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Sunday, 20 September 2020

Tights-free summer

Nice things ... and not so nice things ... more nice things ... and then not so nice things. It's a mixed bag this time.


A warm surprise


If there's one thing that defines me it's that I am the Priestess of Pantyhose of the Temple of Tights. I maintain about 300 pairs of tights/pantyhose and some stockings/holdups, for all occasions.

I love hosiery because it smoothes my legs from any pimples (or oversights) resulting from epilation, waxing or shaving, or any blemishes or uneven tones; because hosiery looks and feels good, elegant, classy, fun or sexy; and hosiery also keeps me warm ... I have a serious problem with my body temperature, which is largely why I have moved to this part of the Mediterranean riviera since the cool, cloudy, damp English climate I lived in before was making me chronically ill.

Yet, because the temperature here for the last 3 months has been 30C daily (that's about 85F) I have not wanted to wear anything close-fitting that would increase my body heat. That's a first for me since not one single photo of me ever taken does not show me wearing tights/pantyhose. Even if it's a gossamer-thin 5 denier pair of sheer naturals, the hosiery is always on my legs. Even if I am wearing jeans or slacks, I have hosiery underneath. And in winter I'm not ashamed to go for 70 up to even 200 denier opaques.

Now I have a lovely tan, a tribute to daily sunshine and regular swimming, so those summer "suntan" or "oiled look" pantyhose are simply not needed. It's actually a very odd feeling, having my skirts brushing bare legs for the first time ever.

How low can you go? 

Photo 1 - George 10 denier; 

Photo 2 - Marks & Spencer toeless 7 denier; 

Photo 3 - Transparenze 5 denier.

And you thought I had bare legs! Not a bit of it!



Distress  

I haven't posted for three weeks because of intense distress. To maintain my residence in the Mediterranean I had to travel 200 miles by public transport with strict Covid restrictions to put in an application under the UK Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. I have, at least, much more confidence in Italy's approach to the Covid crisis compared to other first-world countries, notably Britain and the USA where both governments' approach falls within the UN definition of genocide. There is a dangerous level of anger now against Britain from British citizens abroad whose human rights are being stamped on by their own supposed government. This from a country that was once the bulwark of civilization, that harboured anyone from persecution, that stood up to fascism, oppression and tyranny.

 

Welcome Dee

I'm so glad to see that Dee Williams has just popped up among my blog followers. One of my earliest trans friends, I've missed her since she moved to Cornwall. Hoping to catch up with you properly soon, Dee.


Historic

I said I'd post historic photos in my future blog entries. Here's a photo of me on this very weekend in September, ten years ago. This was taken in Whitehall, where Britain's main government ministries are located and where I had just been on the one and only protest march of my life. The Pope was on a state visit to Britain, you see, and although the Pope is of little direct interest to me, he is in many ways the most obvious representative of religion as a whole. The religion I was brought up in was brutal, oppressive, cruel, abusive, threatening and inhumane and drove me to attempt suicide. I found it cathartic to march as a woman in 2010 and stand against what for me represented religious transphobia, including that of my family who hate LGBT people with a blind fanaticism.


Sue x




Monday, 31 August 2020

Into autumn

I hope you have all had a good summer, or as good as can be when there are so many restrictions on travel and so many people have chosen to stay home. I am living by the seaside in the Mediterranean and I would normally have expected the place to have been packed with holidaymakers these last two or three weeks, but it has been very quiet, even eerily so. This disastrous pandemic has damaged so many lives, obviously from death and illness for those who caught it and the effect on their families, but also for those many who have lost their livelihood as a result of measures to contain it or who have been affected psychologically by isolation and stress. Therefore, I wish everyone a healthy and prosperous autumn in contrast to the worrying spring and summer. Fingers crossed.


Blog style

Thinking about the 9th anniversary blog post earlier this month, I thought I should introduce some changes. The first is larger font - I don't know about you, but my eyes are not getting younger, and it reflects the larger fonts appearing as standard elsewhere. 

