How could anyone be contentedly male for such a long time only to find blissful happiness as the woman she now is? This candid story breaks down complex issues but it is her enchanting British humor that makes them so readable. There are laugh out loud moments, heart-wrenching ones too. When to tell prospective lovers, how to tell friends? Everyday questions of honesty, identity, dating and family take on new twists as she explores how gender is perceived—for herself and for those around her.
Back in the 80s and 90s Chase was a globe-trotting DJ who played exotic clubs in the Middle East. Then three years as one of the most sought after DJs in southern China, followed by a decade-long stint as a radio host in Hong Kong. However, having played at rooftop parties for sheiks, been a maestro in the clubs of the Orient, and a household name on the airwaves, it was only after relocating to New York that the real journey began.
Why was he feeling like a she? It was a feeling that wouldn’t go away. How to sate these sensations? There were nerve-racking trips into Manhattan as a woman, embarrassing wigs, stares on the subway, and heels an inch from respectability. Was he a woman or was this cross-dressing phase just giddy excitement of ordering from the Victoria’s Secret catalogue? He began to embrace an evolution that seemingly wouldn’t stop, and started writing a journal (usually accompanied by a cup of tea) about feelings, emotions and what it meant to be a woman—if that’s what he was. That journal became this book.
A tipping point of gender was reached; female was in the ascendancy. Strange new desires appeared, but so did stigma and bigotry, rejection and abuse too—every transgender person has experienced that. The middle class Brit from the posher suburbs of Liverpool was now on the other side of the tracks.
Having accepted her new gender, she needed to tell those who knew her before as a man. Friends were both won and lost, but the biggest announcement was over a cup of tea: the excruciating moment of disclosure with her 80-year old mother. The devolution and rebuilding of that amazing relationship is one of the most emotional threads of this book.
Humor drives her forward as she explores the New York dating life as a woman. She gets thrown out of a strip club as a perceived threat to business, initiates her first bikini moment, and has a love match at the US Open Tennis Championships. Puberty happens for a renewed time in a different gender, and with that, questionable fashion choices and unfortunate make-up. She was a 16 year old girl in her 40s.
As she considers life changing surgery, panic attacks rear up to blur her vision. There were painful choices to be made, but unexpected rewards and many surprises. So many surprises.
Beyond the practical matters of hair removal, underwear selection, or deciding which bathroom to use, her story is a unique arc of discovery—inner and outer transformations, and how the world around her responded at each stage.
There are martinis on top of the world, the pyramids at dawn, fireworks over Hong Kong, and high-speed motorbike rides through Asian back streets. But Tea and Transition is far more than another right-soul-in-the-wrong-body tale—or globetrotting travelogue. This is a wonderfully personal journey through places beyond the physical. Of change and the human spirit, love and family values, and how one man became one woman.
Why is tea in the title?
Click below for Nicola's answer!
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