Sunday, 28 October 2012

An Honest Ramble

This week I had the privilege of being able to see a speech by Lana Wachowski in which she talks about the reasons why she's come out as trans and her battle to reach that decision.
If you don't know who Lana Wachowski is, she is one of the directors of The Matrix trilogy and also V For Vendetta (two films that I never really 'got' btw). However, whatever her failings are as a director she more than makes up for them in this video of her acceptance of The Human Rights Campaign's Visibility Award.
It is a very moving speech with which I identified on a number of points - the sense of not belonging, the feeling of being a "freak" and others.
Like Lana, I also have stood in front of people and talked about these feelings. I wasn't accepting an award but, like Lana, I felt being silent about it was wrong.
I also, like Lana I think, believe if you feel something to be wrong you should try to do something to put it right. That is one of the reasons why I'm now learning how to be an Equality & Diversity Trainer.
I could've chosen to teach many things - I have a HND in Graphic Design for a start - but felt that, if I'm to make an impact in this world, I'd far rather try to improve something I feel strongly about than something I just happen to be good at.
I'm not either a natural teacher (I'm inclined to be introverted, for example, which is not a helpful quality for a teacher!) nor a natural educator in Equality & Diversity (I have far too many prejudices!) but that is part of the attraction for me - it's challenging and that challenge motivates me.
A recent attempt at Equality & Diversity training was just yesterday when I tried to educate people that they should "be true to yourselves" (which I think Lana covers quite well in her speech also).
Being true to yourself is something I've struggled with all my life and I still don't quite achieve it. I still have a tendancy to "act straight" if I feel being my true self will land me in trouble.
I know it's wrong... I know it causes pain and grief to myself... but I still do it. It's a survival technique I've learned and I can't quite seem to break the habit of a lifetime.
So one thing I hope I'm learning is to have compassion to my failings and also to have compassion to others who don't quite live up to my expectations as well (which in itself is wrong - who am I too judge?? - and, yet, another habit I don't seem to be able to break).
So, anyway, back to yesterday - I flopped. Or did I? Certain people say they enjoyed it and thought it was successful but I, with all my newly acquired learning about teaching, feel I should've done so much better than I did.
But am I being too harsh on myself? It was, after all, the first time I'd done that presentation and nothing ever works out the way you expected or wanted at the first attempt! That is what I'm learning as a student teacher - that teaching is as much a learning process as being a student is.
So, anyway, enough of my ramblings for now. I don't know if there's any point/message to this?? But thanks for reading through to the end anyway.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Magical Mystery Tour

One in a very occasional series of film reviews...

This morning, after being a fan of The Beatles for the last 25 years or more, I finally got to see The Magical Mystery Tour and, far from being the travesty that I was always lead to believe it was, I reckon it's the best Beatles movie of the lot! The only fault I can see with the movie is that it was a movie too ahead of it's time.
For a start it was originally seen by the nation in black & white on poor quality televisions - not like I just watched it on my colour 42" HD telly!
It also has next to no production values and was made 40+ years before reality television and video blogs made us all acquainted with that idea!
It is also a psychedelic/surrealist movie with strippers and very little plot so pretty avant garde (especially considering how straight laced Britain was at the time!) - but broadcast by "Aunty Beeb" on Boxing Day and featuring the world's most commercial band!
It also followed two Beatles films that focussed on the band's likability/cuteness - A Hard Days Night and Help! - where this film has very little of that and instead is a pretty random experiment in film making.
The production the film most reminded me of was Monty Python's Flying Circus but this was broadcast 2 years before Monty Python! And Monty Python caused a hell of a stir even then! the shock The Magical Mystery Tour must've caused to mainstream Britain on Boxing Day in 1967 is still palpable 45 years later!
For me, though, the film has two great pleasures: The Beatles and the anarchy of the film.
Seeing The Beatles perform, even all this time later, is a joy. Their character and talent put the popular bands of today firmly in the shade! (Yes, Coldplay, I am looking at you!)
And the anarchy of the film - it's lack of production values, it's lack of plot, it's lack of commercial considerations, it's silliness, even the fact that the final two songs are plastered on the end with no rhyme or reason - made the film highly enjoyable and I'm pretty sure I will never see another film quite like it!
Highly recommended.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Choose Happiness

It's a glib thing to say "Choose happiness".
If depression was that easy to overcome a lot of psychiatrists would be out of work and the drug (and vice) industry would take a massive hit in it's earnings.
But what is easy is to push aside negative thoughts and replace them with more positive ones. I say "easy" but it does take a bit of effort - not a whole lot of effort - but a bit. The key is finding the determination to make that effort.
In my experience it's all too easy - and comforting - to think "Life has been so horrible to me". Thinking that way gives me an excuse to avoid taking responsibility for my life - a life that has in many ways been incredibly disappointing. But I am not a passenger in my life. I am the driver. Every decision I make - even if it is to delay making a decision - has a consequence and I thus have a responsibility for that consequence. That is incredibly difficult for me to accept - hence shirking the responsibility.
I am speaking from considerable experience of this. But I am finding a bit of reflection helps me through the darker moments. It's not so much as "choosing happiness" as "ignoring the sadness".
I hope for a miracle cure for my husband that may never come. I hope that this unfulfilling job is only the stop gap to finding a much more rewarding career than I've ever experienced before. I am hoping that this depression will lift and I will know happiness like never before. I am hoping that I am now slowly coming to terms with my gender identity and that, instead of fighting it, I will come to accept it's swings and roundabouts. And I am hoping I will put that year of bullying 25 years ago behind me and finally find the strength to be myself even in the face of adversity (as well as amongst friends).
But, in my dark moments, the above also gives me much ammunition to hate myself and my life. That is what I need to move beyond.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

There's No One Here But Us Pigeons!

It's quarter past midnight and I'm tired so this probably isn't the best time to be starting writing this but something a lady said last night has bugged me all day and now I simply must release the tension...
So last night I took one of my best friends to investigate a trans social group in Blackpool called Renaissance.
I sat down and the first question the girl sat next to me asked was "So are you TS then?", to which I affirmed that I was. This then prompted her to ask about hormones and I explained that I'd stopped taking them to which her response was "Oh, so you're just a crossdresser then" and it is this that has bugged me because it is offensive in many many ways.
First of all, I am not "Just" anything!
"Just" implies simplicity - one dimension - when I am far from that!
"Just" denies much of my achievement to actually exist at all!
Second, I am not a "Crossdresser".
I identify as female and I dress in female attire - that is not crossdressing! If I were to crossdress it would involve wearing male clothes and I have absolutely no intention of doing that ever again!
Also, the statement "You're just a crossdresser" in this context implies that crossdressers are lesser than transsexuals and that is just crap! There is no hierarchy of "trans-ness" - or at least there shouldn't be! I did not transition to claim superiority over anyone else. The reason why I transitioned was solely about my need to identify with my identity! (i.e. I identified as female and thus needed to express my female identity)
This statement also bugs me because it highlights people's need to classify what do they do not understand. And, unfortunately, some can't even be bothered to seek out the evidence to support their conclusion! So we get ignorance masquerading as fact which is just lazy and offensive!
It reminds me of something my dad said to me, "Pigeon holes are for letters and pigeons... not people!".
So is it too much to ask to be treated not as a letter nor as a pigeon but as a person as unique and as complex as any other??
After all, my life is still capable of changing in a heartbeat and, if I've shown anything, it's surely that it has and quite probably will continue to do so and thus render categorisation a fruitless exercise!
Note: As there appears to be some confusion, I'd just like to clarify that when I say "female", I do not mean "woman". I thought I had mentioned it in an earlier post but, if not, I am doing so now - I identify as female but not as a woman. I hope that is suitably ambiguous to everyone. :-)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Feckless Is As Feckless Does

I've now been unemployed for 7 weeks and in that time have been turned down for an interview for a position that I spent 18 months doing by the company I used to work for (but in a different location) because I 'wasn't experienced enough'; been to an "assessment" for a job described to me as "helping people out with their mortgages" which, when I turned up to it, was actually debt collection; and yesterday I was turned down for a 3 month temporary Admin job by a company who carries the Investors In People, Navajo, and Investors In Diversity watermarks - which I spent 5 hours filling in their application form detailing how I met each of their 9 criteria, point by point - because I lack the 'skills and experience', despite the fact it sounded 99% the same as the last two Admin jobs I had.
So when the right wing press describes the unemployed as "feckless" it sticks in the throat somewhat.
The only people who seem to be "feckless" are the people who I must rely on to get me back into work.
Besides what I describe above, I have found The Job Centre to be a total waste of space (practically everything they've told me has been wrong - to the extent I'm now thinking whatever they say, the reverse must be true!), the government seem to be doing anything they can to make the situation worse rather than better, and the prescribed solution to this problem has been to carry on doing what clearly hasn't been working since I was made redundant last October!
However, I'm not one to keep banging my head against a wall and hope for a different result each time.
Despite The Job Centre telling me not to bother, I went to Penwortham Work Club and in my two visits there they've made me feel a whole lot more positive about my situation.
Unlike The Job Centre, they appear to care about me and understand how bleak it is in the job market. They're also staffed by 4 experienced Careers Advisers/HR Managers and thus the advice they've given has yielded proper, noticeable, results.
They're the ones who got me to chase up Preston College to find out what was going on with my application for the PTLLS course. If I hadn't I probably would never have found out until it was too late that the college had somehow lost it and I thus needed to go and enrole last Thursday.
It is also PWC who helped me improve my covering letter which, in the two days I've been using it, seems to be provoking a lot more interest from employers.
Maybe the next thing I'll get them to do is show me how to fill in application forms so I'm not wasting 5 hours not to even get a sodding interview from people who claim to be taking positive action towards recruiting me!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Britain's Most Cowardly Comedian?

