Growing Up In the Wrong Gender - A Strange
Blessing of my Creator.
Now let's get this straight! Being assigned to the wrong gender at
birth is no joke - in our society or any other. It is a dreadful
mistake that can haunt those affected all his or her lives. But it is
not the fault of the midwife. A midwife can tell if a child's
genitalia is ambiguous but she cannot sex the child's brain.
Today it is medically clear that male and
female brains act differently, that the popular wisdom that had
supposed this to be so was accurate. It is now known that the brain's
gender pattern is set well before the reproductive organs are formed
in the embryo - and that sometimes, rarely, the brain and these
organs form on different gender patterns.
Some babies are born with a more evident
discordance - and these children are usually quickly and surgically
assigned to be girls, no matter what mental gender they might latter
turn out to be. Sometimes this creates great confusion and pain in
later life. I have included an article about the victims of this
common medical practice - you can find it below.
But the transgendered state is totally
natural, part of the rich variety of life. "Transgendered" people are
born in every culture, in every age. There are about equal numbers of
"male to females" as "females to males." There are naturally few of
us but I believe we are made thus by our Creator. It is a natural
blessing, not a curse.
I must confess a personal involvement in
this issue. I was aware of being wrongly assigned from 4 years of
life. When I started school the other children acutely observed this
and the boys teased me mercilessly. By the time I went to secondary
school I had my defences and pretences in place. I then tried to
escape by training as a Christian missionary. It was a nightmare but
21 years ago I finally got it sorted. Since then I have been simply
and happily at home in myself as a woman, getting on with life -
tackling major companies as an investigative journalist. My main
hassles in recent years have been those faced by all women. It jibes
very badly with me when I find my views ignored or when I am
otherwise put down as a woman. I also hate feeling so vulnerable to
I have long feared that if I spoke openly
of my transgendered history, it would influence the perception others
have of me. But if I cannot own to having such an unusually rich
experience of life, then how on earth can popular perceptions change?
As a writer, I need to be able to draw on my experience of life. For
much too long I have presented a carefully doctored curriculum vitae
with everything omitted that might reveal my gender history. Even so,
I have been granted interviews on the basis of having such an
exciting life. If they had seen the whole CV, they might have been
bowled over - or run a mile from such a controversial woman!
I think it is about time I showed more
pride in myself! About time I confessed that my 'transgender'
experience has very much enriched me, given me an unusual knowledge
of life. About time I admitted that I think it has been a great
blessing. (albeit a blessing that was very tough to see as such in my
Perhaps I do not have a choice in this
ultimately. Certainly some of the corporations I have investigated
have known of my background - and may have tried to discredit me with
the BBC and others by bringing it to their attention. I know this
could happen again.
I made a resolution to be more open on
these matters while lying critically ill in hospital 3 years ago. I
lay there thinking of what I hadn't done in life, of what I really
wanted to do if I lived. I came to think that the richest story I had
to leave the next generation was the story I had been too cowardly to
tell, my own story.
I wasin hospital because, while I was
engaged in a major investigation of De Beers and its diamond cartel
for a film series for the BBC, a gang of strangers entered my home
under false pretences, accused me of being a male, sexually assaulted
me and, using my head as a punchbag, broke my cheek bone and nose.
Afterwards i fell ill with blood clots and was 2 months in hospital
with a pulmonary embolism. It took me two years to recover. At the
time I was assaulted I had been happily living as a woman for nearly
20 years - and even my lovers did not know unless I told them! This
gang had clearly been briefed on me before they came.
When I was earlier working with Panorama,
a BBC investigative program, an Aboriginal friend phoned me up from
Australia and told me a UK tabloid was researching me in Australia!
This again was totally out of the blue. I saw it as an attempt to
discredit me. I was forced to tell the BBC. Some people associated
with the BBC after this decided to "quarantine" me on my own
television projects as if I were a dangerous bitch. Aborigines found
it easier to accept. I was working with them at the time I went
through my own crisis. They told me that it made me a member of a
minority like them!
It is interesting to look at how the
'transgendered' have been accepted in other cultures. In Inca society
and in some American Indian nations, parents saw transgendered
children as a blessing. These societies often chose them as spiritual
advisors - perhaps because for they know something of both sides of
the gender divide. In India they are sacred dancers and celebrants at
In our own European tradition we too once
had a sacred role. Some were the priestesses in the pre-Christian
religions. However the suppression of the female priesthood in Europe
put all of womankind into a second class religious citizenship, not
just the transgendered.
I too instinctively as a child headed for
the comparatively asexual catholic priesthood, I felt called to
dedicate myself to the service of my Creator and to my brothers and
sisters - and that is something that is still true for me. I found at
that time that there was no place for me in the church. I retired to
lick my wounds, pray and to try to find the divine purpose in all
this. I kept my religious motivation, dedication, but instead found
my own way to serve my fellow creatures as a writer and a film maker.
Much of my work since then has been sponsored by the churches and aid
organisations. I have simply got on with life very happily as a
It was 25 years ago this year, 2000, that I jumped the gender
divide. It is only now that I feel able to be open and to share everything,
to be able to openly acknowledge with true thanks the blessing of my Maker.
Until now I have been scared of being mocked. To tell the truth, I am still
something of the cowardly lioness and being this open is something of a leap
of faith. The hardest thing I have had to do since coming
out is writing a very personal book both on the role of sex and gender in
religion and magic - and on my personal journey - now
available here for the first time SEVEN DAYS
To the cave of the cowardly
To the Personal
Part of My Resume
To my Professional Resume.
To buy her new enthralling, profound and intimate account
of her jouney 'The
Seven Days. Tales of Magic, Sex, and Gender'
Click -To go to the room of the Transgendered.
I find it handly to make a search engine
available here and there so if you, my guest, need to find
anything on the net, it is as easy as possible. After all this is
"Jan's Library" - and full library services must be kept
available! May I suggest that, although via the Room of the
Transgendered you can access many wonderful sites and to many
brave transgendered folk, - that you also use the Lycos search
engines to look up "transgendered" to see who else is out on the
Click to go to the Library Entrance.
To Contact Jani Roberts