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Tuesday, 14 August 2018

The seven-year blog




It’s seven years to the day since I started this blog, my aim having always been to express my thoughts on being transgender, and also to encourage other trans people to be visible by posting my adventures and the reception I have met with in public.

It’s been seven years of great highs but some miserable lows too, with delight and success countered by trouble and stalls. Being trans is, let’s face it, quite a challenge that, for virtually all of us, is a substantial addition to the ups and downs of everyday life.

With so many threats to trans people being able to lead authentic lives in the last year or two – threats from politicians, radical feminists, religious bullies, to name a few – it’s essential for the trans community to make it known that we exist, that we are genuine, and that we are likeable, worthwhile and regular members of society. Visibility – online, in media and in the real world – seems to me to be an important promoter of acceptance.

Well, that’s enough philosophy! In past years I’ve analysed Blogger’s stats to get an idea of what sort of posts are the most enjoyed and readable. But this time I’m not going to link to the most popular posts. You can select your own favourite from the archive list to the right. It is clear that people who read my blog most enjoy the occasions when lots of TGirls are out on the town. Importantly, though, there is also a lot of interest in gender surgery issues and, to an extent, my own struggle with ill-health that has badly affected my trans life and visibility.

Thank you to my 44 subscribers, including Jonathan Tait who subscribed this year. I’ve added his Male Femme blog to the blogroll – well worth reading.

Thanks also to all who have made comments. Lynn Jones and Mandy Sherman deserve special mention both for their comments and excellent blogs. Thanks also to TCentral and Feedspot for their promotion of trans blogging.

Thanks for reading. Tune in again.

Sue x

Sunday, 12 August 2018

A day out with Emma

I mentioned in my last post that I hoped to get out fully femme on Saturday, and that is indeed what happened.

Emma Walkey and her wife Jackie have featured in this blog many times as Emma's one of the first trans friends I made. We agreed to meet up in London just to catch up and enjoy some food together.

Train selfie

We met at the Cambridge pub, which I often suggest as it's about as central as you can get. Whilst Jackie went to nearby Berwick Street to look at the fabulous (if expensive) fabrics in the dressmaking shops there, Emma and I sat down to lunch at Melanie Italian restaurant, another of our favourite venues.

Melanie is on the edge of Soho, a district that was infamous 40 years ago for sleazy peep shows and sex shops. Not much remains of that era, which is for the best, but we thought we'd have a laugh by posing outside one shop as if we were streetwalkers. Well, you have to pay for your lunch somehow! Convincing? OK, probably not! We are of that era but haven't worn so well!



After lunch we strolled through Covent Garden to the terrace of Somerset House where you can sit and look over the Thames. We thought of taking a river boat but the temperature was dropping and we decided that sitting in a bar was preferable. We went to Champagne Charlies in the arches under Charing Cross station which I haven't been to for years but was very pleasant for relaxing with a bottle of wine.

So a relaxed day in good company and being treated as women, which to any trans person is the joy that makes it all worthwhile.

Sue x

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Summer outdoors

There's been a small amount of rain now but this extraordinarily sunny summer continues. It's been quiet workwise and I have been taking time out to explore. I now doubt I will ever be able to simply put on makeup and go out manifesting my female appearance whenever I want to, as I used to do when I started this blog, because of the risk of skin irritation, but I make do with more androgynous clothing now. It's not ideal, not what I want, but it keeps me connected to my femininity even if people take me as a guy. I hate this limbo I'm in at the moment but something is better than nothing between occasional fully-feminine outings.

I like staying at home in London over the summer. Many people are away and it's mainly just me and the tourists around the place. Except that I go off the beaten track.

Just a few places in Greater London visited recently include Putney, Kingston and Maida Vale.

Wonderful mackerel sky over Putney Lower Common
The Clattern Bridge over the Hogsmill River in Kingston-upon-Thames. This side of the bridge dates from 1175, making it by far the oldest bridge in Greater London and one of the oldest in Britain. Note the heron by the right-hand arch. The heron population seems to have vastly increased in the Thames Valley in recent years and this is due to cleaner water supporting more fish, including eels.
The Saxon Coronation Stone now outside the town hall in Kingston. Many of the Saxon kings of Wessex, including Alfred the Great, parked their royal bottoms on this block when being crowned. Why such a significant historic artifact is simply left out in the rain with little signage or ceremony I will never know.
The Regents Canal near Little Venice covered with algae that have been thriving in this hot summer

I have a few more outings planned. And I hope to have a full femme day this Saturday.