I'd like to keep the cerise pink colour of the font - unless I get lots of moans about it.

Given the look-back in the last post, I thought I'd introduce a section in future entries either linking to a past post that didn't quite make the Top Ten, or a dip in my photo archives, or looking at some aspect of trans history. I've been spending a lot of time sorting through my various collections!

So, with that in mind, as an initial treat, here's a look back at all 3.

 

A dip in the archives

Here's a post that was typical from my years in London, a day out with food and company, including accompanying a girl on one of her first trips: London Angels Sunday Lunch

Here's a picture of me by the Thames. I'd just had my nails done at a local salon with a friend, Emma, who stayed with me for a few days before Sparkle 2011.


And here's a picture of some glamorous TGirls at a club in the USA in the 1950s when being openly trans was virtually impossible. Fashion seems to have lost some elegance since those days.


Keep safe and well.

Sue x






Friday, 14 August 2020

Blog anniversary, and the current Top Ten

Every year I do a review of this blog on its anniversary. Here's review no 9.

I first started writing here following a lovely day out at Painshill Park in Southern England with Stella Michaels. The background photo was taken there. It was that day that made me think I should blog my adventures as a memento and as a way of encouraging others to live their trans life more openly.

Blogger has recently revamped itself, which suggests it will be around for a while yet, so this is where I propose to remain. Some features don't work too well and it isn't easy loading photos. To be honest, I never find apps or programs or computery stuff very easy at the best of times but I'll stick to what I've managed to get to grips with here.

Thanks to new followers for joining me, Michelle Hart and Susan Nicole Beach being the latest, and to my longer-term readers.

I won't bore you with all the stats that Blogger provides but just to note that it's now easier to label posts and that should provide a better guide in future than the timeline, so I shall start labelling.

I don't provide a popular posts section as that simply makes the same posts read over and over. As recently confirmed by scientists, success breeds success, so a popular post simply becomes more popular because it's been read before, not necessarily because it's inherently better, whereas I like to think every post has some value. However, I often provide links in these annual roundups so, in reverse order, readers' Top Ten Popular Picks as of mid-August 2020 are:

10 Our Different Journey - my answer to Lynn Jones's survey asking trans women to tell how their lives have unfolded: Our Different Journey

9 Roz White - transgender writer - a review of successful transgender fiction writer Roz White from Scotland, whose "Sisterhood" series is popular and true-to-life: Roz White, trans writer
NB - the links in this post no longer work (plus Roz and I have now managed to meet several times :-) )  but her work can be bought and reviewed on Amazon: Amazon: Roz White 

8 Annual Roundup - my review of 2016: Annual Roundup 2016

7 Sparkle 2013 - a great weekend at the world's biggest transgender event: Sparkle 2013

6 Nottingham Invaded Again - my second trip to the city of Nottingham for a memorable night out with the girls: Nottingham Invaded Again

5 The Boudoir - a tribute - how I developed my look during three makeover sessions at Jodie Lynn's Boudoir dressing service in London: The Boudoir - a tribute

4 My Resurrection? - how I hoped to return to going out regularly after a disfiguring ailment: My Resurrection?

3 Nostalgia Trip to Pink Punters - I revisit a popular LGBT nightclub: Nostalgia Trip to Pink Punters

2 Nottingham Invasion - a great night out with over 50 other girls: Nottingham Invasion

and the most popular by far

1 The T-Girl Bar 2013 - how a bunch of beautiful trans barmaids thrilled the visitors to an adult trade fair in London: T-Girl Bar 2013

I suspect the fabulous photos of us gorgeous bar staff and the amazing burlesque talent on show are what people enjoy most about that post.

Altogether, then, people seem to like to read about large groups of trans women in high-profile public events. I feel proud to have taken part in so many visible and important events like these - the Nottingham invasion's purpose, for instance, was to make us visible in regular places (not just LGBT clubs).

