A Strange Planet

In a very real sense, we are all aliens on a strange planet. We spend most of our lives reaching out and trying to communicate. If, during our whole lifetime, we could reach out and really communicate with just two people, we are indeed very fortunate. Gene Roddenberry.

To be honest, I don’t know how to compete with that.

I wrote a post via Twitter which expanded on this and opened up a potential can of worms, if it ever will. I could go on an quote famous scientists but, why should I?

I’m tired.

Tired of my canine friend whining. Tired of needing to re-arrange my flat and do the washing up. Tired of hearing about some idiot not wanting to leave the White House. Tired of hearing about how leaving the EU is going to be good for the UK.

Yes, I know she wants to go out for a walk. I’ll do that several times a day. Re-arranging my flat so that all the pictures are facing the same way has been done. The washing up has been done, twice, and meals cooked and washing up done again. I’ll even put carpet down in the bedroom so that my partner doesn’t get cold feet.

In the meantime, what is happening in the world?

Well, some twat has encouraged a raid on the US capitol, and some idiot has removed the UK from the EU. All in one week. Amazing.

Well, first off, our government (as in the UK), has removed us from the EU. That, in itself, is probably the stupidest move going. While we were in the EU, we had trade agreements with 27 countries, free movement between them, health agreements which backed up the NHS, and a system of government which allowed us to challenge and dispute any laws we disagreed with.

Now, we have an incompetent government that cannot agree a trade agreement with one country, let alone twenty seven, no free movement, an NHS which is failing under the pressure of COVID and a system of government which cannot decide which way it wants to go.

Normally I would use the word ‘shambles’ but that would be too kind. In this instance I think that the phrase “Complete Fuck Up” is probably more appropriate.

I know that this whole shitshow started with David “Lets Kick off a War” Cameron but Teresa “Running Through Fields of Wheat” May took the ball and ran with it and the passed it to Boris “£350 Million” Johnson who completely, and absolutely, fucked things up.

Now, we’re stuck with a, I won’t even call them a government, pile of idiots who can’t even sort themselves out, let alone a country and to cap it all, we have COVID.

In two months time it will be a year since COVID came here and we had to lock down. In that time, what has the government done?

Nothing.

Yes, they’ve helped some companies stay afloat, furlough has allowed some workers (myself included), to retain their jobs and given the absolute bare minimum to those that needed it but, otherwise, sod all. Nothing but confusion, obfuscated figures and rules that make no sense whatsoever (I know, it does sound a bit like Monty Python’s “What Have The Romans Done For Us?).

Now, I’m going to say something here that may not be popular, especially with people who know me, and it does leave a bad taste in my mouth but, in the 80’s, especially when it came to the UK, Margaret Thatcher was a force to be reckoned with. She would brook no interference with the UK. As a member of the EU she accepted the European Court of Human Rights, although with reservations, she signed the Single European Act in 1986 (she later came to see this as a mistake) but, one thing she never did: she never dithered. She never wavered in her resolve. Unlike Boris Johnson, who wavers more than a patch of reeds in a stiff breeze.

To be honest, I would rather go back to a conservative government from the 80’s run by Thatcher than I would live under a conservative government run by Johnson. At least Thatcher made sense, even though I seriously disagreed with her. I suspect (and this will not endear me to any Northern Irish readers), Boris would have collapsed under the pressures of dealing with the Troubles in Northern Ireland, whereas Maggie stood firm.

Then, we have the yellow Cheeto in the White House. What can one say about him? Not a lot. He has the pesonality of a scrapped car, less ability than Boris Johnson (and that is saying something) and the political acumen of a toilet brush. In fact, of all the Presidents, I would rather have Ronald Regan. At least he was involved in a song. I doubt Trump would have even qualified for Spitting Image.

And, for a sitting President to encourage followers to break into the seat of government? Yeah, ok, that definitely would have qualified for Spitting Image but, I can probably guarantee that Maggie would have put him in his place.

All in all, this last year has seen the worst possible president in the US and the worst possible government in the UK.

I just wonder if those who stormed the Capitol this week may have stormed the wrong seat of the wrong government.

V

X

I have known that I am trans since the age of 4. Shit happens and you deal with it. Unfortunately, I didn’t deal with it very well.

Many years ago, back in 1985, I was accidentally outed to my entire apprenticeship class as trans. 31 teenage boys and one woman (my best friend), were there. One of the boys found a bra in my rucksack and, rather than try and brazen it out and play the “it belongs to my girlfriend” card, I chose the truth. I told them I was trans (well, I didn’t use those words as trans wasn’t a ‘thing’ then. I used ‘transsexual’).

