picCirca 2009

October 6, 2012
Front Page Chronicle Herald article: When A Man Is A Woman

Denise Holliday

Brief autobiography below, "Tell Me About Yourself, Denise."

Denise worked on a variety of projects:

Maritime Transgender Workplace Solutions

Diversity awareness in Rural Nova Scotia

On September 26, 2006 a workshop specifically on Transgender/Transsexual issues in the Workplace took place in Rural Nova Scotia in a local restaurant called J&S's Restaurant and Grill, located in Upper Musquodoboit. Certainly a first for this community. While the event was small in numbers (6 participants) the enthusiasm displayed after 3 hours of intense discussion was extremely positive. DeniseHolliday formed Maritime Transgender Workplace Solutions Project for just this scenario. Taking the issues to the people on the street so to speak. Education of the general public is as needed as educating companies, says Denise. The local restaurant closed its main dining room for 4 hours to allow this to take place. While the workshop raised local comments along with local awareness, the staff made sure the event went off without a hitch.

More information is available on her (out of date) Web site:

Tell Me About Yourself, Denise

I have never truly answered anyone in over fifty years. Should you like to take the time I want to attempt to answer it now?

Born ca. 1947, Denise has spent a little over 65 years learning things that enabled her to survive and support a family. During that time I have been an honest and upright citizen who truly attempted to never lie or steal from anyone. Yet to survive this world you know, I indirectly lied since even though I have known me since a small child, I never acted on the truth. When I was 50 my mother told me that she and my father knew I was different by the time I was four years old.

In 65 years I have accomplished many things. By age of twelve I had two small mildly profitable businesses and by eighteen I had been a milkman, gas pump attendant, Shipyard worker and become a fully qualified meat cutter as well as worked in a shoe warehouse for three months. 2 months before my eighteenth birthday I joined the British forces, more to runaway from me than be in the military. I was a professional dog trainer and since animals were one thing I related to, it was a work I loved.

By the age of twenty four I had attained qualifications of Meat cutter, Dog trainer and Heavy goods driver and after working with the SAS for a year, was one of those early mud-boggers that could drive a Landrover in a mud bog or sand dune at over sixty miles an hour in relative safety. Today’s youth think they invented that sport, smile.

I faced two lifelong challenges and had to make a decision, should I first discover Denise, and secondly to have my own children. The desire to have my own children was so powerful that I chose to ignore the other since doing the first would make the other impossible. I literally did a thorough marketing job for a woman who I felt would make a perfect mother. It was one of the best jobs I ever did. We were married three months when I explained as much as I knew about me to my spouse, a woman that I had by then fallen deeply in love with.

She chose to stay and we worked through many issues in our 42 years plus. Yet despite money problems, sickness and family deaths, we have never had a fight and I have never physically abused her or my children, all of whom I love dearly. I received an honourable discharge from the military due to a curvature of the spine and worked in two jobs, both of which I was successful and in which my bosses were disappointed when I left.

Since we emigrated 2 years after getting married it has been an interesting and at times difficult time. Since arriving I have attained and /or worked in the following job skills. Semi professional ceramic tiler, Plastic factory machine operator, Debt collector, Meat cutter, Insurance salesman, Rawleigh man, woods cutter and in 1983 I started my own print shop which had tremendous potential but unfortunately Denise was causing me a fair bit of dysphoria. Regardless of that, I succeeded in providing for my children and built up in addition, two community newspapers serving a total of 8500 homes as well as running the print shop and for three years I also and at the same time held a full time security position in addition to the printing and publishing. My spouse was tremendous help in-putting information for me so I could do sales and layout, often during meals and calls to clients while traveling. It was certainly an interesting period. We both knew for several years that I had to transition if I wanted grow or even survive. I had lived for my children and spouses sake but they needed me less and less and keeping myself so busy that I had no time to think, was getting less and less effective. With a tremendous amount of personal support from my family (My children never knew until I told them in 1999) I started transition. After a minor operation in late 1999 I ripped the surgery inside apart and bled for three days before knowing. This led to further surgery and then the worst blood poisoning case I ever want to see. I was one full year recovering and lost the business and became poorer than I ever thought possible, spending over nine months on welfare. During this time I took my GED and received a 94 percentile.

My parents requested I come home for a visit (I had not been home for sixteen years) and sent the airfare. I never was allowed to see that my Father was dying. Two months after my return he passed away. I finished transition while recouping my health. As Denise I worked as a Cleaner at the Airport for six months to build me up physically and obtain female work experience, than went back home to visit my mother as soon as we could raise the money. This was another emotional time since my father was not there and this was Denise’s first time in England. My mother died about three months after my return. Shortly after my return I worked at a Call centre as a telephone operator. Due to a lack of appreciation for their management style, I left and attempted to find more meaningful work. This was the only time in my life (except for a 3 week period twenty some years prior) that I found myself on unemployment. I realized that I needed to upgrade my computer skills in the PC area and decided to go back to college. I took a 2 year business administration with accounting as my major. Bookkeeping had always been done by me but as I wanted to learn to do it correctly and professionally, I chose this over marketing. I have done a lot of marketing my life.

So here I am again, looking for meaningful work and somewhere that I can share what I know, grow and just live. I have always been a people person, and get on equally well with seniors or children. It has been people’s preconceived ideas that have greatly prevented me from even having the opportunity to prove myself.

I did a presentation on “Transgender Workplace Solutions.” My MTWSP web page reads when complete,

“Knowledge is power that used wisely brings harmony”.

MTWSP was an outreach to medical, educational and industrial organizations to educate management on transgender issues in the work place from their (non-transgendered) perspective.

My personal e-mails read,:

 I never was the man you thought you knew,
 I will never be the woman I know I am but
 I will always be me.

I also did a Radio Program on CKDU that dealt with LGBT issues. Unfortunately I had a minor brain hemorage that caused me to quit work and retire. It was then another four years before I started to regain some of contacts and previous abilities. Now I am 66 and retired. I still follow the transsexual scene and assist where I can. I used to write articles for Wayves LGBT magazine and recently started supplying book reviews for them.