The art of being a woman

Photo Mats Engfors/Fotographic

The idea appeared already in her teens – one day she would become a woman. It took over 50 years but today the dream is true and Maud is happier than ever.

We meet at a café in Boden and Maud Jacobson orders tea. She sweetens with honey and says that the day before she sold the last of the honey her own bees produced. Maud is active in a number of different associations and is not only a beekeeper but also a radio enthusiast, stamp collector and hobby photographer. In addition, she gives lectures on what it is like to live as a transsexual, on concepts and the importance of a correct treatment.

Transsexual. A completely insane word according to Maud. Instead, it is the English term transgender she feels most comfortable with, or possibly transgender.

– This has nothing to do with sexuality. The one who is transgender, there it sits in the brain, in the identity. It is a mistranslation from the beginning that has stuck, she says.

Maud Jacobson was born as a boy in a fairly ordinary family in Jämtland. The first memory she has of the journey towards a new gender identity comes from her childhood, even though she did not understand the meaning at the time.

– At 6-7 years old then I had a girl as a playmate – there were boys but they were so mischievous. We had a lot of nonsense to ourselves and exchanged clothes with each other, she says.

When she was around 15, she realized she had a penchant for women’s clothing. She flipped through her mother’s mail order catalogs and made orders in secret, something she then continued with throughout her adult life.

– It was as if this was natural for me, but there is no denying that there was a certain tension in it as well. I asked myself many times “Why can’t I wear this?”, But I could not talk to others about it.

She also came across one of her father’s boulevard magazines and read a report about an American soldier named Christine Jorgensen. She had traveled to Denmark to have a gender reassignment operation.

– Then I knew that I am not alone, that there are more than me. I had begun to realize that I was probably not in the right shape. Then I had dreams around the age of 18 that “one day I will be a woman”.

A life in secret

After the educational institution in Skellefteå, she applied for the air force and ended up after training at Norrbotten’s Air Fleet F 21 in Luleå and a position in radar air surveillance.

One day she saw an ad in the newspaper about FPE, an association for transgender people, and became a member. She traveled a lot at work and on a business trip to Skåne she took the opportunity to go to one of the association’s meetings. It was the first time she dressed as a woman among other people and also the first time she met like-minded people.

– It was a huge relief! Then a large part of my self were set free, but still in this secret box.

Before she turned 30, she bought a house in Boden and went through a series of relationships in the quest to start a family. Once she came close. But the woman chose to have an abortion.

– Then I became so terribly sad. It was one of the hardest times of my life. I got out of it too, but it took its time.

In none of these relationships did Maud open her heart and none of the women noticed anything. But then she met the love of her life in Härnösand and began a long-distance relationship that lasted 12-13 years.

– I went to an education in Stockholm for a year, she came and visited me and then I told her. “Well, that’s not weird,” she said. It was not enough to crack her, you know. She was amazing. It’s probably the kind of thing you beat yourself up over afterwards because you missed your chance.

She turned 40 and 50, changed outfits in solitude in the evenings but did not have the strength to venture out on the town, other than during trips to the big cities and the recurring meetings with FPE. During the foreign service in Bosnia and Macedonia, she had to put the nylon socks on the shelf for long periods. But during holidays, she traveled around the world, to Thailand, London and the United States and met more trans people who inspired and strengthened her dream – but always with double suitcases.

The turning point

By the year 2000, her heart started to act up and it felt right for Maud to retire. This led in 2008 to a collapse in the home that resulted in a bypass operation.

– When I started to recover, I went to the health center and said to the doctor: “You, I have to get help with my transsexualism”, because I had come to the conclusion that it was about that.

She talked to several therapists but did not feel understood, did not dare to live it out and felt worse and worse. Until she met a CBT therapist at the health center.

– It was the biggest win I have ever experienced. She managed with her therapy and her skills to unlock these barriers in me. But it took a while. She challenged me, we were out shopping and eating and I lectured at the health centers. It helped me.

On October 1, 2016, she made the decision. Now she would live full time as a woman.

The first day she visited some friends and received only congratulations. She went to Ica and bought tickets and no one reacted. She started moving out on the town and ran into a couple of old colleagues.

– I got a big hug and one said “You look good!”. It was putting so much happiness in me that I was floating away.

Everyone she met showed the same positive reaction. She had expected crisis and chaos and was surprised when none of it happened. Only one person behaved strangely, according to Maud. Her mom.

– I told her that now I will live as a woman. Then she said: “Over my dead body”. We looked into each other’s eyes, then we said nothing more. She has never met me like Maud, except when I went to her grave and said “now I am here”. That was just over three years ago.

Happier than ever

She has changed her name and social security number and taken estrogen for eight years. She is addressed as “she” and people hold the door open for her.

– I have never in my life felt as harmonious as I do now. I feel like a woman and I try to be perceived that way.

She is a woman who dares to take room. She smiles,and laughs a woman’s sounding laugh. She snaps and unbuttons the only button in the louse cardigan with feminine coded movements, slightly spreading fingers.

– This is what the voice is about. I’ve been to a speech therapist for quite some time, but it’s the hardest part of it all. I make an effort all the time, trying not to have such a marked voice. Body language is also very important, there is a little more “men do, women do not”.

It took just over 50 years for the dream to become a reality. But Maud does not mourn lost years.

– I do not think about it, I prefer to look ahead. I take my experiences with me and help other people. I know someone who is in a similar process and I say, “Do not think of others. Rather listen to them, many times it is positive ”. For me, it has been.

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