But in future entries I may provide links to other posts that didn't quite make the cut this time, as they were popular in their day.

Enjoy, thanks for reading and for joining me in my tenth year here. Stay safe and pretty.

Sue x  

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Good stuff miscellany

Things are still not good in the world so I'm keeping things positive here with a variety of items relating to this week that should be fun to read.


Prides past

Over the past few weeks I've been reminiscing on the period ten years ago when I first got out into the real world as a woman, thus fulfilling my lifelong dreams. Today happens to mark the tenth anniversary of Brighton Pride 2010. By far the largest pride celebration in the UK, the whole town comes out for the fun, whether they're gay or not (let's face it, if you're not alternative in some way in Brighton, you don't really belong!) It also attracts people from far and wide, like myself.

It was my first long-distance trip by train as Sue and was a memorable day: the parade, the funfair, the stalls and stages in the park, the whole atmosphere. Here's a photo of the friends I met up with: Kimberley, Saffy, Angie, me and Lucie, taken by Helena (separate on the right). All still good friends, though sadly it was the last time I saw Lucie (the demigirl from Wiltshire who writes the award-winning Girl Who Should Know Better blog: Girl Who Should Know Better). If you're reading this, Lucie, we need to meet up again when I'm next in the UK after this craziness ends.

In a year with little or no Gay/Trans Pride events, it's been good to look back on this memorable one.


Bugs Bunny is 80

As a lot of fellow trans bloggers have noted, the US postal service has commemorated Bugs Bunny's 80th birthday with a set of stamps including two where Bugs is dressed as a ... I was about to say woman, but Valkyrie and Mermaid don't fit that description. Bugs did so much crossdressing in his cartoons, usually to confuse or falsely seduce his pursuers (mainly Elmer Fudd), that's it's a significant part of his character. The joy of animation is its ability to be very subversive without causing offence, and making any who complain look dumb! ("You're concerned that a fictitious cartoon rabbit wearing a dress will subvert youth? A fictitious cartoon wabbit, I mean rabbit!? Buddy, you need to see a shrink!") But to us he was a bit of an icon for that. For real authenticity, the stamp should wolf whistle when you lick the back!


Trans history

As my last post showed, I have been taking time to look into trans history and imagery. I mean way back, to ancient times, when Hercules lived as a woman for two years and Achilles hid in a girls' school to avoid being sent to Troy! And through all the ages after. I'll put up more pictures and links in due course. Those who say the trans phenomenon is some new fad have no idea what they are talking about.

Hercules (left) enslaved by Queen Omphale (right, who's taken his club) and forced by her to be her maid




Photos

I'm not travelling at present, and frankly nor is anyone else much, what with this Covid disease around. But I am trying to take decent photos of my surroundings to record the plants, the panorama, the sky. It's rather pretty here in the Med at this time of year. Even a few of me.

Plants in the condo garden
Blue sea
Moody moon
Palm grove on the promenade
Seen outside a sandwich shop
Lounging around


So, a selection of items this week with a broad appeal.

Sue x






Thursday, 6 August 2020

Trans lives in the 1960s

I have recently come across articles about the work of two photographers who captured trans life in the 1960s and thought it worth sharing them.

A different age in terms of fashion, where we do see to have lost a sense of stylishness, and in terms of safety, where we seem to have gained (at least in the West).

The first covers the work of photographer Lisetta Carmi (now 95) who documented the lives of the trans community in the port of Genoa, Italy, in the 1960s. As a child she wanted to be a boy, and in 1938 her family were forced into exile by Mussolini's anti-Jewish laws. Ever after, she felt strong affinity for other oppressed groups.


Lisetta Carmi, I Travestiti, Genova (The Transvestites, Genoa), 1965–67, photograph. 
© the artist, Galeria d'arte Martini & Ronchetti, Genoa, and Galerie Antoine Levi, Paris

The second is about Swedish photographer Christer Strömholm and his portraits of TGirls in Paris in the 1960s, with some lovely images.



