Wednesday 10 April 2024

Working plushie

 I was delighted to receive my Coco Peru doll all the way from Canada. She comes with a glow-in-the-dark alien friend. 


I've always liked Coco Peru with her disapproving look and catchphrase "This bothers me". Although she identifies as a drag queen, my T-radar senses there may be a lot more going on with her than mere entertainment. Her shopping trips on YouTube, for example, are enjoyable - just like any TGirl vlogging about Walmart, but with added dry humour. She's touring the UK right now.

Anyway, I now have a bit of modern culture in my own home.

And the glow-in-the-dark alien lives in the bedroom and now gives me the heebie-jeebies if I wake up in the middle of the night.

I never used to have soft toys but a tit-for-tat good luck soft toy exchange with a friend a few years ago spawned four dragons and a cow. The dragons here are not ancient fire-breathing magical creatures who sit upon hoards of gold but modern radiation-spewing jerks who normally guard my ill-tempered printer, my mobile phones and other electronic junk that we have to have these days. Given that this afternoon my banking app failed, my printer wouldn't print and my email was down for maintenance, I am trying to avert a nuclear explosion. Meet Rosa Chernobyl, Skye Fukushima (with bunny), Spike Windscale and Sapphire Threemile.

 We met Raimonda de Ray and the whale last week. They were bought to act as unusual cushions as Raimonda's colours matched the cushions I already had.

Thank you for ideas for a name for the whale. One commentator here suggested Moby, another Marina. Thanks, I shall consider those (along with an unrepeatably crude name from some other person elsewhere).

There's also Cuthbert the Snake who lives in the spare room but he's meant to be a draught excluder.

So no toys here unless they work for their upkeep! I'll have to find a job for Coco now.


Weight loss and makeup

I continue to lose weight. Another pound off this past week. It's all good and I can definitely see a difference in my figure.

I hope to have another fully made-up photo session soon. My epilation is good, my nails are good, my brows are tamed and I'm feeling more positive. I think the illness (2022) and death (2023) of my friend Kate, who gave me and others so much encouragement during lockdown, really took its toll, with so many other things, on my wish to look after my appearance. 

One friend has just reminded me of this song, and I certainly don't want to be just a boy named Sue, so makeup is back in my life.

Sue x

Wednesday 3 April 2024

Slim, sexy and ... windswept

 Today I reached another milestone in my quest to lose weight: two stone off since November 1st. For those who work in metric, that's 12.7 kg. If I were still in the UK at Slimming World, where my current food optimising plan comes from, I'd get a shiny sticker for the achievement.

This week, I spent two days fully made up and took lots of photos (see previous post for Sunday's). Monday's pictures were of a more contemporary look with silver-grey lace-sleeve top, leather-look leggings, ankle boots and darker hair.

Although very sunny in this outdoor picture, the wind was strong and my hair was really getting blown about most of the time.

I still think I'm beginning to look old :-( ...

... but at least I can see the weight has come off, although there's still a  way to go (or is that a weigh to go?)

This is very much a current look among ladies in later middle age here and I have always been one who believes that blending in with what other women are wearing is best.

I didn't get out in the evening of Transgender Day of Visibility in the end. This is because of a torrential downpour and high winds that soaked my legs the moment I tried to step outside. Although there were high winds and rain/snow all over the Alps over the easter weekend, this was odd in that it came from Africa, bringing sand first, then precipitation. I found this fantastic photo to illustrate it, from Alessandro of Natural Mind Professional taken at Lake Lod at Chamois in the Italian Alps, north of where I live. The red layers of Saharan dust were blown in on March 30th and the snow on top fell on Sunday 31st. That translated to the rain where I was.

I was supposed to go away in the second half of this week but that plan fell through so I'll be getting my nail polish back on and trying out a few new outfits over the next few days. I hope there'll be more photos, too, as it's been a very long while since I was last willing or able to take some.



