A FORMER Territorial Army soldier from Sheffield has spoken out bravely about his life-changing decision to become a woman with sex reassignment surgery.
Dad-of-two Kevin Jackson already dresses his broad six foot frame in women’s clothing, wears a blonde wig, and has changed his name by deed poll to KristeenAnne Chealsy.
The 54-year-old, a former married man, has given up a paid voluntary role with the Army cadets in Sheffield to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a woman, and has lost touch with his two children.
Soon Kristeen is hoping to start the lengthy medical process which will eventually lead to a genital reconstruction operation, and has spoken out to help others in his situation.
The ex-security-officer, from Westfield, said: “I know the operations to make me a woman will be painful but it will be worth it - I will be having a facelift, breast implants and the final operation.
“I’ve thought about this all my life. I was a man for decades but this is something I have always had inside me.
“It feels strange and you don’t feel right at all - you feel there’s something wrong all the time.
“Once I started dressing in female clothes I felt a lot happier in myself.
“My friend has seen me as a man in my Army uniform and she’s seen me in dresses – and she says there is a massive difference in my confidence.
“I’d been a sergeant instructor with the Army cadets for four years but had to leave because they didn’t have facilities on trips for trans-gender people. I’m hoping to go back when I am a woman.”
Kristeen has already seen a psychiatrist, and has been referred to the Porterbrook Clinic in Nether Edge, Sheffield.
It is one of just eight specialist clinics in the UK giving medical help and psychological support to men and women with gender dysphoria, where a person has a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity.
Kristeen is now helping another trans-gender man-to-woman to go public, searching for a new job as a care worker, and also hoping to find a new, fellow male-to-woman trans-gender partner in the future. Although most people’s reactions to her new life have been supportive, Kristeen claims to have been barred from shops because of the way she looks and has lost touch with some relatives.
Kristeen, who served in the Royal Corps of Signals as a private until 1994, said: “If people say anything to me I just ignore them.
“It doesn’t bother me at all. I can walk around town and go to the job centre with no problems really. Luckily my side of the family are backing me up - it means a lot to have that support.
“I have had to make some sacrifices with the cadets job, but it will all be worth it to become a woman.”
Gender clinic’s 50 patients
AROUND 50 patients a year are seen at Sheffield’s specialist gender dysphoria clinic.
The Nether Edge facility - managed by the Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust – gives medical help and psychological support to men and women with the condition both before and after surgery.
At any one time Porterbrook Clinic supports around 160 people at different stages of treatment, although they are referred elsewhere for surgery.
Professor Kevan Wylie, trust consultant in sexual medicine, said: “We have seen a change across society in the last 15 years. Society has become much more understanding of trans-gender issues. With the internet there is much more support and understanding available.”
People are referred to the clinic by their GP and will have a psychiatric assessment there.
The service offers an initial assessment programme and users will be offered psychological support to help decide if any extra help is needed before embarking on treatment to change genders.
Patients are encouraged to take part in the ‘real life’ experience - where they live in their chosen gender role - as they progress. The entire process can involve at least a year of living in the intended role, hormone therapy and surgeries.