'You haven't changed a bit, have you!'
Jessica talks about her transition and how she discovered she was intersex.
TRANSCRIPTThere’s this perception when you come out – as trans certainly – that you’re, that you become a completely different person, and I remember one quote from somebody I used to know, who I haven’t spoken to since, that um… [pause] I – my previous name was Joel, it’s no massive secret, that ‘I knew Joel, Joel was my friend, but I don’t know Jess; Jess has to earn my friendship’. And there was that perception all the way over. There were folks that said, ‘oh it’s like Joel’s died. Now fast forward to about maybe a year and a half, two years later, and I’m at a music festival that my ex-wife is at. And she came over to chat, because we had the kids with us, and walked down, we walked down across the grounds together and she said – honestly, it was like old times – and she said, ‘you haven’t changed a bit, have you?’ And I went, ‘no’. And that’s the point. My brother said to me, ‘it’s like –‘ – the first time my brother and I went out for dinner, after I’d hopped the fence, we were down in London on the South Bank, he works down there – and he said, ‘you know, it’s strange, it’s like every little behavioural tic you ever had suddenly looks normal’. And so it was nice to be validated in all those different ways, but it came at a massive, massive tremendous cost. That I wish it hadn’t, because I really, really loved my ex-wife. I absolutely bloody adored her… So, yeah.
Forward to, slightly forward, past that to 2015 [sighs], 17th November 2015, when I had my GRS, my surgery. Actually: no – no – let’s go to nine months before that. Nine months before that – that’s an appropriate number isn’t it? Nine months before that I went to Brighton, Brighton Gender Clinic – oddly enough the same place I’d had my initial diagnosis almost, well, in November 2013. And um… I went to Brighton, I went to see the surgeon, the guy who was going to be, I wanted to be my surgeon, for an assessment. And he looked at my levels, and he looked and he said, y’know he looked at everything and said, ‘no problems, no problems, you’re sorted, we’ll be able to do this. But I want to get you checked out’. Now – the place where they sent me had at that point, I don’t know if it’s still there, but they had an MRI, and they put me on MRI and said, after various bits of toing and froing, ‘thought so – you’ve got an ovary. You’ve got an ovary and part of a uterus… which is weird, because you’ve got both your testicles. So all we can think of really is that it’s an absorbed twin. And it’s more than likely that your mood swings’ – cos you know I’ve get a journal – sorry a little side note – I’ve kept a journal since about 1986. It’s not frequent, but I keep them all, and y’know, it’s, looking back I see mood swings happening in various times of the month, and it turns out I was having a period [laughs] – what the hell?! This is a bit weird! Very, very strange!
And um, yeah, so I went and had my GRS the 17th November 2015. The clock in the room was set to 3:20 and 40 seconds; it had stopped, and so you know, 3:20 and 40 seconds is the time, it’s that little bubble, and for five or six days I was in that room, in this little morphine-induced haze, and according to my mum, when I came out of the theatre and went into recovery, she’d never seen such a big smile – ever. It was like everything was alright, and it’s, when I said earlier, it’s like background distraction. If you wire up a – if you wire up a sound system wrong, you get a hum – it was like somebody had turned the background hum off. And, yeah – so it turns out that, I mean y’know, yeah transgender covers it, but actually intersex, and it’s, y’know, it’s a weird body [laughs].