Thursday, 28 April 2022

Sometimes one feels a bit ugly

 I have been living pretty much in my authentic gender for a long time. My clothes reflect that, but my face doesn't really tag along. And, even with my hair and makeup done well, I haven't felt like taking any photos recently. Trans girls have a symbiotic relationship with their cameras so something's wrong!

How many women feel ugly or inappropriate at times? Probably all at some point, and many do regularly. So I'm in good company. Even though ugly is subjective, and I've never met a woman who was ugly. I know I'm not really ugly either, although I have challenges.

I've said before that although being trans is lifelong, something you are not something you do, the intensity varies, like the ebb and flow of the tide. I have often found my femininity less intense in the spring, but then I always feel sluggish and in lowered mood after the winter. At present, after two years of pandemic and its isolation, a worrying war going on, heightened transphobia and other troubles, I'm really not feeling like posing for the camera or being seen as markedly female in public. I'm finding it harder to smile and feel authentic right now. I suspect I'm not alone.

The feeling will pass - it always does - and normal existence will resume. I know I like being a girl really.


A dip in the archives

By contrast, here's a post from 9 years ago explaining how a potentially bad situation (work redundancy) led to better things, including my emergence into public life as a transwoman. 

Big anniversaries, big evaluations

Let's hope the world's current difficulties lead to a better world soon.

Sue x

Monday, 25 April 2022

Cute bunny in a dress

 The cute bunny of the title is not me (sadly!) but this adorable toy that came in an easter egg. She has a pretty floral dress with a matching bow and I love her!

She is so cute. I wish I'd been allowed toys like this when a child. Don't get me wrong, I was happy enough with toy cars and soldiers and footballs and all the stuff boys are deemed to like, but I also liked playing with dollies, but it was clear that they were not for the likes of me so I had to play with them in secret.

Being a trans girl is not just about the clothes but about all the things and outlook that go with it. I love my cute little bunny and I love the pretty chocolate egg painted with candy flowers that it came in, too.

(In case you're wondering, I had two easter eggs and I saved this one till this weekend so have only just discovered the bunny!)

As a transwoman, I can love not only the nice clothes women can wear but all the prettier, less masculine things too.

The Home Front

Today is a public holiday in Italy as it's Liberation Day, which marks the capitulation of Axis forces in Italy in World War 2. I joined the local commemorations since little feels more important to me at the moment than resisting the sort of xenophobic aggression that has led to so much misery in the past and is still causing misery now in places like Ukraine.


Xenophobia is any hatred of outsiders, and so often racism, supremacism and other forms of discrimination go hand in hand with transphobia. There is too much of all this at present.

Sue x

Monday, 18 April 2022

Oh, but the children!

 Given the success of Pride last weekend there was an annoying incident at the offices of the local LGBT group today. A stranger walked in and asked them to remove the rainbow flag that hangs from their window "because children might see it".

They asked him politely to leave and the police confirmed there was no problem. "Just keep flying your flag," they said.

I would hope that children would see it so that any who were questioning their gender or sexuality would know that there was help and community out there and they would have less of a scared, lonely and unresourced youth than my generation. And all children might get to know that LGBT people exist among them.

I'm just a big kid

I always insist on an easter egg even though I'm supposed to be way too old for that sort of frivolity! In fact, this year I have two eggs! I'm saving one, but the other, being a posh egg, did have a pair of silver-plated earrings inside that are pretty little owls. Nice.

Chocolate and shiny things. I'm easily pleased!

A dip in the archives

I was reminded that it was five years ago this week that I joined Gina in London as she was taking a few days' break there. We had a good day out in Greenwich. But I was so busy with work at the time that I wasn't able to write it up till the end of the year! But if you want to read about my encounter with R2D2, tall ships and astronomers, it's in the post here: Greenwich with Gina

 Sue x

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Pride Week conclusion

 A short post to say that overall the first Sanremo Pride Week was deemed a success by the organisers and they plan to hold another next year. I hope this will be a regular event ... until the day such events are no longer deemed necessary. 

As well as the pro-LGBT Countercongress last Tuesday, there was a photographic exhibition in the civic centre over the weekend and a dedicated comedy show in the casino on Saturday evening. Police estimate about 1500 people showed up for the march, which is more than was expected in this relatively small centre.

Another photo released by the organisers

The mayor signed the council up to improving LGBT rights in the area, as did other official bodies. There's a way to go here as anywhere else, but when my old country, the United Kingdom, has this very same week agreed to ban conversion therapy for gay people but not for trans people, I know where I am better off. Patria est, ubicumque est bene*.

Here, therefore, is a classic ethical thought experiment for my UK friends ...

Maybe next year I'll feel a bit more confident and glam again and will be more prominent at Pride.

* One's homeland is where one feels right (Cicero, Tusculan Disputations V, 37, 108, quoting a line from Teucer, a play by Pacuvius)


Life after Covid

Just for the record, the weekend also saw the revival of the antiques fair, a pro-Ukraine rally and my first breakfast in a café for two years. 


Antiques fair

Life feels different now - not what it was before Covid, but it's beginning to approach it.

I don't like Russian dolls - they're just so into themselves!

Sue x

Sunday, 10 April 2022

Pride Week part 2

 Yesterday was Sanremo Pride, the first ever in this area. Sanremo has a population of just over 50,000, so not a large place, but it's lively and is famous for its music festival and for being the City of Flowers since much of the cut flower market is supplied from here. So when estimates of 1000-3000 people turn up for Pride, that's quite a success. So much so that the march was halted part way as all those people wouldn't have fitted into the main square, which was supposed to be the final destination. I suspect the car rally going on and the Palm Sunday preparations (little old ladies wandering about with sacks of palm fronds*) probably made the police feel there was enough chaos going on for one weekend!