It didn’t go down as bad as I had feared. I received the usual ribbing but it didn’t change the relationship I had with the class. Except Julie (names changed to protect the innocent etc).

She befriended me when I felt alone, and left out, at the beginning of the appreticeship. She had managed to secure me a bedsit when I left my parent’s place. She became my guiding light and the closest to a girlfriend I had during those very troubled times.

Julie already knew I had a problem with alcohol and, I suspect, she knew there was something troubling me. She introduced me to Queen, (a lifelong musical love along with OMD), became my confidant to whom I could tell all my troubles and, for a while, was a replacement for alcohol.

Her greatest gift to me, though, was when I came out in front of the class. Instead of laughing with the boys, she simply hugged me and said “Welcome to the club”. That moment of acceptance felt so wonderful, so embracing. I wept.

Don’t get me wrong here. I was still ridiculed, laughed at and called “The Tranny” by the boys. It wasn’t easy by a long chalk but, there was no bullying, no physical hassling and no arguments over toilets.

Having come out at work, though, caused me more problems in my personal life. I so wanted to come out properly but I was afraid to. This was the mid 80’s and trans people were still a thing to be laughed at, to parade in the papers, and to be ridiculed.

I read Jan Morris’s “Conundrum”, April Ashley’s “Odyssey” and Rene Richard’s “Second Serve” and marveled how these women had come out in public life and managed to live their lives and make them their own. I despaired that I couldn’t do the same.

It took a further 26 years, several suicide attempts and a deep dive into alcoholism for me to finally come out. The person responsible for that was Tracey (yes, real name used).

She and I had met on several occasions. Her (then) husband was a philanderer and a wastrel. He eventually left her for a woman in Sheffield.

I didn’t think I was in love with her at the time but, after talking to her over MSN while I was in Spain, I realised I was. When I returned to the UK in 2011, we had a nine-hour talk where I explained to her that I was trans and needed to transition and she explained to me how she was in love with who I was, not what I was. We married in 2013.

She passed away on May 14th, 2019. That was the hardest day in my life. I’m crying now, as I write these words so, please, forgive any mistakes.

The reason I’ve written all this? It’s to show that we, trans women, are human. We are not some product of a deranged mind. We are not false. We are not predators, as some people seem to think. We are people who would like to go about our daily lives without being harrased, assaulted, mocked or being the butt of a joke.

We transition because we have to. The only other option is death and, unless you are trans or you know a trans person well, you will never understand that feeling, that abject fear, that society puts us through.

So, please, when you meet a trans person, don’t ask for their deadname, don’t ask what genitals they have and don’t ask why they transitioned, unless you are prepared to ask yourself the same questions.

McCarthy’s Empire

Blimey. It’s a long time since I’ve written anything here. I suppose that all the things I usually have to say I tend to say to people in real life, as opposed to blogging. Which is probably why I tend to blog so rarely. Sometimes, though, there is a point or subject which I want to address that I can’t do just by talking to individuals. This is where social media, or blogs, come in.

I don’t have that many physical friends, mainly due to the type of work I do, (I’m a contract IT support engineer and sysAdmin) and, so, I tend to not have many people to talk to face-to-face.

What I do have, though, are many people whom I can talk to online, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, LinkedIn, Cybrary etc, and this gives me a whole world outside the physical to explore. It also gives me examples of people who don’t give a crap about what I am, but do care who I am. On Cybrary, I’m a network engineer who is training in network security, just one among many women who are doing so. On SoundCloud I’m an electronic musician with a fixation on Synthwave music. On LinkedIn I’m an IT engineer working for one of the largest media company’s in the world.

Each of us is a different person through a different lens. That is what gives us our individuality. Sometimes, though, we fall into a bad crowd, or fall prey to bad or misleading information. When that happens, we can either extricate ourselves or we can allow ourselves to be drawn in.

It all comes down to trust. The trust that what you say is true. The trust that what you post won’t go any further. The trust that your music won’t be appropriated. The trust that your skills won’t be abused. The trust that whatever you offer the world won’t be userped, misappropriated or destroyed.

The trust goes both ways too. As a SysAdmin and support engineer I sometimes require a user’s password. That user trusts me not to reveal that password to anyone else. I may be asked to recover files that contain an idea that someone had, something they are working on, or a script idea for a film, or something so private that they don’t want anyone to know about it. I may also have access to personal information, some of which is very, very private. Each individual relies on me not to reveal that information outside of the context in which it is given. I never have done so and never will do.

