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. 

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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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Response to the Morning Star

Just Juno

It is disappointing to have to write this article responding to the very people who I wanted call my allies, my comrades and sisters. Yet here I am again defending an entire community against those who don’t recognise their own privilege and who choose to ignore the mountain of a struggle trans women have had to endure to reach self-actualisation. Let me start by making a positive statement that hasn’t ever been printed in this publication. Trans women ARE women. That’s it, end of story. And in the interests of balance I am responding to the points made by Jennifer Duncan in her article published a few weeks ago.

“Women are not oppressed based on our identities, we are oppressed on the basis of our female biology – a fact that is being erased by transgender politics. The concept of gender identity is being enshrined into law in several…

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Have a listen…And then decide….

Many years ago, oh, about forty-two years ago, there was a little boy. He seemed ordinary, according to the people around him, mostly adults. He had an Action Man, a Tomahawk bicycle, and many more of the trappings of a boy. There was no question about his gender, what he would grow up to be, no question about what army department he would end up in. Unfortunately, for his parents, he had other ideas and, for a while, this was not a problem. He knew what he was and what he wanted to do. So, consequently, he ended up in a government establishment studying electronics, and very good at it he became. In fact, he became so good that, by the age of eighteen, he was headhunted by IBM, had inquiries from Intel, turned down an offer from HP and retreated into a small firm repairing stereo systems. He went on to redesign the RS422 standard, work on the first wireless network system and write the precursor to most remote desktop systems.

So, where is this boy now? She is writing this blog.

There is nothing worse than the past. I know there are many things I have done in the past, many things I should be proud of but, I can’t. They were not things I have done. That person has gone, passed into the mists of time. I could lay claim to them but I won’t. He wasn’t me.

Reading this, you may find that you cannot understand. You may find feelings inside you that are alien to you. If so, try to think how I felt, how I feel. I cannot rid myself of them. They are with me day and night, pervading my life. You, dear reader, can lose these feelings by not reading what I write, I cannot. Nor can anyone like me.

How we feel, what we know, is not a choice. It isn’t something we wake up one day and decide. It is with us day to day, night to night, always. You can wake up and choose to go to work, choose to drive or walk, choose to take the bus. So can we but, we cannot choose who and what we are. You can choose to worship at the alter of God or Jesus Christ. So can we. We cannot choose what we know, what we feel.

You can choose to hate us. It’s your choice. We cannot choose not to be hated.

We can only choose to ask you not to hate us. Not to despise us.

We can only ask you to accept us.

If you don’t, that is your choice, not ours.

What The Fuck Is Going On Here?

“The substance of this bill doesn’t address a group, issue or belief system,” he added. “Rather, it allows counselors – just as we allow other professionals like doctors and lawyers – to refer a client to another counselor when the goals or behaviors would violate a sincerely held principle.”

Tennessee governor Bill Haslam has just said this. If this isn’t discrimination, I don’t know what is. Counselors, doctors and lawyers are supposed to provide aid, support and advice to the best of their ability regardless of their client’s gender, sexuality, dependency, crime or whatever, regardless of the “sincerely held principles”. If they can’t do this then they shouldn’t be in that position in the first place.

Otherwise this becomes a Janus Principle. And if you have to ask…………..

Trans Women Are Destroying Reality….

Oh, I do so like a clickbait title, don’t you? It’s like catnip for the masses. So, seeing as you are here, you may as well keep reading. I chose that title because it seems that, lately, we trans women seem to be walking around with a Target on our backs, (notice what I did there), and it seems that the worst of it is in the so-called “civilized” United States, (note the American spelling there). Well, it makes me angry. Very, very angry. Why, you may ask. Well, the “bathroom bills” for starters. Why are these even a thing? In the whole history of everything there has never been a recorded incident of a trans woman assaulting another woman or child in a loo (or bathroom, for my US readers). For a trans woman, a public toilet can be a very frightening place to be. We just want to go to the toilet, check our makeup and then leave. Its as simple as that. Not long after I transitioned, I had to use the loo in a motorway service station on the M40. I went in to the cubicle and, while I was there, a group of women from a coach party came in. I stayed in the cubicle until they left. The reason being, I was worried that I would be verbally and physically abused for being trans. This, I suspect, is a feeling that many trans women feel in public conveniences. There is a certain feeling of vulnerability when using such facilities and that vulnerability is felt more keenly when one is trans.

