As an intersex and transexed child and young teenager born into poverty in the 1950s and 1960s in the north of England in the UK, I found the world very hostile. My family rejected me and the health professionals who were supposed to be looking after me were negligent and abusive. The prospect of a happy future looked very bleak indeed.
I attempted suicide more than once in my teenage years. I also suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder several years ago because of the abuse I encountered as a child, which made me think about suicide again.
The thing is, though, that overall life turned out pretty amazing. The people I have met and loved over the course of my life to date have inspired me to take charge of my own life and not rely solely upon the kindness of strangers.
Sure, life can be brutal at times and yes, being intersex and transexed has been very difficult at times over the years. Even now today we still have to battle at times to have equal and fair treatment, but life has taught me it is not just about me being happy but about helping others be happy as well, whether they come from a sex and/or gender diverse group or not.
The bleak times and dark night of the soul really can give way to wonderful life experiences and meeting incredibly kind and loving people when I myself make that happen. I have to reach beyond the fact that I was born intersex and transexed and find the champion within myself every day of my life. There is no free day when I can abandon my own self-care and loving and fall into the illusion the world is bad because I was born into a disadvantaged group of people.
So, choosing life over suicide has been a good choice for me. If I think about the incredible experiences I have had, I realise that if suicide had been successful for me I would have missed all those good times.
The friends I still have today 50 years later, my darling wife, the people I adopted as my family, the friends I made fighting for civil rights and the kind folks who were nice to me just because they could be, all came into my life because I allowed them into my life and my heart.
I can tell you that life can get better when you put your mind to making that happen. Reach out and talk to people. Ask them for help. Take power for yourself and change some things so your life goes in another direction. Yes, sometimes it has to be big changes and sometimes small changes will make things happen.
During my life people tried to stop me living as female, fired me from jobs because of what I am, and a whole host of other horrific things happened to me, including physical and sexual assaults.
Don’t let other people and disasters define you but let them be an opportunity for you to make yourself stronger, look for new opportunities and take action to make a good life for yourself, no matter what your circumstances are.
Choose what you are going to do to make life the better option over suicide and then do that again and again.
Go in peace and reach out for help if you are thinking of suicide.
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Phone: 13 11 14
Or contact your GP, local emergency mental health service or present yourself at the emergency department of your local hospital.