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среда, 21 декабря 2016 г.

Transgender - Maritza Perdomo

Maritza Perdomo hated her body so much, she wanted to kill herself. But a drastic decision changed her life . . .

When Maritza Perdomo was born, her mother Haydee was overjoyed. For a long time, she'd been trying for a baby and finally her dreams had come true.
But as her daughter grew up, it became clear that Maritza was different to other little girls. She lived in trousers and played with toy guns. And, as
the years passed, her boyish tendencies grew. Maritza began to believe that she was actually a boy.
It wasn't until 30 years later that she discovered a name for what she was feeling - gender dysphoria, where sufferers feel trapped in the wrong body. The remarkable discovery had dramatic consequences for Maritza who, aged 39, went on to have a sex change and become Mark Cummings.
"I was my parents' first child of three," says Mark, now 41 and living in Florida. "Mum loved buying me dresses - the frillier the better as far as she was concerned. But every time I put them on, I felt uncomfortable - like a boy trapped in a girl's body.
"I remember standing awkwardly in front of the mirror one day, before breaking down in tears. It was like staring at someone else and I didn't know why. All I wanted to do was wear shorts or trousers and, of course, no top.
"My parents soon noticed my peculiar ways and started buying me more and more dolls to try and turn my head. It didn't work. If anything, it made me
want to rebel more."
As Mark entered his teens, he became horrified by his developing body. "It was a disgusting feeling, developing breasts," Mark explains. "I just wanted to get rid of them and, one night, I even considered cutting them off. It was the lowest I'd ever felt.
"Going through the menstrual cycle was also devastating and completely alien to me. I kept thinking in my head, 'But I'm a boy, I'm a boy.'"
Mark found he was attracted to women and, at the age of 17, had a brief affair with another girl. But the relationship didn't last because of his lover's disgruntled parents. Feeling lonely with nowhere to turn, Mark forced himself to find love with a man. Aged 26, he met Fred, a bus driver from Kent, and shared a brief two-year marriage.
"Back then, I would have done anything to fit in and conform to what I was supposed to be like," says Mark. "My family already feared I was a lesbian,
so because of all the bad feeling, I tried hard to be 'normal'."
But the marriage was later annulled because Mark chose to remain a virgin and destroyed all photos of them as a couple. Mark moved back to America, where he took up female amateur bodybuilding and started taking steroids. And he was thrilled as he became more masculine.
"At first, I posed in a bikini with fake tan, but it still didn't feel right," he says. "The steroids caused me to develop facial hair, which I shaved off. I also developed powerful muscles. I adopted a cropped haircut, making me look more like a man, and tried to disguise my breasts by wearing baggy T-shirts."
However, without a girlfriend, Mark became depressed. But then he met Violet.
"I was working out in the gym when she came over," Mark remembers. "She admitted that she couldn't tell whether I was a man or woman, so came over to find out. I loved her honesty and we immediately became close. She seemed to be the only person who understood me.
"She'd been married twice before so I didn't think she'd be interested in me as a partner, but after too many drinks one night, we ended up kissing. It was amazing."
Violet, 41, agrees. "I didn't plan on it happening," she says. "I'm heterosexual and have never fancied girls. But back then, Mark was on steroids and looked like a guy. We clicked and I found myself falling for him."
The couple tied the knot in August 2003, but the marriage wasn't recognised because Mark was still a woman. For the next four months, they endured strange looks and snide comments from people on the street, until Mark decided to put an end to their pain.
"I wanted to get closer to Violet and bring a little bit of peace to our lives," he says. "Then someone in the gym suggested I might be transgender - trapped in the wrong body. I checked on the internet and realised that a sex change would be the solution. Until then, I didn't even know it was possible to change sex.
"I had to see a psychologist before I was given the go-ahead but there was no doubt in my mind. I was ready to do this."
In December 2003, Mark underwent a seven-hour operation to become a man, selling his house to raise £10,000 for the procedure. Surgeons removed Mark's breasts, ovaries and womb, then grafted his nipples down to size.
He was put on a weekly dose of testosterone to add more hair, alter his body shape and deepen his voice. It also triggered glands in his clitoris to achieve the growth of a two-inch penis. Mark has since celebrated his transformation by legally marrying Violet in a courthouse in Hollywood, Florida.
"Mark is such a loving and considerate person," beams Violet. "I didn't care that he didn't have a penis at the beginning but obviously now I'm chuffed to bits."
"I've finally achieved my dream," says Mark. "I used to be a prisoner in my own body but now I'm free."

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