Pages

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Gay men pardoned

When I was little we enjoyed the game of "fortunately/unfortunately" where you take it in turns to make up snippets of a story where good turns of events alternate with bad ones. This is a bit how I feel today after the Policing & Crime Bill (commonly called the Alan Turing Bill) received royal assent.

I welcome today's news that thousands previously convicted of homosexual acts in Britain before such acts were decriminalised in 1967 have been officially pardoned. Too bad most of them are long since dead and this is of no actual benefit to lives and reputations that were ruined. Still, it's another step in the right direction.

There are still sentences that won't be covered by the new law and I do have fears that recent political developments may halt further progress in this area for a while. Given how people are convinced that being trans is connected with being gay (and it's partly our fault for being so closely connected politically with gay rights movements) it's a worry if things move backwards after this.

Still, let's rejoice that society has been reducing the age-old persecution of gay, lesbian and bi people by steps like today's. Slowly but surely.

ADD: 2 Feb. One surviving victim of the war that was waged on homosexuality does not want to apply for a pardon on the grounds that he did nothing wrong, it was the law that was wrong. The age-old paradox that by accepting a pardon you acknowledge the crime. I feel so sad that so many men suffered - and still suffer - in this Greek tragedy of human instinct versus social norm.

Sue x

Monday, 23 January 2017

Farewell Mr Obama

I usually comment on politics only when it affects transgender matters, so that's not often.

I'd just like to record that life as a resident of Planet Earth, and especially life as a trans person, has felt so much pleasanter, calmer, less fretful with someone like Barack Obama in the place of 'most powerful man on Earth'. It's been good to have someone personable, rational, thoughtful, considerate and calm as a politician, let alone as a major leader. Like most people, I am less confident about life with a bullying narcissist like Donald Trump in power, especially in respect of people like me who don't fit the more standard social mould.

Most powerful man on Earth, the phrase is. Depending on time and place that might be the Pharaoh, the Persian or Roman or Chinese Emperor, the Sultan, the Pope... And, yes, almost always a man. Yet few have seemed quite as brazen a misogynist as we now have in the White House.

I shall continue to fight for my worth as a woman. Most of my trans friends are a stroppy lot, and I suspect they will do the same! I'm hoping that my fears are just that, abstract fears and nothing more. But we must be on guard.

Farwell, Mr Obama. I've appreciated your work, even though I don't live in your country.

Sue x



Sunday, 15 January 2017

The joy of shops

I like shopping. I really do. That doesn't mean I have to buy anything, I just like pottering around the shops looking at what they've got. And if it's clothes or shoes, I might try something on. Even after I'd started going out in the big world as female, it was a while before I felt courageous enough to use the fitting rooms, but I quite like trying things on now, especially when it saves me making a bad purchase.

When I last went out, in November (My Resurrection?), I decided to end my day by visiting the shops and headed to Oxford Street where all the main store chains have their biggest outlets. I was really looking for a new coat, but was there any harm in looking at tops and skirts, too? But chiefly it was a joy to rediscover the pleasure of just pottering around among the rails, being treated like any other female shopper and, frankly, nobody paying me any attention as I browsed. I suspect that no-one who isn't trans understands the complete satisfaction of doing normal stuff in one's real gender. It's the banality that's actually the peak of feeling complete.

Debenhams has now been completely refurbished and rearranged. Some bright spark had the idea of installing a piano for customers to play, maybe in the hope of encouraging an undiscovered Liberace to entertain the shoppers for free. Such pianos are popping up all over; the one at St Pancras station is particularly popular and actually gets competent players sitting at it, professional musicians who are waiting for a train. The Debenhams piano, on the other hand, attracts small children. And whilst my trans joy may be unalloyed, I find it hard to appreciate a tuneless ploink! plink! ploink! going on for hours. Best get to the fitting rooms for a bit of peace!

You know, I don't recall ever taking a fitting room selfie before. There are still some firsts.


I got a coat in the end. And a boost to my femininity and self-esteem after two years of being out of it.

Sue x

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Those biggest resolutions

Happy New Year, everyone.

I hope that 2017 is a really good year for you. Most people I know had a bad time in 2016 in one way or another so let's hope for a much better year this year.

My brief roundup of 2016 is here (a link, as it disappears in the archive at New Year: http://suerichmond.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/annual-roundup.html )

Well, my New Year Resolutions 2017 are:

- to continue losing weight (that's been going well ever since I rejoined Slimming World - more on that another time - although, strangely, I seem to have had a bit of a setback in Christmas week!)

- to post here much more regularly than I did in 2016

- to carry on with my New Year Resolution 1997.

Huh? What? 1997 was, like, twenty years ago, Sue.

Yes, and it was on January 1st 1997 that I resolved one vital thing. I vowed I would stop purging my female clothes, would accept and embrace the fact that I am transgender and never try to suppress it again and, to prove it, I would dress as a woman every day.

And I have kept that resolution since. Twenty years with no purging or denial. I am trans, that's what I am. And every day has been a testimony to that. Sure, the intensity ebbs and flows, as I've mentioned here from time to time, but fundamentally I know I am trans and have actively lived a trans life since.

I remember moving to my current home a few weeks before that New Year and, despite the enormous amount of decorating work that was going on and the quantities of paint and Polyfilla I was buying, I spent hundreds of pounds getting myself a full new wardrobe of women's clothes, from shoes to bras to nighties to skirts, raiding all of London's shoe shops and department stores to do so. I didn't go out dressed at that time so, frankly, I feel proud of my bravery buying all those feminine things in boy mode.

And in those early years after that resolution, like a lot of TGirls, I'd come home from work, throw off those horrid male work clothes straight away and slip into something altogether more appropriate, and declare "I am a woman". "They think I'm a man," I'd say. "I have to act like a man and appear like a man, but really I'm a woman." Maybe I'd not be quite so bold as to make such a black and white statement today, but it was a liberation from the oppression I felt before.

In my last post I mentioned that Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in 1977 had a profound effect on me and I took steps to embrace my femme side. That was a rocky journey for those next twenty years because of so many family and other cultural pressures, hence the many purges and resolutions to stamp out my trans leanings. But these last twenty years have been amazing in my female development and I hope that they are a precursor to two more decades of embracing my femininity.


Here, by the way, is my new avatar for 2017 (which I will get onto Blogger when I can remember how). I always change my profile pics every New Year, usually picking my favourite from the previous year.


Best wishes to you all.

Sue x