So, why oh why, is it seemingly permissable to lay bare the entire life of a trans woman or a trans man? What is so different about a trans person that their private life is open to all? Why should it be allowed that I have to reveal things about my life to organisations that no-one else has to? Why should I be asked to reveal personal information about someone who is trans when I wouldn’t be asked if they were cis (I never have done and never will do (see above))?

Why is that the media can probe a trans person’s life more thoroughly and with less legal protection than their cis counterpart, and display it publically?

The reason being is that anything that deviates from being white, christian and male/female is labelled as ‘wrong’. That means that being dark-skinned, Muslim, Hindu, Bhuddist, gay, trans, NB or anything else is ‘wrong’.

A large proportion of the reason is due to the British Empire. So many laws around the world were enacted by the British, and harshly enforced, based around the ideas of the times, that they have become enshrined in culture and even in the laws of the countries where they should not have appeared (India, Pakistan, South Africa, et al).

I could go into it further and it would probably take me days but, if you want to, the information is out there. I suspect, though, not many people will.

I shall, though, give you three historic reasons why exposing a trans person’s life is considered fair game and they are below. Please read them, and then realise what’s happening now:

Germany: 1933 – 1945

USA: 1950 – 1954

UK: 1988 -2000

An Open letter to MPs on the UK Gender Recognition Act

Growing Up Transgender

Dear MP,

As a parent of a transgender child I wanted to write to you ahead of the upcoming review of the Gender Recognition Act, to emphasise the importance of care and respect in any debate on this topic.

As you will be aware, the 2010 Equality Act already provides legal protection for girls like my daughter. My transgender daughter already uses girls’ changing rooms, girls’ bathrooms, attends school as a girl, attends the girls only Girl Guides, plays for her girls’ football team. She is accepted and seen by everyone in her life as a girl. She faces the same discrimination and sexism as other girls, in addition to the discrimination and hate she encounters for being transgender.

As a concerned parent of a transgender daughter, I want safety and protection for all women and girls (including for my daughter). Yet I am aware that there are a small…

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I’m Here, I Really Am…

This is something I posted on my Tumblr blog this morning which, to all intents and purposes, is really for thoughts and ideas that crop up and I want to share. PTSoL is more for this type of post….

When I read the comments sections of various articles about trans people, I always wonder why so many people comment on a subject they obviously know little about. Opinions are always welcome, be they positive or negative, and can sometimes be useful but, please, please, please, let them be informed opinions.

It takes very little in the way of searching online to find massive amounts of information on trans people, the various processes involved in transition, blogs describing individual transitions and much, much more. Really, there is no excuse for anyone not to know at least the basics.

Why, then, do so many people display such a high level of ignorance about trans issues? After all, its not like we’re invisible, or figments of someone’s imagination, although, according to some posts I’ve read, we don’t exist at all, which means that you cannot possibly be reading this. Think about that for a minute. This is one of the more common opinions floating around, along with the arguments, mainly aimed at trans women, that we are autogynophiles, gay men in denial or men simply trying to invade women’s spaces (which is laughable when you consider the physical and verbal abuse that most trans women suffer in their daily lives would make most men go pale and run and hide, not dress up to get into a ladies loo).

However, we do exist, are real and are not pretending. We walk among you, some known, some unknown but, we are here.

Other comments I’ve read seem to imply that we’re looking for ‘special’ rights, some come out and openly state it. Others have an air of disapproval, an implication that we need to ask permission to live.

We’re not seeking, nor do we need, anyone’s approval or approbation, nor are we asking for any rights over and above those accorded to every other person in society. We just want to be able to walk down the street without being harassed, to be able to go to the loo without our right to do so being questioned, and to live our lives without having to worry if we’re going to be fired, evicted or even imprisoned, simply for being who we are.

I think the problem lies in that our existence doesn’t fit in to some people’s immensely narrow world view and, rather than broaden their horizons and expand their view of the world, rather than use a little effort in educating themselves and admit we exist, they tie themselves in knots cherry picking bible verses, referencing tenuously relevant and totally irrelevant news items, and use every logical fallacy and straw-man argument they can muster to bolster their nebulous assertions that deny our existence, amusingly expending far more energy in this pursuit of ethereal contradiction rather than simply admitting we exist and are real.

I no longer bother trying to talk to people like this.

After all, there’s no point in arguing with someone who is denying your very existence when you are refuting every one of their arguments simply by sitting there, smiling. 

Hmmmm

Many years ago, I used to wonder if my Nan would die, and if she did, would my grandfather take over the house? At the same time I was worried that Thomas Covenant would fail to defeat Lord Foul. On top of those worries, I was worried that, being brought up as a male, I would never become the woman I knew I was.

