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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Annual roundup

Each year I do a summary of my past year en femme.

Let me be honest, the first half of the year only saw me experimenting with medicines and makeup to see if I could go out femme again. The second half of the year, for reasons not chiefly connected with my femme life, was unspeakable. It is a testament to the love and care that women tend to express more than men that saw many of my TGirlfriends help me out in ways both practical and emotional. My thanks to them all.

So, well, there isn't a huge amount to say apart, frankly, from being glad to see the back of 2016.

I have seen something of my TGirlfriends this year. But mainly I had to be in boy mode when I did so. This makes me unhappy and there's a limit of about three on the numbers of dressed or transitioned girls I can see at any one time before I feel really gloomy that I can't participate fully. The one trip I made out en femme, on 5th November, was lovely, though. The rest of the time I have dressed fully I was at home. There are some good photos but I am still hobbled (if that's the right word) by the eczema on my face that reacts badly to makeup (or anything that goes on it).

Home Makeup Experiment I

Home Makeup Experiment II
Home Makeup Experiment III
In Tapas Revolution, London

With Jill, Linda and Rachel at our old haunt, Verge Bar, London
Home Makeup Experiment IV


The highlight of my year, though, was visiting my fabulous TGirlfriend Roz White and her welcoming family who live in the Orkney Islands. Roz is shortly to go full time and her family have been supportive and so has her workplace. This is wonderful news. I did have a lovely weekend there and saw the most amazing things. Here's my favourite picture, of an ancient stone circle, the Ring of Brodgar, one of many testifying to the civilization that existed there 4000-5000 years ago.


It's been a year when so many celebrity deaths seem to have occurred and, for TGirls, David Bowie and Pete Burns are perhaps the obvious ones. But for me, the death of Carrie Fisher just a few days ago has been most poignant as it was this first sight of Princess Leia in the opening sequence of Star Wars that actually had a direct influence on my femme development. Here was a woman whose small stature, and very similar hair and eyes to mine, hid a feminine yet strong personality. Despite the world Princess Leia inhabited being fictitious, there was something that made me appreciate that I could make my way in the real world as a woman if I adopted that kind of attitude, and I started dressing in earnest and playing with dolls after she came on the scene. RIP Carrie.

Credit: Absolute Film Archive

Thank you to all my readers who have stuck with me in this barren year. Here's hoping for a very much better 2017.

Sue x


Friday, 23 December 2016

Happy Christmas

I know the message is early but as Christmas Day falls on a weekend it's best to get it out now.

I'd like to wish all my readers a very happy and peaceful Christmas (or any other festivity you prefer).

Here's hoping that you find something nice in your stocking. Preferably your own leg! And that you get lots of other presents that are just what you wanted (not something horrible, like a boy's necktie, yeeuch!).

Don't drink too much or eat too much, though... Bah! who am I kidding! Eat the nice things (and leave the soggy sprouts).

In all, have a wonderful Christmas weekend.

Here's my card to all, a photo I managed to take the other evening.

Lots of love

Sue x


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Thinking

It's been five weeks since I last posted, which is a long time away from my blog.

I've been seeing TGirls I know, such as Tanya, Wilhelmina, Joanne, Sarah and Saffy, but with me in male mode as I have been dealing with the bad reaction of my skin after my day out on November 5th. Sure, the medicine works, but it's clear I'm not cured. And seeing other girls happily dressed or transitioning/transitioned is actually not doing my mood any good.

So I'm thinking what to do.

I'll be writing more about all this in due course.

Sue x

Sunday, 6 November 2016

My resurrection?


Yesterday, for the first time in two and a half years, I put my face on and went to central London.

Regular readers will know that I have had eczema on my face and neck so severe that it reacted to anything that touched it. And that includes everything a TGirl needs to exist – close shaving, makeup, jewellery and so forth. After much medical and other intervention I am a lot better. So it was time to see if I could be me again.

It was a very cold, windy day and, although I know the girls like to be smart, I couldn't face wearing anything other than skinny jeans and a sweater. For me, warm, practical and what blends in with others take precedence over finery!

