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Sunday, 8 April 2018

Catching up with old friends

Now that my skin is somewhat better and I can wear makeup once more, I am gradually getting more active in my trans life again. I'm suffering a certain loss of confidence, though, as the disfiguring sickness I had, and the length of time it took to improve (over three years), as well as a host of other unexpected work and home problems in 2016, have left me a bit shocked and unsure of myself.

A while ago, though, I'd been in touch with my friend Dawn about meeting up again. She was the girl I spent Christmas with in the early days of this blog (http://suerichmond.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/lovely-christmas.html).

She came for lunch last Wednesday and we had a nice chat and catch-up. She's married her partner, another trans woman, which is lovely, and she seems to be having a nice retirement, often visiting exotic places like Central America and Antarctica. I'm not jealous, not one bit! I'm sorry I forgot to take a photo of the two of us.

I'm pleased that my friend who had gender surgery last month is progressing well with her recovery and has now moved to her new home.

I'm hoping to get to see more of my old friends now. Little by little. As I said above, I am still somewhat uncertain of where I am now and where I stand in the trans spectrum as someone who wanted to live full-time female but was unexpectedly thwarted and can't now do so. So I'll take it step by small step.



Sue x

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Transgender Day of Visibility

Each year, March 31st is Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), when trans people are encouraged to be seen in public to raise awareness of our existence and celebrate our authentic lives. Every time we go out we are being advocates for the transgender community, but today is a special day of recognition. I cannot express this idea better than the wonderful Hannah McKnight who writes such a superb blog and penned this entry today:

Hannah McKnight TDOV

Having been sick for many years, I was unable to participate fully by going out before, but this year I did.

On the train today


Now, I'll confess there's a bit of a conflict between the me who wants just to blend in and not draw unwanted attention and the me who wants people to know that there are trans people out and about in their community getting on with their lives. Invisible yet visible, as it were. Ideally, we want a world where trans people draw no attention except the best attention when merited or needed. But we aren't there yet, hence TDOV.

Sue x

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Photography exhibition

I didn't post last week as the news for the trans community in Britain has been so toxic - threats to the Mermaids charity for trans children, a group of trans-exclusive feminists invited to parliament to attack trans women, and the usual hate in the Daily Mail and ridicule in The Sun newspapers. The xenophobia behind a lot of the votes in the referendum on Britain leaving the European Union has caused an explosion in hate crime and anti-minority abuse.

So instead this week I am going to mention an exhibition I saw at the Photographers Gallery in London, which I visited with my oldest TGirlfriend, Ange. I know various other of my trans friends have seen it.

https://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/whats-on/exhibition/under-cover-secret-history-cross-dressers

The exhibition is based around old photographs picked up in markets and such which show people who are not conforming in some way or another with gender norms. They vary from known transsexuals such as French stars Bambi and Coccinelle to college women of the late nineteenth century who dressed as men to express their equality, with representations of many other reasons for presenting gender difference through dress: drag queens and kings, prisoner-of-war and concentration camp theatre shows, local trans groups and or just individuals from the West and other cultures, and (what I didn't know) ladies' college girls in mock wedding photos with women playing the groom, parson, best man and male guests (something that seems to have been all the rage a hundred years ago).

And, as an additional exhibition in another gallery, Grayson Perry's photo album, not showing him as his well-known alter-ego Claire, but in his younger years before he was famous just dressed largely as a middle-aged woman.

Altogether, an interesting exhibition. Entry £4 to these two exhibitions and the various others that are on.

I'm pleased to say that the friend who had her surgery a few weeks ago is recovering well. And one of my trans friends who was looking for work has found a job. Fingers crossed for the other.

This coming Saturday is Transgender Day of Visibility. I shall try to be visible.

Sue x

Sunday, 11 March 2018

It's a difficult journey

I've just visited another friend at Charing Cross Hospital who has had her gender surgery. She seems well enough, if bored and in some pain. Fingers crossed that all has gone well in the long run. I've seen rather too many of these operations go wrong and, as a result, I'm becoming more sceptical of their worth. But this is the route people are currently sent down and one day trans people might have a wider range of medical assistance available that isn't so dangerous and is more geared to the diversity within the trans community. To get treatment on the state-run National Health Service here you have to fulfil many strict criteria and you are always pushed towards surgery. After much research and discussion with trans people on this programme I have still not formally approach my doctor about my being trans and, like most of us, end up in this unsatisfactory limbo, wanting to be one gender just for simplicity's sake but having to lead a double life with two wardrobes.

