Category Archives: Transgender

Trans Pride 2017

Well Trans Pride is over and done for another year and I’m at home and in bed writing this even though it’s only 8pm. I’m that tired, so tired I can’t concentrate and then spent most of the next day feeling rather ill.

The past few days have taken a lot out of me, more than I thought for a number of reasons. On the physical side of things my phone recorded 30k of walking spread over four days. Factor in the fact I went to Brighton a week after smashing my toe at home and then picking up a massive blister on the first night I’m quite surprised I managed to hobble and curse my way along such a distance.

Mentally I’m feeling very frazzled. Social events have that effect on me anyway but this year it’s been pretty brutal at times. I overdid things on Friday, had a meltdown on Saturday and spent a fair bit of Sunday in an unfocused haze. I’m starting to realise how neurodivergent I am and becoming more aware of how it impacts on a lot of things. As a kid I was diagnosed with ADHD and I know I have a number of sensory issues, such as being very sensitive to loud noises and bright light. I really need to sort out my glasses instead of having to choose being able to see clearly or being blinded by strong sunlight.

For instance Friday night we went to the Trans Pride Film Event. A series of short films by a number of different independent groups revolving around different aspects of gender identity and how they play out. The films themselves were interesting, but for accessibility all of the films had closed captions. This was brilliant as I was able to read what was being said instead of listening, or tying to listen to the films while trying to tune out about a million different and distracting noises. It also meant if there was a particular noise that was bothering me, I could block it out. Case in point, a droning sound in the first film resulted in me covering my ears until it had gone away. With the closed captions I could still follow the narrative while this was going on. I’m also realising if I am having to block sounds out by covering my ears when out and about no-one pays any heed, which is nice.

Thursday night was pretty good, Rebecca and I had made plans to meet up with our friend the lovely Kate and go for dinner out somewhere, which we did after we checked into the hotel and chilled out for a couple of hours. We were later joined by Lisa and had a good catch up over a couple of drinks. I think Rebecca actually got a bit drunk that night. The only downside was my feet acting up. My shoes weren’t comfortable and I later found I had a huge blister on my right foot on top of the bad toe that had been playing up. I walked back in my socks, which was another poor idea as walking for half an hour with no support on my arches meant I was almost in tears by the time we got back. It also resulted in me buying an emergency set of trainers while out and about on Friday.

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A lovely evening out with Kate (Far left) and Lisa (Far right)

Friday was a long old day, a bit too long looking back on it. We had a wander round the shops, lunch out and a trip to the Brighton and Hove art gallery afterwards. The gallery was interesting on a couple of fronts. For one they had a big Constable exhibition on display, secondly they had the museum of Transology, which had an effect on me. Basically it was a museum of curios donated by various trans people that symbolised their journeys and I can see myself writing a blog about something based on this in the near future. I do hope the exhibition finds a permanent home because it deserves one. Transgender history is rather fragmented thanks to a lot of stuff being destroyed and also serves to shoe people that we are not a recent trend but an integral part of society for as long as there has been a society to speak of. For anyone interested, go look at http://brightonmuseums.org.uk/brighton/exhibitions-displays/the-museum-of-transology/

The aforementioned cinema event followed in the evening and by then to be honest I was struggling, having been out all day and not really had a break or somewhere especially quiet to unwind. The films were fantastic, two in particular stuck with me though. One called Skeleton in a Beret was about a couple of people who used gaming to explore their gender identity, an avenue I’m familiar with in my own way. The other (Mum) was about a family, the mother was suffering from a long term illness, one of her adult children was trans and had transitioned and family relations were somewhat strained. It brought back memories, lets just say that. Again, link below for anyone wanting more information on things http://www.eyeswideopencinema.co.uk/blog/2017/7/11/trans-pride-2017-programme

Saturday was the protest march through Brighton, though not before Rebecca and I raided a couple of comic shops we saw the previous evening and got some goodies. The march itself was as expected, a lot of noise and visibility along with a lot of walking before getting to Brunswick park and having a wee chat with various people we know on Twitter. Then the rain came, then my mood crashed. It was cold, wet, my foot was in a lot of pain by then and we retreated to a pub where some friends were staying for a while before we got a bus back to the hotel. Next year I need to actually plan stuff rather than try and drift along and see what happens. I just feel very unfocused and isolated that way. Tears were shed and pizza was consumed.

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Getting ready for the Protest March, before the weather closed in

Sunday was another day out and about with Kate, coffee, lunch and shopping as well as a good chat about a couple of serious things going on. I hope she’s ok now. Again, after a couple of hours out and about I was flagging and needing peace and quiet and looking a bit ill too (which fits given how bad I’ve felt today, Tuesday). Eventually we picked up a small wardrobe of spare clothes Kate was giving away and returned to then hotel. That just left Monday and a quiet trip back home after having spent Sunday evening mostly talking to Rebecca through Twitter as I was trying to get my head and some thoughts in order while having a non verbal spell.

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More fun and adventures with my Rebecca and the lovely Kate

The main theme behind this long Twitter chain I was typing out was a theme of feeling a bit adrift and lost, which seems ironic being in Brighton of all places. It was here two years ago a lot of things transition wise swam into focus and I got into gear. I went full time soon after and haven’t looked back. I made some great friends who I was happy to see even if it was all too briefly at times for various reasons this time. Two years down the line I’m at a stage of transition where I’m ready to move forward and sort surgery out, but still waiting for the system. I’m also still waiting to get up and going with my new job, which as it turns out I shall be starting next week, but that’s not all.

