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.


An Open Letter To ISIL, ISIS & IS…..

I can only write this from a Western perspective and it is going to be short and sweet. I can only write this from the perspective of my own culture. I can understand yours, but I cannot live it. So, here goes….

What in Allah’s name, God’s name, Zarathustra’s name and any other deity’s name, are you doing? Blowing people up? That’s like schoolchildren being jealous. I’m 47, and I used to do that sort of thing when I was 4. In fact, when I was four there was a scary thing called the IRA. I lived in England and they decided to bomb us. We couldn’t go anywhere without worrying if a left package, car parked in the wrong place was a bomb. Going into a pub was an act of bravery. To walk down a street, where I live, was bravery. To even talk to someone who was Irish, or of Irish descent was an act of bravery. And, yet, that never stopped us, was never a factor in my friendships. The same as a person’s religion. Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, et al, they do not define a person. They give a person a framework in which to define themselves, but they do not define that person.

To live something, not knowing if you will die, yet living it anyway, that is an act of bravery. Allowing those that you once called enemy to stand at the same table as yourself, that is an act of bravery. Study the IRA. Study UK/Irish history. Then you will find out what terrorism means.

I’ll give you some clue’s:

Muslim: I DON’T CARE

Catholic: I DON’T CARE


Buddhist: I DON’T CARE

Whatever your religion, I don’t care. One thing I will not stand for, one thing that I abhor, is those that kill in the name of their religion.


To my mind, you are not terrorists. You do not even have a just cause.

Like Christians of old (and some of new), you use your religion to justify your aims. Sorry, I just don’t think its going to work.


What a Transphobic Texas Teacher Needs to Learn from an Amazing Transgender Five-Year Old

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Ellie evol equals main pic

In Texas, the latest punch in the “religious freedom” strategy has been thrown. Previously, the anti-gay movement enlisted cake bakers, florists and a hapless county clerk, Kim Davis (you’ve heard of her, right?). The latest to step up to the victim mouthpiece is a teacher named Madeline Kirksey. Kirksey claims that her “religious freedom” has been violated because she has been asked to refer to a transgender child by the child’s chosen name and proper gender pronoun. Kirksey has refused to do so, and claims that she was fired as a result (the school denies that this is the case).

But it should be the case. Ms. Kirksey deserves to be fired.

Vanessa [last name withheld], a teacher in Washington D.C., points out why: “[This teacher] discriminated against the child. It is the job of a teacher not only to support our students, but also to value their diversity. It…

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It Just Is…

Hi, I’m Matt, there are many things you can feel about somebody who is going through something you don’t understand. I want to tell you right now that it is quite frankly irrelevant. Why does it matter. Does it make you feel better when you name call? Do you feel better when you use your faith or whatever to to make you feel superior? I am a roman catholic and I am telling you whatever we use to justify bullying somebody we feel is wrong is pathetic. Trans? I don’t care. Gay? I still don’t care. I am neither for or against. when somebody uses whatever they think they are or whoever they think they are to fight, they are doing a disservice to themselves. You are more than ‘gay’ or ‘trans’ you are a human person with a soul, a heart and a brain. If being whatever was normal than nobody would care. Your body is a ‘thing’, but YOU are a person. focus on things you and your enemy agree on. You can shackle yourself to a cause but ultimately who gives a flying lesbian penis. just be you. YOU are a person. I’m sure that you have more interests than being gay. that is a mere fact. you may have the disadvantage of having the wrong body but that is still only one aspect. do you have a life beyond the battle lines than society has placed? My friends I implore you to chose. Be part of a fight? or… Be part of normal every day life? was that not the plan in the first place? And those against… You can’t stop how people feel sexually, nor can you change one person’s image of themselves. If you don’t believe in God then it should not matter. If you do, then how can you limit God by judgement of other people when you know they are loved just as much as you. Gender and Sex are only an issue because of US!! no excuses. Get over it.

An Open Letter To All Those Bemoaning The Use Of The French Flag Overlay On Facebbook

I know what I am about to write may well be controversial but, hey, that’s me.

I live in Aldershot, in the UK. On the 22nd February 1972, a bomb exploded outside the Officers Mess of the 16th Brigade, Parachute Regiment. The targets were soldiers of the Parachute Regiment, the reason was retaliation for ‘Bloody Sunday’. Instead, seven civilians were killed and nineteen injured. It was to be first of such attacks over the years. Growing up as army children in the town my friends and I  learned to be wary of anything that looked out of place: a package lying by the road, a car parked where it shouldn’t be, strange boxes outside shops. We were also taught to be aware of anyone with an Irish accent asking about our parents, the army or police. Looking back on it, it was a strange way to grow up. We had no real concept of terrorism, of the war between the English and the Northern Irish. No knowledge of why we were taught these things. It just was. The targets were allegedly military but then, in 1974, came the bombings of a pub in Guildford in which one civilian died along with four soldiers, the Birmingham bombing which killed twenty-one civilians and the M62 coach bombing, which killed twelve people.

It was a scary time. There were further bomb attempts, most of which were disarmed due to intelligence received, but still caused some of the terror that was intended.

