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.

The Truth: The Preamble

Growing up ashamed of yourself as I did takes an awful lot of adjustment when you finally realise you have nothing to be ashamed of.
For instance, I can look in John's eyes, see that he loves me more than I will ever love myself, and feel not worthy of that love.
But this isn't limited to just John - I have similar feelings about anyone who likes me and I'm not sure I have ever accepted friendship or love unquestioningly.
At my worst, I feel there must be something wrong with anyone who likes me. I find it that hard to believe that I am a likeable - let alone loveable - person.
Which is odd, considering how much I've done to be loved and liked. I guess it seems more logical to me that to receive such kindness from people I must've done something to deserve it. And by "something" I don't just mean being myself - after all why would anyone like me for who I am? - but done someone a favour or an act of generosity.
But when I stop to consider why I like my friends or love my husband, I begin to recognise my double standards.
I like my friends and love my husband because of their personality not because they buy me presents or treat me to lunch or anything like that. Yes, part of their personality is that they're kind and generous and that is a very nice thing to be on the receiving end of, but that is not the be all and end all of why I like them.
For instance, the major reason why I like my friend Jayne is because she has an original way of looking at the world and isn't ashamed of it. This manifests itself in her sense of humour (which I can only describe as "off the wall"!), in her religious beliefs, in her political beliefs and in the way she approaches her day to day life. From her head to her toe, she is proud to be an individual and I admire her for that.
Now contrast that to myself and the insecurities I find so hard to overcome.
Now, as a reader of my blog (and perhaps also one of my friends on Facebook), you may find it hard to believe that I find it hard to express my opinions. But meet me face to face and the person you meet will almost certainly not match up to expectations formed from my online personality.
In person, I am not assertive and so I find it hard to vocalise my opinions because I fear being involved in the violence (which need not be physical) of an argument.
Thus, I have conducted the majority of my life, in what you might call "stealth" - I am the person keeping quiet, hoping no one notices me.
To assist me in this, I have often opted for a disguise of some sort. This involves suppressing who I really am and what I believe and choosing to present an appearance and opinions that I think will be more readily acceptable.
This is exemplified by the fact I chose to present myself as a heterosexual male for the majority of my life but it is also why, having found myself a social group who accept my true gender and sexual identities, I still suppress my differences to the common denominators I have identified.
This is incredibly dangerous. For, in trying to fit in, I am suppressing the truth and limiting knowledge.
For example, one major reason why I refused to accept that I am a transsexual is because I had a limited knowledge of what a transsexual was. Thus I could never hope to find the help that was available to me.
I was not going to go to a support group for transsexuals, I was not going to seek counselling for my gender dysphoria, and I was not going to go to a Gender Identity Clinic with the aim of seeking medical assistance, whilst I believed transsexuals were freaks and deviants. To do so would mean identifying myself as "one of them" and I most certainly did not want to do that!
Also, whilst I suppress the truth and limit knowledge about myself, I can never hope to have confidence that people like me for myself. How can they when they don't know who I really am!
So, without more ado, what this has all been leading up to is for me to come clean and share my truth, my whole truth and nothing but the truth about my gender identity. So please read the next entry above (such is the illogical way these blogs work!)...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Trying Something New