Anyway, I hope my friend makes a good recovery. I think she's happy to be approaching the end of a long journey.

And talking of wardrobes, as planned and as mentioned in my last post, I have now thrown out a lot of worn-out clothes and shoes and given a couple of bags of unworn and nearly new items to a nearby charity shop.

I'm also hoping that a couple of very close trans friends of mine who have been out of work for a few months will find jobs soon, especially the one who is transitioning and who may therefore encounter more discrimination.

Its not easy, is it?

Sue x


Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Life laundry


I’m doing a lot of throwing out as I intend to sell my current home. I’ve lived here for over 20 years and my moving in coincided with my fully acknowledging that I was trans and embracing it. I recall how, in the first weeks here, even with all the decorating and furnishing to be done, I made up for my previous purge by buying a huge new stash of clothes, from shoes and coats to skirts and nightwear… everything.

Every so often I’ve exchanged clothes with other women, be they transgender or genetic, and thrown out stuff that was worn out, no longer fitted or was out of fashion, and I’ve blogged about that in the past. I can’t seem to get my clothing to fill less than two cupboards and three chests of drawers (as opposed to one of each for the boy stuff I still have to have).

This time, though, I am doing a significant clearout and the charity shops will get some decent stuff, like these sequinned peep-toes (frankly, I can’t do five-inch heels any more!)



and the white satin pencil skirt (that wouldn’t survive a second on London’s grimy, greasy public transport system). The dustmen can enjoy the horror purchases (surely anything is better than those orange boiler suits, boys).

Ah, yes, the horror purchases. Those things that only a weirdo would design, a crook would sell and a ditzy TGirl would buy! Like this top in layered lace frills, a sort of goth ra-ra vest. One TGirl who saw it gave me a look that suggested I burn it immediately (with me still in it was the implication).



But then there are the things that are simply no longer fashionable, like 50 denier tights in avocado and turquoise that were all the rage about ten years ago. They are so soft, warm and comfortable, though, that maybe I’ll keep them just for use at home. Or the leather trousers from the MILT* era fifteen years ago. Leather legwear is in again, but as leggings and skinny jeans, not loose trousers.

*For those who’ve forgotten, MILT = mothers in leather trousers.

Clearly it’s time to throw out the shoes with broken straps, the boots that have worn through (so hard to do - I loved them! L ).

A necessary clearout, but everything I get rid of is part of my history, and I feel strong emotions of loss.

Sue x

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Increasing outings

I haven't posted for a few weeks but that doesn't mean I've been idling. As in my last couple of posts, I've been applying my makeup regularly and going out in the locality just to get used to the feeing of being seen as female again after the few years I couldn't. No selfies to show this time but I am quietly revelling in being just another woman in the street. 

I've said it before, the joy of doing ordinary, banal, everyday things, but in one's true gender, beats even the most glamorous transgender party hands down. It does for me anyway. I just want to be treated as a woman, a lifelong desire that it's taken me so long to fulfil.

Sue x

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Lighter makeup routine for more regular girl about town


When I went out last week I got away, for the first time ever, with just one coat of foundation and powder. Previously, I used to use an orange base coat to cover beard shadow and then two to three layers of oil-based foundation and powder. As well as hiding beard shadow this also reduces shine and bleaching from camera flash (a tip from the Boudoir). Oil-based foundation also stays on if a TGirl perspires (which can happen any time with a wig on, even in winter), and is certainly a problem I have had with water-based foundation on hot days.

My natural hair colour is a very dark brown so not even the closest shave could hide it. But I have realised that my chin hair is no longer brown but turning grey. Although a sign of ageing, it certainly makes life easier when applying makeup. To avoid any flareups of eczema in my sensitive eye area I am not currently wearing eye makeup or mascara. I wear glasses anyway so eye makeup is partly hidden and therefore not worth doing to impress. Instead I have always concentrated on having nice lipstick. This means that my entire makeup routine now takes about 20 minutes, as opposed to nearly an hour in the old days of heavy-duty cover.

And that means that I can much more readily put my face on and go out more spontaneously. New possibilities are opening up. On Sunday, despite the snow, and today, when it was pouring, I put on my face and went out for long local walks. It’s not that I’m attracted to foul weather, but that’s just when I happened to have a spare hour or two. Anyway, I’m waterproof! But the idea was to test and see how my face is tolerating a more regular use of makeup. The answer so far seems to be: pretty well.

Here’s me today in local woodland.

"I care not for the rain, not I" (Jerome K Jerome, Three Men in a Boat)
 
Sue x