Thanks to Feedspot for continuing to feature and promote this blog among its Top Transwoman and Top Transgender blog lists, and for recently updating some of the info. 

Do check out some of the other excellent blogs they recommend:

Top Transwoman blogs 

Top Transgender blogs

Sue x

Sunday 31 March 2024

Trans Day of Visibility 2024

 It's a big day: here the clocks go forwards, it's easter and it's Transgender Day of Visibility.

I'm focusing chiefly on the last of these as I've managed to get my makeup on without health issues and, at long last, taken some new photos. 

But first, look at these gorgeous eggs a relative sent me. They're very much in my good books right now as they clearly know how much I love both chocolates and nuts! Nut coated chocolate eggs have got to be the best, right?

I thought I'd best photograph the eggs immediately despite being in my ancient grey dress as they were likely to get scoffed straight away but I managed to restrain myself from eating them till I'd put a new prettier dress on and done my nails.

Yes, I know I'm on a plan to lose weight but I'm prepared to suspend that for special occasions or life would be really dull. 

Truth be told, I think I'm looking a bit old and although I went outside (we're supposed to be visible today, you see) I really didn't like the photo results at all. Whilst getting ready I think I look OK ...

The world through a pink-tinted lens.


... but I look tired and old when ready for my close-ups ...

... so maybe it's best not to take any close-ups and just do full-length pictures instead.

This is the first time I have worn this dress. I bought it last autumn when I was fat and now it's too big but it's a nice spring pink colour so I thought I'd wear it. 

Sorry about the thick tights but it's a surprisingly cold day. But the fluffy cardigan looks nice with the dress, I think.

Someone was asking me recently about soft toys so I had a few poses with Raimonda the Ray and her companion, a blue whale whom I haven't named yet.

I've mentioned Raimonda before (Fluffy Things) - I bought her because she matched the cushions and she's soft with beans inside so she's like a cushion, too. But the whale doesn't quite match. I got him/her in Montpellier last year. Suggestions for whale names gratefully received. 

I hope to go out walking later and be properly visible. If so, it will be the first time I have been out and about en femme since 2018, so I am very nervous. But I will let you know in my next post if I manage it. I also plan to spend the next two days taking more photos as it's been such a while. And besides, I don't want to take my nail polish off just yet.

I hope the world realises that we trans people exist, have a right to exist and are nice people. I was delighted to read President Biden's words about Transgender Day of Visibility quoted by Stana in her inimitable Femulate blog here. More leaders need to have the humanity and courage to do the same.

Wishing you all a good weekend and lots of chocolate.

Sue x

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Health drive

 As part of my weight-loss programme, I'm also cutting out certain things that I've realised are not good for me. 

Coffee - The most significant thing I've dumped is coffee. Now, coffee is for me a very strong drug. I never have more than two cups a day or I won't sleep that night. 

For 15 years or more I've had digestive problems that doctors couldn't solve. After a lot of thought, I suspected that caffeine might be the cause, but decaffeinated coffee made no difference, and tea and soft drinks that also have caffeine don't have any effect, so I looked elsewhere for causes, without success. A few weeks ago, I decided to forego coffee for a while to ensure best sleep and within a fortnight my digestive problem vanished. Although I've drunk coffee since my teens, it used to be that instant stuff. Fifteen years ago I started working for myself at home and had time to make real Italian-style coffee and that's when the problems began but I didn't put two and two together then. I wish I had. Still, at least I know now. The coffee machine has been retired.

Alcohol - As part of losing weight, I have inevitably reduced the amount of wine and beer I drink. In much of the Western world, alcohol is a social lubricant that gets conversation and bonhomie flowing, and here in Italy a glass of wine with a meal is so normal that there are no taxes on it. But it's very fattening, hence my reduction now. I've noticed how much better I sleep, work and feel without it. And I'm wondering if very low alcohol intake may also be helping a bit with the body temperature regulation problem that was what caused me to move to the Mediterranean in the first place. So I think that unless it's a significant social occasion, I'll go without booze from now on. It also saves a lot of money!