Sue x

Friday, 31 July 2020

First steps in trans living: conclusion

Over the last few weeks I've been reminiscing on the month ten years ago when everything came together and I pushed myself hard to become a regular girl about town. It's a series of posts that's proved popular with my readers, and I hope it has also encouraged others to live their (trans) lives to the full.

Here are links to the episodes:

Dining out: my baptism of fire
The Great Drag Race
Getting out the front door
Hair and makeup
Sparkle: finding my tribe

As someone who'd only ever been out to the Pink Punters LGBT nightclub earlier in 2010, after June/July of that year I felt confident to do anything. In fact, on my return from the Sparkle trans weekend I planned to go to my local park and sunbathe in my bikini. Perhaps it's as well that rain put paid to that idea - I might have scared the dogwalkers! But the rest of that summer I went out as a woman when I wanted and it was truly liberating, and the real start of a decade of living in my true gender.

Another thing that happened that summer and autumn was almost a second puberty: my breasts grew (and hurt, as female friends I confided in said they do when you go through puberty as a teenager). I began to wonder if I should ask for an appointment with the gender clinic as my body and mind seemed now to be crying out for full transition. I don't know if my sudden need really to be out in the world as a woman was a subconscious response to hormonal changes, or if this gynecomastia and other alterations were a psychosomatic response to this exciting and sudden transformation from closet TGirl to woman about town. I suspect the former but there may be no connection at all, just coincidence.

I've had a lot of ups and downs this past decade - ups in 2010-12 and downs notably in 2014-16 when I was so badly affected by eczema that I wasn't able to wear makeup or shave properly - but fundamentally I know I can be myself and be accepted as Sue by the world at large, which is the fulfilment of all those dreams I had from childhood onwards.

Summer 2010
Summer 2020




















Being trans is something innate, not something you choose. After years of purging and trying to stamp out my femininity, I finally embraced who I really was back in 1997. So it took a long time even from that point to get to this stage, including several visits to a dressing service and seeking advice via online trans forums throughout the 2000s.

So 2010 was pretty amazing. I managed to push myself hard and reap the rewards. And here I am, ten years on, enjoying a look back. Thanks for joining me.

Sue x




Thursday, 23 July 2020

First steps in trans living 5: Sparkle - finding my tribe

Sparkle is the UK's national transgender celebration, held in Manchester in July. I've been seven times overall and it's always proved the perfect event for meeting and making friends and feeling part of a larger community. The 2020 event, which should have taken place the weekend before last, had to be cancelled, like most other things this year.

In this series of posts I have described how four earlier occasions enabled me to leave home and interact with the real world in the summer of 2010. This last event, Sparkle 2010, was the culmination of an intense month of emerging into the world and made me feel that I was now in a position to live as a woman, not merely by dressing at home or interacting online.

The Sparkle website is here https://www.sparkle.org.uk/

I was too engrossed in the events to remember to take many photos so here are some by another person who was there that year.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_jones/albums/72157624503761614/with/4797366710/

My blog reports on other years' Sparkles give a good idea of the activities to enjoy there but it's a mix of socialising, entertainments, eating out, preening, purchasing, hearing talks, dancing, making friends and catching up with old ones ... a sort of village party weekend.

It was mid-way through the weekend that the thought really struck me as I looked out over the sea of transgender party people and their families crowding Canal Street and Sackville Gardens: this is my tribe. This feels right. I belong with these people.

I know we were having a party at a dedicated event but every person here was, like me, affirming the truth that they were trans, individually and collectively. And for the first time I felt something very special was happening: here was I, being carried along by a flood of others like me and being part of that flood. We trans people are real, we exist, we have a right to be ourselves and be happy.

Sparkle 2010 was very special for me: it clarified that I had arrived where I wanted to be in life and how I wanted to live. The next two years were, without a doubt, the best ever.

Sue x