A man who left his home town years ago has returned as a woman – to look up old friends, family and even EXES.
The 52-year-old moved away as Ian Hawkes – but has now come back to Swindon in Wiltshire as Suzie Hawkes.
Suzie, who lives in Florida with wife Cheryl and teenage son Jaison, has been overwhelmed at the positivity and support that greeted her in her hometown.
She said “I set the record straight with everyone and their importance in my past and present.
“I have been back many times before as Ian, it was functional. This time, I was truly ecstatic.
“It meant nothing how the surroundings changed, but to see those that truly care and accept enough to take the time for meeting up was amazing.
“As far as the other girls [I dated] I felt it important to see them and address any questions and feelings about each relationship.
“There were things I needed to say personally to each that I felt they should know. Closure on that side of who I was.”
Suezie went under the surgeon’s knife to have gender reassignment surgery and has appeared in the States on TV and the front cover of a magazine.
During her recent return to Swindon she also visited the grave of her father, businessman Maurice Hawkes, who died in 2004.
But she has spoken at her sadness she never got to show him the ‘new her’.
She said: ‘”He would have been tough at first but seeing me now he would have been a staunch supporter.”
Suzie also invited women she had dated as Ian, as well as ex-wife June Darroux.
The Coca-Cola employee also went to see a doctor to put the wheels in motion to get her confirmed as a female on her birth certificate.
She has also praised her stepmother Lisa Hawkes for being an “anchor of acceptance” and for helping her during her UK visit.
Lisa said: “How often do we get to know people who are truly who they want to be?
“Suezie has always been a funny, caring, and smart person. The extra vibrancy, joy and enthusiasm she has is a wonder to behold.”
Friend Sue Farrell, who dated Ian in the 80s, said: “SueZie is very brave and truly inspirational.
“She knew from a young age that being a woman was her dream. Through her determination and research she has finally achieved it.”