I thought I would be nervous leaving the house after so long. But my main fear – that the next door family would spot me – was laid to rest when they went off in their car just before I had planned to go out. So I opened the front door, mentally recited the TGirl mantra, “Head up, Tits out, Girl on a Mission, and Smile,” and, trailing a cloud of Versace Crystal Noir behind me, I went out. Within moments I felt like I’d never been away.

I hit my first obstacle quite soon: trains weren’t working because of that classic British Privatised Railways excuse, “engineering works”. So I started by taking the overcrowded town bus. An old man at the stop and on the bus was eyeing me. He may never have seen a TGirl before. I simply let him gaze as he seemed curious rather than a letch. Still, give an old man a cheap thrill, I say.

It continued to be an eventful journey when I changed to the Underground because the train door snapped shut and separated a little kid from his mum. (Don’t worry, a couple of girls immediately took the poor boy under their wing and staff up the line were alerted to meet him). Finally, after taking two hours to travel 15 miles (that’s what London can be like), I met up with my old friends Rachel, Linda and Gill at the Verge Bar in Brick Lane. It was lovely to be greeted like a returning prodigal with hugs and kisses. It was a cold day and I was glad to get a big warming coffee to drink.



We had great meal at Tapas Revolution round the corner, which I learn is one of London’s best reviewed tapas bars (http://www.tapasrevolution.com/#home). The tapas were pretty good, I thought (we had a wide-ranging selection, from battered aubergine to spicy octopus), but my pudding (crème caramel with nougat) was outstanding.


My lovely friends Gill, Linda and Rachel



One reason to go out was that I desperately needed a new coat and eyeshadow, so I kissed my lovely friends goodbye and took the Underground to Oxford Street where bought a coat from the Oasis concession in Debenhams, and some new eye makeup in Boots. The sales assistant at the No. 7 counter, whom I guessed would identify as genderqueer, had great makeup (well, it’s part of the job, I guess!)

So, missions for the day:
1) wear makeup for a day – accomplished
2) get out of my own front door again – accomplished
3) enjoy lovely TGirl company – accomplished
4) buy essentials – accomplished

No wonder I’m smiling in my Train Home Selfie.



I have to see what happens with my face over the next few days. That will determine if I’m better or not, and where I go from here.

Sue x

Friday, 28 October 2016

A close shave

In the spring I tried various makeup tests to see how my face would cope with wearing makeup again, even with my eczema still not cured.

The results left me hopeful.

This summer and autumn have had so many unrelated problems that I didn't continue the experiments, and my priority at present is to keep solvent and work continuing. But I am pleased to say that I have got back to shaving regularly, pretty much daily, for three weeks now and there are no particularly adverse effects. This is really positive. I last used the potent eczema medicine in June, four months ago.

I feel there may really be a reappearance soon. It's been two and a half years since I was last out (apart from Sparkle 2015). Let's see if I can let up on work and actually catch the train up to London one weekend soon.

Sue x

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Coming out - a mixed blessing

It was national ‘coming out day’ last week, and people were telling their stories. Some chose to come out about being gay or trans, too, including, it seems, my friend Roz. Wishing her every good outcome.

In brief, my 'coming out' story:

I tried coming out to my mother about wanting to be treated as a girl when I was 6. She hadn’t a clue what I was on about. 6-year olds are not eloquent, and they get put off by negative reactions. When my parents realised I was crossdressing in my teens, their sinister mutterings prevented my letting on again to anyone until my 40s.

And when I did come out over the last few years, most of my friends were understanding – and even enthusiastic – when I let them know I was trans. All apart from one group of close friends who pretended to be supportive and then proceeded to out me to others and tore into me when they let me holiday with them as Sue. What pigs! – some friendship appears deep but is really just superficial. The betrayal was so shocking that I will only now come out when essential. I haven't posted about this episode yet but maybe the lesson will be a useful one for others. I truly value those friends who have learned that I am trans and just accept that. They're the majority and it's great that society seems to be progressing favourably.


