Joy Timbrell had been married for over thirty years, a housewife with a grown-up family, working part time as a medical secretary, a magistrate and studying for an Open University degree, when her husband, Christopher, told her that he was planning to become a woman. In that moment, totally unprepared for such a profound revelation, her life was completely changed.
After some time, recovered from the initial shock, at the urging of friends and with the approval of her family, Joy decided to write a book about her effort, often hard but sometimes humorous, to come to terms with her husband's decision and to recover her life.
The book outlines the couple's lives before Christopher's diagnosis of gender dysphoria, the medical condition in which the gender of the brain does not match that of the physical body. The author then recounts the emotional difficulties that faced them both, before, during and after Christopher/Christine's change of gender. However, the book was written in the hope of providing some encouragement and comfort to others subjected to a similar trauma and also to dispel the myths and misunderstanding surrounding the condition.
Gender dysphoria is rare and it is not surprising that many people have never encountered a transgendered person and may be, therefore, wary and unsure of how to react, something which can cause extra problems for sufferers and their families. Whilst there is a certain amount written by transgendered people themselves, the author discovered that there was little available telling of the reactions of partners, either positive or negative, and with this book she hopes to redress the balance by describing the experience from a spouse's point of view.
Joy and Christine have taken part in television documentaries about gender dysphoria and appeared on ITV's Good Morning programme. Christine has given talks to the medical profession and to organisations which may have employees transitioning and Joy has written articles for magazines.