Sometimes I find it hard to keep an open mind.
For instance, because I was taught that homosexuality was a sin in my R.E. lessons at school and heard LGBT phobic preachings from Christians, I sometimes found it hard to believe that not all Christians are LGBT phobic. However, becoming friends with people who were loud and proud about being LGB and/or T AND Christian as well forced me to think again.
Even so, when I saw the advert requesting volunteers at The Salvation Army, I still wasn't sure. After all, The Salvation Army are evangelical Christians and evangelical Christians are supposedly the extremists of Christianity!
The Salvation Army's past also paints an unsavourary picture, being former supporters of Section 28 which banned the "promotion" of homosexuality in Scotland.
However, the advert was posted in the LGBT section so I presumed they must've changed their stance and I took a chance. And sure enough I have been welcomed with open arms!
I thoroughly look forward to my volunteer work at The Salvation Army as a mentor to beginners in computing and the internet. Not only that but it has also re-awoken my desire to teach professionally and I have now applied for a training course in teaching at Preston College.
And to think that all this happiness and friendship I've found at The Salvation Army AND the possibility of a new career could've been denied me if I'd stayed in my comfort zone, believing The Salvation Army would persecute me!
Slimming World was something else I wasn't sure about.
I knew I needed to lose weight but thought slimming clubs were a waste of time and money. I also wasn't sure how I'd be accepted - would they accept a trans woman to their ranks? But, on the strength of two friends' recommendations, I gave Slimming World a go.
Unlike The Salvation Army, I wasn't welcomed with open arms at first. They were definitely unsure about me to start with but I stuck with it and, being one of the most regular "losers", I began to win people around and formed some friendships.
I am now three stone lighter than when I started and I feel fantastic for it! All the health problems I had before with my ankles and knees and the IBS I was diagnosed with have all mysteriously vanished! All my clothes have also mysteriously grown in size (after having all mysteriously "shrunk in the wash"!) and I have a far better selection to choose from in the shops now I can fit into a size 14! I also have never enjoyed food so much since I started on this diet! You'd never think meringue and chocolate sauce on your breakfast every day would be possible but on the Slimming World diet it is! And I love it! And, most importantly, my mental health has also improved because I feel happier for being thinner and actually think I look pretty sexy, in my own way, when I look in the mirror!
So it saddens me now that I think I've reached the end of the road with Slimming World as I shall miss the friends I've made there. But I've achieved my goal and got back within the healthy range for my BMI so the motivation to lose more weight just isn't there.
However, the food I was introduced to by Slimming World is far too nice to give up! And that, by far, is the best thing I've got out of it - a new way of living! But, again, it could so easily have been denied me if I hadn't taken a chance and sought out Slimming World.
So I believe it's very important to keep an open mind and try something new and that is something that I put into practice far more than I ever did before.
It started with transitioning, of course, and nothing could be more of an example of trying something new than that! But, unlike some, it didn't stop after transitioning. I kept at it.
Not that I wasn't afraid of being "outed" and suffering transphobia first hand, but I didn't let my fears hold me back. I kept venturing into the unknown and every time I've been rewarded in more ways than I can easily quantify!
And life's just grand when you live it! :-)

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A Lack Of Imagination

Something I've experienced as a trans woman is people unashamedly expressing a lack of imagination.
There are those who state "I can't imagine what it's like to be stuck in the wrong body", which is just lazy!
And then there are those who use their lack of imagination as a way to attack my reality, (i.e. because they can't imagine how a transsexual can exist they insist I'm fake), which is just plain rude!
So, in an effort to bring some life to their imagination, I will try to explain it in a way that they can relate to (or at least those that have had an education can anyway!).
So, there you are at school, maybe 5 years old, and you've just had your first science lesson and learned that the thing that makes apples fall from the trees is called gravity.
Your head is alive with new knowledge and you want to test it out. And, yes, sure enough every time you jump up in the air you come back down to earth again. You're feeling pretty smart and boast to your mum about your new found knowledge. But your mum, being an adult, knows more than you.
"Don't be silly", she says. "You're a bird and you can fly."
You're taken by surprise. You're pretty sure you're a human but your mum says you're a bird and your mum wouldn't lie to you so you must surely be a bird!
But maybe you'll just ask your friends to make sure.
"Yes, That's right!", they exclaim. "You are a bird. You didn't think you were human did you? How silly!"
So you're feeling pretty silly now and no one likes looking silly, so you stop questioning the commonly held wisdom that you're a bird. Furthermore, so as not to raise eyebrows, you go through life trying to act like a bird.
But, try as you might, it just doesn't quite come together for you. Sure you can eat worms and chirp and hop about just like a bird but, try as you might, you just can't fly. For whatever reason, gravity holds you down to earth just like a human which, if truth be told, just confirms what you've thought all along but know better than to express publicly. If only you could rid yourself of this foolish notion that you're human!
But the notion won't go away and it bugs you and bugs you and bugs you. Until one day you just can't stand it any more. You simply have to express your humanity or you'll go loopy!
And that is what it's like to be trans. It doesn't matter how much anyone argues with me, I will always have the gut instinct that they are wrong and I am right.
This isn't some foolish notion that I've picked up over night. It's an instinct I've had for as long as I can remember and nothing has ever made it go away.
The only thing that has changed is my relationship with my own knowledge - from one that was destructive to one that is healthy.
So I will have no truck with people who are so selfish as to want to make me sacrifice my health for their own pleasure. To do so would to be truly insane!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