So… coming out. A mixed blessing, I’d say.

Why do gay and trans people have to run this gauntlet anyway? Hoping for a day when no-one even needs to be formally informed in this way.

Sue x

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Still here!

I haven't posted anything for a month. Sometimes you just don't feel like posting, even though quite a lot has been happening. Like sometimes you don't feel feminine, or feel like dressing.

My last post was about andro in Orkney so soon there should be one about being andro in London as I have been meeting up with my TGirlfriends even though I'm still not quite well enough to go out fully dressed myself.

This September has been largely warm and fine, which helps a bit with health. And I haven't had to use the most powerful medicine on my face for three months, so I am hopeful now. Let's see what happens.

Sue x




Saturday, 20 August 2016

Andro in Orkney


I have a very special TGirlfriend called Roz White who has rejoiced at my triumphs and comiserated with my tragedies over the years. Ever since I met her online in around 2008 I have been trying to meet up with Roz in real life. But the problem has been distance as she lives at the opposite end of Britain from me. So after many discussions and failed attempts, and years of being just e-friends, I decided to visit her at home in the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland. It’s the furthest north I have ever been.

Roz’s family now know she is trans and have been very accepting in the time since she came out to them. And they are a lovely, welcoming family, too, and I was made to feel very much at home. For me, it was wonderful to meet my friend at last, take a break from all the house and work troubles I have been having, and see something totally new over a long weekend. I also met several cats, chickens and horses, not to mention eagles, eider ducks and seabirds by the hundred.

Flying there was no problem and Roz’s male alter-ego met me at Kirkwall Airport. I recognised her straight away, despite her disguise (and mine, although I dress fairly andro these days).

Orkney is famous for stone-age archaeology, wind and battleships, probably the best place in the world for all three!

So here is my diary, mainly in pictures.

Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site Wikipedia entry

The Standing Stones of Stenness, about 5000 years old

Neolithic village near the Stones of Stenness (the stones are in the background)
Ness of Brodgar, an incredible site with big solid houses from 3000 years ago - only about a tenth has been unearthed so far

Not Hobbiton, but Skara Brae, an incredibly well preserved village occupied 4,500-5000 years ago

Skara Brae
At home with the Flintstones: stone 'dresser', central hearth, bed alcoves

Large home at Skara Brae

The curious Dwarfie Stane on the island of Hoy, a tomb hollowed from a solid rock which itself was left in place in a valley after the retreat of the Ice Age. Nearby are sea eagles' nests, and peat is cut for fuel.
Just part of the large Ring of Brodgar standing stones erected about 4000-4,500 years ago
Maes Howe, another major site, was too booked up with coach parties from the vast cruise ships that call in at Kirkwall. Pity, but we'll save it for next time.


Scapa Flow (Orkney at war)

This huge natural harbour must have been an extraordinary sight in the two World Wars when it was the navy's main anchorage for warships of all sorts. All military presence is gone now apart from a few collapsing jetties, huts and crumbling gun emplacements and the expanse of Scapa Flow is empty apart from the ferries, the odd drilling rig in for repairs and ships serving the oil terminal. A green buoy marks the resting place of HMS Royal Oak, sunk by a bold German submarine in 1939.

In 1919 the German High Seas Fleet was interned here and was famously scuttled to prevent the Allies getting hold of it. Today the remaining German wrecks are the world's primary source of low-background steel (i.e. steel produced before the detonation of atomic bombs from 1945, which is used for medical and scientific sensors which could do without nuclear contamination).

Salvaged German guns (WW1). The memorial to the WW2 Arctic Convoys is on the hill behind.

Extraordinary chapel built out of nissen huts and scrap by Italian prisoners of war in WW2. The interior is beautifully painted Italian_Chapel

The well-preserved Hackness martello tower which protected British ships against pesky American privateers during the War of 1812. It was windy up at the top!

Other stuff

I love the pale purple hue of these thistles. And the landscape seems typical of Mainland.

