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Ex-squaddie changes sex and converts to Islam

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: September 04, 2013

  • Lucy Vallender

  • Lucy Vallender as a young boy

  • Lucy Vallender

Comments (84)

A former soldier has gone from downing pints with the lads - to having a sex change and converting to Islam.

Lucy Vallender, 28, said she is finally being "true to herself" after becoming Britain's first transgender Muslim.

Defiant Lucy - who used to be a TA private called Laurens - has become the second wife of a devout Muslim.

Lucy, who used to live in Cirencester, wed her online sweetheart without telling him she used to be a man.

Now she prays five times a day and wears a full burkha and spends hours deep in study of the Qu'ran.

But despite her dedication she has been banned from her local mosque by elders who she claims said she would have to pray with the men.

The 5ft 10in ex-labourer says she always knew she was different but did not have her operation until three years ago.

She then converted to Islam a year later after watching tv programmes about the religion.

Determined Lucy met her husband-to-be Murad online and the pair married in April - the first day they met.

Lucy, who now lives in Swindon, said: "I always felt different and felt like I was in the wrong body.

"I told my mum and she was shocked to say the least.

"It just was not the done thing so I just put it to the back of my head and try and forget about it."

Lucy signed up to the TA arm of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment in 2006 at the age of 21 to try and make himself more manly.

But it only made her more depressed.

"I tried to do macho things you know to stop how I was thinking, but it didn't work because I was trying to be someone I wasn't," she said.

"I felt differently to others - I was attracted to men.

"But I suppressed my feelings and tried to live like most people my age.

"I'd go out clubbing with friends and drink a lot of alcohol.

"I had girlfriends too, but it would never get physical and always fizzled out after a couple of months.

"Joining the TA was my final attempt at trying to fit in to that kind of life but I couldn't handle it anymore and left after about a year.

"I felt like I was in the wrong body. To carry on living as a male was living a lie."

Lucy moved from her family home in Cirencester and plucked up the courage to see her doctor in about becoming a woman.

"I was so nervous and at first I could hardly form the words, but I told him I wanted to be a woman and he said 'ok' - that was that."

After years of counselling, medication and dressing as a woman, Lucy had the op in June 2010.

A year later she converted to Islam.

"I had thought about it for a while but it is such a taboo I thought," she said.

"But I did it because it is a nice religion - so peaceful.

"I felt good and I had something to believe in.

"I felt happy and relieved at last - the happiest I've ever felt in my life."

She bagged herself a Muslim hubbie, Murad, 22, from London, after meeting him on an Islamic dating site - but didn't tell him she used to be a man.

She met Murad - who has two children to his first wife - in April.

"I love him, he's kind and soft spoken," she said.

"I've seen him twice since the wedding . When I do we have sex.

"I didn't tell him I was transsexual but he must have suspected it as he he's seen my scars."

Lucy has spoken out in a bid to "get justice" for transgender and Muslim people.

"They say I am the first transgender Muslim but I bet there are more - they are just frightened," she said.

She says she has been banned from the Broad Street mosque by thoughtless worshippers who were offended by her gender.

She said: "The way they treated me was disgusting.

"They asked me questions about my bra cup size, asked about my Adam's apple, about my period and asked to see my birth certificate.

"They said I had to pray with the men so I left and pray at home instead.

"I hope people will change their attitudes and other people like me will realise they are free to just be themselves."

A spokesman for Swindon Mosque said: "Everybody is welcome, as long as they behave according to Islam."

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84 comments

  • franksdream  |  November 14 2013, 12:14PM

    he did it for the bantz

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  • ____D____  |  September 09 2013, 8:21PM

    To TIMONLINE2010, What would convince you that there is no god? If you say that nothing will convince you that god does not exist, then this is pure blind faith and you are blinkered.

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  • RodLIcense  |  September 08 2013, 7:21PM

    I've got no problem with someone changing sex, but why on earth would anyone convert to Islam? Hello, one way ticket to the dark ages please!!

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  • whatagreatday  |  September 07 2013, 8:23PM

    diogenesglos - As you have mentioned 'talking snakes' a couple of times, I thought you might be interested in this clip (I knew I saw it a few years ago). It is a chat show with guests Christopher Hitchens and Pastor Wilson. Watch the host (Joy Behar) who is a christian, question Pastor Wilson about talking snakes and searching for a sensible response. Even she felt believing in talking snakes is not meant in the literal sense....but it takes some religious types to be that gullible. http://tinyurl.com/ljj7hhk

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  • diogenesglos  |  September 07 2013, 4:54PM

    @Timonline2010 I do try and keep an open-mind. But to take a book that has talking snakes/serpents and people living inside a big fish for three days seriously, is pushing it.