Sugar - Obviously, the sugar has to be cut down if you want to lose weight. For years I've known how too much sugar can really irritate my gut so I've always been moderate with it, although I have a sweet tooth so sweeteners are part of my daily diet. The artificial ones like aspartame are best avoided as, over time, they are not good for your liver. Things like sucralose are better, but even they provoke your body to make excess insulin as it anticipates sugar from the sweet taste but doesn't get it. I'm gradually cutting down on this, too. 

All this is the stuff from the East that Western mercantilism and consumerism have asked us to buy and swallow for centuries. Curse you East India Company!

So I am excited about my weight loss. Today I am just half a pound (0.2 kg) short of a two stone (12.7 kg) loss to date. My target was to lose 50 pounds (22.7 kg) by May 1st so have a gigantic (and dangerous) effort to make if I want meet that now, but the main point is that I am now much lighter than I was. In fact, I am probably the lightest I have been for ten years and still losing so I can get back into those cute little dresses and short skirts I used to wear.

What a waist!

As for the hay fever or allergy I have been suffering from these last few weeks, which arose in a warm week in February when I did lots of spring cleaning with the windows open, apparently there is an epidemic this year involving not only regular hay fever sufferers but also a huge number of people who don't normally suffer from hay fever but who have been affected for the first time because of a combination of pollen and pollution at an unusual season. My condition is improving. 

It's been unusually wet this winter which has made me feel cold but the benefit has been that the local reservoirs are full, a relief after the worrying drought of 2021-23.

There is a very strong, cold wind blowing which is set to remain for a week. I think I shall stay indoors and plan my trip to Britain in May. It's never cold and wet there!

Here's to perfect health.

Sue x

Sunday 24 March 2024


 I'm back to my blog after my visitor has gone, and I notice the bots have been at work. It's hard to judge what real people are reading here when there are thousands of hits a month from some weird entity. Oh well, the wonder of modern communications and all that.

My recent visitor was very pleasant company and came primarily to help me sort and file hundreds of documents. You wouldn't believe the amount of paperwork that moving from one country to another generates! At lest some nice spring weather enabled us to spread everything on my outdoor table. It's so much pleasanter to work in the sunshine than indoors. Even a boring task becomes agreeable!


Bird of paradise flower in the spring sunshine

My assistant has recently graduated in English and had a lot to say about gender-bent literature, such as a recent production of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew where the shrew is male not female. Additionally, she told me in some detail about her dissertation on women science fiction writers, such as Ursula Le Guin and Anne Leckie, and their imaginary worlds where gender works in a very different way to that among the humans of Planet Earth. Rather interesting. (You can read about some gender issues in sci-fi in my previous post here: Pizza, apes and aliens.)

On the theme of books, more and more little book exchanges are springing up all over the place. This one in a park in Ventimiglia, on the border between Italy and France. A great idea. Take one and leave one.

She asked no questions about my being trans and did not refer to the trans side of her sister. These days I operate on a 'need to know' basis and if gender discussions arise only when talking about books then so be it.

Inevitably, going out involves eating out and that affects my ability to control my weight loss so I have had a bit of an increase this week. But I am confident that I will be heading in the right direction again in the week to come. I can certainly see and feel the difference.

Sue x

Monday 11 March 2024

A bit of a break

 Sometimes you need a break from the routine so I took the last week or so out from the blogosphere and social media. It's not like there's as much cheerful reading out there these days as there used to be! 

There are various things that have gone wrong in my home largely because of the wet and windy weather we've had of late. A small leak from the roof, a faulty air con unit and other electric problems. I continue to suffer from some sort of allergic reaction that makes me sneeze a lot and can't put my finger on it, although that's diminishing now.

