Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Transsexual archeology...

Writing is tougher than i thought it might be. On the other hand I do wish that I had kept a diary or written a blog which followed my transition from sullen misery to current contentment.

Winter has finally bitten and I am not going to risk a broken leg or neck on slippy pavements. You really start to show your age when snow is seen as a hazard rather than a fun and magical transformation of the world. In the past I would have had my feet in a pair of tough walking boots and been out there to be part of the magic. Now those boots have long gone to be replaced by another ind of boot which will never be subjected to snow and I would risk serious injury walking with a heel and less grip than ice on ice. My boots have transitioned from functional to fashionable...

The old me would have wasted away as much time as possible when the weather turned bad, probably slipped into a depression or latterly spent hours online reading about others moving on with their lives. The new me is getting her life sorted out and while stuck at home i decided to clear out an old under stair storage space.

We are talking about a space which starts a little over head height and immediately tapers down under the stairway for about seven feet and then turns left for another couple of feet. There are four small shelves on the right made of wood and the walls are plastered, slightly cracked with an original dirty yellow distemper finish, ancient linoleum is on the floor. It has been a dark and dingy space to loose things in. It's main use has been as a place to hide a laundry basket to hide clothes waiting for a wash and it has done the job really well! The rest of it has been somewhere to loose something quickly and often forever.

It says something of the miserable soul i once was that things which could so easily have been cleared out occasionally have been allowed to accumulate, then again the upside is that I have just had a brief glance backwards through my transition.

Far at the back were delivery boxes from when I started to panic about my thinning hair and as was only possible back then bought drugs now available on prescription. Those were the days when I thought that i could keep up the performance if only I kept my hair. Thankfully I had been born at a time when a guy could have long hair and only get occasional abuse. seeing the world through a curtain of long hair went a long way to keeping me sane.

In front of those boxes were boxes from various hair removal devices! How crazy, we worry about loosing some hair and are horrified to find it growing in other places! Fingers, hands and wrists, cheeks and bushing eyebrows all caused despair. Depilatories are nasty and smelly to use so I experimented with various self electrolysis and laser machines. I had all the time in the world and would spend hours with a single hair laser machine improving my look, at least it felt like i was making some attempt to show who I really was.

Then the internet became available, decades too late for me I thought so being fairly poor and quite unaware of how to get on the internet or how to even work a computer I resisted even trying. Part of it was fear that I would spend money on something I could not work and part was fear that I would make it work! People use their computers for so many things, mine now sits quietly gathering dust most of the time, it's work is mostly done. I knew exactly what I would do if I got online. years of searching libraries had produced so little information to help me understand my condition, even encyclopaedias proved useless but perhaps the new fangled internet would hold the answers. If I got my hands on a machine that was the one task I had in mind but the cost was high, the connections slow and expensive and already the internet was being infested by an infinite number of nasty things...

By pure chance just as broadband finally reached our town i had a small inheritance after the death of a favourite uncle. The canny devil had long ago sold his home to an insurance company and lived really well on the proceeds well into his nineties. He was better equipped for this modern age than I was and when he died he left very little except a newish but well dented car, an almost new video camera and the computer he edited his movies on, I had a small electronic pocket organiser... A cheque for just enough to buy my own computer arrived, various bits have been excavated along with the huge box containing the anti virus and firewall programs and the 3 cm thick instruction manuals on how to stay safe!

Clearly things just got pushed further back as more things went in to the store. Clothes scavenged from my partner mostly when she thought they were being thrown out, they did not always fit but they acted like a talisman for my hidden self, a few strange book which I had forgotten I still had about "the third sex" and " my husband betty" type books which I started to find out about once on line. More sophisticated scanning laser machine which was sixty times faster than the original! Nobody could live long enough to become hairless with these surely! Lots of bottles of nail colour including a small Chanel bag with an as yet unopened bottle of 219 black satin which must have cost me a relative fortune. Coloured nails, long before I even imagined transition would be possible, was one of the ways I stayed sane, black was the easiest to get away with since it was just a rock star look!

Towards the front were lots of worn out clothes I had actually been able to buy and wear but coming from not long after the second world war and a time of austerity even old worn clothes have a value. Many will see use when I am back out gardening, I surprised myself and threw some away since modern materials do not even make decent cleaning cloths, some are neatly folded and waiting to go to one of the many charity shops which now line our shopping streets. I never found the scanner lost about ten years ago when it refused to scan my old holiday slides...

I recently rescued a half used can of white paint a neighbour said they were throwing out, I will never loose the need to recycle stamped into me in childhood, the space looks so different now it is nearly all white!

We can go through a lot of stages on our journey to happiness and it is so easy to forget, especially once it is all in the past and the new life sails on without any drama.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

End of year thoughts...

I started an end of year post full of confidence and hope that the world had turned our way.

The media has long found us a cheap and easy target and in consequence the public are regularly told that we are some kind of freaks rather than victims of one of nature's cruel jokes. The year seem to start badly and the British press managed to drive one poor, well loved, school teacher to take her own life. Not their first victim buy a long way but soon after there was a sense that things really were changing.

It must help that now a fair number of celebrities have become involved with transitions themselves, or within their families, which makes the excuse of ignorance harder and harder to use, everyone now knows that we exist and that we can be most successfully treated. It is perhaps only because the system is now so well organised and so many of us after treatment melt back into society unseen that progress is as slow as it is to that eventual day when transition will be no more news worthy than a hip replacement...

A recent short radio series about the work of the gender services at Charring Cross Hospital in London was so matter of fact and unsensational I was not sure at first that I was not dreaming.

Sadly over the christmas period there was a report of an American teenaged child who took their own life because their "christian" family decided that they were not to be allowed to have any kind of treatment because it went against their beliefs! The child was aware that any delay would make a seamless transition impossible and they would have to undergo a sickening puberty with all the associated discomfort and emotional distress. An online farewell note was published with a planned delay and still the parents tried to pretend that they had not killed their own child!

The "christian" excuse seems a little flimsy when I think of one of this season's gatherings here at home and the number of devout christians attending including one preacher and two canons, all very happy to be my friends...

My projected post got deleted and I only decided to try another on the theme when a new story broke about yet another celebrity couple happy to work with the wishes of their transgendered child and under the bright lights of publicity.

I have lost count of the number of transsexual commentators on radio programmes this past year and not always to put over our message, we can be treated just like anyone else and the sky does not fall.

A new year is ahead of us and I do hope that this progress continues to make it easier for the countless sufferers to gain the courage to speak out and get the help they need. Perhaps the days of stigma will pass within my lifetime after all.

The last couple of months slid into winter has taken it's toll on my circle of friends, we are reaching the age where we are the frontline generation facing age and health issues