Frankie Boyle has been pilloried, misrepresented and demonised. And for what?
For telling it like it is.
These are the words that greeted me when I visited Frankie Boyle's website this morning.
From this I could be forgiven for thinking Frankie Boyle is incredibly brave to keep being honest in the face of such hostility.
But I would be wrong.
If Frankie Boyle were brave he'd be honest about how he makes his living. He'd state quite unapologetically that, yes, he is offensive but that he has every right to be and make his living from it, if he so wishes (which he clearly does).
That is the position a braver comedian, Rowan Atkinson, has taken. Rowan Atkinson has stated quite unapologetically that he thinks it is wrong for comedy to have boundaries and standards of taste and has defended that position eloquently.
Frankie Boyle does not. Frankie Boyle lies, squirms and wriggles his way out of trouble.
For example, when questioned about his Tweets poking fun at paralympic athletes he stated that his jokes were "celebratory" and that he was "laughing with the disabled" not at them.
It is this type of refusal to accept responsibility for his actions, despite numerous opportunities of his own making to do so, that marks Frankie Boyle out as a coward.
What is more, far from being a victim, Frankie Boyle is a bully; for Frankie Boyle constantly tries to take away our right to be offended.
Where Rowan Atkinson states that, 'yes, some comedy is offensive but that shouldn't stop us from telling offensive jokes', Frankie Boyle repeatedly states that he was not offensive and thus we have no right to be offended.
However, Frankie Boyle, has absolutely no right to decide what anyone else finds offensive.
The job of a comedian is to tell jokes - it is the job of the recipients of those jokes to decide whether they're funny or not.
Frankie Boyle clearly wants to do both.
And that, incidentally, is why I do not find him funny - because I'm not allowed to. Any time I care to take my seat in his audience, I find Frankie Boyle already sitting in it!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

No Surrender

So, following on from my last blog post, things didn't start with the enthusiasm I had hoped for on Monday.
I was nervous about how my lovely husband would react to the "new, super-improved" me.
Of course, I needn't have worried. When I presented myself to him as the "new, super-improved" me, his response was one of positive affirmation. And I loved him all the more for it.
He has always been honest with me. It is why I ask for his advice on matters... and why I'm usually nervous about asking for it. Honesty is hard to take when it's not the answer you were hoping for.
However, honesty is a quality in myself I fear I'm less endowed with. I have struggled all my life with my own mantra that "It's better to be hated for being honest than to be loved for being a liar".
It's a fact I know to be true but one I struggle to put into action thanks to those who will only love me on their terms.
These people are bullies and the world is full of them. They are the people who think it right to force others to fit in with their way of thinking with threats of violence, loneliness and/or poverty. And those threats make my life far more difficult than it needs to be. Because I don't fit in. I never have and I never will and I'm made to feel worse for the fact.
So I sought to feel better by pretending I did fit in. But as time went by I became more and more aware that I'd imprisoned myself in a world that doesn't love me.
So now I've broken free of that world it feels like a massive achievement - even though the change has really only been very small.
Small enough, in fact, that the general public don't even seem to notice. They still treat me exactly the same as they did before. The only difference is that I'm no longer lying to them. And, even if they don't notice it, I feel a whole lot better about it.
But I know those bullies haven't gone away just because I defy them. The threats of violence, loneliness and poverty are still real and omnipresent.
But, now I've claimed my life as my own, to surrender it back to them would be an act of utmost stupidity - as it would be to ignore the existence of their threats completely.
So I acknowledge their threats and I continue to defy them.
This is my life. No surrender.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Adventure Takes A Left Turn

In my last post I wrote about how fear - and particularly my fear of not having any money - had dictated the path my life had lead.
It's interesting to reflect on that as I sit here now having gone through - what seems to me - a seismic change in the direction I'm travelling.
Last week I was on holiday in Oxfordshire. The weather was lovely, and I was enjoying getting out and about and leaving my worries behind. But one morning I forgot to take my hormones and I didn't realise until I was a long way from the cottage we were staying at. Not to worry - one day wouldn't matter and I'd resume where I left off the next morning.
Then I went to buy ice creams for John and I and the ice cream man called me "Sweet heart".
Now to some trans people being able to "pass" (i.e. accepted to be the gender as that which they're presenting) so completely as I just had would be empowering. It would, after all, have achieved one of their goals. But to me it was alienating and, although I'd regularly had this niggle in the back of my mind, suddenly it became a disturbing roar and I couldn't take it any more. As far as I was concerned, I was creating a deception I didn't actually want to create.
So what to do now? Well, the next morning I thought about taking the hormones as usual but, realised, it was causing changes in me I no longer wanted. I didn't want the body of a female.
Now I'd been here before - as I blogged about at the time - and I'd taken hormones again the very next day. But this time I had the certainty that I no longer wanted to take hormones and the will power to stop. And I've not taken a hormone since.
So now I'm left with a problem that I haven't completely sorted out yet. How do I, someone who is trans, who felt manhood alienating, and wants to be perceived as feminine achieve that without being perceived as a woman?
Well, the answer that appeals at the moment is that - when I feel alienated from both the male and female genders - is to stop allowing my issues with gender to disadvantage me. For, if neither gender really suits, then gender becomes an irrelevance and I can play with gender to my advantage.
Don't get me mistaken - I never want to wear another item of male clothing or present myself as masculine ever again - but what's to stop me from presenting myself as an ultra feminine male?
For this I look to two of my heroes, Quentin Crisp and Boy George. I admire neither for their personality - both are quite loathesome in many ways - but I do admire them for their audacity to present themselves as they are/were - ultra feminine males.
I feel that is where the true expression of my gender identity lies. Some might describe it as "androgyny" but "androgyny" is a term - to my ears - that carries a weight of feebleness about it. I don't believe for one second that I am feeble. I feel empowered because now I feel I have the strength to express myself in exactly the right way... despite the fact that doing so may very well worsen my employability even more than it already was.
Now, to end this political party broadcast, I will relay an answer I thought of in answer to the question, "Are you a man or a woman?" which is, "I am intelligent."
"I am intelligent enough not to answer that question.".

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A New Adventure

When I visited London a few weeks ago I had a bit of a revelation. I realised that life is best lived in the moment for then I am free of worry and fear and find life exhilarating.
Furthermore, I have realised that I have allowed money - particularly my fears about not having money - to restrict my enjoyment of life. So, instead of making me happy like I have been told all my life, money has actually made me miserable.
So I have decided that, as far as that which is within my control, I am going to free myself of worry and fear and enjoy life.
I haven't worked out what exactly that means and I'm not Mystic Meg so I can't predict the future either but I know one thing for definite - I am tired of restraining and containing myself.
So now is the time to be foolish, to be adventurous, to go out in a - hopefully, very long - blaze of glory!
And I know it's already working too because, instead of feeling stressed, I feel happy and optimistic.
I can feel it in my bones that I'm about to embark on the best and greatest adventure of my life! :-)

Monday, 25 June 2012

A Sure Sign Of Failure

David Cameron has today initiated a "discussion" on the ease of access to the welfare state. Here are my thoughts on why his arguments are flawed...
  1. As of April there were 2650000 people unemployed with only 476000 vacancies for them - a shortfall of over 2 million! Thus it seems to me that Cameron should be attacking that shortfall not people's access to benefit!
  2. Welfare is for when times are hard and I think it's generally agreed that times have never been harder in our lifetimes! So why attack access to benefit now??? Surely Cameron has got his timing all wrong and he should be making these kind of proposals when times are good and jobs are plentiful!
  3. What kind of idiots does he take us for? This is purely an attempt to woo the right wing and divert our attention away from his failure to sort out our economy (which, in turn, would make the attacks on benefits he's proposing totally unnecessary!).
  4. Thus these attacks are a sure sign of Cameron's unsuitability to run our country. The guy's up the river without a paddle and throwing out titbits to try and distract the crocodiles from eating him!

