He married at 23 and he and his wife had five children. In his 30s he briefly tried painting as a way to escape depression. In the 1980s he watched one of the television programmes about Julia Grant's transition, which clarified what he really wanted. In 1991 he met a few trans people in clubs and went a drop-in centre for transgender people (the TV/TS Support Group at 2 French Place, Shoreditch?). This released his tensions, but led to a row with his wife. An attempt to take her to the drop-in centre made things worse. At his wife’s request, he went to four psychiatrists, but to no avail.
By the early 2000s his wife was descending into Alzheimer’s disease. In 2002 she was taken into a care home.
|The Museum of Everything|
At age 60 she contacted a gender clinic, but was told that the first appointment was a year away. So she contacted Russell Reid as a private patient and was put on female hormones right away. She had surgery in Brighton, again as a private patient. She spent £12,000 in total.
Her wife sleeps all the time, and has no idea what Margaret has done. Four of the children had accepted what she has done, but still call her Dad. Margaret now feels much more outgoing.
|Dr Harry Benjamin’s scale as a giant waterfall, by Margaret|
- Margaret Pepper talking to Jill Clark. “My true self has finally been released”. The Guardian, 3 April 2009. www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/apr/03/first-person-sex-change.
- Frances Spiegel. “Margaret Dawn Pepper - Artist Who Changed Sex”. Gay/Gender Issues@suite101, Oct 13, 2009. http://suite101.com/article/margaret-dawn-pepper-conceptual-artist-a158389.
- Uma Jovita Valaityte. “Margaret Pepper, Outsider artist”. Museum of Everything, The Tate, 2010. www.jovitaphotography.com/index.php?/portraits/tate-modern-judges.
- Laura Barnett. “Dazed and Refused: the art of rejection”. The Guardian, 15 June 2011. www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/jun/15/dazed-refused-art-rejection-bp-portrait.