But, on the positive side, I have been losing weight as intended, although not as rapidly as before. That slowdown is intentional as it's not healthy to crash down. Last Friday I had this urge for chocolate and wine, both of which I have largely avoided these last six months, and thoroughly enjoyed a 200g bar of milk chocco with hazelnuts and a bottle of easy-drinking red. I've got those cravings out of my system now and my weight-loss plan didn't seem to suffer too badly for it. I'm over half way to my target of 50lbs (22 kg) off. When my nose stops running and ruining my makeup, I'll take those wretched update photos I keep planning and never being able to do. Who said trans life was easy?

The daughter of a very good friend of mine is coming next week to help me with some secretarial/clerical work I need doing. As her mother is a very supportive trans ally and her sibling has spent some of her teenage years socially transitioned as F-M (although now seems to be reverting to F), I think I will have pleasant support from a young person. I have every confidence in this younger generation that seems far more humane and in touch with gender and sexual realities that previous generations, including mine.

I have also made plans to revisit the UK in May, partly to continue dealing with residual administrative matters and also to see friends I wasn't able to see during the Brexit and Covid years.

A dip in the archives

Seven years ago I went for a day out in London with a friend. It was cold, but going out as a tourist in the low season was a good plan. Here's me at Buckingham Palace.

You can read the story of my day out here: Another Day Out

Sue x

Thursday 29 February 2024

Transgender arts and culture, February 2024

 Some of the spectacles with a trans theme I have spotted from around the world this month.



1) I wrote a lot about the huge Sanremo Music Festival earlier this month (Body, mind and Soul; and A carnival of camp; and For all the transphobia, there's understanding out there) and I'm pleased to see that the openly bi and trans-ally contestant, BigMama, who made the most impression on me, was invited to the United Nations in New York to speak at the Arts for Global Citizenship event for young people. She spoke about bullying, body shaming and discrimination of all kinds, which she herself has suffered from significantly. I think as trans people we can relate to all that.

2) Obviously, BigMama benefits from a half century when being openly LGBT+ is legal. I notice a book out (Non Tocchiamo Questo Tasto (i.e. Best not press that key) by Luca Ciammarughi) about classical composers of past centuries who could reasonably fall under the queer umbrella and how they surreptitiously defied censorship in their works. Could be interesting. There has, after all, been a recent biopic, Maestro, about conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein that was able to present his bisexuality to modern audiences.


It's the carnival season, which is especially celebrated in Southern Europe and Latin America, although there's also a significant one in Basle/Bâle/Basel, Switzerland. I mention it as many of these are centuries old and have always provided an opportunity for people to go about in disguise. In places like Basle the costume traditionally covers all the body; in Venice, say, you may get away with just a mask, but wearing an all-over disguise is more in the spirit of the event; in Rio, the skimpy outfits are for the boldest only!

As, traditionally, you don't ask who's under the disguise, this annual opportunity to go about dressed differently has always been a godsend to trans people who need the chance to dress but without giving themselves away. In English-speaking countries, Hallowe'en has the same kind of usefulness.

It's also an opportunity to be very creative and wear something astonishing. These items from Venice:

Photo by Massimo Telò

Photo by Shesmax

Who can say who's underneath these extravagant female costumes and china masks?

The Venice Carnival is ongoing. The carnivals in the Canary Islands are famous for their more open opportunities for drag and crossdressing. Gran Canaria's drag queen parade is the largest but there are other such parades on other islands, and it's common for people to take the opportunity to present as another gender for whatever reason or none.

These events, where normal life is upended and ordinary people can let their hair down, are thousands of years old and have always been an outlet for trans people. Such cultural outlets will always exist. For a bit more discussion of these events, see the second part, the "Dip in the Archives" of my post here.



Queen Bees by Luigi Lista

Luigi Lista has been following the trans community of Naples for six years and his book of photographs, Queen Bees, was published last year. Sleek Magazine's short review, translated (poorly) into English from a longer interview, is here, with lots of his photos: 

Queen Bees

© Luigi Lista

I hope you've enjoyed the extra day this month!