Sunday, 24 June 2012


Over the last few days something has become clear to me - life is about experience.
Fortunately, the last few days have brought a lot of exciting ones - my trip to London, a trip to Manchester via Carlisle, dining with friends (cake included!)... etc.
But life also bring experiences that are less welcome.
For example, by this time next week I could be unemployed again.
Being unemployed is one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life - it brings doubt, anxiety and depression. But it is still an experience and, as such, I should welcome my experiences whether they're enjoyable or not.
For, one thing is guaranteed, each experience enriches my life one way or the other. So the good news is that my life will never be boring! :-)

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Good News

As part of my hormone treatment I had a blood test last Monday to see how things were going. My GP phoned me earlier this week to tell me the good news that my estrogen is now in the female range and it is safe to double my daily dose of Progynova to 4mg a day.
She also informed me that she would fax the results to the GIC. So I'll have to see, when I visit the GIC on Weds, if the exchange of information has gone smoother than the last time!
The other good news I had this week is that my temporary contract has been extended by a fortnight.
My boss also told me that he has requested several more permanent staff - of which he hopes I am one - but can't promise me anything because the company is in a state of flux, moving to Manchester, and he's waiting for the directors to get their act together and sort it out!
So he's trying to hang onto me as long as possible in the meantime so who knows how long that might be!
Certainly, the job market seems to have receded again - a symptom of the economy doing likewise no doubt! - and there is very little out there at the moment. So I hope I'm employed for a good while yet - even if it does mean travelling to Manchester every day and having my take home pay cut in half as a result!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

My Life As A Hormone Junkie: Week Six

First, apologies for missing out weeks 4 and 5 but there was so little to report it really wasn't worth the bother!
Anyway, after week 6 a number of changes have become apparent:
  1. There is more fatty tissue and definition in my breasts.
  2. I have become weaker (which I noticed because I struggle more and more with the heavy front door at work)
  3. I seem happier within myself (but this might also because I've not been unemployed the last 5 weeks)
  4. A number of people have said how well I'm looking (which, again, might be because I'm not currently having to deal with the stress of unemployment) and there is apparently more definition in my face now.
So, all in all, I'm happy with the changes hormones have made but I've yet to experience the hormonal mood swings that goes with taking hormones so that might change.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Arguments Against Gay Marriage

With President Obama putting the subject of "Gay Marriage" firmly in the headlines again, I thought I'd look at some common arguments against it...
If God had intended gay couples to marry he would've created Adam and Steve not Adam and Eve.
I'm sorry, I thought the Christian belief was that we were ALL children of God?? So surely God did create Adam and Steve as well as Eve?? In which case, I'm sure He wouldn't have created any of His children with the intention of denying them the same privileges as the others. If He did, then I think He's an unfit parent and should be dissuaded from further procreation!
Same-sex relationships are "unnatural".
I thought Christian belief declared that mankind was "begat of God" and thus completely separate from nature?? In which case, no human relationship is "natural", so why discriminate against just the same-sex ones??
Same-sex relationships are "unhealthy".
I'm sorry, I fail to see the relevance. I know many a heterosexual couple who are unhealthy - particularly so in the USA - and, yet, they don't seem to have been discouraged from marriage?? Which is a shame considering the children some of them produce!
If we allow "Gay Marriage" then we may as well allow people to marry their pets!
Again, I repeat: Christian belief declares that mankind is "begat of God" and thus not part of the animal kingdom. So surely it follows that a pet - a creature of the animal kingdom that mankind is no part of (even gay ones) - is not equal to a person?? In which case, having the two distinct in law would seem a logical and fair thing to do. Wouldn't it?
Gay people should not be allowed to marry because they suffer a higher incidence of AIDS than heterosexual couples.
I'm not sure of the scientific basis of this argument but anyway... Christian marriage is supposed to be a monogomous affair. Thus whether a couple has AIDS or not is completely irrelevant because, if they're obeying the strict rules of Christian marriage, they won't be having sex with anyone else!
Same-sex marriages have adverse affects on the parties' children.
If this is true, then it applies to the children of all gay couples not just the married ones. However, I think you will agree that a couple who have committed to spending the rest of their lives together makes for a more stable upbringing than those that haven't. So, surely, allowing gay couples to marry would foster a better environment for their children not make it worse??
The children of same-sex marriages are apt to suffer stigma.
Children suffer stigma for all kinds of reasons - what class they come from, what disabilities they suffer from, what race they belong to, what religion they are, etc, etc, etc... and no one suggests we ban marriage for any of these reasons so why single out same-sex marriage?? Besides, the best way to counteract stigma is not to stigmatise people in the first place and that lies very much at our own doorsteps rather than anyone else's.

In conclusion then there seems no good reason to bar "Gay Marriage". So, as far as I'm concerned, the sooner this self-righteous protection of the privileged is done away with the better.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

It's The Economy, Stupid! (Not Gay Marriage or The House Of Lords)

An article in The Daily Mail suggests that David Cameron is backing down on proposals to bring in "gay marriage" and modernising The House Of Lords.
The reason why The Mail states the PM is doing this is because Tory MPs want him to concentrate on getting the economy sorted out instead of being "distracted" by unpopular policies.
And they're right... sort of!
Yes, of course the PM should get the economy sorted out but if The Daily Mail thinks the issues of "gay marriage" and The House Of Lords have somehow muddied the waters then...
  1. They only have themselves to blame
  2. Only the seriously cracked think the issues of "gay marriage" and The House Of Lords comes anywhere near rivalling the issue of the economy!
So The Daily Mail's argument becomes almost instantly redundant because...
  1. If The Daily Mail would stop plastering their pages with irrelevant issues and concentrate on those that matter to everybody in this land (instead of just a minority) then the waters would instantly become clearer!
  2. It's my understanding that the insane aren't allowed to vote so the opinions of the seriously cracked are of an irrelevance anyway!
And I have to say to those Tory MPs who refuse to back David Cameron on these issues that if you want to win the General Election by an actual majority next time then you need to win over the floating voters.
If you wish to do that then you need to appear friendly and trustworthy - not bigoted arseholes who protect the privileged classes at the expense of everyone else!
So amongst all these savage cuts to public spending why not try a few "touchy feely" policies like legalising "gay marriage" and modernising The House Of Lords?
Such policies may help soften your image from "The Nasty Party" to one that appears a little kinder and those who have found their lives adversely affected by your policies might then be a little more forgiving.
...which might just make a difference when it comes to being re-elected!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

My Life As A Hormone Junkie: Week Three

Well, I guess the first thing to report is that there's nothing really to report. There are still no changes that I can pin down 100% to taking hormones.
The other thing to report is that I've decided to stop taking them. I'm not sure I'm ready for developing a female body or even if it's what I really want.
I find myself uncertain about what I do want though. I've spent a lot of this week running through my options and the option I seem happiest with is to stop taking the hormones. But whether that's a temporary or permanent thing only time will tell. I could very well start again tomorrow morning for all I know!
I guess I shall have to notify my GP if I do find this pause turning into something more permanent though...
A Day Later: And I'm back on the hormones!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Finding My Voice

Since Thursday last week I've been working as a temp for a company called Amey.
As a new starter I was required to read their policies and discovered that they had one of the best diversity policies I've had the pleasure to read. This did not particularly surprise me as the people in my office have been really friendly and welcoming.
However, it did not seem to count for much as I struggled to find my "female voice" which prompted much soul searching: If I could do it on the telephone and in interviews (two more stressful circumstances I could not imagine!) why was I struggling so badly in such welcoming circumstances???
It wasn't even like I was trying to hide anything!
As part of my application I'd been required to submit my passport (which is still in my old identity) and, to comply with their drugs and medication policies, disclose that I was on hormones - both of which obviously outed me (not that I believed for one minute that everyone in the office hadn't already sussed it out anyway!).
And so it was that I was ready to throw in the towel yesterday. I'd lost faith in myself and was gonna go take a long walk off a short pier!
...but not until I'd gone to my singing lesson!!
So I walked in and my singing teacher asked how I was getting on and I gave her an honest answer. And so my teacher spent the first half of my lesson counselling me.
Obviously, I employ her as my singing teacher not as a counsellor and so it's to her credit that she put those duties to one side to listen to me and give me some sage advice.
So, where half an hour earlier I'd been ready to walk out on my life, I left my singing lesson ready to give it another go.
And this morning on my drive into work I was thinking of the best way to tell everyone I was trans when I started to wonder why it was so important to tell everyone I was trans??
Was them knowing I'm trans really what I wanted?
No. What I wanted was to stop worrying what people thought about me! And the only person who can make that happen is me!
So I went into work with that thought in my mind and, you know what, it paid off! I found my "female voice" more often than not and I stopped beating myself up when I didn't!
So the end result was that I finished work today far happier than I did yesterday! :-)

...You know, we people of the LGB&T community have kind of had it brainwashed into us that we must out ourselves otherwise we're being dishonest.
Well, today I realised this is too simplistic.
It is completely pointless outing yourself in the hope of avoiding a scene or having people think better of you. The purpose of outing ourselves should be to free ourselves of the worry of those things!

...So, having dwelt on it some more this evening, I hope I can have the same attitude towards my gender as I have towards my feet and legs.
After all, is my gender any less or more of a birth defect than my feet and legs? And, yet, I don't feel the need to tell people I have deformed legs and feet and worry that I am being deceitful if I don't tell them of this fact. I don't particularly care what people think about my legs and feet any more! They are what they are! They may have given me some life experiences others missed out on but they are not the be all and end all of all that I am! I am more than my feet and legs!!
And so, surely, it must be the same of my gender (and any other part of me)?? And thus follow that it would be better for me to get things in perspective and treat it as such??
Yes, I think that it would. :-)

Saturday, 28 April 2012

My Life As A Hormone Junkie: Week Two

This week there has definitely been changes - I'm almost 100% certain of it!
Although I look as flat chested as ever, the dip between my breasts has definitely got more pronounced! It's weird but definitely interesting! :-)
I also feel happier this week but that's probably as a result of recovering from my cold and factors other than hormones.
And that is that. On to week three! :-)

Monday, 23 April 2012

My Life As A Hormone Junkie: The First Week

So I have now been on hormones for a bit over a week and I have to report that the only changes since day three have been that I have got used to the idea that nothing measurable is happening and I also got a cold.
I also have to say that getting a cold is considerably more upsetting than hormones having no measurable effect on my body as yet!
For a start, it meant that I had to cancel my singing lesson on Friday! And me having a cold also puts my husband's health at risk because fibrosis and a cold really aren't a good combination!
So, in conclusion, last week could've been better but it could also have been a whole lot worse!
So no change there then!

