tears and, you know, it was a really difficult conversation, but it was difficult because it was a big life change, not because I wasn’t going to accept it. It. I love her. She’s my soulmate. I love her to the end.

I’ve nearly lost her through her heart condition several times. And when you nearly lose somebody, it makes you really appreciate how precious they are and might get emotional and you don’t want to lose them. You don’t want to lose them. And I’m certainly not going to throw her away just because she wants to wear feminine clothes and be called by a feminine name. That’s the least of my worries. The fact that she’s here and healthy, reasonably at the moment and happy. And, you know, she said to me, I don’t know how long I can go on living this lie. I am so unhappy about not being who I really am.

And I think that for me, that was the most important thing that she’d actually contemplated not being here. She said to me, you know, she had actually contemplated suicide because she didn’t want to. She desperately did not want to go back to work as a man. And she did for a few weeks, and it was torture to her. And I just said to her, you’ve got to do what’s right for you, because at the end of the day, I’d rather you do that and for us to have a life together and to continue together than not having her around.

Josephine 00:20:34:

Yeah. What was that like for you, Beth, to hear that message?

Beth 00:20:39:

Oh, absolutely. Fantastic. Yeah. To hear that everything was going to be okay. I think by that point, I don’t think I was in much doubt that it would all be okay. You know, we’ve been married by then. We’d been married for so many years anyway, and we’re so strong in each other.

We’re literally inseparable. It’s just to some people, probably a little bit strange, but, yeah.

Moya 00:21:12:

Having said that, we don’t live in each other’s pockets. We do have our own interests and our own hobbies and our own friends.

Josephine 00:21:19:

Yeah. So did you sort of think, you said there was some sort of tears because it’s like a big life change. I mean, for you, Moya, have you missed Beth as a male partner or I’m not talking about sex life.

Putting that out there. But just, you know, do you find that there’s something about, you know, not having a husband that feels different or.

Moya 00:21:44:

No, not. Not having a husband. As I said earlier, that sounds really alien to me now. The only aspect is our bedroom life, really.

Josephine 00:21:54:


Moya 00:21:54:

And we’re both learning new ways in that respect. It’s new for both of us. But no, she’s. We always used to joke and we used to have pink jobs and blue jobs, depending on who. So, you know, Beth does electric, she still does electric. All the jobs are purple now, so. And things like, you know, because of the hormone treatments and bits and pieces, she has lost bulk and she has lost strength and there are times that neither of us can open a jar and it’s like, yeah, you know, silly little things like that. But we have a joke and a laugh about it.

We both use the chainsaw when we’re chopping wood for the wood burner and using the axe and things. So no, she’s. I don’t miss not having a husband.

Josephine 00:22:43:

Yeah. Yeah, that’s great. That’s really great to hear. It’s just, it’s just funny, isn’t it? Because you take those things for granted, don’t you like having someone around who can just unscrew a jar lid and that stuff.

Beth 00:22:52:

You really do. Yeah.

Josephine 00:22:56:

It’s little things that you could notice about the change sometimes, isn’t it?

Moya 00:23:00:

Yeah. One really good benefit is I’ve lost quite a lot of weight recently and as I was going down dress sizes, I knew I was going to go through dress sizes. I didn’t want to go out and buy myself a whole load of new stuff that was only going to fit me for a few months. It was great. I just raided her wardrobe when I.

Beth 00:23:18:

Was the same size as her.

Moya 00:23:19:

It was great. And likewise, stuff that I’d had a long time ago best now nicked and put in her wardrobe because I’m shrunk out of it now, so. But we. But her style is very different to mine.

Beth 00:23:32:

So actually, this is a really weird thing. When I started on the hormone treatment, it was like going through my teenage and I went through, I went through the goth stage and a little bit rebellious and I went through all of it. It was really odd.

Moya 00:23:54:

The miniskirt stage?

Beth 00:23:56:

Yeah. Oh, yeah. For a 60 year old, that wasn’t going to last long, was it?

Moya 00:24:03:

Although you’ve got amazing legs, I have to say.

Beth 00:24:08:

But no, I’m dungaree dresses now really.

Josephine 00:24:11:

Yeah. So settled into your own style?

