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!