Home' LOTL : November 2005 Contents 20
IN CELEBRATION OF TRANNY PRIDE,
ERICA ZANDER, A 52 YEAR-OLD
TRANSSEXUAL LESBIAN FROM SWEDEN,
SHARES HER STORY.
I was born a boy, but since 2001 I’m
a woman – socially, legally, mentally,
sexually, hormonally and genitally. As for
the sexual part, I’m 100% lesbian – I’m
an out and proud dyke!
I probably was a girl/woman all along,
but being totally uninterested in boys, and
more fascinated by girls than even most
ordinary guys, I couldn’t sort my feelings
out, and so tried to find an identity as a
heterosexual transvestite. The fact that
society told me transsexuals are always
heterosexual in their gender of choice
didn’t exactly make my situation any
At the age of five or six I knew there
was something ‘wrong’ with my sense of
gender. I always wanted to be with girls,
began to borrow clothes from my little
girlfriends, and later rummaged through
my mother’s closets and drawers.
The first time I went out in town as a girl
lunchtime, in the city centre, on a beautiful
spring day. From then on going out in
town as a woman became a natural part of
my life, and it never really worried me that
I was different. I told one of my friends
in high school, and a number of the guys
towards the end of my military service
– who didn’t hesitate to accompany this
young woman to pubs and concerts.
During my military service I tried to find
an androgynous position, so as to tie my
male and female selves together, and an
important part of this was when I managed
to get legally prescribed estrogens in 1981.
This took me 15 months of nagging and
persuasion. I was the first non-transsexual
person to succeed.
Thanks to the effects of the hormones
– minor physical changes, major emotional
ones – I felt much more at ease, and
eventually stopped dressing as a woman.
But 14 years later I realised that my brain
had only put these impossible feelings on a
hold for the time being – what with a wife
I loved, little kids, a good job …
I knew something was bothering me on
a fundamental level – I suddenly realised
that I was really a lesbian in the wrong
body. Surprise! When I told my wife of 22
years at the time, she simply replied that,
“I suppose you are”.
It was to be one more year before I knew
I actually had to do something about it.
I started my formal process in October
1998, began dressing as woman for work
in April 2000, had my application filed
with the authorities in August that year,
had the formal decision in February 2001,
and to the day six months later had sex
reassignment surgery – one of the least
dramatic but most important days in my
life. My wife and I had to apply for a
divorce so that I could have the necessary
– actually life-saving – medical treatment.
The way I feel now, my identity will never
change. Looking in the rear view mirror, I
realise that in most respects I was a lesbian
already at 20 – the major complication
being that my body was the wrong one.
I neither feel nor claim that “I’m an
ordinary woman who just happened to be
born in the wrong body”, the way many
male to female transsexuals do, but rather
that “I’m a transsexual woman” – and this
being an undeniable fact people can relate
to, I’m both a very happy transsexual
woman and a very proud dyke.
The most amazing and touching sign of
respect and acceptance from the lesbian
community was when I received the 10th
annual Woman Of The Year Award last
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