This recent attack in Paris, along with 9/11 in the US, 7/7 in London, Bali, and various others has made me think. Yes, I lived in a town under the threat of imminent destruction by terrorism, but the targets were all military. To the IRA, civilian deaths were regrettable but were considered collateral damage. The same could be said of the civilian deaths in the Middle East. Casualties of a war that should not be happening. Unfortunately, groups like ISIS don’t see things the way we do. They are true terrorists.

Their targets are the one’s that will cause maximum terror. The ones that will cause the most deaths. In military terms, they only go after ‘soft targets’. I suspect that this passage from the Quran is one that they use to justify what they do:

“And do not kill any one whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause, and whoever is slain
unjustly, We have indeed given to his heir authority, so let him not exceed the just limits in
slaying; surely he is aided (Quran 17:33).”

[In other words, killing is permitted only when it is justified, such as in a war to end persecution, or to seek retribution as long as it does not exceed the limits prescribed by God. The Prophet Muhammad also forbade the killing of women and children (Bukhari V. 4, Book 52, 257 & 258). And these are the instructions that were given to Muslim armies by Caliph Abu Bakr who succeeded the Prophet Muhammad:

“When you gain victory over your enemies do not kill their children, old people nor women. Do not go even closer to their date palms nor burn the harvest nor cut the trees bearing fruits. Do not break the promise once you have made it and do not break the terms of a treaty once you have entered into it. You will find some people in the monasteries, monks engaged in the worship of God, leave them alone with what they are pleased with. Do not destroy their monasteries and do not kill them.”

In addition to this…

A detailed treatise on this subject was also written by Abul Hasan al-Mawardi in the 11th century in his book “al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah” (The Laws of Islamic Governance). According to him, “It is not permitted to kill women and children in battle, nor elsewhere, as long as they are not fighting because of the prohibition of the Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, against killing them. The Prophet, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, forbade the killing of those employed as servants and mamlouks, that is young slaves. If women and children fight, then they are fought and killed, but only face to face, not from behind while fleeing. If they use their women and children as shields in battle, then one must avoid killing them and aim only at killing the men; if, however, it is impossible to kill them except by killing the women and children, then it is permitted. If they are shielding themselves with Muslim captives, and it is not possible to kill them except by killing these captives, it is not permitted to kill them. If desisting them from attacking them leads to the Muslims being encircled, then the latter must attempt to free themselves as best they can, but while taking care not to kill any Muslim deliberately by their hands. If one is killed, then the killer must pay blood money and make expiation if he knew that he was a Muslim; he becomes liable for expiation alone if he did not know.”

It is noteworthy that even if women and children are to be killed in a war, when they are combatants or are being used as a shield by the enemy to launch an attack, they are to be facing a Muslim army and not retreating or turning away to protect themselves. Furthermore, it is hoped that facing women and children would put sympathy in the mind of a soldier and who would desist from taking such a drastic action. Such rules and respect for non-combatants were recognized in Western countries not until the Geneva Convention of 1949. Even so, most of the countries, including Islamic ones, continue to bomb civilians. Even the United States allow some “collateral damage” to occur in its wars. Therefore, one can argue that the Islamic rules of war were way ahead of their times almost 1400 years ago, and in many respects they still are.]

The words in italics come from Contraversial Islam  and I think it would be a nice idea if the members of ISIS sat down and contemplated them.

So, to all those who decry the use of the French flag on Facebook, I say:

This is the latest in a series of attacks. There will be more. We can change flags. We can support all of the countries, all of the time. All we have done is supported the latest one. Its not the flag that matters, its the empathy. The knowledge that we stand against terrorism in all it’s forms and that we do it together.


Can you express emotion?
Can you express pain?
Can your feelings show themselves,
Without Religion’s chains?

Can you feel compassion?
Can you feel love?
Put your ideals to one side,
And help those who have lost.

The loss that they are feeling,
And the hurt that’s still to come,
Is dulled by time’s long passing,
That time is still to come.

The memories will linger on
Time’s passing may not heal.
All we can do is hold them tight
Provide comfort that is real.

The light is on, the welcome wide,
For the many who have lost.
Forgiveness stands and holds the door
For those who paid the cost.

For if we turn and face away,
From those that caused us pain,
Fear and hate will rise above,
And strike us down again.

Do you feel emotion?
Do you feel the pain?
Do your feelings show themselves,
Without Religion’s chains?

When Does Caring End?

Tonight, I felt a little bit special. A part of something. A small cog in a caring system that helps people who are less fortunate, troubled, ill, disadvantaged or in situations I have been in and, with help, managed to pull myself out of, and it amazed me how many people do not want to be part of this.

I’d been to Tesco in Aldershot and was walking back through the underpass when I saw a man slumped to one side, lying in an awkward position, with an orange bag in front of him. To be honest, my first thought was just to walk past and ignore him. It would have been so easy to do. I’d just bought a new dress and was eager to try it on. I also really needed to get back and wash my hair and, as it was just past 11pm, I really needed to go to bed as well. So many reasons to walk past him and go home. So many superficial and idiotic and selfish reasons to walk past another human being, who was obviously in trouble, and ignore him. So I didn’t.