Putting things into an understandable concept is hard for me at times. With what’s going on in my head I likened to seeing a load of threads on the ground. Are they mine? Do I pick them up? Throw them away? Leave them alone? Some things I’m sure of, like my gender identity, being madly in love with Rebecca and my gothy/witchy leanings. A lot of other things I’m less sure of and there’s a couple of things I am frankly terrified of picking up and looking at because of past experiences. I suppose I’ll figure it all out in time but right now it’s only adding to this sense of feeling adrift right now.

In the end we came home Monday and to be honest, I was looking forward to going home. I’ve not felt like that when away somewhere for a long while. A few times Rebecca and I have asked if we would go back to Brighton next year. To that I will say yes, but next year I’ll have to do a few things different. First off, next year I need to stay somewhere in town, nearer to events. Being half hour walk away from the hotel messed me up. I needed the room to be close by so I could easily duck in for an hour or so and reset up head when being out and about got a bit much. I stupidly chose our hotel based on the fact parking wouldn’t be a financially crippling issue that it was last year. The logical thing would have been to book in town and taken the train down, like a lot of people do. It would have made it easier to plan things with friends, being nearby. Next year I need to plan going out better. The days where we had planned to meet someone and do stuff worked a lot better than just winging it and hoping.

I also need to do other, smaller things as well. For one, remembering to pack a couple of extension leads in case the power points are miles away from the bed. Packing more shoes better suited for walking around and finally, if I get new clothes, try them before packing them and taking them with me. I had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction in Brighton. Namely I put on a new top and realised it was pretty well see through.

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Emergency trainers

On the plus side, I spent a whole day out in leggings and another day out in shorts and at no point worried about or thought about my tucking arrangements. This is nice and is one of several reasons why surgery can’t come soon enough for me. I also paid very little heed to my make-up during the day because the hair removal’s gotten to a point where I can go out for the day and not worry about covering stuff up. On that front at least things are slowly moving to a point of comfort. If nothing else I could go back next year just to add to my t-shirt collection.

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I have a collection happening now

Oh well, I’m going to finish up with some other pics from the weekend below. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

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Yup, travelled to Brighton in last year’s t-shirt ๐Ÿ™‚

Perks of our hotel on the outskirts of town. Views, namely of the park. Also, a rainbow while in Brighton, how apt ๐Ÿ™‚

Yes, we lost ourselves in the comic shops. Castle in the Sky is mine, a film that left a long lasting impression on me when I was growing up.

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Rebecca’s pet bee. It just randomly landed on her hand while we were forming up for the march.

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Gender Is A Spectrum

I am only going to say this once: No-one is trying to take gender out of society. What is happening is a steady realisation there’s is far more than the classic ‘two genders’ we’ve been saddled with and had hammered into our heads until recently. Gender, like many other things is more of a spectrum than a series of absolutes.

People are born, some identify as the sex they were assigned as at birth, others don’t. Those who don’t take various steps so they can present as the gender they feel they are. For some people like myself that means transitioning from male to female, or vice-versa. For some, they feel neither one suits them. Some days they feel more masculine or feminine and present as such, or a mix. I know, I used to do this too. Before I worked things out I thought I was non-binary or agender and dressed and presented according to how I felt.

So why am I writing a crash course in gender identity? Well once again I and a swathe of people are yet again having to defend ourselves from bigoted idiots and people who are sycophants to said bigots who should know better than most that toadying up to them is a bad idea. Piers Morgan and India Willoughby for those who aren’t in the know.

The fact the latter is a trans woman of considerable fame, and I presume knows what it’s like to have their gender identity questioned, poked, prodded and outright denied, derided and ridiculed by some is galling indeed, especially given their extremely poor choice of language while trying to defend her attitudes which are coming across more and more as transphobic, sexist and out of touch with what most of us have to deal on a day to day basis.

Siding with a well known transphobic, bigoted idiot like Morgan after his puerile attempts to invalidate Fox Fisher and Owl’s gender identity on national television is a slap in the face to transgender people. Once again we have a celebrity who thinks they’re the big ‘I am’ and profiting off of their transition screwing the rest of us over, either because they are not realising how much damage they are causing through their actions or just showing their true colours, then playing victim when the inevitable backlash hits.

Sorry, but you can’t have your cake and eat it. You want to tell your story and make some money off of it, fine, but don’t you dare shit on the rest of us doing so. You wanted to show the world your transition and show people you can transition and your life can be a success. That is inevitably going to make you a role model to many people who are going through similar struggles. If you want to be a shitty role model, like Caitlyn Jenner, we’ll call you out for it, like we do with her.

You don’t get anything for free. You have fame and money, but the price you pay is you become a role model, like it or not and role models need to be very aware of what they say and do or be held accountable. If you want to continue being a shitty person over all of this, and let’s face it, you are developing a track record for shitting on people who don’t conform to your perceptions (the incident where she invalidated every trans/non-binary person who don’t/can’t medically transition a while back), you are going to fall from grace very quick. The wheel of time will turn and you will become an irrelevance, much like the dross you’re appeasing through your actions. That is a promise and a forecast.

You’re not the only one who’s fought decades to become the person they felt they should be. Some of us are quite capable of doing this without invalidating those who’s journey don’t mirror our own.

 

 

 

Where Does The Time Go?