A Matter Of Opinion

I've just read an article on The Guardian website by Philippa Perry entitled Gender And The Tyranny Of The 'Normal'.
I have no great interest in the article and I think her idea that we should widen the scope of normality is flawed (unless she means we should widen it to such an extent that it becomes inapplicable!) but what I do take exception to are some of the comments below the article by readers of it.
I shan't bore you with responses to all the comments I find objectionable on the website - and I don't have the time or inclination to do so anyway! - so I will just take the first three as I think they are fine examples of the arrogance I find amongst the ignorant who find no difficulties arguing with people who know far more about the subject than they do... such as a psychotherapist married to a transvestite (i.e. Philippa Perry)!
First up is zeldalicious who states
We can believe ourselves to be anything our mind can invent but that doesn't make it so.
Well, seeing as the only reality that exists is the reality we perceive (i.e. that which our mind invents), I would be fascinated to know what does make it so!
Sadly, however, my fascination will have to remain unsated as the all-knowing zeldalicious does not provide us with an answer.
I can thus only presume that zeldalicious is a cowboy builder by trade, practiced as they clearly are in leaving a trail of destruction with no promise of repair!

Then there is thetrashheap whose name seems particularly apt when they make statements such as
Children need taught how to be adults
So, if I understand thetrashheap correctly, it's not OK for children to be children and do childish things but need to be taught how to be adults and how to do adult things. So, presumably, the law is an absolute ass when it stops our kids from smoking, drinking and driving cars! And as for sex... well, I'm sure Garry Glitter will be nodding his head in total agreement with thetrashheap!
Thetrashheap then comes up with a real doozy that I'm still trying to get my head around and may just have to admit defeat on! It states
women need taught how to be girls.
Well, hang on a minute! I thought you just said that children need to be taught how to be adults?? So presumably what you're proposing here is some kind of never ending loop of human evolution! That as soon as the female child learns how to act like a woman they need to learn how to be a child again and then back to learning to be an adult again and then a child again and on and on an on! Fuck! I'm exhausted just thinking about it!!
Our evolutionary theorist then offers up an entry for this year's No Shit Sherlock Awards   
Men and women aren't alike as adults.
But I have to admit that I am perplexed by the differentiation of adults from children in this instance but, then, perhaps I haven't paid as much attention to the bodies of children as our evolutionary theorist has??
It continues
They form friendships differently, on some issues they'll behave totally differently, they be into different things
Yup, girls are into flower arranging and playing with their dollies whereas boys like pulling the legs off spiders and stealing apples. That's beyond question isn't it??
(By the by, a word of advice to our evolutionary theorist - if you want to be taken seriously you're gonna have to lose that Norfolk accent. It's not "they be". It's "they are"!)  
And then we have another entry for the No Shit Sherlock Awards
puberty will be totally different 
Yes, that's why I found it somewhat traumatic! Thoughts of being female are somewhat distracted when you have an erect penis between your legs!
And on and on it goes...
Just because the differences aren't so stark before puberty doesn't mean we don't prepare them for what they will become.
Again, I shall have to bow to our evolutionary theorist's superior knowledge on children's bodies but I have to say I find it shocking that children are separated into male or female if the differences aren't defined before puberty!
I would also imagine that it makes it next to impossible to decide which children will be entered into the gender specific evolutionary loop our evolutionary theorist has defined for women. If only we could know for sure which were boys and which were girls it'd make it all so much easier!
But, hang on, what's this?
Also because of a few people born with gender dysphoria doesn't mean we set up society as gender nuetral
Well, fuck me! Our evolutionary theorist has managed to count how many gender dysphoric people there are in the world! Do you know how many studies there have been on gender dysphoric people and not one has managed to accurately count how many of them there are! And that's just in this country! Our evolutionary theorist has managed to do it across the whole world!! I think the bets are off for this year's winner of the Nobel Prize in Science, don't you!
So, having managed to define those born with gender dysphoria as being a mere few, it certainly makes sense that we don't set society up as gender neutral doesn't it! We have to make the effort to change it from the one thetrashheap's clearly identified as being gender unspecific before puberty into one clearly set up as male and female a mere 7 years later!
Our evolutionary theorist then leaves us with just one more nugget before he goes...
Boys especially do better in a pack with social convention and structure
OK, so I guess I was right all along. I am a girl!
So why the hell did they make me play with the boys all the time? Surely that's child cruelty! I'm going to consult my lawyer! There could be millions in this for me!

