Gender Matters has been awarded Heritage Lottery Funding to capture the oral histories of the trans community in the West Midlands.
Birmingham Archives and Heritage have been supporting the project to help map the history of trans experience.
Members of the group are telling their stories through stories, song, poetry and art, which will form a permanent record of trans experiences in the region.
This is Ben and Melissa’s story:
Ben is a cross dresser and has captured his story – and his transition to Melissa through a series of photos and memories:
‘I got married when I was 21 so my access to women’s clothes increased…but the difficulty in hiding it also increased. There was a subconscious desire to be found out and accepted, combined with the fear of not being accepted.’
The stories describe positive and uplifting journeys.
‘I wasn’t prepared to go through the deceit and lies in another relationship so I was very upfront in the early stages and was thankful that she was accepting and supportive which has enabled me and Melissa to flourish. It’s a cross dressers dream to be accepted and supported.’