Serious question, where has it gone? I’m asking because in a couple of days (Thursday 27th April) marks two years since I came out as trans and set things in motion. Anyone expecting then and now pics you’ll be disappointed, because I’m not doing that. I can’t look at my old pics, it’s just a reminder of so many painful events that happened in the past. I haven’t got many anyway.

I was pretty lackadaisical about printing pics in the past and thanks to a brace of hard drive wipes over the years I lost most of them. The ones I had printed out I last saw in my old house somewhere, left behind along with most of my stuff when I moved out. The few I do still possess tell the same story: A husk of a person, drifting through life, half not there and half dead. Someone and something a world away from where I am now, trying to figure out what was wrong.

Suffice to say I got there in the end, then spent weeks agonising on how to come out and how everyone would react. I remember coming home from a late shift, going to the bedroom and sitting rigid, choking back tears and trying to find the words to tell my now ex partner. I took the plunge and blurted out that I was trans and felt ready to start doing something about it, whatever the cost. A this point I felt all but dead anyway and probably not long for the world, I was that depressed, anything from that frame of mind was an improvement.

Over the coming weeks and months I told everyone else, saw my GP, had two attempts at getting referred to Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic (My first referral got lost) and went about into the world, feeling I had finally awakened. I started finding what I liked, my own style and so on and began to grow.

I won’t lie and say it’s all been plain sailing. Transition costs a lot in terms of outlay. A new wardrobe of nice clothes for a start. I’ve spent a good couple of thousand pounds on laser hair removal and a fair few quid on a couple of private appointments to get myself up and running and onto HRT as I’d probably still be waiting to get onto that now if I sat back and waited for the GIC.

Transition also finished off my relationship with my ex, partly because he’s not into women, but transitioning and seeing what there was out there in the world opened my eyes to a lot of things that were not right and I wanted out before any more damage was done.

I saw a counsellor a little over a year ago, initially to help deal with the grief of losing my dad to cancer. A lot of stuff came out and she basically said I hadn’t been able to celebrate and embrace my transition up until then. With a relationship that was falling apart and dad suddenly becoming ill and leaving us it’s not hard to see why my early months that should have been happy ones were overshadowed.

Thankfully things have changed for the better. I’ve been with Rebecca for just over a year now. She has been amazing and supportive throughout, my rock and my world, my everything. Mum’s commented numerous times I’m the happiest she’s ever seen me now we’re together and yes, transition has become more of a celebration, for both of us. We’re both free to be ourselves, pursue our interests, have a lot of good times and get up to all sorts. We both had our first proper holiday in a long while last year and we’re quietly getting on with our lives and building a future together. In a lot of ways we’re both on a similar journey and helping each other heal from a pretty crappy past in a lot of ways.

Going forward, by the end of the year I’ll hopefully have a second surgical opinion out of the way and I’ve finally settled on what option I’d like to pursue on that matter. I’ll also hopefully have this hair removal business taken care of to a point where I’m reasonably happy. It’s funny how the goal posts change over time.

For instance there was a time where I wanted to get to a point where I’d never have to shave again. Now I’ll quite happy deal with shaving if it’s just to get rid of the blonde hairs I now mostly have now most of the dark hair has gone. I’ll be quite happy the day I don’t need to go back and get my face blasted by the laser.

I guess what I’m trying to say with all this is yes, transition is a daunting idea to go through with. How anyone thinks we’d do such a thing on a whim, or for some sort of kick I don’t know. You’re gambling at the highest stakes possible with all this. Some people get lucky and keep their partners, family and so on. Others aren’t so lucky, they lose can lose some of this, or all of it. Some people don’t make it at all. The rewards are worth the risks though. You get to be you, you get to live and that’s why we do this.

One of the best things about this journey is seeing my friends progress through their own transitions, overcoming obstacles and growing into the people they’ve always wanted to be. Here’s to the journey.

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Here We Go Again …

Yup, it’s another day and another trip to London, the use of several trains and doing battle with the dreaded, overcrowded and stuffy underground system. This can only mean one thing: Visiting a certain medical centre tucked above a local supermarket in Fulham, otherwise known as Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic. (CHX from here on in)

Yes, I’m back here again, though for myself this time, having been this way recently with Rebecca and Sylvie to get Nadine to her workshop date and later for Rebecca’s consultation. My appointment wasn’t until 2 but I was out the door by 7.30 to meet Rebecca as she’d been dragged into work early and had an appointment of her own earlier in the day. One trip to Watford later and we’re eventually on the way to London After lunch at a cafe I visited the first time I went to CHX, we’re in the waiting room an hour early, because Rebecca and I both like to make sure we get to places early.

2pm rolls around and shortly after we’re sitting in the consultant’s room, and not quite sure what to expect from the day and instantly had a talk about how at future appointments me and Rebecca might not be able to be in the room together as we’re both on the books at CHX and being seen by the same people can potentially cause a conflict of interest. Not how I wanted to start things but anyway.

Today, well yesterday now because I was too wiped out to write last night, was my first opinion for surgery, so this time the questions were a bit different. Less of the history and what not (how did you figure out you’re trans, etc which I’ve written about in past blogs) and more on my frame of mind and weather or not I’m stable, for want of a better word. In a way this was a relief as I’ve been through my history three times now, in other ways not so.

She did ask when I came out, when I transitioned at work and what I do. I was asked to bring some occupational evidence to my next consultation (payslips, etc) as they need evidence on record that you’ve fully transitioned and not just saying you have and are hiding under a rock when you’re at home. Well I’ve kept all my bank, pension and tax stuff for the past 15 years in amongst other things, (much as I’d like to burn all the dead name stuff, I haven’t as it’s too important to destroy), so rounding that up is no issue.

