I had been married for 13 years, with two children, when my husband and I divorced five years ago, so that he could begin the long and troublesome journey of changing his identity to that of a woman. Along with domestic upheaval, counselling and surgery, came a determination to get an "education" and a new career. First, there were GCSE successes, then A-levels, and an offer of a place at art school.
My ex took up her place in the September, but within two days had been asked to leave as the principal thought her sexual orientation might cause problems. This was a bitter disappointment and one that made me so angry that I nearly went to scream at this "educated" man, face to face. I was, however, persuaded that there would be little to gain in that situation.
Eventually, she obtained a place on a degree course at a university where, so far, no one has raised any objections.
Sadly, the streets are not safe places and shortly before Christmas she was beaten up by five men. This caused extreme distress, not only for the victim, but our children (aged 15 and 17) who found it hard to come to terms with an act of violence against someone they love so dearly.
High on the list of the incomprehensible was the reaction of the police, who merely shrugged their shoulders, even though they had the registration number of the car the perpetrators made their exit in.
My daughter became very depressed after this incident and her illness was the final straw for me. In January of this year, I gave up my new post with an advisory service in order to support the children.
In the end, I can see very little difference between the reaction of the art school principal and the five men who beat up a woman. It's only a matter of style, and one style involves more bloodshed than the other. The results were the same.
It is not the people who undergo sex-assignment surgery who cause the problems. They just want to get on with their lives quietly. It is the insecurities and feared ambiguities of the onlookers that cause the problems.
What they don't understand, what they fear, (about their masculinity very often) they attack.
What ever happened to a search for truth and knowledge, and that old, old friend, compassion?