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Speaking out in support: Moncton woman shares her transition story


Taking a leap of courage, a Moncton woman decided to start her transition journey at 65-years-old and is now speaking out in hopes of helping others.

“Once I got on hormones and started dressing up and presenting myself as female, right from the get go I was not holding anything back,” said 68-year-old Steeves who identifies as a transgender woman.

Her transition story is one with a happy ending, but it isn’t one without obstacles.

“I repressed my feelings of really wanting to be a girl,” she said. “I didn’t have anyone to talk about it, I didn’t know what it was. I was told I was a freak and deviant and if you continue to do this then we would out you to your friends, your family, my family members and cousins and teachers and I was scared to death. So I complied and I just sort of buried it until 65.”

Steeves didn’t tell anyone or even really knew she was transgender until she was 65, but she says she knew she was different even as a young child.

She preferred to hangout with her sister’s friends as she found she had more in common with them she also says she was never a “rough and tough boy.”

However, after being caught trying on her mom’s clothes Steeves received an angry reaction, she says she repressed her true feelings.

“I wanted so much before she died to ask why she was so… so… so mean to me because I didn’t understand and we never talked about it again, so it’s like ‘what did I do,’” Steeves explained with tears in her eyes.  

 “She’s the one who traumatized me initially and I didn’t want to give her the pleasure of seeing me happy in what I was,” she added.

Steeves explained that she grew up with a military family and didn’t know what being transgender was.

In fact, she says it wasn’t until Catlin Jenner came out that she started to look into it.

Then, once she entered adulthood, she didn’t want to jeopardize her family or their security by coming out, but when she retired at 65-years-old, she knew it was time.

“I just did not want to live not going through showing who I really am,” said Steeves.

“One night I had dinner with my daughter and Jan, my wife, I sort of came out. I didn’t really know what I was because I didn’t know enough about transgender to really put a stake in the ground… I actually said I want to be Transgender, but I stopped myself and said that I was going to start cross dressing and of course they were shocked,” she said.

Shocked, but supportive, Steeves says she received support from her wife, two daughters, niece and even younger sister.

The couple has been together since university and will be celebrating 44 years of marriage this year. (Alana Pickrell/CTV Atlantic)

“I’m very proud of her and she’s happy and you can see the happiness, especially now that the transition is all done,” said her wife, Jan Robertson Steeves.

However, she admits that the news has come with challenges.

“We have been together 46 years, we will have been married 44 years in May and yes this came completely out of the blue,” she said. “I felt for her and I embraced that, my concern was her and her safety and her state of mind and everything and getting my kids through it.”

The pair met in University and were engaged just 10 days after their first date. It was a fast paced love story, that isn’t slowing down.

Yvonne and Jan got engaged 10 days after their first date and we’re married a year and a half later. (Alana Pickrell/CTV Atlantic)

“I took an oath when I married her and I’m not going anywhere,” said Robertson Steeves.

“I think people need to know that it doesn’t matter how old you are, true friends and true family are there for you and if they’re not don’t worry about it, move on, it’s your life, be happy,” she said.

Steeves’ surgery was completed a month ago and now the woman who once described herself as shy and introverted is hoping to be a beacon of hope for others.

“I think it’s really important, especially to make folks aware in New Brunswick, of course especially the transgender community, that the province does support you,” she said.

“They’re pro transgender in their policies and I’m not really into politics, I have nothing to gain by supporting the current government, but most importantly to me the financial support is there because the average person would not be able to afford it,” said Steeves.

Steeves explained that the province paid for the surgery, but there was a lot of hoops to jump through first.

“There’s a lot of paper work, you have to get an appointment with an endocrinologist to get on hormones, which is a six month process, had to find a gender therapist, it was their duty provincially at least to prove that my gender dysphoria was at a state where surgery was necessary in order to prevent me doing anything negative to myself,” she said.

Adding that there isn’t a very clear outline in New Brunswick for people who are in the same position that she was.

“You go onto the Service New Brunswick page and there is a section about transgender and how to qualify for surgery, but they don’t tell you ‘here’s a listing of therapists or gender therapists you can go to in your area,’ or ‘how do I get an appointment with an endocrinologist,’” she said. “The general roadmap is not there.”

Steeves said it was important for her to speak out and share her story to show that there’s someone in the community who’s gone through the process.

She says prior to her surgery, she didn’t have the chance to speak with any transgender females.

“It would have been nice to talk to folks about what they’ve gone through, what challenges they’ve had to endure to getting reactions to family, reactions to friends,” she said.

Giving credit to her support system, she is looking forward to the next chapter and letting the world know her true self.

“People said ‘aren’t you scared? Aren’t you nervous?’ And I said ‘no, [surgery] will be the happiest day of my transition to date and going into the operating room I was cool as a cucumber,” she said.

“I was at ease. I sort of took a deep breath and [thought] I’m here. I never thought I would,” said Steeves. Top Stories

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