I was asked about my past mental health, bouts of depression and if I self harmed and when. That was fun, given that meant talking about what I did, as well as my suicide attempt when I was 17. I I was asked if I’d had counselling at any point and I did say that I had for when I lost dad and that I do have the odd day when grief hits hard. I was advised that if this got to the point where I was struggling to function that I should seek more counselling for this as I’m at the point where if I was struggling that badly it wasn’t good for my mental health. If I’m honest though, things are getting more manageable on that front with time.

I was asked about my physical health and any medical conditions. Aside from arthritis and my usual issues with my joints and back there’s not too much else to talk about there so I went over what medication I’m on.

I was asked about my hormone medication and how I’ve felt while I’ve been on this, if I’ve had any dips in mood and so on. I was also asked when I last had a blood test (top tip, get a blood test done just before you go to one of these) and my elevated oestrogen level was noticed, as my result from the other week came back as 702, when the top of the healthy range is 600. I’ve got a telephone consultation with my GP this week regarding this, so my consultant was not overly concerned about this, but advised me that this should be back into range before I come back to CHX as being on HRT comes with an elevated risk of blood clotting, thrombosis and so on. I was asked if I smoked as this is a big no-no when on HRT as this raises the risk further. I don’t smoke and hate smoking so that’s not an issue.

Then we started talking about surgery, what I wanted and why. Now I’m still on the fence in regards to what I want surgery wise, but at the moment I said I wanted to go for the full vaginoplasty, because I wanted to have some degree of intimacy that wasn’t instantly destroyed when present arrangements down below got rowdy. I want surgery for peace of mind, to know I’m complete, can get dressed and go out and not worry about tucking and so on.

With that we talked a bit more about what surgery entailed, the need to dilate and so on. All stuff I knew already having seen so many trans friends go through this and talk about the aftercare and whatnot. I was also asked about what support I’d have post surgery, who would look after me while I recovered, which would be mainly Rebecca, though I did joke that fair’s fair and I’ll be doing the same for her one day when it’s her turn to go through all this. We did also discuss about the physical prerequisites for surgery, namely having a BMI under 28/ waistline that’s less than 100cm. To he honest, unless something drastic happens, this won’t be an issue for me and she agreed.

After that, I was given some leaflets and information, a couple of people to contact regarding surgery questions and electrolysis, not that I know if I need hair removal down below yet, and then given the all clear. She was happy I was stable and suitable for surgery and all I need now is a second opinion to back this up.

Relieved, Rebecca and I went back to the waiting room and tried not to melt while waiting for my letter for my next appointment to be prepared. We joked with the receptionist there must be an NHS directive that all their buildings must be heated up to 50C or so. A few minutes later, I had my letter, which I promptly scribbled a note to future me regarding the payslips and stuff I’d need to bring with me.

With that, I wait till October the 31st, appropriate for me as that’s the end of the Pagan year and both me and Rebecca noticed that. All I need to do is keep doing what I’m doing, do regular blood tests and get my oestrogen level back into range. Aside from that I can do some reading and research, make use of the contacts I was given and get on with life until then.

Oh well, what’s a blog without some pics of the day? Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

(Yeah, I went for a gothic witch look, it’s been a while and it was a nice day for a skirt)

(And a huge thanks to my beautiful Rebecca, who’s always at my side. I swear next time we’re here it’ll be for you darling.)

Happy New Year

Well 2016 has been and gone now, and taken a load of celebs with it and I’m presuming everyone’s just about recovered from their ‘seeing in the new year’ hangovers. No hangover for me to deal with, partly because I had work the next day, and partly because I no longer have any need to get drunk to blot things out.

No, new year’s eve for us was spent staying indoors and having a mammoth Diablo III gaming session, complete with mine and Rebecca’s oft inappropriate sense of humour and commentary.
“Oh look, that fucking monster’s here and didn’t drop that fucking gem”
“My logic hurts just thinking about that”
“Ahhhh! Shit!!! Nooo!! I’ve just aggro’d every mob in the Desolate Sands trying to run away from this monster”
“I’m going to die!!”

And so on. Of course, me playing Hardcore, meaning if I died my character’s gone forever only added to the madness, but it was funny, so funny I had a minor asthma attack because of laughing so much. That’s not the first time that’s happened lately and won’t be the last.

It’s far more fun than going to some overcrowded, overpriced pub/club and then promptly leaving because of having a sensory meltdown. It’s also something I wouldn’t have expected to have been doing at the start of the year. 2016 has been a huge year for me, a year where a lot of big things have changed and I am in a far better place for it.

I got my hormones sorted out out and been on them for coming up to a year now and on that front at least things have been pretty stable. Getting them was a challenge but there’s been no incidents, no changes and my body has responded well as a result. It’s been great taking pics throughout the year and occasionally looking back to remind me of the progress and reassure myself at times. That aside, transition has been pretty quiet for me, aside from putting a lot of thought into what surgical option I want to pursue when the time comes, but I’ve already gone into some depth about that elsewhere.

Mentally I’ve noticed a change in myself. I feel like I’m a lot more self aware or mindful in myself. I’m far more aware of things that can unsettle me, make me anxious and so on so I can do something about what’s causing the issue before I slip into a hole and struggle to get out again. There’s probably a better way of describing that, but I can’t think of how. I’m also aware I don’t need to tough things out all the time, or ‘just deal with it’ all the time now. I can pick my battles now instead of fighting all the time, so to speak. If I’m not feeling right and it’s not important that I don’t do something, I don’t have to do it. It can wait.