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  • TIMONLINE2010  |  September 07 2013, 3:50PM

    Maybe I will, maybe I won't! I'll sure you'll feel equally compelled to respond! Equally, I'd have hoped by now that your views on the existence of God might have change but I guess you have an equally closed mind!

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  • diogenesglos  |  September 07 2013, 2:58PM

    @TIMONLINE2010 ***Just to clarify it is technically law, but hasn't been introduced yet..... So the law doesn't come into effect until some time next year. My point is........ that this paper will probably run an article sometime in early/mid 2014 about "gay marriage law finally comes into effect", and no doubt you will feel compelled to post a comment about how homosexuality is unnatural or not right, and thus another long-winded and rather pointless argument about the existence of god will take place. I would like to think that maybe your views on homosexuality have changed, but I doubt it. I am not here for point scoring or a rating battle, I am just trying to get you to open your mind a little that's all. My patience with this debate is diminishing. I don't think I have anything more to add. Plus I am sure you also have more important things to do as well.

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  • whatagreatday  |  September 07 2013, 2:11PM

    Oops, forgot about attaching the clip! http://tinyurl.com/d9cxu4p

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  • whatagreatday  |  September 07 2013, 1:05PM

    I was wondering if this clip is more suitable today rather than the biblical 10 commandments. An opinion from TIMONLINE2010 would be nice. If Tim can just state which is better to follow and why.

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  • whatagreatday  |  September 07 2013, 11:26AM

    Ah he's back! Good morning on this lovely day. As usual, TIMONLINE2010, shall we say, can't see the wood for the trees. I will attempt to educate this person and hopefully help to make him a better person. 1. "Plenty of so called christians continually prove how much they know what it is to be a so called christian." Perhaps you could elaborate? I made a mistake. Typo error. I meant: how LITTLE they know what it is to be a so called christian. So called christians have a set of rules from various sources. If I said to anyone, can you think of examples where christians have performed 'un-christen' acts, I reckon a large majority could think of examples more or less immediately, therefore, there is no need to elaborate. 2. "Again, perhaps you could elaborate? I certainly never said that the Bible is selective". On a previous discussion I had with you, you started preaching that the bible is a 'factual book'. I pointed out to you about a debate with Richard Dawkins, a biblical scholar and a bishop type. All parties agreed that very little in the bible was fact (remember, this is the YouTube clip that you claimed you couldn't access when you had!) - You conceded to this point. 3. ""Much of what he says isn't about Christianity at all." I found him very accurate indeed." Such as?" Actually, I cannot think of a point that wasn't accurate. Now which part(s) did you find "isn't about Christianity at all."? 4. "But do you have any evidence that Tony Blair is a Christian?" Yes. I invited you to watch the full debate between Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens when you harped on about TB not responding. In his introduction, this was announced without TB making a retort. I think that makes it pretty clear. While we are on the subject of 'evidence', I think it is rich that a person whose beliefs are based on 'faith' (belief that is not based on proof) is asking for evidence! 5. "What a naive comment! Many children have adoptive/step fathers" "OK. I concede....if christians will add in he "he's our heavenly step father". Have it your way." What other way is there?!" Thank you. This type of response is from a person who has just lost his argument. I actually find this type of response typically arrogant and childish where no real basis can back up your claims. I have seen this in many many religious types. The thinking man rarely (if at all) uses this response. 6. "No response needed because you have no response to give!" Are you insinuating that I (and presumably other people) cannot provide evidence I have friends? What a strange answer. Again, no response needed. I will let others judge who is the more reasonable here. 7. "Lots of people saw Jesus, everyone who lived in the vicinity at the time!" I would agree with that. But that doesn't prove he was the son of god. I can ask for evidence but that would be a waste of time. 8. "Well if something's not Christ-like, then by definition its not Christian! It's not a matter of cherry picking, its a matter of meeting the description of the term!" I'll answer in a way that you might understand. Self proclaimed christens are constantly and continually doing un-christens acts. 9. On Richard Dawkins hate mail. - "So called Christians' being the operative words - did they claim to be Christians?" One of the email signed off (if you watch the clip) as "christian living for god" as well as the majority citing the bible in their hate mail. Again, sorry to burst your bubble. 10. On gay marriage - "I think you're behind the times - it has become law! But only in UK and only according to state law." No, incorrect again. Just look it up. See, you now know more than you did yesterday! Happy days! :)

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