Beth 00:24:14:

Absolutely, yes.

Josephine 00:24:15:

Yeah. Yeah. What’s your style like then, Moya?

Moya 00:24:18:

Well, I like, I like really posh dresses, but I’m also, I also like home knit jumpers and I tend to wear a lot more trousers, but I don’t think Beth, you even own a pair of trousers anymore, do you?

Beth 00:24:32:

I don’t.

Moya 00:24:33:

I wear those for practicality rather than anything else. But yeah, I’m. I like snuggly stuff or really dressy stuff.

Josephine 00:24:42:

Yeah, yeah. Somewhere Beth’s somewhere in between, by the sound of things.

So tell us about, you know, not wearing trousers. Is that just because you’ve had, you know, like 50 or so years of having to dress with trousers.

Beth 00:24:54:

Yeah. I just wanted to get away from that, that sort of image side. And also, I find things like leggings loads more comfortable. They’re just more comfortable.

Josephine 00:25:04:

So how about the rest? You know, sort of like your kids? So you told us about one of your kids. Were the other two sort of fairly okay with it?

Beth 00:25:11:

They’re brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

Moya 00:25:15:

Yeah, yeah. Our other daughter, incredibly understanding. And our son just said, oh, I’ve had several friends go through this. He lived away in Wales at the time. He was at university in Wales. So he said, it’s not really going to affect me, is it? Just the fact I’ve just got to call you Beth now rather than dad. But we gave all of the children the choice of what they wanted to call you, didn’t we? And as I say, you’re the same person, aren’t you?

Josephine 00:25:42:

And I think that’s often the thing when you first find out. I mean, when we first found out about our kids, we sort of thought somehow everything was going to radically change. And in actual fact, virtually nothing changed because they’re exactly the same people. You just carry on, don’t you? Because, like you say Moya, Beth’s your soulmate, and she’ll continue to be your soul mate, albeit in a slightly different exterior.

Beth 00:26:04:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, things like your hobbies aren’t going to change. You know, my hobby is still music, so it’s not going to change.

Josephine 00:26:14:

I’m sort of curious, but I think I might have already guessed the answer. But I will ask it anyway because it’s something I’m asking everybody because part of what I’m sort of exploring in this series is all about what’s going on in the sort of political landscape at the moment in terms of what’s said about transgender people and what we see happening, the general sort of ways in which transgender people are represented and, you know, quite negative viewpoints towards transgender people in the world. And I actually personally find that quite difficult to deal with because, you know, I’m frightened for my kids effectively. So I get very, very. I can get very defensive and I want to argue with everybody and it’s not terribly constructive. So I just wonder how. How you both deal with, you know, what’s going on in the wider world.

I mean, obviously, living, in a word, hopefully that means that you can shut it out a bit. But I think it’s virtually impossible to ignore, isn’t it? I just wonder how you do cope with it.

Beth 00:27:12:

I think Europe, etcetera. And particularly the UK, have made massive changes, fantastic changes, in the last few years, and it’s brilliant. I think the rest of the world. I’m hoping that the rest of the world is just lagging behind a bit. Unfortunately, it does come, a lot of it comes down to beliefs, religious beliefs and things like that, which, that really worries me as well. We love to go on holiday.

We do like to go and explore places. We just make sure. We check and make sure it’s okay. We can only go to about a third of the world. We can’t even do that, you know, it’s horrifying. We wanted to go to Marrakech. Bit naively I wanted to go to the bar, where, in Casablanca. I wanted to go to the bar, you know, anyway, which I’ve been now being told doesn’t exist. And I looked it up and it is public stoning in the streets for transgender people.

And we just have to say, well, absolutely no way. In this day and age. I think it is horrifying. But what is great is that there is sanctuary in the UK and people’s attitudes in the UK are changing and there are still some people that are anti and are negative. But I don’t think we really. I don’t think we’ve experienced much of that. British young people are definitely much more accepting because they’re taught about these things in school and it’s great. Yeah.

Josephine 00:28:49:

Yeah. That’s a really interesting perspective to bring in and that, you know, in some ways, it’s much easier in the UK than it is. Like you say, we’re not going to be going out stoning anybody.

