THREE-MINUTE SPEAKER Jenny gave an amazing account of their 19-year-old grandson who, through his school years at Taradale High School “transitioned” from being a male to a female.
19 years ago, a little boy, our first grandson came along.
Very bright wee fellow – he loved to play with trucks and Lego just like his brother, but when we watched him play rugby we realized he was never going to be an All Black.
About three years ago, we noticed some changes in him. He became quite quiet and withdrawn. He was asking for money instead of a Christmas gift, and he would buy a bracelet or a shoulder bag with the money.
We still didn’t think much of it – though if he’s gay that’s totally fine and we’ll cope with that.
Then he told his mother he wanted to transition – he wanted to become Lucy.
We didn’t know about this – his mother apparently cried for a week, then said, “Right I’ve got to get on with this” and she did. She has been amazing as has his younger brother. They both coped so well. His father was estranged from them but died in his 40s – far too young so hadn’t seen much of them.
I worked out what was going on shortly after this and tried to get my head around it. Hugh (the Grandfather) said, “It’s a phase – teenagers just try to flex their muscles to find their identity.”
His mother went to doctors and psychologists with him, and they started the whole transition.  With puberty blockers etc.
But when it came to the time for the Taradale High School ball, and he wanted to wear a green velvet dress, we had to stop dreaming and start to take this thing seriously. The school ball was a great success – I was afraid that the rugby boys would have done some preloading and made inane comments. But there was nothing like that. The principal and deputy principal met all the students at the door and didn’t blink an eye, they commented on how nice she looked.
Long before this time of course, Kimberley had been to see the school staff, so it was no surprise to them, and when Lucy and her group of friends arrived, the staff called her by her new chosen name of Lucy and told her how lovely she looked.
She is now at Victoria University completing the first year of a Law degree and doing very well.
She has a small group of friends from the Rainbow Community and loves Wellington’s culture.
She and I have been to WOW, the NZ Ballet, and shopping during the year and she has turned into a lovely person.
She is much more at home in her own skin, seems more at peace with herself, and more responsive all around.
When we picked her up from her hostel recently to go to WOW she looked stunning in a mini skirt and patterned stockings with a little bit of midriff showing.
Poor Hugh still finds this side of it hard to come to terms with.
But last time we were down there and took her out to dinner, she said “I really admire the way you have handled my transition Poppa Hugh because I know how difficult it must have been for you”
We lost a grandson, but we gained a granddaughter.