Sue x

Sunday 25 February 2024

Weird health histories

 Despite being reassured by the London allergy clinics, with whom I spent a lot of time in the early 1990s and in 2014-16, that I have no known allergies, I have had some sort of streaming nose and sore eyes for nearly a fortnight. I am not sure why. Antihistamines are helping and the last couple of days have been better. But I suspect that, as with my killer eczema, it's probably due to my immune system being underemployed and attacking innocuous things or overreacting to something. This is one reason why there seems to be so much more hay fever, allergies, asthma and rashes these days than there used to be in the days when our bodies had to fight off plague, parasites and pox. As one consultant said, "There's no allergy that a good tapeworm wouldn't cure!"

Now, I'm sure a good tapeworm would also help me slim a lot faster, too! My old school science teacher, who was always one for telling weird stories, said that around the turn of the twentieth century, ladies who were struggling with their wasp-waist corsetry could swallow a 'slimming pill' that was, in fact, a tapeworm egg. Once their little guest had helped them reach their desired weight, they would swallow the magic 'stop' pill, which was some antidote or worming tablet, and end their decline. I can't be bothered to check how true this tale is but I can say that I don't propose to go to the dubious-looking late-night kebab van to get a free sample of tapeworm with my purchase to help me either slim faster or get over whatever this allergic reaction is.

Anyway, I'm happy to report that, although my weight loss has lessened a bit recently (since I did need a bit of a break from the full-on slimming programme), I have lost 10.5 kg or 23 pounds to date. Nearly half of what I wanted to lose on November 1st has gone, and my healthy weight range is in sight. Ideally I'll be at target by the end of April, although that's a challenge. But if you don't set a challenge then it's too easy to just amble along and not make enough effort. 

Anyway, the next post will be about the positive stuff I've seen and heard in this LGBT history month.

Optimum size


Have a good week.

Sue x

Monday 19 February 2024

Cinderella time

 As a teenager, I was spellbound by a certain stage production of Cinderella: the ballgown to die for, the gorgeous wedding dress, the  wonderful set, the costumes, the delightful music ...

No, not a pantomime or a film, but the opera by Rossini performed at La Scala opera house no less, which some kind and generous soul had given us tickets for.

I wrote more about this here: Frocks to make your heart sing.

At the weekend, they showed the video of that very production on TV and I sat as delighted as I had been all those years ago. I laughed at the gags, cried at the mistreatment of the heroine, sang along to the music and rejoiced at the justice of the ending.

Ponnelle's production for La Scala of Rossini's La Cenerentola with Frederica von Stade in the title role. Uncredited photo from IMDb.


As I said last time I wrote about this: isn't every TGirl a little Cinderella, really? She has to fight for her right to take part in the social life of her country and be treated with respect. Frankly, I think we all merit a lovely dress for every big outing... And, frankly, whenever we feel like wearing a lovely dress just for the sake of it, too.

The weather has turned to spring and I've been able to eat my lunch outdoors again. Last night I heard the first frogs of the season. And the first mosquito of the year paid a visit to my bedroom. I heard it quite loudly by my ear. No wonder it was loud as I had rolled my head over onto it and it was trying to get out of the tight embrace it was in between my face and the pillow! I have also been doing a lot of spring cleaning, throwing out old stuff and generally tidying and rearranging. Except that dust and/or cleaning products have set off an allergy and I have been sneezing for a week. I even had to take an antihistamine today. But I've been enjoying my Cinderella time: an old comfy dress and house shoes, nothing attractive obviously or it might get spoilt. I have always delighted not just in the fancy TGirl parties but in the everyday humdrum life of a trans women getting on with her household chores or relaxing with a book. I don't have to be preening in front of a mirror or strutting on the dance floor to feel comfortable in myself.