Monday, 16 April 2012

My Life As A Hormone Junkie: Day Three

When I think of the last three days, I am reminded of the quote that would often end The Goons radio shows: "It's all in the mind you know".
I've only had three 2mg pills of Progynova and, yet, I would swear that, somehow, my breasts feel weightier and my hips wider!
This has to be total nonsense of course!
As does the shift in my perception from having what I considered to be a male body which I wished to be female to one that I now feel is female but with certain, annoying, male characteristics!
But whether it is nonsense or not, I don't seem to be quite able to admit the fact. I am certain there are changes afoot and, I guess, I am right in a way - just not the way I seem to think!
You know, when I talked to friends before about hormones they did mention that if affects the mind first. I wonder if this is what they meant??

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Are You Plagued By Fairies?

I have just been reading an article on "gay cures" which, like many times before, has left me asking "Why?".
I just don't get it! Homosexuality isn't a disease or an ailment so how can it be cured?
I simply don't know the answer to this but there are those who claim they do. They point to success stories - of which they may even be one themselves - and claim that they are "ex-gay" and are now back on the straight and narrow, living as heterosexuals.
Well, I'm afraid I simply don't believe them... especially when you dig a little deeper and find that they haven't been 'cured' of their sexual feelings but have instead learned to refrain from acting upon them.
Well, anyone can do that! Anyone can say, "I think this wrong so I shan't do it!" So why can't they be honest about it? Why do they have to resort to propaganda that portrays homosexuality as something that needs a cure?
After all, homosexuality is, as the name might suggest, a sexuality and no matter what variant it is - whether it be asexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, pansexuality or heterosexuality - sexuality is common to everyone. So to claim that only one variation is "natural" beggars belief!
No, what "gay-cures" really amount to is a belief structure based on fantasy and I'm afraid that is a recipe for disappointment at the very least... and courses in brainwashing and electroshock treatment for the less fortunate!
So, please, there is no Peter Pan waiting to whisk us off to Neverland or tooth fairies lying in wait at the bottom of our beds waiting to swap our teeth for 50p (or whatever the going rate is these days!) or Santa Claus or Easter Bunny or Tony Blair... OK, maybe Tony Blair does exist but what is for certain is that homosexuality isn't "unnatural" or the work of The Devil!
And, just like these childhood fantasies, the easiest, quickest and safest way to rid yourself of these fantastical delusions is to stop believing in them!
Then, when you have grasped reality, you will see that the way to rid yourself of your discomfort is not to enrol in some quack course that reinforces it!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

My Life As A Hormone Junkie: The Beginning

As I write this I have 2mg of Progynova floating around in my system. That might not seem a big deal and in itself it is not but what it means is immense.
Progynova is the hormone that I hope will lead to a body more in keeping with my image of myself and a more peaceful mind.
It is also a drug that has the potential to cause depression, cancer, blood clots, heart disease, kidney failure and/or a stroke... so there is much riding on this drug!
That is why I had to be certain that I wanted to take it and so I had to look again at where I had come from, where I am now and where I want to go with my life.
What I was reminded of was the pits of depression I used to suffer when I felt compelled to act male, the frightening levels of violence I refrain from doing to my body, and the possibility of putting all these things behind me forever.
And that is why I'm taking this drug.
However, in trying to research hormones, I found a lot of gobbledygook. I am not a scientific person and I struggle trying to understand science.
So what I intend to do is document how this hormone - Progynova - affects me because I suspect there are a lot of people out there who would much rather read personal accounts written in plain English rather than all that gobbledygook science out there!
However, I will do so with one proviso - no one interprets what I write as a definite account of what happens when you take Progynova.
I am an individual. I have several health conditions that I suspect a lot of people won't have: Club feet, undeveloped muscles below the knees, short sightedness, spina bifada, and a history of cancer AND heart disease within my family just to name the ones I am aware about!
So in no way can what happens to me be interpreted as a definite account of the effects of taking Progynova.
But the things that will happen to me will be things that CAN happen to someone else and for that alone I think it is important that I document events and how they affect me.
So, with that understood, here are my first findings....
I took my first pill (2mg of Progynova) at 8:05 this morning. At the time of writing, 10:00 a.m., I feel bloated, gassy and light headed - all of which are known side effects of taking the hormone.
So, if these effects are indeed down to the hormone and not just my breakfast, then the side-effects have been almost instantaneous! And I find that both scary and exciting!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Teach The Children

An incident this week reminded me of an argument that often gets put forward when a child is allowed to crossdress.
The argument goes along the lines that allowing a child to crossdress is forcing them to take part in "some kind of gender experiment".
However, I would argue that the only experiment that takes place is seeing what happens when you force a child to wear clothes they don't want to wear, (although I would think that it's not so much an experiment as a foregone conclusion: The child will feel miserable!).
Imagine the scenario... you are a child who likes to wear the clothes of the opposite gender. Doing so makes you feel good and that makes you feel happy.
However, your parents catch you wearing those clothes and tell you off for wearing them. Apparently what makes you feel happy is of less importance than doing what's expected and being seen as "normal". You MUST "fit in"!
Then, to justify their actions, they tell you they're doing it "for your own good" because other people won't understand and will bully you.
Well, obviously, you don't want to be picked on and bullied so doing whatever it takes to avoid that seems sensible.
However, if you were an adult and had some experience of life behind you, you might see things a different way.
You might then realise that for the entirety of your life there will be someone somewhere willing to pick on you for ANY perceived variation from "the norm".
And thus wouldn't it be better if, instead of siding with the bullies in this world, your parents sided with you!
Because right now, at that moment when they tell you off for crossdressing, the message they're sending you loud and clear is "You are WRONG!"... and so bullying you is to be expected and, furthermore, bullying you is RIGHT!
That is NO kind of message to send to a child!
So spare me from that "They need to learn right from wrong!" bullshit because, more often than not, it is the adults who don't know right from wrong!
So, for their sake, let me make it plain and simple: Bullying anyone for any reason any time, any place, anywhere is WRONG!
It is NEVER correct! And it is NEVER justified!
So stop teaching your children otherwise!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Times They Aren't A Changing

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am passionate about music. I am not aware of any form of music I have not listened to... and if I did become aware of one, I'd make it my duty to listen to it!
However, my thirst for music has made me aware of something that I think may be particular to popular music that is not common to any other form of entertainment - the urge against change.
Where any other entertainer might find their bookings drying up if they were repeating years old material, our popular musicians can make a profitable career from playing hits that are 40 years old or more! More so, they are positively encouraged to do so!
Very few people would book a ticket for the Rolling Stones or Paul McCartney hoping they only do their new material! No, they want them to play the hits we all know and love!
Also, the likes of Simon Cowell and the big corporate record labels like Warner Brothers are very risk adverse. They invest millions into their artists and they don't want to risk that money on something that might not work and so they stick to the tried and tested. Thus you get the likes of Westlife who spent a decade or more doing the same old routines to cover versions of other people's hits!
And should an artist have a hit with new material, people want them to repeat the trick. So, for example, when Radiohead had a hit with The Bends people wanted them to follow up with The Bends 2! So when they followed up with the more experimental OK Computer, it took a while for people to warm to it and recognise it for the infinitely superior album that it is!
The knock on effect of all this is that you get a whole swathe of artists stagnating and the music suffering as a result.
Now, you might think it has ever been thus. After all, as I mention above, Paul McCartney is playing hits that are now getting on for 50 years old! But Paul McCartney is the same artist who, just 4 years into his recording career, decided to stop touring and retreat to the studio where he conceived of one of the most experimental albums in popular music - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. And you simply can not imagine his modern day equivalents being allowed the freedom to do that!
Furthermore, it is astounding to consider the recorded output of The Beatles, with it's progress and diversity, and compare it to today's artists. It'd be like Take That moving from the boy band mush we all know them for to Drum and Bass to Alternative Rock to Dubstep and then on to whatever's next on the horizon!
And, when I consider the artists I fell in love with as a kid - the likes of Adam & The Ants and Duran Duran - I can see that the adventurism hasn't just disappeared from the music but also the presentation. I mean, I hardly imagine Justin Bieber's gonna start dressing up as a dandy highwayman or tie himself to a windmill any time soon!
So, that may be why I no longer care what's in the charts. I know that, for the vast majority of it, I've seen it done before and done better as well!
That is not to say there's nothing new and interesting in popular music anymore. I put together a monthly compilation highlighting the fact that there is! It's just that, where once it might have been topping the charts, these days it probably hardly bothers the charts at all!
So I'm not sure it's fair to point the finger at the musicians and businessmen and accuse them of the drudgery found in today's popular music. I think perhaps we need to look at ourselves.
Why is an artist playing hits more than 40 years old selling out stadiums whilst up and coming artists with new and interesting ideas barely sell out the Manchester Apollo?
Why are the likes of Simon Cowell so successful with the same old stuff we've heard a million times before?
Why are the likes of Coldplay expected to make an almost exact same copy of their most successful album every time?
There can only be one answer - because we demand it.
And I can't help thinking that that's a strange state of affairs. Why is there such resistance to new ideas and fresh sounds?
Surely I can't be the only one who gets bored of hearing Blowing In The Wind for the billionth time!