It’s because of all this I’ve just left a job I’ve only been in for seven months. I was aware that it was hurting me mentally and I was aware I could do something about this before it got too bad, so I have, and all being well I shall start my new job quite soon.

Of course, all of this has come about from the biggest change of the year and of my life. I ended my relationship with my ex husband in the early part of the year as it had become clear that things were going nowhere and it had been hurting me in a lot of ways for several years. Thanks to a few friends as well as a counsellor I had initially gone to see for grief counselling I had my eyes opened for the first time in a long time and saw what had really been going on. I also met Rebecca face to face at around this time after spending many months chatting away on Twitter and then over the phone.

Well you know the story by now. I ended things with my ex and spent some time at hers to figure out what my next move would be … and fell madly in love with one another. With my ex now seeing other people and bringing them home I got out of there ASAP as this was really messing with my mind. I ended up moving three counties and a hundred miles away to live with Rebecca and haven’t looked back since.

I am in such a better place mentally, she is ever so loving and supportive and understanding,ย  and has done so much to encourage me to open up and talk when I’m struggling instead of hiding away as well as encouraging me to pursue my own interests and try new things. I like to think I’ve done a fair bit in helping her through her own issues and we’ve done so much to help one another transition wise as well as supporting one another with various trauma’s suffered from past relationships.

It’s been great getting out, doing girly things together and going out to all sorts of places instead of being dragged along to re-enactment events and wrecking myself. We’ve been to Brighton for Trans pride together, met a lot of great people we both chat to and in October we went on holiday together. Rebecca showed me the sights of Hunstanton and the surrounding area and we had a lovely quiet time together. It was also my first proper holiday in a decade. Well I could go on for the next week about all Rebecca has done for me and I for her, but I think all the pics we’ve put up throughout the year tells the story.

The smiles says it all really and my family have noticed too. Mum’s said to Rebecca that I’m the happiest she’s ever seen me and all of my family have really taken to her, which is always a plus. Well when mum tells you Rebecca is your soul mate what can you say? Anyway, as they say, mother knows best. ๐Ÿ™‚

Going forward into this year, I’ve not really got any resolutions as such. I hope my new job works out well and I feel a lot more stable than I did with my old job and I also hope we both continue to progress smoothly with our transitions. As it is Rebecca and I are looking ahead to the future and we’ve both agreed that once we’ve both sorted ourselves out transition wise, had our surgery and so forth, we’re going to tie the knot. She proposed a little while ago and I instantly said yes. Well how could I not? She’s amazing and she’s my angel and I have never been so sure about anything in my life as I have with being with her and spending the rest of our days together.

And on that note, happy new year everyone.

A Grand Old Mess.

Well today is going quite grand as I now have a crying and upset Rebecca to try and settle.

Why is this?

Her GP. The thing is they’ve been wanting to see her about some issue or other, which we think is in relation to a letter both she and they have received from Charing X GIC regarding her self medicating on hormones.

The GP phoned yesterday and wanted to do a telephone consultation with her next week. Knowing this wouldn’t work I made arrangements to see the GP today so I could be there with Rebecca and give her some moral support while we sort out this mystery issue (as we’ve received no actual confirmation from the GP what this is all about). Doctors stress Rebecca out at the best of times given she’s had a slew of rough experiences in the past with them over a number of issues, so she’s been pretty on edge since yesterday.

(Rebecca: I’ve had so many care failures and obstacles before that I am disheartened and now even afraid to go to the GP. It took so much and the help of my Chrissy to just simply go and say “Hello I have a problem”. I am so distraught with it all.)

Just as we were about to head off out the door we get a call from the surgery. They’ve cancelled the appointment as the GP isn’t sure if he can sort out this issue in a 10 minute slot. I explain to them how stressed out Rebecca is over all this and why I need to be there with her. They insist they can’t sort things out today and insist on an evening appointment a little over a week away as this will be the first chance me and Rebecca will both be off work together. With all this going on I now have Rebecca in one arm sobbing her heart out and the phone in the other.

This illustrates a larger problem though, namely the detrimental effect on the mental health of so many transgender people who have to wait a ridiculous amount of time to get any support with transitioning due to the increasingly ass backwards setup we have in this country.

Most trans people have spent years dealing with their inner demons and finally deciding to speak up and ask for medical help with transitioning. To be told it’ll be at least a year for any initial consultation, several months to a year for a second opinion before they’ll think of dispensing hormones puts an incalculable amount of stress upon individuals. Add in the fact the total crap-shoot that is the process of obtaining a bridging prescription, dependant on weather your GP feels competent enough to monitor your levels or not and it’s no wonder so many trans people take matters into their own hands, as my partner has.

(Rebecca: It is not fun for your partner, who can’t stand needles anyway, to watch you on a Sunday night sticking a needle in your backside as you perform your own intramuscular injections or taking medication that’s actually for people who have heart disease in quantities that should kill you. And this isn’t just about getting a girly look. This is to improve my mental health and stability so I can function as a normal person. Or as normal as it gets when you’re transgender in a society that shuns and ridicules you for trying to live.)

