[dropcap type=”circle”]F[/dropcap]or the first 40 years of her life, Nicola Jane Chase was a heterosexual man. Now she is a heterosexual woman. “This change didn’t occur overnight, nor did I flip a switch to make it happen. In fact, I didn’t see it coming at all,” she says.
Born in Heswall, Nicola has lived in the Middle East and Asia, but only in New York City did her extraordinary journey really begin. “The outlines of yin and yang were shifting, with gender and then with my sexuality,” Nicola recalls. “The city was my backdrop for renaissance.” A tipping point was reached; SHE was in the ascendancy, HE was a growing hindrance. “I began writing a journal that later became my book, Tea and Transition.”
In fact, the biggest announcement during her transition came over a cuppa: the painful moment of disclosure to her 80-year-old mother, who still lives in Heswall. This amazing relationship is one of the most emotional threads of her story.
However, there were laugh-out-loud moments too. She was a 16-year-old girl in her 40s who experienced the rollercoaster of youth all over again—but in a new gender.
Nicola is also keen to point out that sexuality and gender are two different things. “These often get muddled,” she says, “but who you are and who you fancy are completely unrelated! For me this was truly confusing as I really was a straight guy, but then the more I progressed with my transition, the more I was attracted to men—and less attracted to women. However, dating as a transgender woman is particularly tough, as men usually change their tune once I reveal my past.”
Every week there seems to be a new name that has come out as transgender, but celebrity or not, the process is no cakewalk. Yet solace can come from one fact: “You are not alone,” Nicola says. “Questioning your gender identity can be daunting, acting on it even more intimidating. It can happen at any time too, as in my case. Yet, through my own transition, I have developed stronger friendships and family relationships that I never dreamed possible when I first addressed my gender flux. In fact, the sense of peace, calm, and deep happiness that I have now is almost overwhelming.”
Nicola still lives in New York but will be talking about her journey and experiences at Birkenhead Library on Thursday 8th September at 6.00pm. The talk is free but advance booking is advisable. Call the library on 0151-606-2665 for more details and booking.
Tea and Transition: A story of love, the human spirit, and how one man became one woman (Telemachus Press) was published in 2015.