Yeah, it’s that time of year again, the weather’s sunny and hot, and there’s no need to add “allegedly” to that for a change, and so pride marches are in full swing up and down this country. I missed Sparkle in the end, which is a huge transgender celebration up in Manchester. I had intended on going and had a hotel booked but a few big things happened in between (such as moving in with Rebecca) and I ended up getting a refund on my booking to tide me over until I had a job. I do still have my hotel for Trans Pride in Brighton and as me and my girlfriend Rebecca have managed to get the time off we’ll be going.
I went to Trans Pride last year and it was a real eye opener for me and running up to this year’s event has brought back memories and feelings and an inevitable look back and comparison on where I was then and now in my journey. A lot of firsts have happened, there at Brighton and since then for me.
For a start I’m a full year further down the road on my transition, whereas then I’d only been out for a couple of months, still finding my feet and still unsure on how to do a lot of things and even how far I wanted to go with things. I remember being awake most of the night both nights I stayed in Brighton wondering how the hell I was going to tell work and various scenarios running in my head. I had a good job doing something I actually liked (caring for autistic adults) and I really didn’t want to give this up as I’ve had my fair share of barren times looking for work in the past.
A couple of months ago I went to my first and hitherto only interview as me and got the job I’m at now, caring for adults with mental health issues and learning disabilities, which I am thoroughly enjoying as it’s not too dissimilar to my last job as well as the freedom of not having to deal with the issues that come with transitioning in the workplace I had beforehand. It’s a clean slate. Everyone knows me as me and not some miserable, broken and lost thing I was beforehand.
I was also daunted by the whole process of going to the GIC and jumping through all their hoops in order to get onto HRT and referred for surgery. There was still a part of me then who wondered if going on this journey at all was what I wanted or needed to do back then. Things are different now. Now I know who I am, what I want and what I need to do and I’ve gotten on and achieved a lot of that in the past year so I am a lot happier with myself on the whole now.
I was also unsure about surgery and if I wanted any. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve never had to have an operation for anything. Surgery in general terrifies me and the idea of surgery being performed on one of the most sensitive parts of one’s anatomy even more so. Now I’m at the point where I know I need to get it done for my own peace of mind and sanity. I’m still scared of surgery, just like I still have a huge phobia of needles but they’re both things I’m going to have to cope with in order to get to where I want to be.
I was also still deathly afraid of how my transition was going to affect my relationship with Richard at the time. As you know by now my relationship with him ended some months ago, though to be honest, my transition was only a part of the reason. I will speak more openly about this some day, but today isn’t that day.
The weekend meant meeting up with people I had been speaking to on Twitter, so my old enemy Social Anxiety had come along for the ride too as I’m very quiet and shy around people I’ve never met, even ones I’ve spoken to online for ages beforehand. On this I had nothing to fear and those of you I met all turned out to be very kind and friendly people all too happy to listen to my fears and confusion, reassure me and point me in the right direction on a number of things. For that, on that day where a beach picnic ended up becoming a liquid lunch at the Marlborough pub because of the foul weather and we ended up discussing all these thoughts about surgery and hormones I am so thankful. You know who you are if you’re reading this and I know all being well we should be meeting up with at least two of you over the weekend I saw there and a few more I’ve met since then 🙂
This year I’m going to be coming back and really enjoy myself this time because I’m me and a lot of my fears about being out socially have faded into the background as time has worn on. Brighton last year was one of the first places I’d been out and about as myself, other than the odd trip to town and my parents. It was also the first time I’d really plucked up the courage to do little things that shouldn’t been an issue but have been made into big news by bigoted idiots lately and frankly is none of their business (like using the ladies’ loos). Yes, a bit of a strange milestone, but it was at Pride last year I felt able to do this and I’ve never looked back.
I came back from Brighton last year with a confidence I was lacking beforehand and a belief that I could really do this, as well as a sense that I’m not alone in the world, as this can be an incredibly lonesome journey, thanks to some of the opposition and hate we have to face and put up with just because we want to be our true selves. Being together with so many other people who broadly felt the same as me and had similar experiences was lifting in it’s own way. I know we’re not all the same, we all want different things to feel more comfortable in our own skin but this was what I felt at the time and still feel now.
I was looking back at the pictures I took while at Trans pride last year and I noticed I wasn’t really smiling in any of them, or in many of my other early pictures come to think of it. This year will be different as I have a lot to smile about now in my life, not least being able to share this years experience with my beautiful Rebecca 🙂
And on that note, I should shut this down and start packing, organising what to take, wear and so on. Have Pride in yourselves everyone, have fun and stay safe 🙂