Friday, 25 February 2022

Maniacs and real people

I normally post on Thursdays now but I couldn't yesterday, being too disgusted at Putin starting a war in Europe. Who would have guessed that 30 years after the fall of the Soviet Union things would go like this? Like a dead wasp that can sting ages later. When I was a kid growing up in the Cold War this sort of scenario was what we were always prepared for. Listening to Putin's almost hallucinatory rants, you realise that here is no longer the pragmatic operator who knew how to play the long game but someone who has lost his mind and his emotions. God knows what he's capable of.

I'd remind my readers of Russia's lack of LGBT rights and the way in which LGBT people have been tortured in the back corners of Putin's state. Let me remind you of the brutality that has accompanied one Russian regime after another for centuries: Tsarist repressions, corruption, serfdom; Soviet genocides, gulags, forced labour, planned famines; Putin's political opponents in prison or poisoned abroad. 

You don't want this.


A dip in the archives

It's LGBT history month and I'd like to post something positive too.

I was pleased to hear UK member of parliament Mhairi Black earlier this week condemning the Gender Recognition Certificate system that makes life so much harder for transitioners. And my local councillor who is a transwoman and won her seat specifically on a trans ticket has been speaking about improving rights in all sorts of areas of policy.

Monica Romano, Milan council

But I thought I'd mainly just share three random photos of me and my friends with members of the public in my days out in London, just showing how so many people you happen to meet are actually very happy to get to know us transwomen. The world is gradually coming to accept our reality.

Sue x



Monday, 21 February 2022


 It's certainly spring here now and there are delicate flowers everywhere. This area is known as the Riviera of Flowers as the bulk of the cut-flower market is supplied from here. Flowers that need a bit more protection are grown in greenhouses that cover a lot of the landscape as you head towards the mountains (see photos). I was about to say they're stone's throw from home but somehow glasshouses and stones traditionally don't mix so I'll say they are a short walk from home.


You also see many small shrines at crossroads or road junctions, usually filled with flowers. These days these shrines are Christian and there is usually a statue of the Virgin Mary inside.

Of course, the practice of putting a shrine at a junctions is much older than Christianity. Here such shrines used to be dedicated to the goddess Diana Trivia, i.e. Diana of the Three Ways, who presided over these difficult spots. Difficult because, before there were road signs, a traveller unsure of his way might take a wrong turn and get badly lost; because crossroads were a favourite place for highwaymen and footpads to hang out as there are twice the takings to be had from two roads than there were on just one; and, more mystically, because crossroads, doorways and the like are where spirits were believed to congregate, as they did between one world and the next. Diana was also closely associated with magic. You can see why such a deity would watch the crossroads. These days, Mary seems to fill in for a lot of roles previously taken by feminine deities.

I guess crossroads are on my mind because I've been stuck at a crossroads for some years. I was caught by the Covid crisis with my life and belongings scattered in various places, including 90% of my clothes in England while I am in Italy. Yes, I've bought more here, but it's not quite the same as having old favourites. So now I'm beginning to plan what I hope will be the final phase of my move which I hope will be completed later this year, assuming that the bad things at the crossroads - bureaucracy, Covid, Putin? - allow me to continue on my way.

Joke of the week

So the winter olympics have now ended.

Do you know, I once won silver for curling and bronze for the bob?

But the title of Hairdresser of the Year still eludes me!

A dip in the archives

A short piece of LGBT history.

The "Half and Half" act by Zorita, stage name of Kathryn Boyd, bi burlesque dancer. Zorita is dressed half as bride, half as groom.

Sue x

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Spring shopping break

I've been taking a bit of a break this week. I've been blogging twice a week since late 2020 but not so far this month as there's been so little to talk about. Yesterday, though, I made some additions to my wardrobe.

Covid is still around but I think we've all had enough now and there's an obvious shift in attitude from authorities all over the world despite the high rate of infections. Besides, spring has come early. So yesterday I went out and treated myself to lunch at a restaurant near the old fort in Sanremo. Nice, imaginative fish dishes. They seem to specialise in angler fish -  hideously ugly creatures, but very good eating.

I took a stroll round the wide harbour in the sunshine and came across this super yacht:


Laid down in 1979, very much in the style of its era, it is now called Kingdom 5KR and has been through various owners and names. It was commissioned from the shipyards down the coast at Viareggio by Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi who called it Nabila after his daughter. It was used in the Bond film Never Say Never Again as the villain's yacht (the "Flying Saucer") and inspired the song by rock group Queen. Khashoggi then sold it to the Sultan of Brunei who, in turn, sold it to Donald Trump who renamed it the Trump Princess (ugh!) and turned it into a loss-making floating casino. In characteristic fashion, the author of The Art of the Deal sold it at a further loss to its current owner, a Saudi prince. Once considered an amazing yacht, it seems to be gathering dust in the private berths next to other mega yachts registered in tax havens. In a week that sees Prince Andrew paying off a women he claims he never met, trafficked as a teenager by Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of a bullying media mogul who died just after embezzling his staff's pension fund by 'falling' off the yacht he'd named Lady Ghislaine after his twisted daughter, you do wonder about the people we allow to lord it over us in these kinds of luxury vessels.


