Jeremy Farmer looks back on the first year of his transition:

It’s that time of year again and we all have to put on the happy mask, because it’s traditional.

I am not a Christian and as such I choose not to falsely celebrate a Christian holy day. As a single parent raising two boys I did make an effort to ensure they had fun and learned about charity and giving at the same time.

Now of course they are grown up and do their own thing. Christmas Day also marks my first ‘maniversary’, a year on the male hormone testosterone.

It has been a year of changes, some expected and some not. Physically my body is changing shape due to muscle and fat redistribution. Male-pattern baldness seems to be setting in and I am growing hair in places I didn’t know hair could grow. Every now and then I get a sore throat resulting in the voice pitching a bit lower each time.

Finally, and not least there is top-surgery and, wow, that has proven to be a real turning point. I think I knew it would be but I am sure it is more than I imagined possible. I feel more confident and more certain in life, not just the transgender stuff but everything.

That brings me to the biggest change of all, one I didn’t see coming but is mind-blowingly wonderful. This time last year I was very much a single guy with no intention or desire to change that as I had too much going on with my transition to involve or think of involving someone else in my life.

Then Caz exploded into the picture and now I can’t see a future without her, or our four children. So this year is another first.

As Caz and I build our relationship, I see her two little girls as my own. Once again I am drawn into making an effort to ensure they have a good time over the holidays.

I suppose it could be said I am being given a chance to see parenting from both sides of the gender coin. If I am honest the feelings and emotions are not that vastly different. However, I do see in Caz that natural instinct to care and nurture which I could never quite get to happen with the boys.

I am not saying I was a bad parent, as I know I gave the boys the best of me whilst they were growing up, but it does tell me there have always been some aspects of femininity I couldn’t pass on because they were never part of my natural self.

So perhaps there is something to celebrate this year, not least, my wonderful, enlarged family whom I love dearly.