Beth 00:29:00:

No, exactly. Yeah. It’s frightening, isn’t it, really?

Josephine 00:29:03:

It is, yeah. To hear that sort of. That would be execution. Yeah. How about you, Moya?

Moya 00:29:10:

I do think we are very lucky where we live. We live in a tiny little hamlet. We are in this little bubble. We’ve only got nine houses around us. All of our neighbours are fine with it, lovely with it. Obviously, they’ve got questions, they don’t get it, don’t understand it, but they’ve accepted it.

Josephine 00:29:27:


Moya 00:29:28:

But on the flip side of that, we run a music festival and we are the public face of that festival. And when the festival started, Beth wasn’t Beth, and now she is. We have had no negative comments at all. The only comments we’ve received have been positive ones, and not just from people that have been through the transgender journey or, you know, coming out gay or non-binary. All the comments we’ve had have been positive which is quite nice, because I’m hoping all the negative ones that people have kept them to themselves. But I do think where we live, it could have gone one way or the other, because, again, living in a hamlet it would have been really easy to be completely ostracised. And, I mean, I’ve done quite a lot of research into it, and, you know, a lot of it could stem back to actually being in the womb.

Your gender is determined at about 10, 12 weeks of pregnancy. So if there was too much female hormone in Beth’s mum’s body at the time, although her chromosomes were saying she was a boy, all the hormones were saying, no, you’re not.

Josephine 00:30:43:

Yeah, we don’t know why, I think, but because people sort of seem to assume that it’s just something that’s just happened. But it isn’t, is it? I mean, it’s just gone back since time immemorial.

Moya 00:30:54:

It’s just open now. And people can do it openly, without prejudice, hopefully. Without prejudice.

Josephine 00:31:02:

Yeah, yeah.

Moya 00:31:03:

It’s really not an easy journey, so I don’t think anybody who isn’t truly trans would openly make that decision. You know, having those conversations with people coming out, I mean, you did an awful lot of soul searching, and you were so worried about the reaction. Actually, I think you were more worried about people’s reactions than actually wanting to be a woman. And it was other people’s reactions that were holding you back.

Beth 00:31:38:

Yeah, definitely.

Moya 00:31:38:

And when it happened, and when you actually plucked up the courage and you did it, there were people there that supported you and loved you and cared for you and were supportive. So maybe the idea of becoming trans or actually transitioning, the fear of that is a lot bigger than the actual reality. Maybe it’s like somebody who’s never flown before, absolutely terrified of getting on a plane, but actually, when they get on, it’s fine. Ears might pop a little bit, but they’re fine. They go on a nice holiday. I know it’s probably not a suitable analogy, but you sort of see, what I’m saying it’s the fear of the unknown is what the fear is.

Beth 00:32:20:

My biggest fear of telling somebody was work, because I work in a very, very male environment. I’ve been an engineer all of my life, because I followed in my dad’s footsteps, because I thought that’s what I had to do. I actually wanted. I actually wanted to be a chef. I actually wanted to be a professional dancer, but I was never quite good enough, and so I wanted to be a chef. And I was persuaded to follow in my dad’s footsteps and everything. And that’s great because I do love my, I love what I do, but I’m so worried about telling work.

But that was a bit of naivety because I actually work for an Indian company and I didn’t realise that actually, to most Indian religions, transgenderism is actually quite a big positive. Yeah, I just didn’t realise that. Yeah. So culturally, it’s very accepted in most. Some parts of India it isn’t. But, yeah, so as a company, they were so supportive. Absolutely brilliant. Even though they haven’t changed.

They haven’t changed my name on my pension. But apart from that.

Moya 00:33:29:

And actually your HR manager said, that’s all right, we’ve dealt with this already. There’s somebody else that’s already been through it and you didn’t. And they didn’t say who and you still don’t know who it was. But work were incredibly supportive and all the way through, it was like, how do you want to let people know? We’ll let your shift know first. No, we’ll let the shift leaders know first. Beth can tell her shift because she’s a shift leader and then the shift leaders will tell other people and they did it when you were going to have five days off, or the shift pattern allows her to have five days off every, well, every couple of weeks. They said, tell everybody on your first shift.

