Chedino gets her happily ever after

Chedino and husband, Keegan Martin, at their wedding in June at the Muizenberg civic centre after a 15 year journey to becoming a female.

After 15 years of agony, a transgender woman can finally be comfortable in her own body and feel beautiful.

Chedino Martin, 39, from Hanover Park, endured all the pain of transitioning from male to female and her fairytale had a happy ending when, the process being complete, she walked down the aisle and married her prince charming last month.

Even as a young pupil at Woodlands Primary School in Heideveld, Ms Martin felt that she wanted to be a woman.

She went through a phase of not knowing where she fitted in, not seeing herself as gay and not being interested in dating gay men.

When Ms Martin was younger, the information about transitioning was not as readily available as it is today.

About 17 years ago, she approached the Triangle Project, an organisation supporting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ) community, which gave her more information about reconstructive surgery.

After much research, she went for three months of therapy at Groote Schuur Hospital. These sessions were used to determine whether Ms Martin fitted the criteria to have the surgery. Ms Martin said the most important part of this therapy was to ensure that the candidate was in the right frame of mind to make this decision because it is life and body changing process.

Even once a decision is made for a person to transition to another, gender there is still a long waiting list as Groote Schuur Hospital only does four reconstructive surgeries a year.

According to Groote Schuur spokesperson Alaric Jacobs, the wait is long because other surgeries are prioritised.

Ms Martin said she waited 12 years for her gender reassignment surgery during which time she received hormonal treatment at the Endocrine Unit a Groote Schuur Hospital. She was also given oestrogen to enlarge her breasts.

Three doctors performed the seven-hour surgery that included breast augmentation, vaginoplasty and the orchiectomy.

Ms Martin gave special thanks to Dr Kevin Adams who has a private practice and was one of the doctors who performed the surgery at Groote Schuur hospital.

“Dr Kevin Adams is honestly one of the kindest, sweetest most caring doctors I have come across in a long time. He has the utmost respect for patients and especially his transgender patients. He always has a smile on his face and always finds time to crack a joke or two, whilst being totally professional,” said Ms Martin, who experienced tremendous pain during recovery.

She pulled through with the support of her family, especially her mum, Alma Wessels, and then soon-to-be-hubby, Keegan Martin.

Ms Wessels had even warm-heartedly joked that she had always wanted a daughter.

Both their families have been supportive of the relationship and on June 30, it was finally time for their big day.

The posh wedding at Muizenberg civic centre included a stretch limo.

Ms Martin said now she was really comfortable in her skin and felt beautiful every time she looked in the mirror.

Mr and Ms Martin are currently on honeymoon.

When they return, Ms Martin will go back to her career as a hairstylist.

She also enjoys being a cabaret performer and also plans to organise a Ms Gay calender girl contest later in the year.