The Early Years…
Perhaps this bit should have the heading “I’m Not Like The Other Boys…”.
I have absolutely no idea why, at the age of around 4 years old, I tried on a pair of knickers. I didn’t know then what a profound impact that single action would have upon my life, the feelings of guilt, paranoia and confusion, the visits to doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists, the breakdown of a marriage… but I’m getting ahead of myself.
I was born at the end of the Sixties, and by the mid-Seventies I was already raiding my mothers wardrobe for skirts and tops that I could wear, and I’d take underwear from the airing cupboard whenever I was alone in the 1930’s built semi-detached house that we lived in, in Watford. I’d come back home from school (which was later demolished to make way for a new housing estate) and close the curtains so I could dress up without any passers-by seeing. In fact, at one point in those very early years (and I’ve never admitted this to anyone before), I didn’t even want the cat seeing me in case it could somehow inform my parents of what I was doing. Ridiculous? Absolutely! But it shows the fear and paranoia that I had even before I was 10 years old…I was supposed to be a boy but I really didn’t want to be.
Mail order catalogs were brilliant… hundreds of pages of women’s clothing that I would spend hours looking at, picking out outfits that I wanted to wear; but there was something else… I think I first really became aware that women weren’t ‘made’ the same way as men. As I flicked through the pages of underwear, I saw that women were shaped differently. My body wasn’t like theirs and that confused me.
I remember watching the television one day, I was probably 10 or 11 at the time, and seeing a line of dancing girls (think Folies Bergere rather than Pam’s People) – it was probably only on The Two Ronnies or some variety show, but I stared at the screen, then couldn’t look at all in case someone could see how much I wanted a body like those women.
Those early years, from 4 to mid-teens were confusing as I didn’t understand what I was, where I fitted in, and somehow knew that I shouldn’t talk about it… for all that the 1970’s were supposed to be liberating, some things were still better left unsaid. That was the start of being in the closet, an innate belief that something was wrong with me, but that I also shouldn’t talk about it; disappearing into that closet was also the start of the build up of guilt and shame that was to last for decades.
If you would like to contact me to discuss anything regarding this series, or about being transgendered, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read NEVER BLEND IN – Lose the Label if it’s Limiting YOU – Part One of the Series here: https://t.co/BmmCdxN86t
National Diversity Award Winner, David E. Watters, is a teacher, motivational speaker and writer; a passionate equality advocate, committed to enhancing the lives of young people and adults who may feel marginalised or limited by labels.
As a teacher, he is committed to developing the whole person through creatively challenging students to embrace their unique value, and that of others, to encourage them to fulfill their full potential. He was nominated for an Excellence in Diversity Award 2015, for his contribution to enhancing the diversity agenda within education and for two European Diversity Awards because of his work with the Give ’em Hope Campaign.
Since graduating from The Institute of Education, University of London, David has gone on to train as a mediator, and is a qualified facilitator for The Pacific Institute.
As Director of NBI Associates, David devises and delivers engaging, enjoyable and interactive Diversity and Cultural Enhancement workshops utilizing Cognitive Behavioural and Performing Arts strategies for individual, corporate and academic clients.
Watters is also the founder and coordinator of the inclusive, inspirational and international Give ‘em Hope Campaign; an online initiative which utilises all available social networks to encourage and uplift those who doubt their validity, feel isolated or limited by labels, through the sharing of written and video testimonies. The campaign was honoured at the National Diversity Awards 2014 when it won the Community Organisation Award (Multi-Strand).
Watters was a key player in the Equal Love Campaign UK; taking the British Government to the European Court of Human Rights in 2010 and successfully achieving Marriage Equality for same-sex couples in the United Kingdom.
His passion and expertise has brought many opportunities to write and speak on social change and his book, NEVER BLEND IN, brings together this wealth of experience and the voices of those whom he has met along the way.
TWITTER: @NEVER_BLEND_IN (FOR NEWS ABOUT THE BOOK AND THE GIVE ‘EM HOPE CAMPAIGN)
BOOK WEBPAGE: https://www.facebook.com/groups/106980051654/
GIVE ‘EM HOPE CAMPAIGN PLAYLIST: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2D507F373FE6BC7D