So they had a chance to say, goodness me, we weren’t expecting that! Or. Oh, well, we’re not surprised, whatever. But, yeah, I have to say, work were brilliant. And your HR manager at the time phoned me to make sure I was okay, which was lovely. I’d never met her. She was lovely about it. I have to say, your employer has been nothing but brilliant over the whole. Your health issues, your stroke last year, and particularly you’re becoming transgender.

Moya 00:34:47:

They’ve, they’ve not batted an eyelid.

Josephine 00:34:49:

Really amazing. Yeah. Really helpful, isn’t it? Because that’s another thing I think a lot of people dread is the thought of, especially for parents, you know, if they’ve got some older children who are coming out or what’s going to happen with their work. And. And I think, as well, you know, listening to older parents as well, when their child, you know, adult child is married, they often worry about the relationship, too. And I was talking to someone the other day and she said, you know, her counsellor expected her to leave her husband and it was almost like, well, that’s what’s going to happen. And she was sort of like, no, I don’t want to. She’s sort of like, yeah, I can see you looking at me a bit quizzically, Moya, which was a bit of my thing, because, you know, counselling should be a place where you can decide for yourself, you know, but there was just that sort of, like, unspoken expectation, really, that that’s what was going to happen. And I think, you know, a lot of people sort of think that that’s what’s what will happen. But people have this idea that somehow it’s going to break you up. And would you say you’re sort of, like, stronger as a result of what you’ve been through together, do you think?

Beth 00:35:56:

I think we have. We have more fun in general. I think we’re closer because we understand each other a lot more.

Moya 00:36:08:

The best man, our wedding was Beth’s best friend at school, you know, very, very close. And, yes, close enough to be best man at our wedding. And he transitioned in the mid nineties, and where he worked, they had a male toilet. They had a female toilet. The girls, the women at work said, he’s not using our toilet. And the men said, well, not using our toilet, so actually made him redundant. Her wife actually said, this isn’t what I signed up to, but I don’t judge anybody that has made that decision because it is a really big change in a very personal way. It is a very big change and it does affect personal issues.

Josephine 00:36:56:

You just don’t know how you’re going to feel, do you, as well, until it actually, you can’t say really what’s going to happen.

Moya 00:37:02:

No, exactly, exactly. But as I said earlier, I’ve nearly lost her too many times to throw her away. But, you know, it is what it is. I think I’m quite a resilient person. Our youngest is disabled and, you know, I’ve had to fight a lot of battles for him in his younger life. He’s now 28, but I’ve just learned to, you know, take every day as it comes and deal with the issues on that day. And, you know, every day is a blessing.

Josephine 00:37:34:

Yeah. So if you were to sort of be talking to someone who’s further back in the journey than you two, what advice would you give them, do you think?

Beth 00:37:45:

Oh, goodness, that’s difficult really. Be honest with each other. Very, very honest.

Moya 00:37:50:

Absolutely. Absolutely. Don’t be secretive about your hormone treatment.

Beth 00:37:55:

Oh, yes.

Moya 00:37:56:

Like somebody was.

Beth 00:37:58:

Yes. Yeah, yeah. Unfortunately, I did go. I did go down the non prescribed route to start with, as I think many, many people do. Having now spoken to professionals, it is the way that most people start because of the desperation, the absolute desperation, to become the gender they want to become. I should have been more honest to start with because you were actually quite cross about that.

Moya 00:38:27:

Do you know what? Yeah, it’s the only thing I’ve been cross about, actually, because she’s got other health issues and is on heart medication and bits and pieces, as I said to her, what if something had happened and you’d gone to hospital? You were unconscious. And they said to me, what medication are you on? And I couldn’t tell them, honestly, that you were taking oestrogen and bits and pieces, which does affect your bloods and can affect your heart rhythms and bits and pieces. I wouldn’t have been able to give them an honest answer, and they could have treated you not knowing that and actually do you harm. So, yeah, that’s the only thing I was cross about, was the fact that she felt that she couldn’t be completely honest with me about the fact that she’d actually started the hormone treatment.

Josephine 00:39:13:

Yeah, I was gonna say, it sounds like that the anger that you felt was actually because you wanted the best for her. It wasn’t coming from a place of, oh, you haven’t told me that. You should have told me that. Sort of, like, for your own sake, it was more for her sake of her health.