Anyway, after this reflection, my hard-earned, taxed dollars went to buy several items in a local store. Three pairs of women's trousers, two tops and a cute belt. I know they're not ultra-feminine and are all black, but the point is I now dress in women's clothes pretty much all the time and need something androgynous and not too bright when out but not presenting obviously female. This works for me at the moment.


I had to guess at my new size since I've lost so much weight this last year but I'm pleased to say it got it just right and they fit perfectly. I tend to like something quite fitted/skinny. So I'm pleased with these. I will need a summer frock soon but my loveliest dresses are still in storage in England and I haven't been able to get there for over 2 years. I'm planning a rescue trip later this spring.

Sue x


Thursday, 10 February 2022


 I had a lot of interesting comments on my last post. I said that many of us who fully acknowledge our trans nature only later in life, choose to go to nightclubs to live the experience we never fully had when we were younger and were living in stealth.

Of course, that's only one reason for going to dedicated trans venues or even general clubs and bars. Apart from the obvious fact that a lot of trans culture is focused in such locales and you can meet up with others like you, there are plenty of other reasons for selecting somewhere to meet that's perhaps geared more for younger people. 

A desire to dress younger is a motivation for some, and even a chance to dress more boldly, sexily or get out that knockout frock at last; you know, the one that would look out of place in the supermarket!

On a practical level, meeting in a venue that has all the relevant facilities for a night out is another reason. A big venue like a nightclub provides a degree of anonymity that smaller places don't provide. You get to be out in your right gender as confirmed by the others like you in the space. And since many trans people are a little shy in public to start with - God knows I was! - it's a secure way to get out, too.

A good comment I also received was that although we may be middle-aged when venturing out to city centre venues, we help pave the way for a younger generation to be true to themselves earlier in life. I think that is hugely significant.

As a general rule, I've always felt that, when out and about, or even when online, we are in some ways ambassadors for the trans community, most of whom are hidden, meaning that the world has fewer encounters with trans people and sees them as rarer than they are. Although this touches on the subject of passing, which is an uncomfortable one, I think it important to be likeable, friendly, smiley and positive when out. It helps improve personal safety but also ensures that people realise they're dealing with someone worth knowing, who is not threatening or perverse or odd. Back in London, I made plenty of friends of restaurateurs, barmen, shop staff and so on, as well as getting strangers at nearby tables or on transport to be friendly. Yes, it takes a bit of awareness and effort but it is so worth it. And as my commentator suggests, one positive encounter with a trans person makes people look forward to the next. So we pave the way for easier encounters for those trans people who come after us. 

Sometimes there's a big opportunity to be good ambassador, such as at the TGirl Bar in London's top exhibition centres. Or just in everyday shopping or sightseeing or eating out. It all helps. I appreciate that a big metropolis is easier and safer to be out in than a village where every one knows everyone else's business and can be hostile to anything that challenges the age-old ways. But things filter through, outwards and downwards, slowly but surely. One day a trans person won't give a second thought about being out. We each do our small bit to help that happen.

Trans 'ambassadors' in the middle of London. The passers-by loved us!

Blog comments

Thank you again to those who commented, and do so on other posts. I'm sorry that Blogger is still proving a little temperamental in allowing comments and in my being able to reply. It's getting better but is not perfect yet. Patience, I guess.

Sue x

Thursday, 3 February 2022

We make up for the times we lost

 Much trans culture is in nightclubs and bars, whether LGBT-dedicated or not. But so many trans people who go out late are twice the age of most of the clientele. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but as a general observation, clubbing is for the young, often to meet potential mates and burn energy. 

I sometimes chuckle at myself, decidedly middle-aged, along with my similarly-aged friends, throwing somewhat distorted shapes on the dance floor when it's way past our bedtime. Without intending to be mean, that may seem comical, but it has shades of tragedy, too. We are making right the fact that we weren't necessarily able to go out as young trans women or men because society in our day had expectations, we were less sure of our ground and, most tragically of all, our late teens and early twenties often see us looking to find a mate and be the person we are told we are, so we suppress out trans nature accordingly. We end up actually missing out on life lived in the right order and later, when we realise that we can no longer fight the reality that we have been transgender all along, we redo the socialising in young persons' venues that we missed out on since we weren't really being ourselves the first time round. That's how it's felt for me, at least. 

I'm glad that younger trans people seem to be having a slightly less difficult time in coming out now and living life more authentically from the start.


Slimmer still

I lost 3.7 kg or 8½ pounds in January and I'm slimmer than I've been for some years. Admittedly, some of that was weight I'd put back on over the Christmas fortnight but I can see myself being back in my healthy weight range later this year.

Here's a slimming joke:

Like many people, I joined a gym at New Year but I've only just plucked up the courage to turn up. Actually, I think I might get to like it there. There was this amazing looking machine that really caught my eye and I asked the instructor if he could show me how it worked. He was so helpful. "It's easy," he said, "you select a setting, put a coin in the slot here, and a snack pops out the bottom."

A dip in the archives

I'm still slowly but surely getting together all my old photos and here's another I'd forgotten, from 2008. I was still experimenting with my look.

Sue x