Our final contributor is Raffiruse who states
I wanted to be a T Rex, sadly society would not accept it, so I had to be a T Rex in secret.
So someone who clearly identifies with the trauma of gender dysphoria then. For like 99% of gender dysphoric people, I had to keep my desire secret too.
I couldn't proclaim it publicly because then I'd get fuckwits telling me I was wrong or perverted or maybe go so far as to brainwash me into being what THEY wanted me to be! Or maybe they'd take it upon themselves to kick the desire out of me or perhaps just have done and kill me!
So, yes, I certainly kept my desire secret for a long long while! It didn't matter that I was in mental torture pretending to be what others wanted me to be every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year of my God damned life! For at least I could then be guaranteed of still being alive - even if I didn't want to be!
No, it's far better to act out our desires in secret and not test society's patience with them.

Friday, 2 March 2012

I'm Not Normal

I broach the subject of "normality" with some reticence as I'm aware my stance on it tends to make some of my friends bristle. However, I feel the concept of "normality" is such a dangerous one that I feel compelled to tackle it again.
So let me now outline why I am prejudiced against the concept of "normality"...
I am a shortsighted trans female with deformed legs and feet. As such, I can never remember a time when I wasn't being punished for not fitting in with someone's idea of "normality". Whether it was being called "four eyes" or having my peers pretend to throw bread at my "pigeon toes" or being shoulder barged in Debenhams because someone took exception to my gender expression, I have regularly and repeatedly been judged and punished according to someone's idea of "normality".
So one can quite possibly see why I am predisposed against "normality".
However, being sensitive to the concept of "normality", has also made me painfully aware that it is not just me that it affects but, rather, that it affects everyone.
At any given moment, someone somewhere will be judging someone else according to their concept of "normality" and then modifying their behaviour accordingly. So, in reality then, the concept of "normality" is actually prejudice by a different name.
So you might expect members of any given minority to fight the concept of "normality" tooth and nail. For it is, after all, more than likely the concept of "normality" that has been used against them to deny them any number of rights and privileges.
However, I have found that is not the case.
I find time and time again minority groups defining their own ideals of "normality" and then using them against others.
I also have vast experience of minority groups using the concept of "normality" against themselves (as if experiencing prejudice from others wasn't enough for them!). And such is their apparent thirst for this prejudice that they actively seek it out as an ideal to live by!
And when I tackle them on this they even go so far as to defend the ideology that has subjected them to a life as a second class citizen! They truly can not see what is so wrong with being "normal"!
However, to my mind, they have confused the concept of "normality" with the concept of living a life free of prejudice. They have confused the disease with the cure! So instead of ridding themselves of prejudice they are in fact strengthening it.
Thus, at the risk of being tedious, I will state the case once again - we must rid ourselves of the concept of "normality" if we wish never to be subjected to it again.
It is that concept that has lead us to dehumanise our race time and time again and surely it is in our own interests to stop now.

