'I went to a lingerie party and realised I was transgender'
Dazeford is my one and only name; I use Dazee for short because it's a bit more feminine. I chose it back in 2014 when I realised I was transgender. On my (new) birth certificate my given name is Dazeford and the surname is blank. I went with one name because I don't have any kids so have no family name to carry on. I also wanted something unique, like me.
I was born in Darwin and grew up in Adelaide in a working class family with two brothers and a sister. Dad was a linesman with the Postmaster General's Department and Mum worked in a supermarket. I joined the Australian Army at 18 and stayed in it for 21 years. I was living in Townsville with my first wife during that period of my life. I reached the dizzying heights of corporal, doing water and road transport. I served in the tail end of the first Gulf War as an ambulance driver for a medical unit and got out of the army in 1999. I had been doing recreational diving as a hobby during my army career, so after I left the army I got my commercial diving tickets and a job as a commercial diver in the oil and gas fields - basically doing construction for them, but underwater. I did that for the next 12 years. I got contracts all over the world, for two months at a time, in places like Dubai, Qatar and Malaysia. It paid very well. My wife and I moved down to Brisbane in 2007, the same year we got divorced and went our separate ways.
I met my second wife Pamela about 18 months later through the Brisbane Harley Owners Group. She was mad keen on motorbikes and her requirements for a boyfriend were he had to have a motorbike, preferably a Harley, and be self sufficient and I ticked all those boxes.
We were together for 3½ years before we married in 2012. We had been married for 17 days when she was killed in a bike crash. We were coming back early from our honeymoon, which we spent doing a charity bike ride from Barcaldine to Broome, to attend my Dad's funeral in Adelaide. It was 10pm and I was 50m ahead of her, just this side of Chinchilla [in south-west Queensland], when a guy in his car fell asleep at the wheel and took her out. The grief and depression over losing her screwed up my life big time: I was very much suicidal and never went back to my diving job. It's probably only the past 12-18 months that I've come to terms with it all.
Two years after the accident I went to a lingerie party at my next door neighbour's house. I was still straight (and a man) at that point so I bought a pair of boxer shorts and a sarong to wear for diving trips. When I was doing the fitting, the sales lady asked me if I was interested in getting fitted for a bra and knickers - thinking I was gay or a cross dresser. I said "no way I'm not into that sort of thing". But that night or the next day something went click in my brain and I realised I was transgender.
Most people who transition from one gender to the other have had a heck of a crap life dealing with the depression and rejection from society and family, but for me it was an epiphany-type moment and I hit the ground running. All these little moments in my life dropped into place. Everyone's transition journey is different but I've had [genital] surgery, had my boobs done and a little bit of facial work and recently the vocal surgery too. I'm in a relationship with a lovely lady.
Astronomy has been my focus for the past 18 months. It's always interested me so one day I did something about it. I bought a $2500
8-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope and now I'm building an observation deck in the back yard. I'm a member of the Brisbane Astronomical Society and attend their monthly public viewing nights at Mt Coot-tha where people line up nine or 10 deep to see things through our telescopes: we show them the craters on the moon up close and point out clusters and galaxies of stars. I'm also a member of the Redlands Astronomical Society and we have a similar monthly event. I love the perspective astronomy brings: some of the clusters we're looking at are hundreds of millions of light years away. We are all less than a pinprick in the scheme of things.
Originally published as I went to a lingerie party and realised I was transgender