My photos are not that great (it's hard to capture crowds from within) but here's one from the start of the event by the old fort.

There are people from all hues of the LGBT spectrum. The organisers posted this last night. (Presumably their photographer is 12 feet tall!)

This photo reminds me of Canal Street in Manchester, UK, during the annual Sparkle trans event.

I tried taking an 'atmospheric' photo of the event from across the harbour but the flags are a bit lost in the distance. Still, it places it in context.

There are no photos of me as I wasn't properly 'me'. I dress androgynously these days but, after some years of health problems, isolation and pandemic chaos, I have lost a lot of confidence, as I said last week when talking of Transgender Day of Visibility. I need to feel less 'ugly', regain some mojo, if you know what I mean. So I felt a bit on the periphery. Still, it was right to go and I'm glad I did.

My way home happened to pass the prize giving for the Sanremo Rally, so here are some photos that have nothing to do with Pride!

As well as trophies, winners (male and female) get a bunch of fresh local cut flowers (which they've placed on the roofs of their vehicles here). Nice to see the car at the front (3rd place) has a female navigator (Giorgia Ascalone) - it's not just a sport for boys. Who says girls can't navigate?

And the prize for the most glamorous TGirl goes to ...

All in all, it was a good afternoon.


*Palm Sunday - a bit of history

Palm Sunday is important in the area, too, as the palms for the Vatican are grown here. Down the road at Bordighera there is date palm grove, the northenmost naturally seeded stand of them. They grow this far north because of the unusually mild climate. The Vatican gets its palm fronds from here because of an incident in Rome in the sixteenth century.

The obelisk in St Peter's Square, originally from Egypt and then set up in ancient Rome, was placed as the centrepiece of the square in 1586. The occasion was deemed by the pope to be so solemn that he forbade any of the workmen to talk whilst it was hoisted into position, on pain of death. As the lifting progressed, one of the foremen, Benedetto Bresca, a ship's captain from Sanremo, noticed the ropes overheating from friction and cried out "water on the ropes!" He was arrested but the architect acknowledged that it was only his intervention that had saved the obelisk from falling and smashing because the ropes were on the point of burning. So the pope, instead of executing him as threatened, rewarded him with the right to supply palms for Palm Sunday from his local area.

There is a pretty little square in the centre of Sanremo named after him (Piazza Bresca). It's free of traffic and has a fountain in the middle with an obelisk recalling the event.


Today, then, the Bishop of Sanremo-Ventimiglia, who is a real homophobe, was thankfully too busy overseeing palm distribution to disturb the Pride event.

A dip in the archives

My last pride event was in London back in 2018, quite a while ago now (thanks Covid!). Here's my write-up of the day, which I went to with a gay friend and another transwoman.

Link: London Pride 2018


Sue x

Friday, 8 April 2022

Pride Week part 1

 Fifty years ago this week the International Congress on Sexual Deviancy was arranged in the casino in Sanremo, Italy, where psychiatrists and doctors met to try to make out that LGBT people were freaks. A small but vocal protest by the gay community saw the first clear Out and Proud banners and slogans, and was instrumental in changing attitudes. 


Funky 1972

On Tuesday, the same venue hosted a Countercongress celebrating LGBT life and showing how much progress there has been in improving rights since. There's quite a way to go yet but what improvements there have been! 

This event opened this celebratory pride week. Tomorrow an LGBT photographic exhibition will be unveiled in the Sanremo civic centre and there will be a pride parade in town. As far as I know this is the first one in Sanremo, not a large city but certainly a lively one. 

It also happens to be the same weekend as the Sanremo Rally. How pride paraders and racing cars will get round each other, I'm not sure. A gay rally meets a gay rally!

Outside the casino today

More news in part 2 after the weekend's events.

Sue x

Sunday, 3 April 2022

The battle of the hair

 Not the hair on my head, which is a lost cause, but the hair on my body. It's definitely male pattern (in both cases), and this is one thing that does distress me, especially as I feel a lot of my other physical features are feminine.

I got a new trimmer for brows and nose hair the other day as my pretty little BaByliss kit is, sadly, wearing out after some years of good service. For legs and body I am currently using a razor, which is fine but needs constant reuse, ideally every day. Epilation lasts longer, I know, but my epilator is currently in storage. Waxing is best of all for smoothness and a look that lasts 2-3 weeks. 

Many people have said that body hair weakens over time the more you remove it. Although I have noted that the pain from waxing and epilating reduces the more one does it, I have never really noticed any reduction in growth, thickness, coverage or strength of hair in all these years. Am I just unlucky? This winter, I didn't take much care over my unloved hairs with the result that my brows looked like the processionary moth caterpillars that are a curse in these regions at this time of year. This despite 20 years of threading, plucking, waxing, trimming and any number of other applications.

Does Madame need a trim?


As I said, it distresses me. Nothing screams "man in a dress" more than unsuitable hair. 

The Home Front

I was upset to hear of Judis Andersen from Ukraine who, despite having F on her passport under Ukraine's gender recognition laws (available since 2017), was detained by the authorities who require every man under 60 to remain to fight. Judis is not a man; she even has the right documents to prove it. This has happened to other transwomen, it seems, and she claims it is simply the transphobic attitude of border guards rather than any actual legal problem.

Some transwomen might wish to stay and fight but Judis does not and as she is legally female she should be entitled to leave if she wishes. 


Maybe one shouldn't grumble too much about how Ukraine is conducting its war given the violent inhumanity of the enemy it faces. But I hope Judis will be recognised as exempt shortly.

Ukrainian Angel. This photo is so sweet, even in such upsetting circumstances. I wish I knew who to credit for it.

Sue x