Funny that, innit? Knowing that you are being brought up as a man and yet, wanting to give all that up, give it away, to lose all that privilege, to be the woman you always knew yourself to be.

Yet, that is what I did. And I did it gladly. I didn’t do it to gain entry to toilets. to have some sort of power, to have “energy”. I did it because it was the right thing for me. I wasn’t male, despite my physical appearance. And, yes, I was born male. According to society. I had physical characteristics of a male, on the outside, and I had a male upbringing. Well, as male as one can get when you are trying to be female.

No, much to my regret, I didn’t go through menstruation, but then, neither did a lot of women. I don’t have XX chromosomes, but then, neither do a lot of other women. I’ve not suffered from a lot of things that many women have suffered from . Then again, neither have most women these days.

Now, you may start thinking that I haven’t had the upbringing that all women have. I was lucky. I had two wonderful parents and a wonderful  brother. I had what should have been an amazing life. Unfortunately, there was a problem, and that problem was that I was trans (although I didn’t know it at the time, I just knew I was different). Amazingly, despite my best efforts over the years, I didn’t manage to kill myself (and, believe me, I tried, it’s not easy). So, no, most trans women don’t have a ‘typically female’ upbringing. Nor do we have a ‘typically male’ upbringing.

If your idea of me having “male privilege” is having grown up in a male body then, I must say, you are sadly mistaken. I spent most of my life scared of even leaving the house, just in case someone realised I was trans. When I did finally come out, I was so scared of going outside that my partner offered to get people off the street to come and see me, just so I wouldn’t feel alone.

This thing you call “male privilege”, is only effective if you are secure as a male. It does not work for trans women. It never has, and it never will do. Growing up male never worked either.

So, you may call us “male”. you may say we have “male privilege”, you may say we re not women but, in each of those, you will be wrong.

 

Oh, think on this: Even if there was no such thing as gender, no binary “male” or “female”, my body would have still been wrong (considering I knew it was wrong before I’d even heard of these terms).

How Many Times Does This Have To Be Said?

I’m a trans woman.

I’m a woman with a trans past.

I may be a trans woman with XY chromosones.

I may be a trans woman with XX chromosones,

I may have xxy, xyy, xxx, xyx, or other chromosones.

Does it matter?

Does it really matter?

I live. I breathe.

I enjoy.

I care.

I worry about politics.

I worry about life.

What do you worry about?

Where I go to the toilet?

Where I walk on the street?

Why do you worry if I exist?

I don’t worry if you exist!

I really don’t care where you walk.

I don’t care where you live.

I don’t care.

So, why should you?

Does my existence hurt you that much?

Only Human….

Lonely: The feeling of being isolated, or

Lonely: The feeling of being isolated while surrounded by friends.

0230 (02:30am for those not used to 24-hour clock). I am alone. I could phone my partner, Tracey, and share my loneliness but I don’t want to burden her. I am alone. I have Star Wars on video, I have music, I have my computer. Yet, I feel lonely. I feel alone in this world. Lonely.

I love my wife. She is the light in a life of darkness. She is the one person who keeps me going. Yet, I still feel alone. Trapped, constrained in a body that defies how I feel. Lonely in my own body. I feel like I’m shouting to an empty world, pounding on a cell door that no-one will unlock, screaming to jail guards that will not listen. I can still walk through a world that sees me as I pass through yet I can shout, scream, rail at those same people and they will not listen. They cannot hear. They can only see what they have been told they can see.

Some people can see, those that are close to the epicenter, those that are close to the jail cell. Even then, they cannot feel the hurt, the pain, that is so obvious. Others can see the cell but do not understand what is inside. The jailers do not even know who they are guarding.

There is no movement. There is no community, no organisation and no agenda. There are no leaders.

There are only people.

Only humans.

We know you want to protect women in bathrooms. What about from actual rapists?

Nail -> Head

knitting soul

IMG_1510

I keep waiting, but it hasn’t happened yet.

A few weeks ago, there were lots of men looking out for the safety of American women everywhere by wanting to ban transgender women from using the ladies’ rooms at Target and other public places. We were told how women were precious, how they needed protected from “men in dresses.” When the current administration sent out messages to schools giving guidelines on how to treat transgender students, eleven states sued to make sure that our girls are safe in their locker rooms from transgender girls.

Oh, I heard them say that it wasn’t REALLY the trans people they were worried about. Sure, there would be plenty of opportunities to call them freaks and perverts. Lots of chances to remind us that there are just a few of them, so why should we bow to their desires. Lots of dismissive language that told trans…

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