If that’s not enough, when you finally see a GP, they pass on the info surrounding your self medication record to the GIC. They then send out a shitty and condescending letter on how dangerous it is taking matters into your own hands, as Rebecca has had recently instead of offering any meaningful advice or solutions. This is not on.

We KNOW the risks. We also know what hormone levels are ideal for the results we want to achieve with this and know it’s a simple case of frequent blood monitoring and either upping or lowering dosages until they sit right, and then routine monitoring to ensure they stay that way. It’s not hard. Most of us trans people feel capable of doing this, so why not your average GP, who has to do the EXACT SAME procedure with most other long term medication? Do you really think we WANT to go it alone on this? Do you think we do this for a laugh? No!

(Rebecca: All I need is my blood tests so I can manage my medication. Ideally I would be on “official” HRT as well and doing the same thing anyway. How will I know that I have to much potassium or to much oestrogen, if I can’t have bi weekly or monthly blood tests so I can regulate what amounts to quite deadly substances entering my body? I have already had an incident where my oestrogen was 4600 and I had to stop for 7 weeks to let it all drain out and start again. And even now I am cautious and deliberately missed this weeks dose because I don’t know what’s in my system and the doctor wouldn’t give me a batch of blood tests to find out. We need to be able to have small gender clinics in every town so we can just go and at least start and have the facilities to just have tests ordered or done. A blood test will not kill anyone.)
If we had a modern system where we can gain access to care in a reasonable time we wouldn’t be having such issues onย  routine basis and my girl wouldn’t be in the sobbing mess she is right now. Needless to say I am very angry with the whole thing right now. All we want is to be able to feel comfortable in our own bodies. That’s all it is. It’s not a mystery. We’re fully informed and aware of the consequences of pursuing this course of treatment and we go into this with our eyes wide open and until the powers that be get their heads out of their asses and stop all this gate-keeping nonsense, what played out today and even worse scenarios are going to keep on happening.

Once Round The Clock

In a manner of speaking I’ve gone once around the clock, and by that I mean it’s been a year since my transition really picked up the pace. The other day was the anniversary of me getting my Deed Poll completed and I wasted very little time putting it to use and getting my main documents reissued in my chosen name. So I’ve been living as me for a year and trying not to sound big headed I think I’ve made a good job of it, certainly well enough to prove to anyone I can get by and survive socially as a woman. The GIC insist on us proving we can fit in as our acquired gender for at least a year before letting us go have surgery, (Well for those of us who want surgery as it’s not mandatory to have surgery of any kind andย  be whatever gender you identify as)

On the physical side of things, I’ve been going through another growth spurt, so achy boobs are in vogue at the moment and apt as it was about this time last year I got my first round of boob ache as they started to form and do magic things. It also means having to have a good clear out of the wardrobe. I’ve now gone up two dress sizes since I first began transitioning and this is entirely down to the fact I now have a nice set of boobs on the go.

I had a dig through my PC the other day to compare pics I took last year and pics I took the other day (I like visual records of things). It’s staggering how much I’ve changed physically in a year just by taking a couple of little pills each day. Having a look back gave me a boost in another way. As well as going up two dress sizes I’ve also put on weight. A stone and a half to date and lately that’s been bugging me. Now I was prepared for thus in a way as I’m aware boob s weigh a fair bit and I know thighs and bum like to get in on the act too, and I like this. It’s helped with giving me a nice a feminine shape. No, it’s my midriff I was concerned about and looking back, yes there is a bit more on there than there used to be but not nearly as much as I have had stuck in my mind lately though I daresay I could benefit from doing something to tone things up a bit if I can do so without breaking myself.

Continuing the theme of the morning, it’s been a year since I started doing the laser hair removal. I’ve finally found a place up nearby to continue this labour and had my first session there and got Rebecca signed up to this too as it’s something she’s been wanting to do for a while. I’ve reached the stage where I’ve cleared most of the coarse stuff and have a lot of finer hair left. This means turning the dial up, quite a way up. So much so I ended up having a bit of a panic attack, (though to be fair I did have a lot going on and causing anxiety at the time). On the plus side the higher setting has really done the job. Aside from a stubborn patch right under my nose, I can have a shave and there’d be no tell tale giveaways showing any more and even the following day I could get away with minimum make-up.

Case in point this morning, when I accompanied Rebecca to work at 5am because she was going in fully dressed as herself for the first time, having recently organised her name change at work. I look rather zonked but I’m also wearing not a dot of make up and pretty pleased with how I look here.

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(Tired but happy biker girl)

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(I think it’s fair to say Rebecca’s very happy with being able to go to work as herself at last, and why not? She is bloody gorgeous)

Lately I’ve had this growing feeling that I’m moving to a new stage in my transition. I’m moving out and away from the early stages and into a mid point, somewhere between the people who’ve gone before, done all they need to do and are now getting on with their lives and those who are just coming to terms and coming out, much as I was a year ago.

I’m also feeling very much in limbo at the moment. There’s actually very little left I want or feel the need to do to feel at peace with myself but that what I do still need to do feels very much out of reach and not likely to get closer any time soon thanks to a system that really needs expanding to cope with demand. Not much I can do about that, short of robbing a bank at any rate.

Mostly though I’ve been feeling quite positive and having a phase where I’m feeling pretty good about myself, so I’m going to finish things off withย  some pictures.

(Nothing to see here, just your basic trans person getting on with a very ordinary life)

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(Me and Rebecca doing our thing at Herts pride, as it was held in our home town this year)

Brighton Trans Pride 2016

I’m back home from Brighton safe and sound and with a hatful of happy memories and mostly good experiences. Loads of pics too, some of which I’ll put up on here. It was a great weekend on the whole and I enjoyed it a lot more this year for the reasons I outlined in my last entry (Knowing people, knowing myself better this time round).

