Ted contacted the parish church, St. Andrew's, Rexdale. "I told the Rector about myself, and that I had been Warden of Lay Readers in Niagara. He said, 'Come here.' I finished up in the choir as a tenor in the female role. I was Outreach Rep for the parish, and on the Deanery Outreach Committee. I became secretary-treasurer for Rexdale Ecumenical Social Action, an incorporated interdenominational organisation which ran a good used clothing store in Rexdale. All the churches donated. The money sent needy children to summer camp and filled Christmas baskets for families."
Over four and one half years, Ted gradually transformed into Susan, becoming physically the person he had always known he was meant to be. In early 1981, Ted's mother died in England: "I could not go to the funeral. I had a passport but I couldn't go back to the male role." Ted did everything legally, retaining only his citizenship in his male name, and making statutory declarations for everything else. "Now, my passport is in the name of Susan Huxford-Westall. I like the 'Huxford' in there because it was my mother's maiden name, and some people knew me as Susan Huxford."
Susan's daughters had very different reactions to the transformation. Sadly, Susan's second daughter, Wendy, "doesn't want a relationship," but her elder daughter Julie's reaction to her father's experience was an amazed "You haven't changed!" Susan replied, "I'm still me," and they remain close. Julie and her husband, an Inuit she met while nursing on Baffin Island, live in Edmonton.
Susan moved back to Hamilton in February, 1982, first as Susan Huxford, then adding Westall. "I went to my parish church, All Saint's, but was rebuffed by the Rector at first. It was my parish church! I joined the choir, and became Warden when I was 76."
Reflecting on her experiences, Susan explains, "I've had the marvellous experience of having two lives in one. I've been a man, and a successful man. And I'm a woman, and I'm beginning to say a successful woman too." Then, with typical honesty, "There are some things I haven't experienced because I haven't been a woman all my life.
"I don't have to say it any longer! I am a woman and people accept me as such. It's how they see me and how we interact. It's true of all people: we all say 'How do people see me, accept me?'"
Typically, Susan has applied her transformation to enabling others. "As a teacher, you get some psychology, but I've run a group for transgendered people. Among gendered males who have gender dysphoria (feeling and thinking of themselves as female), the fantasy level is amazing. I blame Hollywood; it has built up beauty and led (men and women) into fantasy. The latest development is to prevent aging--but we do get old!"
Susan has been interviewed on television and radio, counselled many transgendered people, organised a seminar for the Gender Identity Clinic at the Clarke Institute (Toronto), and, as a member of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, presented a paper in Bordeaux, France. She has been a member of the Canadian Sex Research Forum, and recording secretary of the Western New York Society of Sexuality Professionals.
Susan continues to encourage others experiencing gender dysphoria, and to educate Canadians about them. "Transgendered men feel at home in the gay community, but... they're not realistic. They have little or no education or training, because they left school because of bullying, and some were sexually abused. The stable ones are genetic females who go to males because they know they're going into a dog-eat-dog society. As many women become men as the other way. The insignia for female-to-male is the appearance of a beard, and for male-to-female is the development of breasts. What causes transgenderism? There's now some thought that our sex centre in the brain is displaced."...
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