‘My wife’s heartwarming reaction when I told her I was transgender’ – Birmingham Live

Posted: December 1, 2019 at 2:45 am

Telling your family and friends that you are transgender can be difficult - but what happens when you're in a serious relationship?

This was the situation facing married tattoo artist Eva Echo.

The 39-year-old, from Cradley Heath, had been married to her wife for around four years before realising why she had felt so different her whole life.

Reading stories about relationships ending when someone came out as a different gender highlighted her biggest fear.

But she knew that she couldn't hide it anymore.

Eva said: "Towards the end of 2016, I was dealing with a customer at work and this man decided to take pictures of me which I was quite shocked at because I wasn't presenting as female. I've always been quite androgynous.

"I still wore eye makeup and he obviously thought it was hilarious. He needed to take photos, send it around to a circle of friends.

"He denied it when I confronted to about it. I mean, he didn't realise there was a mirror behind him so I could actually see what was on his phone.

"At which point he then said his phone was playing up and that it took a photo and sent it to his friends. I just wasn't buying it. But it also kind of made me think what is it about me that people stare at?

"What is it that I'm seeing differently when I look in the mirror.

"I thought, okay, you know, this is the time I need to take time out, or just figure this out once and for all because leading up to this moment I'd been suffering with an eating disorder, depression, self-harm and even attempted suicide.

"I just knew I couldn't go on having these complete ups and downs, and the idea of being transgender surfaced a bit more around about that time. I started to kind of open myself up to the possibility that I could be transgender.

"I started blogging anonymously at first because I needed somewhere to externalise all the things going on in my head. I had no one to talk to about it really.

"I wanted to stop feeling like my head was going to explode.

"There's still elements of shame, embarrassment and letting people down and telling my partner was scarier because we are so close."

Eva tried hard to gain the confidence to tell her partner, Pippa Echo, about being transgender and even wrote an anonymous open letter to her on her blog in 2017.

It said: "When we first met, I knew you were the one for me. I trusted you entirely.

"The more I was around you, the more I could feel some kind of peace. That I didnt have to constantly battle the world on my own. At the same time, it made me realise I could let my guard down and be more of myself.

"I felt complete for the first time in my life. I cannot thank you enough for letting me feel like that. I guess thats what ultimately led me down this path of self-discovery.

"Just to clarify, Im not saying this is your fault. Not at all. If anything, youve just been you: the caring and genuine person that you are; the person I fell in love with and wanted to marry within a few weeks of knowing you.

"Remember the conversation we had at the flat one day, where you asked why I chose to wear or look the way I do? And I said I felt comfortable enough to do so around anyone for the first time in my life?

"Well, thats the light you provide in my life. Its my fault for then not being able to control this properly, allowing things that I thought I could ignore or lock away to gradually emerge."

When the night finally came to confront the personal crisis head on, she was filled with fear that her partner would leave her for going through this change.

Eva eventually found confidence after a few shots of vodka to calm the nerves.

"Looking on the internet, there's so many stories of partners that call it a day," she said.

"They all go into it in good faith but ultimately most of them just fell out.

"That really scared me because I didn't want to lose so much just because of me. When I went to tell her about it, I was a complete mess. I came home from work and I just kept psyching myself up about it.

"I knew I needed to say something. I just remember walking in and out of the kitchen, giving myself a shot of vodka to try and give me some confidence.

"It must have been about 9 or 10 o'clock by the time I got round to it because I was just stalling so much.

"I was a bit tipsy by the time I came out with it. I literally just said that I thought there was something wrong with me.

"Even when I was trying to explain it, I was still so scared to use the word transgender because it makes it so definite but when I finally came out she said she pretty much knew already.

"It was a huge weight off my shoulders. This great cloud over me for years, and all of a sudden, everything was a bit sunnier."

The couple recently celebrated their six year wedding anniversary and they say their relationship is as strong if not stronger than it was before.

Pippa told BirminghamLive that the day Eva came out to her she initially thought she was going to leave her.

When she finally revealed her identity, Pippa said it was like she 'was giving her her real self' proving to Eva that true love looks beyond gender.

Eva has since revealed her identity on her blog and continues posting to raise awareness of issues in the LGBT community.

Since coming out almost three years ago, Eva has been on the NHS waiting list for the gender identity clinic (GIC) at Exeter but has gone private in order to speed up the transition process and is currently on hormone therapy.

The male to female transition process is made more complicated by the irreversible effects of testosterone during male puberty that effects bone structure and deepens the voice.

Eva went privately to have her face reconstructed to be more feminine, as the procedure is not covered on the NHS.

She said: "I started hormone therapy last summer and since then I've also had facial surgery.

"That was to Botox injections to my jawline to contour the jawline - an alternative to physical surgery. I also had fat transferred from my stomach to my cheeks and also had the brow bone shaved and contoured as well. At the same time, they lowered my hairline slightly.

"It was very strange going to sleep with one face and waking up with an altered one, because of the swelling as well, it's so surreal. I took time off work to heal.

"It took some getting used to, having this is new person looking back at you in the mirror. But at the same time, it's a relief because you're another step closer to marrying the outside with the inside as well."

Eva plans to continue the final stages of her transition on the NHS but could have up to a year left on the waiting list, due to the NHS being at breaking point trying to cope with the huge surge in patients seeking gender identity services and as there are only 7 clinics in the UK.

Originally posted here:
'My wife's heartwarming reaction when I told her I was transgender' - Birmingham Live

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