Having Another Go

If I understand The Bible correctly, Easter Sunday is the day that Jesus resurrected from the grave and "lived again".
Having transitioned, I too have some inkling of what it's like to "live again" for I too have effectively had two lives - one living as a male and one living as a female.
However, in fairness, I don't think you have to be trans to have two chances at life - we all have two chances at life - and, in fact, our chances aren't limited to just two. There are very few things in life that we can't have more than one go at. More often than not, all it takes is the ability to recognise our mistake and the willingness to put it right.
However, that is not as easy to do as it is to write. Some people have great difficulty admitting that they've made a mistake. I guess they fear that if they appear flawed then they appear weak and open themselves up to the potential for abuse. Whereas, if they deny they are flawed then they appear strong and people won't be inclined to abuse them.
I think differently. I recognise that all humans are flawed - we all fuck up from time to time! Thus, someone who refuses to recognise their flaws, doesn't so much as appear tough and strong to me as inhuman.
I also think that, if we deny our mistakes, then we continue to live with those mistakes, (after all, it's impossible to rectify a mistake if we don't recognise that a mistake has been made!), and, if we continue to live with those mistakes, the impact of that mistake will become larger and larger until it becomes debilitating.
That was certainly the case when I lived "in the closet". I found life incredibly debilitating! Having to deny who I was meant that I had to effectively imprison myself for fear of letting myself live freely and thus expose myself to the potential for abuse.
And that is what I believe these people who wish to appear flawless are doing - they are effectively imprisoning themselves within their own mistakes! And I can say from experience that that is no way for anyone to live.
Another way our mistakes can imprison us is being afraid to make them - we can be over-cautious to the point of doing nothing! But, as I said above, there's very few things in life we can't have more than one go at, so we really shouldn't be afraid of getting it wrong. And, besides, practice makes perfect, right?
For example, when I burned my arm in the oven, it didn't put me off baking for the rest of my life! I just learned to do it a different way in future! (i.e. keeping my arms well away from the sides of the oven!)
And I think we should take that attitude into every aspect of our lives - just cos we got burned the first time shouldn't dissuade from us doing it ever again... only to try doing it differently!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Preston Passion

This morning I watched Preston Passion on the BBC.
For those that don't know, this was an event based in Preston put on by the BBC which commemorated (if that is the right word) the Crucifixion of Christ.
I tuned in primarily to see if I could spot any of my friends from The Salvation Army (I didn't) but found myself enjoying it for several other reasons.
One of these was seeing bits of Preston I know quite well on the television which, oddly enough, made me feel quite proud of my adopted city. It felt like that this grim old city, that has done me little favour, had arrived at the big time because it was on the big screen (our tv is 42" you know!).
Another reason why I enjoyed it was that, despite it's ham fisted delivery, I found the program quite emotional and it presented me with two subjects for further thought that I would like to dwell on now...
The first of these is
Who would you make the ultimate sacrifice for?
to which my answer is "Anyone I care for".
I don't know about anyone else, but to me that doesn't seem extraordinary. If it came down to saving the life of a friend, a family member or my husband at the expense of mine then, yes, why wouldn't I sacrifice mine for theirs?
The other subject that I'd like to ruminate on is
Why can't Christianity always be like this?
The program presented Christianity as being a source for solace and love and it struck me, as it had before, that perhaps the biggest drawback of Christianity is The Bible.
The Bible, as one might expect of a book with many authors, is full of many contrasting and contradictory accounts.
For a start, at least half The Bible - The Old Testament - was written before the time of Christ and the other half was purportedly written long after the time of Christ! So my mind can't help but wonder just how "Christian" The Bible actually is!
However, to many people, to be Christian means to be a believer in The Bible... and even more so, to many Christians The Bible is "The word of God" and therefore irrefutable.
So it is not a surprise to me that there is an inherrent conflict that many Christians have to deal with.
On the one hand there is the life of Christ who, if we believe what is written, lived a life loving and caring for his fellow man.
Then, on the other hand, there are many admonishments against a sinful lifestyle that have been used to justify homophobia, transphobia, sexism and racism (amongst other things!) which nowadays seem at odds to Christ's message of loving and caring for your fellow man.
So, to many modern minds, Christianity appears to be a religion of hatred and intolerance and - when you can not detect the presence of either God or Jesus in your life anyway - it seems pretty obvious why Christian churches no longer attract the congregations they once did.
However, if Christianity presented itself more along the lines of Preston Passion more often then I believe the experience would be much more rewarding.
You don't need to believe in Christ to see that Christ's values are the best way to live our lives!
However, as far as the Christian Church is concerned, perhaps that is the problem! Perhaps they reason that, without the need to believe in Christ, there is no reason for anyone to bother with the Church!
So, in answer to my question, perhaps the reason why Christianity isn't always like the Preston Passion is because it's too scared to be - it lacks faith in "The power of Christ" to attract people.
However, to go in the direction they have - where they have sidelined Christ's teachings in favour of cruel admonisments in The Bible - only exacerbates the problem. For whilst Christ's teachings attract people, their sermons drive them away.
As a result of which, the ideology of Christ - which I truly believe would better mankind (despite not believing in his divinity) - is getting forgotten. And on this I can join in with the Churches and declare that this will be to the ruination of mankind.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Everything Is Temporary

One morning whilst volunteering at The Salvation Army, one of the learners asked how the job hunting was going.
I replied that it was just as frustrating as ever.
To which she replied, "Don't worry. Everything is temporary. Nothing lasts forever".
And, reflecting on the events of this weekend, I can see the change that has happened and the change that is about to happen and I can see that, yes, indeed, nothing lasts forever.
Once upon a time I hid who I was from my family. Now I don't and I have been repaid for my honesty in spades!
For example, where once I felt distant from my mum, now I feel closer because I can talk about clothes with her in a way I never could as a teenager! And the fact that my mum feels able to give me her opinion on my fashion mistakes is worth it's weight in gold to me!
And sharing "quality time" with my brother and my niece and nephew, as I have this weekend, is beyond superlatives! Especially as I used to think he wasn't so keen to have me in their lives! But this evening I received a text from my brother - which in itself is a rarity! - that removed all doubt from my mind!
So, yes, things are only temporary - much progress has been made since the "bad old days" - but, things being temporary, progress never stops.
So, as I got nearer to home, reality began to creep back in - making the happy times of the weekend fade away to be replaced with the doubts and worries I have with being unemployed.
And, also, the reason why I was visiting my brother and his family this weekend was because he's due to move abroad very soon. So this may very well be the last "quality time" I share with them for some considerable time!
So I have reason to be a little downhearted tonight.
But surely, if I reflect on my life, I can see that, just as bad comes of good, good comes of bad as well!
And, whilst it's perfectly reasonable to be depressed when you're experiencing the bad, one should also reflect that the bad times won't last forever and look forward to the good times.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

A Very Real Horror Story

Consider the scenario - you are the mother of an infant who, despite being born male, wants to act and dress like a girl. You are scared for them because you know tolerance of such behaviour is scarce. But you can see that your child is miserable being male and so you allow them to express their femininity at home but under no circumstances must they do it outside!
Years roll by and your child is still miserable having to pretend to be male. It breaks your heart to see them come home in tears for being forced to be a boy at school all day! But you know that if your child goes out dressed as a girl they will be subjected to ridicule and much much worse. What on earth do you do?!!
On the one hand you can't bear to see your child in pain but on the other hand you're scared of the pain that will be brought to bear on your child should the truth be known. If there ever was a case of 'Stuck between a rock and a hard place' this is surely it!
Well, one mother looked at her morals and recognised that it was wrong for her child to live in fear and so she made the incredibly difficult decision to allow her child to live as a girl full time.
But there was no way she was gonna just throw her child - her daughter - to the lions and so she made provision as best she could and contacted the school to inform them of the impending transition. The school then, quite rightly, made the announcement in assembly that a former male pupil would be attending as a female pupil.
However, you can never underestimate the depths to which people will sink, and this is when what had already been an incredibly difficult journey became a living nightmare.
The mother's daughter was called a "freak" and a "tart" to her face not by her peers but by the PARENTS of them!
What a fine example to teach your children! Fuck love, tolerance or even just minding your own fucking business!! No, HATE is what makes the world goes round!
But hate was not enough for these warped individuals, they had to add SPITE to the mix as well! So fuck the family's right to privacy! Inform the press everything they could possibly ever want to know about this "freak" and her "freak family"!
And did the press think, "No, this is a TEN YEAR OLD CHILD! It is totally wrong to expose them in the press"? Did they fuck!! Like any business, the press need to sell their products and here was a story guaranteed to make a quick buck for them!
So GREED was added to hate and spite and the family found their local nightmare had turned into an international nightmare!
At which point the mother realised any hope that her child would have a life like - or even maybe just a little bit similar to - any other ten year old was lying in tatters.
What is more - with the hate, spite and greed now gone international - her child's life was in very real danger! There was no putting the cork back into the bottle now! What on earth was she to do?!!
Well, first things first, get the police involved. But then a realisation dawned on her - maybe all this attention could be turned from causing harm to her daughter to, instead, protecting her and children like her. After all, it's far more off putting to consider harming a child when you know the whole world's attention is focused on that child!
So, believing, as she already did, that her child should not hide away in fear, she decided to go public and put across her side of the story about her daughter and her family.
But the public is a very hard beast to please because, in some twisted kind of irony, the mother then found herself criticised for going public! The public clearly felt, as the mother had, that she and her daughter were entitled to some form of privacy! Talk about "Damned if you do and damned if you don't"!
So you could forgive the mother if she was bitter. After all, she had found herself confronted with the incredibly difficult situation of her child being transgender and then criticised for every which way she tried to handle it.
But this mother is not bitter. She believes, despite her child being taught about HATE, SPITE, GREED and FEAR at a very young age, the most valuable lesson she can teach her daughter is LOVE.
And that is what you will see when you encounter Livvy James and her mother. You will see a very bright, tender, girl and a passionate, loving, mother. They are beacons of hope that love will win out in this unbelievably cruel world.
But, I have a warning for you, that beacon is of limited use if we don't pick up it's message and pass it on.
For, as sure as eggs is eggs, Livvy James and her mother are not of infinite public interest - they will become old news very soon. So, if we want to make a difference, then WE have to make a difference!
The evil in this world won't shrink away just because of Livvy James but it might - it just might - if we all stand beside her and champion what we know to be right.

