The New Girl Returns: Rhyannon Styles

It's been four years since Ryan became Rhyannon. ELLE's Transgender columnist returns, charting her journey, from beauty salon encounters to falling in love with a man

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After a summer spent writing my memoirs holed up in an idyllic suburb of Berlin, it's time to catch up and get current.

It's been four years since I became Rhyannon and I'm continually discovering more about who I am.

As my transition moves forward, it carries me further towards finding a sense of peace within myself while uncovering more obstacles along the way.

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This summer I wore a swimming costume on the beach in Germany for the first time.

This particular costume came from a friend, who was having a wardrobe clear out. She handed me a black one-piece, which had a frill around the waist.

'It's quite 50's looking. I think it will suit you,' she said.

And it did, hugging me in all the right areas and instantly feminising my body.

Revealing my body in a public space is nothing new (I spent last Christmas roller skating naked around the Barbican in an art exhibition).

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However, this time it was different.

'That's a man', I heard a young man say to another guy as I walked back from the lake to my towel on the beach. I was shocked and covered my body up.

I felt ashamed to be called out like that.

It took me a short while to get my head around why I was angry...

As I gain more life experience as Rhyannon, I often question who I am and the labels that I use to describe myself.

Recently I joined a debate with entrepreneur Cindy Gallop, broadcaster Bill Thompson and artist Shu Lea about shifting identities for Future Fest.

I've realised that 'male' & 'female' labels are outdated. I don't feel comfortable using either.

I want something more with which I can explore as my chosen identity.

I'll be using this column to write about people's reactions to my transition, exploring transphobia and the 'they' pronoun.

I also continuously learn more about myself with the help of other people.

I've been in a relationship with Ryan for over a year now. The name resemblance still makes people laugh. I think it's cute.

I thought that Gender Reassignment surgery would enhance my positivity and acceptance in the world

We originally met via an online dating website. When you meet the right person I think you just know.

I felt it pretty quickly when we began dating. My relationship with Ryan just works.

We relate to each other on all levels. He has all the characteristics I've been looking for in a partner; trustworthy, funny and he's creative like me.

We began dating just as I began my 'New Girl' column in September last year.

Having someone so close to me, as I continue to navigate my trans identity is crucial.

Ryan supports me, offering priceless advice and humour when it's needed.

I will be talking more about relationships and sex as a trans person in the coming weeks.

I began 'The New Girl' documenting my progress as I moved towards Gender Reassignment surgery.

I originally hoped this surgery would correct my body and be a clear indication I'd reached the end of my transition.

I've been in a relationship with Ryan for over a year now. The name resemblance still makes people laugh

I thought that the surgery would enhance my positivity and acceptance in the world.

In the time since then, my thoughts have changed and I have put the idea of surgery on hold for the time being.

It's a life changing operation and I'm not sure I need my life changing right now…

Read about this and lots more in 'The New Girl' which will be posted regularly on elleuk.com.

Rhyannon

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