How To Disguise The Male Body

Given how I am received by people who don't know I'm trans, I have assumed I make for a fairly convincing female.
I put this down to being lucky enough to look fairy androgynous to start with, having over a decade's experience of crossdressing and having the financial means to buy expensive treatments and 'equipment'.
Should you also wish to disguise a male body as a female one, I'm afraid I am unable to help you attain the lucky genes or the experience but I can provide a guide on what to spend your money on. And this is it...
First of all, let me come right out and say that I strongly recommend avoiding spending money on 'specialist' trans services wherever possible.
In my experience they are overpriced and not as helpful to our goal of looking female as finding an equivalent that doesn't cater exclusively to the trans community. So whilst they may be helpful when you lack confidence in your birth given right to be trans, once you find that confidence I recommend moving on as quickly as possible.
And where better to start than with the clothes? But what clothes help disguise a male body as a female one?
Well, thankfully the internet provides us with handy little tools like this one: Identifying Your Body Shape
From there we can work out what clothes we should buy to help us achieve that feminine body shape we all desire.
In my instance I find clothes that emphasise my bust and hips work best. So currently I like to dress like this.
The dress was from Topshop and the cardigan was from Wallis and, other than my breast forms, there is not an ounce of padding under my clothing. The illusion is achieved solely by the clothes I am wearing.
Speaking of breast forms, the internet has many providers to choose from. I chose mine from this site: Bustline. They were inexpensive (in comparison to 'specialist' trans sites), discreet, efficient and did not mind in the least that I am trans.
Once you have bought your breast forms you will need a bra to fit them. I would strongly recommend avoiding just buying a bra off the shelf but getting yourself measured properly.
Speaking to other trans women, I know of two shops on the British high street that will provide a discreet and efficient service - Debenhams and Marks & Spencer.
I went to Marks & Spencer and did not even bother to book first or even mention that I am trans. And this did not stop them from treating me just like any other customer.
As a result I have subsequently bought every bra I own from Marks & Spencer because I have confidence that I will find the service and products I desire there.
In fact, I buy all my underwear from Marks & Spencers as I do not bother with a gaff. I found gaffs extremely uncomfortable long term so simply wear a pair of control knickers to hold everything in place once I have "tucked".
Another difficulty for most trans females is finding large enough footwear that's also fashionable. Thankfully, as I'm around a size 6 (depending which shop I go to), I don't have that problem but I am aware that both Marks & Spencer and New Look do a wide fitting in larger sizes than most. I tend to favour these two anyway because I have deformed feet and find their footwear more comfortable than their competition.
Once you have the clothing sorted, I would recommend getting your hair right. If you are unlucky enough to have insufficient hair to at least style it androgynously, I would recommend visiting an understanding wig shop in person to get a wig fitted properly. They are cheaper online but a wig that's fitted properly - and cut and styled to suit your face rather than a generic one - is really worth spending the money on.
If, like me, you are able to grow your hair long then I would go along to a salon and have it styled professionally. It does take a bit of trial and error to find a hairdresser that fits in with your way of thinking and cuts your hair the way you want it but, of the three I've had, I've yet to find one who baulked at the fact I was trans.
Similarly, if you wish to have your eyebrows waxed or threaded, I have yet to find a salon who refused to serve me. And the same goes for manicures.
If you are serious about your female identity and maybe want to go full-time then I would recommend getting your "five o'clock shadow" sorted out. As far as I'm aware there are only two choices for permanently reducing your facial hair and that is either laser or electrolysis. I chose laser.
It is expensive and it does hurt but the difference is worth it's weight in gold! Before I started treatment, I would usually have to shave twice a day if I wanted to go out in the evening. These days, after 15 sessions, I can go three days without shaving and that makes a heck of a difference to your lifestyle when you're full-time!
And, finally, there is the make-up. I have left make-up to last because, to me, make-up is not an essential. Even before I went full-time and hadn't even started laser, I didn't always go out wearing make-up and I didn't draw any more attention to myself because of it! In fact, it is my belief that we run more risk of drawing attention to ourselves if we wear make-up than if we don't. Just look on your average high street and see how few women wear make-up these days, if you don't believe me!
However, there is no denying that wearing make-up is a special treat for special occasions. So, should you wish to learn how to get it right, then, to save time and money, I would recommend going to your local Mac store and getting a makeover. You may baulk at the price but, trust me, you will be getting value for money. I've also found the staff to be extremely friendly and helpful and you can learn a lot from them very quickly.
And I think that covers all the basics a trans girl needs to know. So let me just re-emphasise that, in my experience, there is no need to be nervous of approaching our high street shops and salons. Even if you're their very first trans customer (as I'm sure I have been on occasion), they're unlikely to turn away a lucrative source of income in these austere times. Instead, I hope you find - as I have found - that they welcome you with open arms and make you a regular. All you need is the confidence to step over your front step and through their front door.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Should I Transition?