Monday, 26 March 2012

What Maketh Us Free?

Without doubt, one of the biggest barriers to accepting myself as a transsexual was having a misconception of what a transsexual was.
I would compare myself to this notion and come to the conclusion that I couldn't possibly be a transsexual because I didn't fit my concept of what a transsexual was.
If I had done some research I would have discovered a whole lot earlier that transsexuals aren't a one-size-fits-all species!
Being a transsexual does not define your sexuality, the way you want to look, or even whether or not you want to have surgery to correct your sexual organs!
The only one true definition of a transsexual is someone who identifies as the opposite gender to that which they were recognised at birth.
So being transsexual doesn't even define what gender you are - the idea that transsexual = "cock in a frock" is a total myth! Transsexuals can be both male AND female!
But research isn't only useful in defining your gender, it's useful in every aspect of your life.
For example, when I get an invite to a job interview, I research the company I am hoping to be employed by. Doing so helps me tailor my interview presentation to fit in with what I believe the company is looking for and so, logically, improve my chances of landing the job.
Research even helps me when I am buying the groceries. I look around the kitchen and see what I require, write myself a list and then refer to that list when I am in the supermarket. Doing so helps me to avoid buying things I don't need and thus save myself money.
So I find research incredibly useful and there's only one thing I can guarantee if I don't do my research - I remain ignorant.
Although ignorance is useful sometimes - there is a danger of knowing too much - in most cases ignorance leads to you looking foolish. So, when it came to putting together an image that I hoped would look sufficiently feminine for me to be understood as female, I made damn sure I did my research!
I didn't just assume that all women wore make-up, high heels and dresses. I recalled the fact that my own mother very rarely wears any of those things!
Neither did I assume that my mother was a typical woman. I did my research and realised that there is no such thing as a typical woman!
The result of which was that I had a blank canvas with which to work with.
I could wear make-up if I wished but I could just as easily decide not to wear make-up. Make-up does not maketh the woman!
I could wear heels if I wished but I could just as easily decide not to wear heels (which is jolly fortunate considering my feet!) as heels don't maketh the woman either!
I could wear dresses if I wished but I could just as easily decide to wear separates or jeans and a t-shirt or even a suit if I so wished! Because clothes don't maketh the woman either!
And on and on and on...
So what I was left with was the freedom to decide what I wanted to wear - which is what I have wanted my entire life! - but without the research, I could never have come to this realisation.
So, as I say, research always pays off.
Or, to put it another way, having a questioning mind liberates us - whereas having a closed mind imprisons us.
It's shameful then that we are often encouraged to have the latter.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

We Do Need Some Education

Yesterday my attention was brought to a blogger who has made it her mission to
use every legal measure to keep off transsexual people from having equal rights.
Sadly, her grasp of the law isn't very great as she has been collecting the private information of people she doesn't like and outing them. If this wasn't bad enough, she has also been inciting hatred and murder which, as I understand it, has indeed lead to the murder of at least one person.
However, I will not name this blogger as I don't believe, when someone deliberately sets out to offend and publicly shares her email address to receive the offence she has caused, we should pander to that person's cravings. So, for the purposes of the rest of this post, I shall simply refer to this blogger as Mildred.
However, I do believe Mildred is sharing some very badly informed opinions which perhaps highlight a wider problem of education about the "LGB&T community" and so I shall endeavour to correct that miseducation...

1. Facts are indisputable - opinions are not. For example, it is a fact that homosexuality is the sexual attraction between people of the same sex. But it is a matter of opinion that homosexuality is in any way wrong or immoral. Thus Mildred is entirely wrong to state
you can’t change the facts: that homosexuality is abnormal and disgusting.
as those aren't the facts. They are opinions. As such, they are quite open to dispute and so I feel quite comfortable saying that I think she is wrong. I think homosexuality is lovely!

2. For the vast majority of my life I have had great difficulty coming to terms with my gender identity because I believed transsexuals to be freakish and an abomination. Society has had no small part in helping me formulate that opinion and thus I see absolutely no need for Mildred (or anyone else) to tell me (or any other transsexual) to
Stop trying to pretend to be “better” than others because you consider yourself “transsexual”.
because it simply is not the case.

3. Human rights are entitlements that ALL humans have. And the good news is that no one needs to fight for them because we ALL have them - we are ALL entitled to the same things. What is even better is that human rights AREN'T finite - if I have a human right, then that same human right is there for you as well.
So Mildred is quite wrong to state
There isn’t an endless amount of human rights available, we have to deploy our resources carefully and wisely.
But is correct to say we have to handle them carefully and wisely because, if we were reckless and somehow destroyed a human right, it affects EVERYBODY and, personally, I think it's better to have as many human rights as possible.

4. Equal rights are entitlements that we all have EQUALLY (the clue's in the name). So, again, Mildred is misguided if she thinks she can
keep off transsexual people from having equal rights.
because if I don't have equal rights then NO ONE has equal rights. That is how equality works!

5. Whilst it is the case that the differences in sexual orientation aren't universally acceptable to every society it is not the case that they are not acceptable to any society. So Mildred is wrong to state
It is unbelievable how you, the LGBTQ people think that your sexual orientation could ever be socially accepted.
because it is very believable that where a large number of gay people live (e.g. Brighton), not being heterosexual is going to be socially acceptable! In fact, in my experience, I wouldn't even state that one needs to have a large gay population for that to happen. Also, being trans (the T of LGBTQ) has no bearing on your sexuality and thus a trans person could have any kind of sexual orientation! So to think every sexual orientation is universally excluded from social acceptance everywhere is almost certainly somewhat misjudged.

6. Believe it or not, a transsexual can be any one of the sexual orientations available. Thus to assume that a trans person is automatically non-heterosexual is wrong. So for Mildred to state
As soon as scientists will find the “transsexual gene”, there won’t be any transsexual babies anymore in this world. Then we can get rid of the LGBTQ peverts from the very beginning.
is not only offensive but also inaccurate.
Even if scientists find a "transsexual gene" and decide to use it to kill all the transsexual babies in this world, it could only rid the world of the T "peverts" - the LGBQ "peverts" would be no more affected than the S (straight) "peverts"!

7. Being LGBT or Q is not a choice. If it were, I would wager a good many would choose not to be LGBT or Q rather than face the prejudice, terror and/or murder for being seen as "abnormal". So, as much as anyone might desire it, it is impossible for them to
become normal immediately.
8. Since being LGBT or Q can lead to you being subjected to prejudice, terror and/or murder, a good many think it wise to blend in to society rather than being identified as LGBT or Q. Thus I have to differ with Mildred when she states
everybody is trying to stand out
Whatever she's seen on the telly, being LGBT or Q isn't like being on The X Factor!

9. Being LGBT or Q doesn't automatically make you a bad parent. Although I'm not a parent myself, I think it's commonly held that being a bad parent involves rewarding the worst aspects of your child's nature (such as hatred and violence) or, worse still, neglecting or killing them. So when Mildred directs
I hope you will never have kids. Because you would mess them up.
at a LGBT or Q person, I can only return the sentiment in kind. For, to me, she is the worst kind of person a child could ever possibly hope to have as a parent!