I was hoping to take a photo of myself as it's been ages since I last did so, but this constant blowing of my nose has put paid to my makeup! Another day soon...

Sue x

Wednesday 14 February 2024

For all the transphobia, there's understanding out there too

 Do you remember this cover of Time magazine, from ten years ago?

(c) Time, 29 May 2014

The article is here if you're interested: The Transgender Tipping Point

We really thought we were moving towards a rosier future for trans people. Clearly, in the USA, things went backwards under Trump and are difficult in certain states now. In the UK, even the deranged British Prime Minister Theresa May, for all her hatred of human rights, planned to extend trans rights, but her replacements, the crooked Boris Johnson, the mad Liz Truss and the cruel Richy Sunak have used trans people as a source of abuse. I feel only revulsion at Sunak making a transphobic joke specifically when the mother of a murdered trans teenager was attending parliament the other week. It shows new heights of nastiness.

My blog intends to be positive overall. I was amazingly happy when I first started writing my blog in 2011 as I made my way as a woman in the world. Now I am uncertain. But one thing I do know is that in the European Union I stand a better chance of long-term tolerance than in the English-speaking world. Although here in Italy there is still a way to go, which makes me cautious. 

Nevertheless, I open a recent copy of the Italian edition of Elle magazine and it has an article for parents on how to help your child if he or she is trans or struggling with gender issues, reviewing Emma Mirò's recent book on that very subject.

My December issue of Mind magazine (dedicated to neuroscience and psychology) discusses teenage image and, without judgment, simply talks of gender identity as part of the issues that teenagers face when engaging with the world and with their peers. Later in the same issue, there is a long and emotionally difficult article on electroshock, emetic and other aversion 'therapies' to 'cure' LGBT people, which were used in the 20th Century. None of these treatments worked, they conclude, they simply tortured people and are now rejected by civilized medicine because being LGBT is inherent and not a mental health disorder.

My daily regional paper, Il Secolo XIX, had a long positive obituary on 6 January about Ulla, the last of the grand old "princesas" of the trans ghetto of Genoa, who took so many TGirls under her wing. If you want to know more about the trans ghetto of Genoa, see my page on the photography of Lisetta Carmi: Identities. Ulla was subject to annoyance by the police throughout her life as she never transitioned despite living as a woman, and when an ordinance from the city authorities as recently as 2009 tried to close down certain venues for "immorality", the locals stood with the trans community as the girls actually kept crime out of their patch. 

The paper's monthly health supplement has five pages on the gradual weakening of the Y chromosome that has just been sequenced, on the implications of that for men in the long term, on non-binary people, on gender dysphoria and how begging governments for trans rights is unjust. 

I'm not looking out for articles on trans subjects specifically, these just crop up regularly in my normal reading of mainstream media articles here. And they are all trans supportive, just accepting being trans as a reality of life. For all the noisy hate that some politicians and TERFS spew as a distraction from the chaos and corruption they create, I think society as a whole is broadly trying to understand us and acknowledge our difficulties.

I'll be continuing to post the positive stuff.

Sanremo Festival aftermath

My last two posts on the annual Sanremo Song Festival seem to have generated a great deal of interest, to judge by the stats. The overall winner was Angelina Mango, who will present her song La Noia ("Boredom") at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, Sweden, on 7-11 May. 

For me the champion was Big Mama with her song La rabbia non ti basta ("Anger just isn't enough for you"), a song condemning childhood bullying and abuse. Her support for LGBT people, and those suffering in one way or another, was pretty unequivocal during the show. It's not really my kind of music but I wish her well. Great outfits, too!

Anyway, some are saying it was the best festival ever. The outgoing mayor hopes the event can be extended to two weeks in future. That's all very well for the hospitality industry, but it's chaos for us ordinary mortals who need the bank or the department store or even want a coffee in town during that time as these businesses close so as to be given over to radio execs and TV engineers. "Good for the economy" is a phrase that never quite seems to include me!

Sue x