That cat who felt trapped in a dog's body. I know how poor kitty feels!

An oil rig chugs out to sea under it's own power. It was towed in by ships earlier, presumably for repairs or maintenance.

The sandstone columns of Kirkwall's cathedral have not weathered well!

St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, has a lovely colour
The hills of the island of Hoy wearing their cloud hats. Beyond is the open Atlantic.

Looking towards Scapa Flow from an abandoned battery near Stromness.
Remote Rackwick on Hoy with it's beach of smooth round boulders. The famous Old Man of Hoy sea stack is 3 miles round the cliff (but we didn't get to see it as lunch was calling). The ferry from mainland Scotland is in the far distance.
Disused fortifications, oil rigs, lighthouses, a scattering of islands, rolling farmland, changeable sky... I think this photo sums up what I saw of Orkney

Farewell... islands drop away as I fly back to London


Thank you Roz and your lovely family for a perfect, peaceful break. One day we will meet in our posh frocks.

Read Roz on her blog (see list to the right) or make friends with her online. It's worth it.

Sue x

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Happy fifth birthday, Blog!


My blog is five years old! It has scuffed sandals, a grazed knee, one sock hanging down and bunches in its hair.

And five is also about the age I was when I recollect I first started feeling that being a girl was somehow right.

So, Mr Stats, my eternal companion here, who won’t let me get anywhere in the Blog Creation and Management Facility without my going through his statistical page, tells me that, as of now I have 38 followers (hello recent addition Robin), 72,865 page views, and that the popularity of the post about the TGirl Bar 2013 (1 Dec 2013) has overtaken Nottingham Invasion (23 Jan 2012) which previously held the top spot since it was first published. Nostalgia Trip to Pink Punters (16 Dec 2012), When Surgery Goes Wrong (Again) (5 April 2015) and Nottingham Invaded Again (18 Mar 2012) are the next most popular. Last month was the busiest here, with apparently lots of visitors from Russia. I guess these statistics have curiosity value, or use for someone. Thanks to Lynn, Mandy and KD and all of you who comment – I do appreciate your thoughts.

When I started this blog I was on a high, living my female life to the full. It’s nothing like that now because of illness and other troubles and I feel low. I am going to try to get out again very gently and tentatively. I think there will be more exciting posts soon.

Sue x

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Skin verdict

I had a lovely time with my friend Roz White and her wonderful family in their home in the far north of Britain, which will be the subject of a blog post soon with lots of pretty photos.

But first, an important update on the health problem that has so curtailed my feminine life. 

Yesterday I had my appointment with the skin specialist at the hospital. Things are a lot better, but I'm not cured. A slight change of prescription but essentially it looks like I will be able to go out dressed from time to time and then fight off any flareups with the relevant meds, which is the conclusion I was coming to anyway. That's about the best I can hope for.

I wish this problem would just go away, and one day it will, probably as fast and as mysteriously as it came. I know, though, that any real prospect of living full-time female or transitioning is pretty much out of the question now as I won't ever be sure that the problem won't remain or return, preventing my wearing makeup when it does and not letting me have laser/electro on my face. 

I will go back to the specialist as and when necessary.

Still, after my appointment I met a very old friend on one of his rare trips to London and he insisted on treating me to a huge dinner out. So that cheered me up :-) There's not a lot a free dinner won't cure!

Sue x

Thursday, 28 July 2016

TGirls care

My last post mentioned some of the horrible things that have been happening in the last few weeks. But if there's one thing that can be relied on, is that TGirls do care for one another. I have had so many nice calls and messages in the last two weeks from my TGirlfriends, some of whom I've not been able to see for years because of my illness. Thank you, girls.

Things appear to be rallying a little workwise after the Brexit slump, although August is always dead so I won't really be sure of the situation till mid-autumn, so I remain worried. And I am pleased to say that it seems that a lot of my neighbours are no longer being terrorised by the conmen but are taking more intelligent steps to see about maintenance issues. It's still very stressful, though.

