Listen: Hawke's Bay man confronted by estranged trans father on Magic Talk

  • 30/01/2019

When a man called Magic Talk to discuss his estranged transgender father, he wasn't expecting her to be listening to the radio. 

Hawke's Bay man Lance, 47, told Magic Talk on Wednesday that he hadn't spoken to his father, Gemma, in a decade because he didn't agree with her decision to live as a woman. 

"As far as I'm concerned, I've lost my father," he said. "It's just not normal - it's just not natural."

Lance said his father used to be a "hard man" who played rugby and served in the Army. But about 12 years ago, he said his father was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and thinks the medication affected her brain. 

"All of a sudden [Gemma] rings me up one day and says he wants to be a female. And that affected me quite a lot," Lance told Magic Talk's Sean Plunket. 

His father was in his early 60s when she decided to become a woman, Lance said, adding that she's still in a relationship with Lance's mother. 

"He's been living with my mum still and she's obviously having a bit of a hard time because he cross-dresses and identifies himself as a female."

Plunket told Lance: "You only get one family and you don't get to choose them" - but Lance wouldn't budge, telling Plunket: "You can't choose your gender."

"I think you are the person who loses out here, Lance," Plunket replied. "I can't possibly imagine the situation you are in, but 10 years is a long time to be estranged."

Little did Lance know that his father, Gemma, was listening to Magic Talk the entire time. She called in shortly after Lance to explain her side of the story. 

"I haven't heard from him. I had a 70th birthday, and nothing. We had a 48th wedding anniversary - nothing. I just think he's got a big problem," she told Magic Talk. 

"He's got the problem, not me. I'll speak to him anytime he wants to."

Gemma, 71, she said she hadn't yet had sex reassignment surgery because she had a blood clot in her leg, but she does dress and live as a woman. 

She said she has a deal with her wife that, if they're going somewhere together to meet friends, Gemma has to temporarily go back to being a man. 

"I don't enjoy it, because that's not who I am anymore," she said. "Your brain is fully feminised."