Following on from that, another item on this long list, is the notion that people have that being trans is a “lifestyle choice”. I’m going to be gentle here and say NO, IT IS NOT! I could have used a larger font but I did say I would be gentle. A trans woman or a trans man has no choice. None whatsoever. Its who we are, what we were born as, what we grew up as. Some may realise later in life, some earlier, (the mind is a very complex thing) but, always, it’s knowledge. It’s not a “feeling” or an emotion. It’s not a choice or a result of upbringing. I was four years old when I knew something was wrong. What my mind was telling me was incompatible with how my body looked. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the language or the knowledge to express how I felt at the time. I just knew. I had a fairly vanilla upbringing. One brother, loving parents and a good life. It wasn’t until I was about twelve that I came across the word “transsexual” in The Sun newspaper. It, erroneously, explained what a transsexual was (after all it was the late 70’s) and it led me to investigate further. Eventually I met up with Jan Morris, via her book “Conundrum”, and all became clear, almost. It took a further year of reading to confirm what I already knew and then a further 35 or so years of self destruction and suicide attempts to finally transition. So, to all of you who think that being trans is a lifestyle choice I say again: NO IT IS NOT! Please try and understand this. There is no choice.

One more thing: If you do happen to meet a trans woman, or a trans man for that matter, please treat us as we present. It takes nothing out of your day, and it means that we will respect you too and, maybe, you will make a friend. The world could do with more friends.

My Faith In Faith Has Been Destroyed….

Faith. A word. Such a small word, but such a huge meaning. It can mean complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Total trust. It can also mean strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof. Again, total trust.

One thing faith doesn’t have: The burden of proof. But it can adapt.

I have faith in my parents. I have faith that they will always help me. They will always be there, in body or in spirit. I have faith in my family, whether or not they support me. I have faith that, if I ever find myself in real trouble, they will be there for me.

What I don’t have is faith in my government. Once upon a time I did. Once, I had faith in the government. I worked for them, keeping their secrets, working out why things went wrong and fixing them, helping design new systems to help protect the public, and so it went. Then I left government employ and worked in the private sector, doing pretty much the same thing. For nearly thirty years I had faith in our government, through the Maggie years, Major, Blair, et al.

Then I transitioned. Then, everything went to hell and exploded.

Only then did I find out how badly the NHS has been underfunded. Only then did I find out how badly the government treats it’s sick and injured. I’d seen news reports, read the papers but still hadn’t believed it. How army veterans are left to die. How patients are left in corridors on beds because wards have been closed. How elderly patients die because there are not enough nurses to look after them. Not in the name of money but, in the name of performance. Numbers. Percentages. Figures. These measurements should ever only be used in industry, not health. Never.

And it’s still going on….

When did leaving patients to die in a hallway mean that ward deaths being lower were a good thing?

When did sending unfit patients home mean that curative rates were higher?

When did halving the number of GP’s reduce patient numbers?

I live in an area where the influx of people means that GP surgeries that were designed to cope with 60,000+ people now have to deal with over 100,000 plus people. We used to have a hospital that could have coped with that number of people, as it was a Military hospital with a massive and brilliant A&E unit, but that was shut down and now the nearest A&E is six miles away. A heart attack can kill a person in 60 seconds. From Aldershot, our nearest A&E is 6 minutes away, on a clear road.

I never noticed any of this (except the closure of the hospital, which I opposed), until my transition, until I needed to use our local NHS services.

It was then I lost faith in our government.

In the US, the idea is “government for the people, by the people”. It doesn’t seem to work there either. Here, it seems to be “government for the people, by the people with the most money and the best connections”.

It seems to me, the doctors don’t matter, the nurses don’t matter, the patients don’t matter. The only thing that matters is the bottom line. The money.

If that is the case, then the government and me are going to have a serious problem, and I suspect I am not alone.

I have absolute faith in the doctors, nurses and other workers in the NHS. They shoulder the burden of proof and display it and I have trust in them. Absolute trust. I just don’t have faith in anyone else.