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04 August 2009

Susan Huxford-Westall (1921 – 2009) school teacher.

Edward Westall was born in Portsmouth. When he was 10, the year that Susan later remembered as when Ted started cross-dressing, the family moved to London.

In 1938 he won a two-week trip to Canada from the W.H. Rhodes Educational Trust. He arrived back in England just four hours before the UK declared war in September 1939. On the ship he met Edith from Hamilton, Ontario.

As soon as he was 18, Ted joined the Royal Corps of Signals. He and Edith became engaged in 1941, and he spent the rest of the war in India as a staff officer.

Ted and Edith married in June 1945. While the pregnant Edith was visiting Hamilton, Ted enquired about emigration to Ontario, was accepted, and completed his teacher training at the Hamilton Normal School. He went on to teach chemistry, geography, mathematics and music. He was also a lay-reader in the Anglican Church.

Dealing with a growing desire to be female, he separated from his wife in 1974, and they were divorced three years later, the year that he retired from teaching.

As Susan Huxford (Huxford was her mother’s maiden name) Westall moved to Toronto, and was accepted into the program at the Gender Identity Clinic of the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry and had surgery in 1980.

She moved back to Hamilton in 1982, the same year as she took over from Rupert Raj as Director of FACT. She renamed it from 'Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Transsexuals' to 'Federation of American and Canadian Transsexuals', although she claimed to dislike the term ‘transsexual’, and preferred to be regarded as a ‘gender dysphoric’. Her wife and one of her daughters broke off contact with her.
Susan Huxford, centre

Susan ran FACT in an authoritarian fashion, got on well with Betty Steiner, the head of the Clarke Institute GIC, and acted more as an agent of the Clarke Institute Gender Clinic, than on the behalf of members. She advocated an old-fashioned concept of femininity. She withheld information in the meetings and in the newsletter, and also ran a separate counselling service, Gender Serve, for which she charged, although she was not qualified as a counsellor.

After FACT imploded and re-organized without her in 1986, she tried to restart another group with an exclusion of gays, and where members were vetted.

Later she directed her energies into the Anglican Church in Hamilton and changed her name to Susan Huxford-Westall. Edith died in 2005, and Susan moved back into the family home.

Susan died at age 87.
  • John Fitzgerald. “Transsexuals tread a path fraught with doubt, pain”. The Globe and Mail. Oct 27, 1983.
  • Ian Brown. “Altered States”. The Globe and Mail. Nov 15, 1986.
  • Fran Darlington. “Getting to know you: Susan Huxford-Westall”. Niagara Anglican Online. May 2008.
  • Paul Wilson. “A most remarkable Anglican: Susan Westall kept the faith as she challenged the church”. The Hamilton Spectator. May 04, 2009.
  • Claude Forand.  "Changer de sexe: difficile mais satisfaisant".  In Agence Science-Presse.  Le Sexe de la science.  Éditions Multimondes Inc, 2003: 99-100.  

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