10. Kindness will always be seen as more virtuous than cruelty. So wishing neglect and death on someone will always come bottom of valued human qualities. And thus it is so with the sentiment Mildred expresses when she writes
And because only 10% of all people are LGBTQ, we can abandon them. The world population is already large enough, why should we keep the gays alive?
To my mind that kind of sentiment is the epitome of inhumanity. If Mildred wishes to be inhuman then she should distance herself from humanity not write lengthy blog posts that portray a poorly educated woman with the very worst of opinions.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


Today I watched Prayers For Bobby which, for those that don't know, is a film about a religious mother's relationship with her gay son.
Parts of the film reminded me of my own upbringing, hearing some of the things my parents said about gay men (not that I ever had them quote The Bible at me!) and how their views influenced mine. So when my sexual awakening happened I had a very hard time coming to terms with it and believed my parents would stop loving me.
However, when I told them about my sexuality (and later my gender identity), I found their views were paper thin and that they certainly did not think that I was any of the labels I'd heard them apply to others like myself.
In fact, far from stop loving me, my mother told me, "We love you unconditionally. You will always be our child". Those words mean more to me than any other present my parents ever bought me (and, believe me, they did spoil me rotten!). So, all in all, I consider myself lucky.
But, sadly, a friend of mine isn't so lucky.
When she told her parents she was a transsexual her parents blew a fuse. They told her they were ashamed of her and that they'd "rather have a criminal in the family than a transsexual". But the hatred did not stop at name calling. They have also physically restrained and detained her, blackmailed her and physically abused her.
And, you know, people go on about how being trans is a choice. Well, even if I did believe that was true (which I don't), what is also a choice is how you react to someone you don't like. And I would say my friend's family have chosen to react to her being a transsexual in the worst way possible.
They didn't have to be so cruel and spiteful, acting on their worst human instincts. They could've chosen a whole host of other options open to them. And I believe there is only word that I think applies to choosing to be so full of cruelty and hatred and that word is "evil". To seek to destroy the life of someone else - especially when it's your own child - is evil.
I am not sure how you come to terms with that. How do you come to terms with knowing that your family wants to destroy your life? That your parents who brought you into this world, who, like my parents, should love you unconditionally, hate you so much that they want to destroy the life you worked so very hard for. How do you come to terms with that?
So, as her friend, I am full of admiration for the fact she's faced this with such dignity, such love and a belief in the future that borders on the eternally optimistic.
But I'm afraid I haven't an ounce of her mental strength, so I can not emotionally deal with her magnanimity and I have had to become detached. That in itself pains me and it certainly does not stop me worrying about her.
So, yes, I do consider myself very lucky to have been born into my family. I know how much worse it could've been and only wish everyone - especially my friend - was as lucky.

Coming Out

I want to tell you that, ever since coming out of the closet, far from having mobs at my doorstep, my husband throwing me out, my family disowning me, my employer sacking me, and the whole world turning against me, absolutely everyone, without exception, has welcomed me with open arms!
I want to tell you that but it would be a fairytale and, as we all know, life isn't a fairytale. The reality of my life is a little more complex.
So, whilst it's true I've not had mobs at my doorstep, my husband throw me out, my family disown me, my employer sack me, or the whole world turn against me it is not the case that absolutely everyone, without exception, has welcomed me with open arms.
For example, my dad didn't know whether to call me "Him", "Her" or "It" for a while; amongst the first words my husband told me when I told him I wanted to transition were, "If you take hormones, I will have to reconsider things"; my employer did make me redundant but it had nothing to do with me being trans; and some people in this world did turn against me - I've been shoulder barged in Debenham's, I've had people shout things at me in the street, and I've had people sneer at me as soon as they noticed I was trans.
But these have been transitory things. The only constant is that I have been happier since I stopped hiding the fact I'm a transsexual.
And, yes, OK, I still find much in life to depress me but nothing compares to the depression that self-loathing and shame brings!
So, if you find yourself hating yourself and being ashamed of yourself, then I would encourage you to do what it takes to rid yourself of those feelings.
For me, the first major step towards that was coming out of the closet. Saying, "I am what I am" and daring people to like and love me regardless.
But I can't help thinking it would've been better if I'd not had to come out at all.
That instead of feeling it necessary to hide away "in the closet", I should've felt that my gender identity and sexuality had no bearing on my worth as a person. After all, my gender identity and sexuality are not things that should ever have been open to negotiation!
But I feel society's attitude towards these matters will not change for as long as society remains unchallenged and uneducated.
And I believe it's my job to do just that.
It is no good hiding away "in the closet" hoping the world will change around me! How can I ever hope the world will treat me differently if I don't tell them what they're doing wrong!
So, in conclusion, perhaps a better way of looking at this is that coming out isn't so much about being "loud and proud" as it is about taking responsibility for your own happiness and how you are treated.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

God's First Day Back At Work

When I look at the actions of some Christians I often wonder what their God would make of them. Not that I believe God - as popularly defined - exists but, if He did, I imagine He'd have something like this to say...

Dearest humans,
This is God speaking. Yup, I'm back! And, boy, was Peter right or what! He said I shouldn't go on holiday and, boy, was he right!
But, after several millennia on the job, I really needed the break! I mean, you guys let people retire after 65 years and, yet, you wanted me to work indefinitely! I couldn't even take a toilet break without one of you bleating at me, "God, if I promise to be nice, will you save my granny from Cancer?". Me, the God who made you, reduced to the ranks of a performing monkey! Talk about ingratitude!
Yeah, so anyway, I'm back! And what do I find? A load of douche bags claiming to speak on my behalf! I'm sorry, but just when did you form the impression I was mute and needed someone to speak for me?!!
I'm the God that made Noah build an arc and killed your enemy's first born for Pete's sake! I'm the one who set fire to a bush and begat a son with a virgin just so you could hear my voice! And what? You think I'd use some old git in a funny hat to speak for me? I might just as well've used Zippo's Circus!
And, speaking of The Pope, he has a nerve! I know he rang my phone number, so he must've heard the answer message telling him I'd get back to him. And, OK, maybe I lost track of the time and a fortnight's holiday turned into a couple of thousand years but, trust me, a couple thousand years is a mere blink of the eye when you've been around as long as I have! But that gives him no right to take matters into his own hands! He's meant to be my representative not my replacement!!
And that doesn't give the rest of you an excuse either! For Pete's sake, I left you an operation manual to refer to whilst I was away! Surely you could've compared that against what The Pope and the Archbishops and all the rest of them were saying and worked out two and two were making five!
So, yeah, OK, maybe some of The Bible's not as good as it could've been but it was done in a hurry and I know I shouldn't have let the YTS apprentice do a bit either but I was in a generous mood. How was I supposed to know that'd be the bit you'd concentrate most on! I thought you'd concentrate on all the good bits! You know, "Love thy neighbour", and all that! Not "Lie ye not with another man as with a woman" and all the rest of that mumbo jumbo! Most of it doesn't even make sense!
And, whilst I'm at it, I am thoroughly pissed off with you all ruining all my hard work! You seem to have forgotten that I am your creator!
Every single thing you see before you is mine! So how dare you destroy it! I made you the custodians of Earth for a reason! But you, you're like a zoo keeper who not only kills all his animals but all his work mates too!
And why? Cos you think you're special! Do you know what special means? It means "valuable"! And just how "valuable" do you think someone who's intent on destroying everything I worked so hard to create is to me! You're not "valuable"! You're scum! You're not even fit to wipe the arse of Satan!
So, right now, I see a great big mess to sort out! A great big mess that YOU created! And I'm wondering whether it wouldn't just be a good idea to get rid of the cause of that mess!
So trust me, humans, your cards are well and truly marked! So you'd better play ball or you'll be getting more than your P45 in the post!

Saturday, 17 March 2012


Ever since I got interested in pop music at around 7 or 8 years old, I've wanted to be a pop star.
I would watch Adam Ant, Shakin' Stevens, Boy George and the rest and wanted to be just like them.
I wanted others to feel the same way about me as I felt about my idols. I wanted the fame and the adulation. I wanted to be idolised.
But I don't know why I'm talking in the past tense because I still want it! I still want to feel glorious!
But that is only half the story because, of course, I've never achieved my ambition and, instead, I have to deal with the reality that I'm ordinary. That, no matter what I try my hand at, I haven't the talent to become an idol. That I am, at best, average.
And I'm not happy with being average, ordinary, run of the mill. I want to be special.
That is not to say I do not feel loved. I am aware that my family and husband love me. But I think there is one person who will never love me and that is myself.
I can not shake the feeling that, whilst I have had some success in life, the overall theme is one of failure. And, more to the point, every time I try to be glorious I come up short.
So for a long period of my life I've lacked the ambition to try. After all, why bother to try when I know I won't succeed? So, not only do I feel a failure, I've written myself off as always being a failure.
I wish it wasn't so. I look at everyone else in my life and they seem content with their lot. Or, at least, they don't seem as haunted by their failure as I am.
I wish I could be more like them. Be a bit more realistic and happy with my lot. But, no matter what I do, it seems I can't shake the feeling that I should've done better.
My life seems to be one of ambition denied and I'm not sure how much more of it I can take. What's the point of having a dream if they never come true and, more often than not, turn into nightmares? Just what is the point?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Ten Fashionable Tips On Looking Splendid

When one is going out in public as your female self for the first time, it's useful to have a check list of things to look out for so that you look splendid and don't soil the good reputation of trans women everywhere.
So, just for you, this is my Ten Fashionable Tips On Looking Splendid...

