Saturday, 31 March 2018

Transgender Day of Visibility

Each year, March 31st is Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), when trans people are encouraged to be seen in public to raise awareness of our existence and celebrate our authentic lives. Every time we go out we are being advocates for the transgender community, but today is a special day of recognition. I cannot express this idea better than the wonderful Hannah McKnight who writes such a superb blog and penned this entry today:

Hannah McKnight TDOV

Having been sick for many years, I was unable to participate fully by going out before, but this year I did.

On the train today

Now, I'll confess there's a bit of a conflict between the me who wants just to blend in and not draw unwanted attention and the me who wants people to know that there are trans people out and about in their community getting on with their lives. Invisible yet visible, as it were. Ideally, we want a world where trans people draw no attention except the best attention when merited or needed. But we aren't there yet, hence TDOV.

Sue x

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Photography exhibition

I didn't post last week as the news for the trans community in Britain has been so toxic - threats to the Mermaids charity for trans children, a group of trans-exclusive feminists invited to parliament to attack trans women, and the usual hate in the Daily Mail and ridicule in The Sun newspapers. The xenophobia behind a lot of the votes in the referendum on Britain leaving the European Union has caused an explosion in hate crime and anti-minority abuse.

So instead this week I am going to mention an exhibition I saw at the Photographers Gallery in London, which I visited with my oldest TGirlfriend, Ange. I know various other of my trans friends have seen it.

The exhibition is based around old photographs picked up in markets and such which show people who are not conforming in some way or another with gender norms. They vary from known transsexuals such as French stars Bambi and Coccinelle to college women of the late nineteenth century who dressed as men to express their equality, with representations of many other reasons for presenting gender difference through dress: drag queens and kings, prisoner-of-war and concentration camp theatre shows, local trans groups and or just individuals from the West and other cultures, and (what I didn't know) ladies' college girls in mock wedding photos with women playing the groom, parson, best man and male guests (something that seems to have been all the rage a hundred years ago).

And, as an additional exhibition in another gallery, Grayson Perry's photo album, not showing him as his well-known alter-ego Claire, but in his younger years before he was famous just dressed largely as a middle-aged woman.

Altogether, an interesting exhibition. Entry £4 to these two exhibitions and the various others that are on.

I'm pleased to say that the friend who had her surgery a few weeks ago is recovering well. And one of my trans friends who was looking for work has found a job. Fingers crossed for the other.

This coming Saturday is Transgender Day of Visibility. I shall try to be visible.

Sue x

Sunday, 11 March 2018

It's a difficult journey

I've just visited another friend at Charing Cross Hospital who has had her gender surgery. She seems well enough, if bored and in some pain. Fingers crossed that all has gone well in the long run. I've seen rather too many of these operations go wrong and, as a result, I'm becoming more sceptical of their worth. But this is the route people are currently sent down and one day trans people might have a wider range of medical assistance available that isn't so dangerous and is more geared to the diversity within the trans community. To get treatment on the state-run National Health Service here you have to fulfil many strict criteria and you are always pushed towards surgery. After much research and discussion with trans people on this programme I have still not formally approach my doctor about my being trans and, like most of us, end up in this unsatisfactory limbo, wanting to be one gender just for simplicity's sake but having to lead a double life with two wardrobes.

Anyway, I hope my friend makes a good recovery. I think she's happy to be approaching the end of a long journey.

And talking of wardrobes, as planned and as mentioned in my last post, I have now thrown out a lot of worn-out clothes and shoes and given a couple of bags of unworn and nearly new items to a nearby charity shop.

I'm also hoping that a couple of very close trans friends of mine who have been out of work for a few months will find jobs soon, especially the one who is transitioning and who may therefore encounter more discrimination.

Its not easy, is it?

Sue x