I am writing this because I'm aware one of my friends is considering whether it's right for her to transition (i.e. to live full-time as a female).
As someone who has transitioned I know how difficult this decision can be.
In truth I was unsure right up until just a month or two ago - almost 18 months after I had transitioned! And for a good 6 months before I did transition I felt caught between a rock and a hard place.
I knew I felt unhappy having to pretend to be male. My gender dysphoria distracted me greatly at the most inconvenient of times and I seemed at times not to be able to escape the distress I felt. To be sure, this was one of the most unhappiest periods of my life and it often drove me to tears.
Naturally, I wanted to escape this pain and the only way that seemed possible was to transition from living as a male to living as a female but I feared the penalties of doing so.
I feared losing my job and my husband. If either of those two things happened I risked being homeless and in financial difficulties. I also knew that many transsexuals experienced what I feared first hand. That many transsexuals were forced to turn to sex work because of being unable to find other work. That some grew so desperately unhappy that they committed suicide. And I obviously knew of the transphobia that exists and how this can lead to trans people being attacked and murdered.
So, as I say, I felt caught between a rock and a hard place - whether to transition or not was no easy decision to make. So I can quite understand why other trans people seek help in making this decision.
In response to their predicament I will say that without selfishness and a devil-may-care attitude to failure I may never have transitioned.
Putting myself first helped me see that, no matter what anyone else thought, if I didn't make myself happy then I would surely make everyone else in my life unhappy as well as myself. Whereas if I made myself happy then I was guaranteed at least one winner and in a far better position to have a positive effect on everyone's life including my own.
And being able to ignore the risk of failure empowered me to step beyond fear and act with courage. Thus I became less concerned with a future that was yet to be decided and concentrate my efforts on the present. It is, after all, the present that decides the future and if the present is not as it should be then how can we hope the future to be?
So, make no mistake about it, transitioning is not for the faint of heart. In truth, I was desperate when I transitioned but without that desperation I may not have discovered the two qualities I mention above which helped make my transition a success.
But, as I said, until a month or two ago I was still unsure whether transitioning was the right decision to make.
What convinced me was the realisation that I would never exchange my gender expression for anything else. Any pain I am currently suffering would not even begin to compare to the pain I would feel having to pretend I was male again.
But I would never have realised that without first transitioning and achieving the peace of mind I have now. So it seems to me that you will never truly know whether transitioning is the right thing to do without having first transitioned.
That is not to say that I think you should transition. After all, every person - whether trans or not - is unique and thus everything we experience is unique to us. So, even though I provide a lengthy discourse above, I can never answer the question "Should I transition?" for anyone other than myself. I'm sorry if I mislead you otherwise.

A Responsible Voice

When parking your car you will often see a sign that states something along the lines of "The owners of this car park accept no responsibility for the car or it's belongings whilst it is parked in these premises".
I would like to echo that sentiment to anyone reading this blog:
As author of this blog, I do not accept responsibility for anyone or their actions that arise during or after reading this blog.
The reasons are thus:
  1. I am not omnipresent, so I am therefore not responsible for what happens to you during or after reading my blog. 
  2. Whether it be mine or someone elses, I am not responsible for whose opinion you happen to believe and thus not responsible for your actions during or after reading my blog. 
So it's no good holding my blog or the opinions expressed within it against me. You must take responsiblity for yourself.
Please do not blame me for having an opinion that disagrees with yours. After all, I hope you're reading this to improve your knowledge not reinforce your ignorance!
And it is through knowledge that we can all become stronger. So why not embrace those opportunities to learn from one another instead of moaning about having your prior knowledge challenged!
Ignorance is not bliss. If we went through the whole of our lives learning nothing, we would all quickly perish. So the more we know the better!
So it's no good taking shortcuts either. Do not seek out one opinion and claim that opinion represents others - even if that opinion claims to do just that!
For example, I can not judge all Roman Catholics by the opinion of The Pope even though he claims to be their representative. There are many different opinions and personalities that claim to be Roman Catholic and The Pope's is just one (albeit the one with most gravitas).
And the same applies to this blog:
Just because I am a trans woman, do not think my opinion - or my way of life - is in any way typical or representative of others.
Just because I have a civil partnership with a gay man do not think all trans women do.
Just because I am unemployed does not mean all trans women are.
Just because I came to realise my gender identity at 37 years of age do not think that is in any way typical. It is not!
To think otherwise would be like claiming that every car is red; ignoring the fact that they come in many other colours and that, even then, the colour can change over time according to it's environment and age.
So please do not assume that this blog is a trans voice or a LGBT voice or any other kind of voice other than mine and mine alone.
And, remember, I am responsible for expressing my voice but I am not responsible for when or how it is received.