At first I checked to see if he was still breathing. He was. As I wasn’t sure of his condition and how he would react if I woke him, I walked the few yards to the end of the underpass and began to dial emergency services. I tried 101 at first but, as I was about to dial 999, a familiar face walked past me and approached the unconscious man. It was Rick, a man I knew from the local Job Centre. Ok, that meant that someone else was available to ensure mine and his safety. I dialed 999 and was put through to the Ambulance service. With instruction from the operator on the phone, plus Rick’s and my experience of having “been there”, we managed to ascertain that the man, Ben,  was severely inebriated and, with our help, in no danger. The ambulance was on its way.

During the time that Rick and I spoke to the guy, quite a few people walked through the underpass. Someone walking a dog, several couples hand in hand, single people going to or from the shop, and many others. Yet, not one single person asked if they could help. No-one spoke to us, even to find out if we were ok. I was on the phone, being instructed to ask certain questions to find out how Ben was feeling, if he was in pain, if he’d been hurt. Despite one of those questions being “Have you had a heart attack recently?” and Ben’s answer being yes, as someone walked past, as I looked up, that person had actually moved over to the other side of the underpass, as if we had some sort of disease. As if heart attacks were catching. It made me think.

When, as a society, did we stop caring? I don’t know how long Ben had been there but it couldn’t have been more than forty-five minutes. That’s how long it had been since I’d walked to Tesco and finished shopping. How many people had walked past him in that time? How many people had passed by, not caring about a fellow human being, and not shown a shred of compassion? When did we, as the human race, stop caring?

I’ve been there. That road that Ben is on. The road of depression, despair, loneliness. The road that leads to lying drunk, passing out and ignored in an Aldershot underpass. I know where that road can lead. It leads to a fork. A choice. A choice that depends on not only you, but the people around you. Those that care. If you have people that care then it helps you to take to fork in the road that leads to living. If not then, chances are, that road will lead downward into darkness.

As it turned out, Ben had been taken in by the Ambulance service several times that day. I didn’t care, neither did Rick. Rick and I had both spoken to him. We had told him of our experiences when we’d been in his position and, I would like to think that Rick would agree with my when I say: If even a spark of what we said leads to Ben getting help, even once, then both of us have been part of something special.

I walked past a person in trouble today. I helped. Someone else walked past and helped too. Maybe if we all helped, we’d run out of people in trouble.

One day.

#ISeeTara: Support Tara Hudson

I’ve already signed the petition and #ISeeTara.

Another angry woman

Content warning: this post discusses transmisogyny, sexual violence and prison


Tara Hudson is a young woman who made a mistake. She is being punished by being sent to a men’s prison, because she is transgender.

Prisons are violent institutions at the very best of times. I would like to see them abolished completely. However, there is an urgency to Tara’s case which requires immediate action on her behalf.

Tara Hudson is a young woman in a men’s prison. Sexual violence is ingrained in the prison system, and a young woman locked up with men enhances the threat that Tara will be a victim of sexual violence enormously. Tara has already said she is being sexually harassed. Physical violence, too, is ingrained in the prison system, and as a young woman locked up with men the threat that Tara will be a victim grows. Even outside of prison, Tara Hudson…

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Entitlement and Free Speech….

Another blog that I read,, had a piece about the recent furor regarding Germain Greer and her being refused a voice at Cardiff University.  A comment on that post about “free speech” really ticked me off and I’d like to talk about that.

If you want, you can refuse to listen, refuse to read what I write, ignore anything I say. It will disappoint me, as I like it when people read what I write but, I won’t complain. I won’t go running to the media complaining that I have been denied a voice, because I haven’t. The fact that I can write this and post it on my blog is a freedom that I can enjoy. Whether or not anyone reads it is up to those who find it, not me.

I have opinions. Sometimes I like to share those opinions. Some people may not agree with them but, hey, that’s what debate and argument is all about. I won’t shove those opinions down anyone’s throat, I cannot force anyone to agree with me and I cannot force anyone to like what I say, but I still have the ability to say it.

I am a woman, a woman with a transsexual past. Consequently, any person with an opinion that seeks to deny my existence, or claims to know what I think or how I feel, will be in disagreement with me. I will tell them that they are wrong, and argue the point with them but, if they do engage with me, I don’t have to listen. I don’t have to spread the word. I am under no obligation to allow them a platform and I can quite happily tell them to shut up.

This isn’t denial of free speech. As an individual or an organisation, not providing someone with a platform to speak isn’t a denial of their rights, nor is it silencing them. Its an exercise in free speech itself.

If I were to stand in Parliament Square in London, espouse my dislike of certain policies enacted by the government, and then be arrested and taken away on the orders of the government, then that would be suppression of free speech. If I wrote something on my blog which was then deleted by GCHQ, then that also would be suppression of free speech. Conversely, if I were denied any form of media through which I could express my opinion, then that would be denial of free speech.  Any form of suppression of opinion by a government is denial of free speech.

Anything else is simply “I don’t want to listen to you.”