The journey down was a bit rough as we didn’t set off till late afternoon, meaning having to fight our way through the M25 rush hour traffic past Heathrow (always a joy) and had a few hairy moments where having sat in traffic going nowhere for 10 minutes in full sun the dashboard in Rebecca’s car lit up like a Christmas tree because the car was overheating. A few panicky moments getting over to the slow lane just in case we had to ditch ensued but luckily it went away once we got moving again and got a bit of air flowing. Once on the M23 it was clear sailing and we pretty well got to the hotel, checked in, had dinner there and crashed out for the evening.

Saturday morning came and we got up and ready for breakfast, Rebecca being nervous as hell as she’s about as keen as big groups of people and busy places as I am and has never been to anything like this before. Both of us had been anticipating the hotel being awashย  with trans people but until then we’d not seen anyone else. Rebecca had just remarked on this when Lisa ambled by and said hi. Hehehe ๐Ÿ™‚

After breakfast and with the parade not going until 11.30 we tookย  the time to have a wander around by ourselves, took a few pictures and marvelled at the architecture of the Royal Pavilion and took some pics

Unfortunately then came the one bit of the weekend that wasn’t so great.Minding our own business and comparing pics we were approached by some scruffy man who looked like someone had already given him a thick lip for giving it some gob. He approaches Rebecca

“Excuse me ladies, do you have any spare change”

I look up from what I was doing just in time for her to reply she hadn’t. This bloke then gets right in my face and turns on us

“Well you’re a man and so are you, you’re both in drag!”

I promptly call him out right in front of a bunch of tourists and loudly proclaim that I thought he was really a dick and walk off as haughtily as I could manage while he’s not going on about how I wasn’t being very nice and he didn’t have a problem with us. I yelled at him to get lost and carried on walking while he’s now kicking off some way behind us and wanting to duke it out with us. I was shaking with rage, Rebecca spent a few minutes helping me calm down, well away from this idiot. This isn’t the first time I’ve had trouble while out and about and not the first time I’ve called someone out for it but this time I was furious as Rebecca was involved. I’m fairly mellow these days but I’ll go full bantam if someone’s giving my girl grief, I won’t have it and I’ve had too many years of suffering silently to put up with it any more.

Rebecca took me down to the beach to cam down and then deal with the inevitable issue of getting stones in our shoes (how do I even manage this when I was wearing sandals for goddess sake?) and then headed for the Marlbrough as that was where we were all meeting up. This is where we both got nervous because of the social anxiety issues we both have. It was great though, I met up with old friends, and then with others I’ve been in contact with online for ages (as has Rebecca) and finally met up with

As you can see, there were just a few of us this year and once the pride march got underway it became clear just how much bigger the event had become this year. The organisers of Trans Pride reckon 4500 people turned up this year, and so we ended up taking over the marina as we marched to Brunswick park for the pride party.

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Weย  weren’t at the party for long, having spent much of the parade with Ruth who had driven half way across the country to day trip, do the parade and then go see a mutual friend of ours (Sarah) who was at Nuffield hospital down the road, recovering from her genital reconstruction surgery. She wasn’t short of visitors given most of her Twitter contacts list must have been in Brighton for the weekend.

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Ruth (pictured left) has an amazing sense of humour, blending the best of trans and geek humour as we chatted to Sarah in the hospital. Thanks to her I shall never look at hexadecimal code, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings and The Beatles in the same way again. With her and her love of sound equipment, expect Lucy In The Sky With Dilators to hit the Top 40 sometime in the near future.

Having done a huge amount of walking and gotten some souvenirs for the weekend Rebecca and I returned to the hotel, had dinner and crashed out for the night, before doing the breakfast routine, checking out of the hotel and spending a couple of hours at the Marlborough chatting to a group of friends before we made the long drive home again.


Of course the weekend wouldn’t have been complete with some silliness on our part, between my alternate wardrobe choices and Rebecca’s novel new way of not losing the car keys

All in all it was a fantastic and memorable weekend, and yes I was smiling a hell of a lot more this year than last. I have plenty to smile about right now even if my own journey is far from over. Even so the weekend caught up with us in the end and Sunday night was spent propping up the sofa and playing Diablo II together before going back to work the next day.

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Here’s hoping Trans Pride next year will be even better for us all ๐Ÿ˜€

Pride Season

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 theย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

The Promised Land?

Well maybe not but today does bring me one step closer to what I want and need to do for myself to feel right in my own body. It’s been thirteen months but today I finally had my first appointment at Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic (GIC as I can’t be arsed to keep typing that out).

I suppose that unless you’ve been living on the moon you know how ridiculously long it takes for transgender people to get access to facilities and care they need to sort themselves out and feel right in their own bodies. I should have gone in April but had the appointment cancelled by them 4 days beforehand. Given I have anxiety issues anyway with important meetings and appointments being whipped away at the last minute after looking forward to them, this was not good for me. It also resulted in me spending the past few days in a high state of anxiety hoping it didn’t happen again and resulted in me being wide awake and messing around on Twitter at 5am. I really wasn’t too bothered about the appointment itself, having been through this all before last year, it was the getting there and making sure I got there which was getting at me. Sounds a bit daft but that’s me really.

