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Rayna and Jae recently broke onto the national stage with their story of love triumphing over adversity. You might have seen it: They married before Rayna transitioned, and are now set for a re-wedding. As a GenderGP service user, Rayna has always been very engaged, so we wanted to give her a platform to share her first hand account of the incredibly affirming journey she and Jae have been on, as a timely reminder that love conquers all.
Here’s what they told us:
Our journey started in May 2018, on our honeymoon in Longleat. We had been talking about my gender identity for a while beforehand, and decided that our trip together would be the perfect place to explore who I was – there was no risk of bumping into someone we knew. After a few days, Jae and I sat in our room; I told her I was trans, and I would like to begin my transition. It was an uncertain time for both of us, but we both agreed on one thing: we were going to tackle this together.
Since then it has been a constant journey of discovery, of learning, and of enjoying our marriage to the max. When I came out the biggest barrier between us was removed. And although my dysphoria is still there, I feel I am at a point in my transition where it takes a back seat. I can manage it and live with it, which allows us both to enjoy the things we have worked so hard for.
My support system has been wonderful from the day I came out. Mom was a little unsure at first, but once she saw what a difference it made she came full circle. Virtually everybody in my life has been supportive, even my ninety-three year old Nan, who now buys granddaughter cards for my birthday and Christmas!
As I transitioned I decided to become a bit more visible on social media. I built a small community on Instagram, where I’ve met people who are going through the same things as me and made a lot of friends along the way! Jae has found support through Reddit groups for partners/spouses of trans people. Overall, social media has helped make me more confident, and reminded me that I’m not alone.
My work have also been really proactive in making transitioning in the workplace as pleasant as possible. As soon as I came out, my manager researched everything he needed to know. I had a new email address, and all of my colleagues used my new name and treated me as normal. It helped so much to feel accepted just like any other employee, instead of being treated as different.
I honestly couldn’t write this without mentioning Jae. Although I’m the one who’s changed, she has taken it upon herself to make sure I have everything I need. She taught me to do my makeup from scratch and helped me find feminine clothes that suit me, she even uses her photography background to help me with photos! She has been there for absolutely everything, and I could not have done this without her. I think it takes a special person to accept someone as who they really are, but a remarkable person to also help that person become the best version of themselves.
As for the little things that made a big difference… One evening during our honeymoon we went to dinner, and the waiter addressed us as ‘ladies’. We had spent the best part of an hour doing my makeup and picking out a dress for me to wear, and hearing someone refer to me as female was the moment I realised I was doing the right thing. Since then, there have been many big little moments: getting my passport and driving license with the correct gender marker, Jae buying me a feminine wedding ring, strangers and shop workers using correct pronouns and treating me with respect, and just how much people truly care. These things might not seem like much, but they mean the world to us.
We’re still in the early stages of planning our ‘re-wedding’ for 2022. We decided on a quiet gathering in the Quantock Hills, where my friends and family who missed out the first time can celebrate. It’s not just about me being my true self, but a celebration of the whole of our wonderful marriage and relationship. We can’t wait to do it all over again, but this time I get to walk down the aisle as the person I truly am.
Finally, I would like to thank GenderGP and all their staff. Without you, myself and thousands of others would not have access to the care we deserve as trans people. When I approached the company in August 2018 I was very confused, and didn’t know where to go next. They helped me understand everything, from how I was feeling to what I wanted to do about it. Every aspect of my life – and our marriage – has been improved since starting treatment, and I honestly can’t thank you all enough. This also wouldn’t have happened without my amazing doctor. They’ve been there every step of the way, providing me with access to the tests and medication I need, and giving me the respect and care I deserve as a trans person.
Our future looks brighter than ever, and I can’t wait for the years to come – full of happy memories together, and me living as the woman I am.