Sue x


Sunday, 29 July 2018

Heatwave!

It's been the strangest year for weather. First there was a long winter with unusual amounts of snow. Spring was late but beautiful and led to the longest, dryest summer I have ever known. Apart from the most spectacular lightening storm I have ever witnessed in Britain, which broke in late May, finally, this morning, we have some rain after more than two months without a drop. This is England, I would remind you!

I love hot weather and have a nice tan this year, but it has been oppressive, too, as in London any heat is always sticky. muggy and polluted. I have been trying to clear my loft, a task that has been very hard in the sometimes 35 C (95 F) heat up there - the sun has literally shone on that roof for two months (with breaks only at nighttime). Any exertion up there makes my mascara run!

As mentioned in the last few posts about going out, I can't use the water-based foundation in this heat as it all slides off. The oil-based foundation sticks but causes inflammation for a couple of days so it's not been easy to go to Pride or out to dinner in Chinatown. At home I am wearing only loose tops and floaty skirts - anything else is too hot.

I beat the heat by going to Chester and North Wales for a few days last week. It was greyer and slightly drizzly, which is typical of the area, and for once this was welcome.

Chester city centre
Conway Castle
Let's see what the rest of the summer is like. I hope it will still be nice, though not so relentlessly boiling.

Sue x

Friday, 20 July 2018

An evening in Chinatown

It's been a tiring couple of weeks so when Stephanie Monroe asked if I'd like to meet up again, I was happy to accept.

I did need a bit of a break from things and so I left home early in the afternoon and treated myself to a bit of retail therapy. Not only is it nice browsing in the shops but doing so as one ought to be, i.e. female, is the most relaxing and satisfying thing I know. Life seems to have fewer troubles when your transgender nature is allowed to guide your day.

Steph and I met in an old haunt, the Cambridge pub. And whilst chatting about mutual friends who should walk in but two of them, Pippa Bunce and Rachel Bull who have appeared in these pages many times, though not for ages. It was complete coincidence but a nice one.

They had their clubbing agenda and we had our need for food so we continued with our plan for dinner by heading to Chinatown where just about every business is a Chinese restaurant. We picked the New Loon Fung and enjoyed our meal there.





There has been a rare heatwave in London that has gone on for two months and my Mac makeup that doesn't affect my eczema can't be worn very easily because perspiration makes it run so I had to revert to my old oil-based foundation and that has left my face sore even though I use my eczema salve as a base coat and take antihistamine, too. This situation is very distressing. So it helped that it was so nice to catch up with a good friend. Thanks, Steph.

Check out Steph's beautiful photosets on Flickr: Stephanie Monroe-Tutton on Flickr

Sue x

Saturday, 7 July 2018

London Pride 2018

Given that I had to cancel Sparkle, the national transgender celebration, I thought I might at least get to London Pride, and event I always miss as it always clashes with Sparkle.

The day was very hot for England (over 30C / 86F), but there was a breeze blowing. I met my friends Richard and Sarah (my foreign holiday companions) for lunch at our favourite haunt, Melanie Italian restaurant. After which we sauntered through Soho taking in the vibrant atmosphere and watched some of the parade in Regent Street.

With Sarah in Soho

Pride in Soho

The Admiral Duncan pub in Old Compton Street was nail-bombed by an anti-gay lunatic in 1999. Now it thrives with so much local and family support.

The parade was amazing, involved 30,000 participants and took an incredible 5 hours to pass by any given spot. It's impossible to list all the groups, organisations, companies, etc. that paraded past.

Parade in Regent Street
Parade in Piccadilly Circus

We had a refreshing pot of tea in a nice cafe in Kingly Court before heading out into the giant street party again.






What an amazing atmosphere: fun, positive, supportive and excited. It is the sort of event London does well. I'm glad I went.

Sue x

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Not at Sparkle after all

I've had to cancel my plans to go to Sparkle this year, which is a shame. It's simply because I have a buyer for my home and they want to move quickly so I need all the weekends I can get. It does mean that I save about £500 - yes, it's a very expensive weekend away, what with hotels, trains, meals out and entertainment.

It does mean that I may be able to go to London Pride instead. Something I have never been to because it always clashes with Sparkle weekend.

Click the links to read about my previous Sparkle weekends. There first two, before I had trouble with my skin, are the most fun.

Sparkle 2012

Sparkle 2013

Sparkle 2015

Sparkle 2017

I did go in 2010 and 2011 as well but that was before I started this blog. I hope all the trans people and their families going there this year have fun and feel supported by this community of ours.

Sue x