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 male violence.

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 youth.)

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 religious festivals.

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 woman.

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 lioness

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.

search weapons

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 web.


Click to go to the Library Entrance.

To Contact Jani Roberts