I have cancelled all my holidays bar one, which is a trip this weekend to visit my friend Roz and her wonderfully supportive family. Roz and I have been trying to meet for years but distance and timing have always thwarted our plans. In the end, I booked some flights a while ago to take me near enough to her end of the country. Exciting... and I do need a break from here.

Sue x

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Things not good

I haven't posted for a month.

That's because things have been really horrible.

Work has been badly affected by the political situation after Britain voted to leave the European Union - much of my work comes from the rest of Europe, you see.

There's a potentially very expensive piece of maintenance for homes in our street to do. If that wasn't worrying enough, as soon as the problem arose a bunch of con men got onto the case and are scaring the  residents here into doing massively expensive and inappropriate repairs for three times the going rate. Trying to persuade people that they are being conned is not easy.

So that no money is wasted, I have cancelled my summer holidays, bar one weekend trip that was paid for up-front. I had to cancel Sparkle and missed seeing all my friends.

I have been very distressed about all this for three weeks. Fortunately, my T girlfriends have been kind enough to phone me to cheer me up.

Could do with a kind word.

Sue x

Monday, 13 June 2016

Vigil for Orlando

All over the world there are vigils and tributes to the victims of the mass murder of patrons at a gay club in Orlando, Florida.

There is a huge vigil in London's Soho tonight - thousands are there. It brings back memories of the gay pub bombing there in 1999, an attack by a similar loner motivated by similar reasons.

The majority of my friends are either gay or transgendered and so the people in Orlando were, in a way, friends I hadn't met yet. Now I can't.

I'm not ready to put on makeup yet but whatever pain I might get from doing so tonight is little compared to that of their families and friends, and all of us like them.

I doesn't matter what the haters do or say, I will never be able to deny or remove the fact that I am trans, always was and always will be, as all my many LGBT friends are who they are.

Let's keep acknowledging this even in the face of hostility and malice.

Love you.

Sue x





Saturday, 11 June 2016

It's official - I am going to Sparkle

I have made the decision that I will attend Sparkle 2016.

I wasn't sure because of my state of health, but when Joanne Stevens (she of the TGirl bar) rang to say she was coming and we then agreed to share the apartment I'd provisionally booked at Atrium, that settled it.

Sparkle is the UK's national transgender celebration http://www.sparkle.org.uk/


It's the most fun and joyous event I know of!

Sue x

Sunday, 5 June 2016

On the verge of getting out again... thanks to your support

A few weeks ago I started testing makeup and stuff on my face again to see what the reaction would be.

For my first test I wore makeup for 1-2 hours. That wasn't too bad. My eczema did flare up but I zapped it with medicines and it died down after three days.

For the second test I wore makeup for 3-4 hours and the result was similar, though a little more severe, but it was under control after about four days.

When I went to Sunny Italy I knew that I couldn't wear sunscreen on my face as it would provoke a reaction, so I opted for a big floppy hat to cover my head and face (the rest of me was OK for sunscreen). The trouble is that the light reflects so I got a little sunburnt on my neck and under my chin and that caused quite a bad flareup that hasn't fully died down even after two weeks.

I think I will try another makeup test in the next day or two but I reckon I will probably be able to go out for a few hours now perhaps once every two or three weeks. Maybe a quick lunch with my girlfriends? That's what I have been missing so badly these last couple of years.

This illness is somewhat better and more manageable thanks to the better drugs they have now. But I think what has mainly kept me focused is all the support of my friends. As well as all the supportive comments on my blog, Flickr and Facebook, people have kept in touch by phone and email.

So thank you all so much. I'd especially like to mention Joanne, Emma, Roz, Lynn, KD, Ange, Sarah, Saffy, Rachel, Stella and Angela who have been especially supportive and have checked up on me regularly, as it were. And to the friend who sent me her ring (below) and a talisman, thank you for your big heart.



My friends are the most important thing in my life and when I have struggled they have proved their worth.

Thank you.

Sue x

Saturday, 28 May 2016

I've been away...