Moya 00:39:29:

Oh, absolutely, yeah, absolutely.

Josephine 00:39:31:

Yeah, yeah.

Moya 00:39:33:

I would say to anybody whose partner is transitioning, it’s not the huge change that you think it’s going to be and just hang on to the fact that they are the same person, but they’re going to be happier because they’re not living a lie. They are the same person. It’s just the exterior appearance is slightly different, but if you love them, you will still love them regardless, and they are not suddenly going to become a completely different person, completely different personality, because that doesn’t happen. And just, you know, take every day as it comes. If there are things that they do that you don’t like, talk to them about it. If you feel you can’t actually express it in words, write them a letter. And I know that sounds really silly, but if you write a letter to somebody, you can’t be interrupted. So if you say to somebody, I don’t like the fact you’re doing that, it’s very easy for the other person to go, well, I don’t like what you’re doing, and blah, blah, blah, and it becomes a tit for tat, and that’s when it goes from zero to 100, and you’re having a massive row very, very quickly, whereas if you write a letter, you can rewrite it 100 times before you send it to them so that you’re really happy with the way that you phrased things and just hand it to them and just say, I don’t know how to say this to you face to face. It isn’t a Dear John. I always say that because, oh, my God, you’re given a letter. This is the “I’m leaving”. I always, you know, so on the few occasions that I have done that, know, I’ve just said, I need to give you a letter because I don’t know how to say this to you face to face. Please read it, and then we’ll discuss it. If you don’t feel happy to discuss it with me afterwards, write me a letter back, let me read your response, and then we’ll discuss it. You know, give yourself that degree of separation, and it’s okay to be upset about it. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay. The fact that you don’t know exactly how this person is going to be once they’ve transitioned. From my experience, there is no difference, really. She’s exactly the same as she was. Just she wears different clothes. But that isn’t the same for everybody. I know that isn’t the same for everybody, but just remember what it is about that person’s purpose, personality that you fell in love with and that you want to hold on to, because that won’t go. I’ve never vocalised that before, actually. I’ve never vocalised that before, and it’s quite, quite emotional, me saying that, actually.

Josephine 00:42:27:

So because you haven’t talked publicly before about this, have you? Because you’re sort of, like, quite private. What was the reason? You know, I asked you to come on the podcast. What was the reason you agreed?

Moya 00:42:38:

I just. It would be really lovely if one person listening to this either who wants to transgender or is the partner of somebody who’s becoming transgender or who has transgendered, if one person listens to this and can actually listen and say, it’s going to be okay, it’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be okay, then that, for me, is why I agreed to do this. Because if we can make just one person feel happier and safer and more in control of the whole situation, then it’s worth it.

Beth 00:43:14:

Yeah. Yeah. Same reason for me. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Just. Just to give some support to other people and let other people know that it probably will be okay. I can’t guarantee, but it will probably be okay.

You end up loving the person more than before, you know? Yeah. In my case anyway.

Josephine 00:43:37:

Because I’ve never really known any transgender people. But it’s very much I just don’t understand. And the more people I speak to, the more I realise actually, everybody, everybody I’ve met is just a normal, ordinary, human person. And that’s really all that matters, isn’t it? It’s just a different way of being human that I haven’t come across before. But that’s just because I’m ignorant, not because there’s anything wrong with it, you know? So thank you both very, very much for coming unto gloriously already. Really appreciate it. So lovely to hear from you. Been a pleasure. Yeah, I just know that the message that you’ve given, it will help people, because I get feedback all the time about people who are having kids come out and they hear the stories and actually it really helps.

So thank you so much for being willing to come on and tell us about your family. Thank you. Thank you both.

Moya 00:44:28:

That’s okay.

Josephine 00:44:30:

What stood out to me in this episode is Moya’s heartfelt response to Beth’s coming out. That ultimately, when you’ve almost lost someone to illness, you realise how precious they are. It’s more important to Moya that Beth be there and be happy than it was for her that Beth stay as a man and a husband. As Moya said, Beth is much happier now she has transitioned, and Moya’s unconditional love for Beth shines out in this episode.