  1. You may find walking in heels punishing at first but the higher you go, the easier it becomes. Thus I would recommend starting at 12 inches or more and working your way down. But please do avoid platforms because no one wants to look like Elton John... not even Elton John!
  2. One common mistake learner trans women often make is not putting enough foundation on to cover the beard shadow. Thus, avail yourself of a ruler and ensure you get at least 2 inches on. You may find a trowel handy in the application.
  3. Another common mistake by novice trans women is not making it clear to admirers what sex you truly are and thus you may find yourself late at night having to fight off unwanted sexual advances. To ensure this problem never arises, without making yourself look silly in any way whatsoever, wear a tight fitting skirt in a stretchy material such as latex. That way your true sex will be immediately apparent even in a darkened room in the back of a club.
  4. Just as for real women, fashion has an acceptable age range for trans women too. Thus it is highly advisable, if you don't want to look like the wet blanket you truly are, that the older you are, the younger you dress and vice versa. Thus if you are 65+ nothing less than a romper suit will do and, girls, if you are lucky enough to be under 18, make sure you raid granny's wardrobe before setting out and let that twinset and pearls really work their magic!
  5. You will discover that buying make-up is an expensive business so save money by using everyday objects you'd find around the house instead. For example, instead of buying eye or lip liner use a magic marker! And don't bother spending good money on mascara - apply some boot polish onto a comb and apply liberally!
  6. Many's a time a learner trans woman has hit the dance floor to strut her funky stuff only to find herself quickly falling apart. Thus, to avoid any embarrassing slippage, girls, make sure you fix those false eyelashes, nails and boobs with proper strong adhesive like No More Nails™ or Superglue™
  7. Another thing you may discover when learning the tricks of the trans woman trade is how time consuming it all is. Thus, to save time, you need to prioritise the things that matter. So, for example, no one ever notices the hairs sticking through your stockings so why bother going to all that time and effort shaving your legs? And when you have girls like Halle Berry rocking the short haircut why bother with a wig which makes you all hot and sweaty? Get with the in-crowd and wear your Number 2 with pride!
  8. Instead of buying expensive clothes why not make your own? A quick visit to your local zoo provides an ideal opportunity to make your own leopard or snakeskin dress at a fraction of the cost! But do watch out for fashion trends and avoid giraffe completely! No one needs a polo neck that long!
  9. You may find your "tackle" becomes hot and uncomfortable after being tucked for long periods of time. Thus do as all the other trans women do and pack a handheld fan in your bag to cool everything down once in a while! 
  10. If you truly want to pass as female, it's all very well looking the part but you've also got to sound the part as well. So do not so much as speak as squeak! You may thus find it useful to have a supply of helium on standby (Helium can be found in all good balloon shops and some hospitals).

But, most importantly, girls, whatever you look like, remember to have fun! After all, life's far too short as it is (especially if you're over 65)!
So what have you got to lose? Get out there and have fun! :-)

Monday, 12 March 2012


One of the things I've sometimes heard trans people get called is "Random". It's a fairly new one on me but I think it's meant in terms of "hard to define" or possibly "flakey".
So, just to prove the point, here's some "random" thoughts I've had about being trans...

  1. I wish I was dead!
  2. Transitioning is the best decision I ever made.
  3. Why must you be so needy? If you keep on taking, soon there’ll be nothing left!
  4. There is no ‘real’ me. The ‘real’ me does not exist. There’s only a “me” I prefer to be. And I prefer to be this.
  5. How do I make being trans work for me?
  6. I love being trans sometimes!
  7. What is the ‘real’ me? The ‘real’ me is what I see and my memory.
  8. Trans people who step away from the fight to make life better for other trans people really annoy me!
  9. I don’t want to swap one straightjacket for another.
  10. Just because things are great for you doesn’t mean they are for everyone else!
  11. Did you transition just so you could be congratulated for doing so?
  12. Why must you be so self-absorbed? Can’t you see I’m suffering here!
  13. I didn’t choose to be a transsexual. It’s not like I woke up one morning and thought, “What I really need in my life is to be ridiculed, misunderstood and hated!”.
  14. It’s better to be hated for being truthful than being loved for being a liar.
  15. All publicity is good. Even bad publicity can be used for good.
  16. Damn, I look good!
  17. The word “normal” promotes discrimination. As soon as you label something as “normal”, you automatically label something else as “abnormal”.
  18. Some trans people don’t want to be involved in trans activism in case it outs them as trans. It’s ridiculous! I don’t shy away from civil rights for fear it outs me as white! 
  19. If you know something is unjust why would you not try to right it? Just how selfish do you have to be!
  20. When people say they want to be “normal”, I wonder what makes them think they’re not already!
  21. Of course you have the right to live your life as you see fit but that doesn’t mean you have the right to live it uncriticised.
  22. Why are some trans-activists so egotistical? If I help people it’s simply to help them out not to boast about it afterwards!
  23. I don’t wear women’s clothes. I wear my clothes!
  24. I don’t know how to cope with being trans.
  25. Some trans women say they want to distance themselves from the LGBT community to go lead “normal” lives. It’s like they think lesbians aren’t leading “normal” lives or something!
  26. Being trans doesn’t stop me being human.
  27. This is a dream come true!
  28. We trans people are pioneers. After all, very few people will have a clue what a trans person is let alone met one!
  29. The word “trans” relates to me the same way it does to the Atlantic Ocean. 
  30. Perhaps I ought to get a job at Funny Girls??

Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Truth: My Gender Identity

(Please read this after the previous post - The Preamble - below)
It has taken a long time for me to come to terms with my gender identity and I proclaim it now with the same reservations I've had since starting on this voyage of discovery more than thirty years ago - I fear the truth being used against me.
But, as I once said, "It's about time I learned that it's better to be hated for being truthful than being loved for being a liar" and this is delivered in that spirit.
Unlike some transsexuals who proclaim knowing they were "trapped in the wrong body" from an early age, I have no such recollections. In fact, I have very few solid memories at all and even the ones from yesterday are a haze!
However, what I have are memories of things that happened that I have redefined in later life to mean more than perhaps they did at the time.
Thus, I remember being at nursery and being told off for trying on a lady's hat from the dressing-up box. Was this me expressing my innate femininity or just a toddler messing about?
I can remember being around 8 years old and being invited to a friend's fancy dress party and wanting to wear make-up. Did I ask to be a clown because I was too afraid of expressing my femininity or because I genuinely wanted to be a clown? I have no recollections of liking clowns before or since... whereas I have many where I wanted to be a girl.
I can remember my mum telling me when I was around 11 years old that I would have to wear tights as part of a fancy dress costume she was making and, instead of being horrified at the proposal, welcoming it and thinking it only right and proper that I should wear tights. Surely this points to my flourishing female identity? I would certainly think so since it soon lead to my first intentional crossdressing experiences.
However, where I have memories of wanting to express a female identity through my appearance at this age, I have none of feeling "trapped in the wrong body".
I can remember being at unease with my flourishing male body but I have always associated this with the feelings every person goes through during puberty and I see no reason to redefine them any other way.
However, where I did feel trapped was in the illusion that society hated me.
I didn't know it was an illusion at the time of course, and so I lived for the next 25 years hating myself for what I believed was wrong with me - and when you hate yourself you don't give anyone else an excuse to join in with you! So I resisted revealing my desires to anyone else until, 17 years later, I could not keep it bottled up any more and I came out as a transvestite.
Yes, a transvestite - not a transsexual. As far as I was concerned, transsexuals were those freaks who wanted to live as a woman! So I couldn't possibly be a transsexual when I had no desire to be a woman and in fact, if I had my way, I wouldn't crossdress ever again!
But the desire to crossdress wouldn't go away and only got stronger and stronger until I was struggling to control it at all! Things got to such a head that I would come home from work in tears because I'd spent the day tortured by my desire!
I wasn't stupid, I knew this was no way to live. So I sought counselling and I didn't like what I discovered about myself. My worst fears were confirmed - I hated having a male body and I wanted to live as a female 24/7!
I've spent the last three years coming to terms with that - and transitioning was part of that process. But whilst I dislike my male body and I obviously want to live as a female 24/7, I don't feel - and never have felt - "trapped in the wrong body".
I think my feelings on this have been shaped by the fact I was born with deformed legs and feet. I would never dream of saying I'm trapped in the wrong body just because I wasn't born with a physically perfect one. I feel exactly the same way about being born with a male body: I wasn't born into the wrong body. I was born into a physically imperfect one.
However, gender identity doesn't rest solely on our physical bodies - if it did I'd be quite happy living as a male! - but also includes how we feel in relation to our bodies.
And this is where I may have some genuine news for you - just as I'm not bothered with having my legs or feet fixed, I'm not bothered about having my sex fixed either. In fact, I'm quite resistant to it.
Instead I find myself slowly accepting that just because I dislike my male body and want to live as a woman 24/7 doesn't automatically mean I have to re-align my body to a female one. I can leave things exactly as they are.
In fact, when I'm happy living without medical intervention (and, in fact, find myself resistant to it), I would say that was a very sensible thing to do.
Which brings me to the subject of my gender identity:
Considering that I dislike my male body but don't want to re-align it to a female one, you might consider it to be an enigma.
In which case, I'll ask you to read the above post again and pay closer attention this time!

Addendum (17th March 2012): Just forced myself to look at my naked body in the mirror and I was wrong. So so wrong! I feel a bit of a plonker for not doing that BEFORE posting the above but at least I know better now.