I took ten days away from work this month and went to Italy, hence the length of time between posts.

Not only did I need the break but I also felt the need for some culture and some amazing food...

I stayed with a very old friend who is currently working in the Pisa area. He doesn't know about Sue, one of the few left who doesn't, so my femme side didn't make an appearance. Never mind. I also met a colleague in Florence (it wasn't all holiday) and she took me to a great place for lunch with no tourists.

The local wine is terrific (yes, I was off my skin medication until the last day so I could enjoy some fabulous vino, not just the famous Chianti but also Bolgheri, Montepulciano, Vernaccia...

And the food... and the restaurants. I've never had pork with bitter orange before; spaghetti with fresh tuna sauce cascading like a wave from a scallop shell; duck and orange ravioli; lots of wild boar stew, platters of beautiful hams and salamis; battered rabbit; fresh sea bream in a restaurant perched on the cliffs above the sea. Fabulous. And ice cream... oh, yes.

I love the way they decorate the fruit flavour tubs with luscious looking fresh fruit


Here's a few illustrated features from my travels... interesting, I hope, and some amusing...

PISA: the money shot

Pisa is a massive fraud. The tower is actually dead straight; it's all the other buildings that are leaning.





VOLTERRA: ancient Volterrae, one of the 12 great Etruscan cities before the Romans came, perched on the crest of a steep hill with a remarkable museum of Etruscan civilization. Quite by chance, we happened to be there during a gathering of classic Italian racing cars in the town square.

She-demon with horns (1st C BC) - this appealed to me!
Ancient bronze - I think it looks like Donald Trump!



Super Italian cars in super Italian square
When Italian car manufacturers came up with racing cars like this, everyone thought they were having a laugh... until they kept winning!

FLORENCE: world capital of art and culture.


Baptistry, Belltower, Cathedral, Dome... a beautiful complex of buildings
Florence has the most awe-inspiring spot on this planet that I know of: the Medici Tombs tucked away behind the church of San Lorenzo. I have been here several times and some years ago, for 30 seconds, I was alone - no tourists, no custodians - just me and Michelangelo's statuary that is so lifelike and alive it almost creeped me out. Lorenzo de' Medici sits pensive whilst, on the sarcophagus itself, Dusk gets ready to slumber and Dawn is waking. Giuliano de' Medici, Day and Night are on the opposite wall. The whole chapel is an extraordinary conception by an extraordinary man, and I am always in awe here:


LEGHORN (LIVORNO): Not a great tourist magnet (especially after being wrecked in World War II) but I was curious about the English engineers and architects who designed much of it in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, notably Sir Robert Dudley, and Inigo Jones whose portico for the cathedral (which part largely survived the bombing) is like his portico for St Paul's Church in Covent Garden, London. I was also curious to see the markets which were once thriving centres for selling WWII army surplus and black market goods - the sort of haunt of Milo Minderbinder from Catch 22.

Livorno Cathedral, carefully rebuilt after WWII
New Venice, part of a series of canals round the forts.


LIGURIAN SEA: I haven't seen this sea since I was a little kid on family holidays. It's rather fabulous in the evening light...

16th C coastal defence tower at Calafuria, with a rather nice 21st C bar attached!
Beautiful sunset over the Ligurian Sea at the fabulous Astragalo restaurant at Castiglioncello. The fish ravioli and fresh sea bream were delicious, especially with a view like this.

SAN GIMIGNANO: another postcard city, Medieval and unspoilt, perched on a hill with numerous tall towers. 

Just imagine living in the Middle Ages... with no elevators

Bride sharing a drink through massive straws with her guests in San Gimignano. I don't know if her impressively resonant burp is some local tradition. If so, her husband will be a proud man; if not, he may already be having second thoughts!
Well, that's just a taste of some of my holiday snaps. I won't bore you with more, but just to say that this part of the world is incredible... for its natural beauty, its extraordinary culture, its world-beating artistry and its beautiful fresh food. I also got a tan. And put on half a stone in weight. Oops!

Sue x