Figuring out what to wear was easy really. I was riding the scooter to the station so that meant jeans and whatever top I fancied wearing on the day. I went with something simple yet appropriate without drawing too much attention to myself. I also decided to wear my Pride necklace in light of the horrible goings on in Orlando. People should not be gunned down because of who they love and this world is a fucked up place if those in power do nothing to prevent future tragedies.

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Anyway, I went and did my now familiar routine of bike, train and tube to where I need to go, having done several runs to go see family down south among other things lately. If I ever get a job which requires commuting to London during rush hour, section me. I hate crowds and noise, I hate the underground at the best of times but the underground at 9am is a special hell for me. I had to wait for three trains before I could actually get on one as they were that packed. I’m not too hot on going down those escalators that look like they’re half a mile high from the top either.

Anyway, one mild panic attack later I get to Baron’s Court and wander over to the clinic. Thanks to my usual trick of factoring way too much time to get to places I’m an hour early. Thankfully I remembered to pack The Long Utopia to read while I’m waiting and having updated a couple of minor details for their records. Interestingly they’ve got a new I.T system which they had installed the day before and are getting used to. Weather this is a good or bad thing long term I don’t know.

Anyway 11am comes and I’m called in, having calmed myself down and knowing I’m not going to be stood up at the last moment.

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(Yup, my usual sunglasses/MP3 combo to block out the hectic world when I’m out and about on my own)

I’m immediately wrong-footed as I’m introduced to someone else instead of the gentleman who was meant to be seeing me (he was ill) but we soon got down to things.

Now most people who get to my stage go for an initial assessment. There’s two of them, done by two separate people to get two opinions before we get around to goodies such as hormones, speech therapy etc. I’ve already done this through my going through the private road, so the first five minutes or so I was explaining what I had done and arranging to have all my appointment notes copied as they didn’t have them on record here, though I’m sure I was told they would have been sent over. Glad I brought my black folder full of everything I’ve done to date transition wise.

With that out the way and having rather wrong footed the lovely lady who was seeing me with all this, we got on with things. I was asked pretty much the same questions Dr Lorimer did last year, questions about my dysphoria, growing up, puberty, how I came to realise I was trans and so on, as well as family history, what support I had and what experience I had socially to date.

This was useful in a way as I was able to discuss what went on since Dr Lorimer saw me and how that’s affected things. Things like how going into my new job as me has been a liberating experience and how everything that has changed has been for the better.

After all this was written down I was asked about what I wanted from the GIC, as they offer voice coaching, counselling, hormones and endocrinology, a limited degree of facial hair removal as well as surgery. I’ve gotten right to the point and said all I need is gender reassignment surgery. I discussed with her about how I’ve feminised my voice on my own, how far I’ve gotten with facial hair removal on my own (I know I’m too far along with that to qualify for any funding assistance anyway), and thanks to my discussion earlier, mentally I’m in a far better place now having figured out who I am and what I need to do. As for hormones, again that’s all set up and I have a GP who is competent with monitoring and knows what to do and who to contact if he needs advice. I literally just need my bits sorting out, which is the one thing I can’t do myself.

With that in mind I was asked what I wanted done down there. I want things to be as fully functional as they can get and I stated as such. She went a bit more into asking me how much my bits bother me and I told her I’m at a point where aside from handling the damn thing so I can wash it properly I want nothing to do with them. I want them gone and I have to remind myself every time I shower I have to wash those bits to keep them clean and healthy as I don’t want any complications arising from infections or scarring affecting what I want done.

By then we were pretty well at the end of our appointment and discussing what happens next. Usually you book a second appointment, with a different consultant and pretty much go through the same thing again as they need two opinions before giving you access to the treatments you need. With me and having just had my two previous assessments photocopied for their records it’s a bit different. When I go back I’ll likely be asked more abut surgery and what I want as by then I’d have been full time as me and on hormones for over a year and having done everything else I need or want to do the only thing they can help me out with is the surgical aspect of my transition. This could well count as my first opinion for surgery as well, though no promises were made on this. If I’m honest I can’t see why not as I’ve jumped through every other hoop and gate they ask of us.

All in all a pretty good result, only tempered slightly by the fact my next appointment is not till February next year, which sucks and highlights why we desperately need more capacity in the system to speed things up a bit. I will also note on my appointment letters it states that they have issues with a high number of patients making appointments and then not turning up or cancelling them and while waiting for my confirmation letter I overheard the reception staff lament about how 3 patients hadn’t turned up this morning alone.

With letter In hand I was all set to go. After a first appointment they usually send you off to get a blood test done to get a baseline as part of their procedures. Yup, I mucked that up as well thanks to coming in armed with the blood results from last month I have done to monitor my hormone levels. It was agreed that I should continue with three monthly monitoring of these and get a set of results done as close to my next appointment as I can.

Moral of today’s tale: Don’t wait around for the clinic. If you can do things yourself, do them. It saves time in the long run. Bring all your notes and results too. Basically be proactive as you can with things.

Now with that out of the way I one more thing to do before I came home. Sarah, a friend of mine on Facebook has just had her surgery at Charing Cross Hospital, so as I’m there myself how could I not drop in to say hello, congratulations and give her a card and a hug for getting there? She’s very happy with things, especially having had a bit of a rough journey getting there, recovering well and was full of praise for her care at the hands of the staff at the hospital, which is great to hear as I’ve not heard too much about the Charing Cross team and had been considering going there myself for geographical convenience when it’s my time to dance.

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