Friday, 29 July 2022

Piggy in the bath

 It's raining at last! Only a little, but it's the first rain of any kind for over a month and it's been so hot and very hard to sleep or do anything very strenuous. The result is that I've put quite a bit of weight on again. My weight loss programme was going fantastically well until March when I think the world news got me down so much that I lost interest in regular things. So it's time to focus again.

Last year I swam and walked a lot throughout the summer and that really reduced my weight. This year, swimming is more like taking a hot bath. The swimming pool is a seawater pool and the water for it is pumped directly from the sea. It's got all the advantages of seawater, such as greater buoyancy, without the annoyances like waves and jellyfish. But as mentioned last week, the sea has been heated to temperatures comparable to the Caribbean despite the fact that this is supposed to be the coolest part of the Mediterranean. We are getting tropical creatures appearing who shouldn't be here. But it means the water for the pool is already very warm and, being shallow, gets even warmer in the sun, so it's like taking a bath. In fact, we were teasing the lifeguard that he should provide us with bath salts and rubber duckies so we could enjoy it more! But the problem is that it doesn't make you feel like swimming properly but just relaxing. 

So with all that, I'm gaining weight again and I need to focus. Partly for heath and partly because my prettiest frocks are several sizes smaller than I am.


Again, please wish me luck.

Sue x

Monday, 25 July 2022

Fishing in fishnets, and other summer pursuits

 From time to time I link to other online material that I think is worthwhile and this time I guess the theme would be 'trans women enjoying the summer outdoors and doing normal stuff'. I've always been an advocate of living one's trans life as a normal member of the public, doing everyday things and pursuing one's preferred hobbies (though partying in a fab frock is fine too!) After all, we want to be accepted in society, so blending in is the way to go, in my view. 

I've been particularly enjoying Femboy Fishing on YouTube and the channel seems to be becoming very popular:

Femboy Fishing

I don't fish myself as I find it cruel if you aren't going to eat the fish (though our Femboy sometimes does), but when you go out fishing in a cute miniskirt in the placid streams of the Ozarks with a goofy dog, it somehow holds the attention. To judge by the comments, regular anglers seem to approve Femboy's knowledge and techniques and it's great to see how his father, brother and brother's fiancée come fishing too and are happy that little bro is enjoying his dressing time down by the river. The dog, Russer, is non-judgmental, too. But we can always learn a lot from dogs.

A good sampler episode (11 mins) below, with some luck and no luck, some technique explained, a variety of beautiful fish to see, some calm inspiring scenery, some humour, and a cute happy dance at the end:

For something a bit more urban and faster-moving, there's Jen on the Move who travels round Britain by bike, train, tram, cable car (!) and even on foot:

Jen on the Move 

I came across Jen after following this couple, Paul and Rebecca Whitewick, who like to uncover Roman roads and aqueducts (among other things), and there are other vloggers, like Geoff Marshall, who also do joint videos with her. I liked this video ("The River that's not a River", 14 mins) when the Whitewicks met up with Jen as it shows that trans people getting on with their thing are in fact treated like any other similar hobbyist would be, unlike the transphobes would have us believe:


In fact, Jen has a good self-deprecating but poignant laugh at people who perceive her as different. This is how to disarm haters in one minute:

Thirdly, my friend Amanda contacted me recently. She has gone into professional filmmaking but some of her quirky videos are closer to home, from tractor fairs to making music:

Amanda Prosser

Try this music video where Amanda accompanies Amanda, playing five different parts with her typical quirky humour, not to mention talent:

If you still prefer TGirls in their pretty clothes then there are some sweet ladies on YouTube who enjoy their girl time without being crude or too in your face. Here are a couple whom I find gentle souls and who look cute:

Danielle - Nattily Dressed Trans Girl

Heidi - Heidi Phox 

Have a good summer, whatever you are doing.

Sue x

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Hot girl

 I've been wanting to take more photos as it's been a while since I last had a set and TGirls are addicted to their selfies, right? But the heat this week has been unusual and it's impossible to wear a wig without bursting into perspiration and my makeup running everywhere. Last year I posted some tips about wearing wigs and makeup in hot weather (link: TGirl coping with summer heat) but this week has been too much even for my own advice. 

The problem at the moment is that the daytime temperatures are record-breaking but they don't drop at night. They're not the hottest temperatures I've known, by any means, but 36C (97F) in the afternoon shade is hot enough, especially when the humidity is quite high too. But because it's only a degree or two cooler at night, I'm struggling. The sea here, normally around 22C (72F) in July, is up to a staggering 29C (84F) at the moment and this similarity between air and sea temperatures doesn't allow a cool breeze to arise in the evening and therefore make the nighttime temperatures more agreeable. So it's been hard to sleep.

So me and Laura the Lizard, who lives in my herb pots, have been sweating it out. She gets her moisture from the insects she eats; I get mine from glass after glass of water and a daily swim.

Laura hunting bugs among the chicory


The heat is therefore really not conducive to glamorous photography right now. Thank goodness, though, for short floaty skirts and loose light tops. The pretty items in my girl wardrobe keep me way cooler than any boy clothes ever did.

I hope you can keep cool in this heatwave.


What the public really think about trans people

Stonewall summarised various opinion polls about what voters in the UK thought about trans issues. Unlike the toxic rhetoric of many politicians and members of the chattering classes, the public do not see trans issues as important policy matters. This is encouraging and what everyday living as a TGirl in the UK seemed to suggest to me.

Link: What do the British public REALLY think about trans people


A dip in the archives

In previous years this week of July was the week after the Sparkle national transgender celebration in the UK and I would often be writing it up and posting photos. Just a few random mementos now from Sparkles past.

2011, Sparkle in the Park, with Jo. Photo by Sheila Blige.

2012, Sparkle in the Park. Photo by Paul Jones.

2013, Angels lunch at Villaggio's.

2014, Sparkle in the Park, with Gina, Emma, Jo and Mrs Emma. Photo by Paul Jones.

2015, Canal Street

2017, dining in Manchester city centre, with Karen


Sue x

Monday, 18 July 2022

Kids are merely imagining they are trans, says the psychiatrist

 I mentioned briefly in my last post that I had friends to stay and that one is a psychiatrist who works mainly with children. 

A vein of humour can been mined when a psychiatrist turns up in comedy shows. One thinks of the psychiatrist who stays at the Fawlty Towers hotel describing the acerbic owner, Basil Fawlty, as having "enough material there for an entire conference". Or in the various incarnations of The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, where the President of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox, has a 'private brain care specialist' with a German accent who is often interviewed about the President's state of mind and invariably ends the questioning with the non-committal "Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy, you know". 

I'm pleased to say that my psychiatrist friend also has a strong German accent this makes him authentic in the best tradition! However, what he said about transgender children wasn't all that funny, I thought.

To summarise a long chat, according to his experience, his training and his school of psychiatry, no-one can know they are transgender until they are about 14 so that treating kids as transgender before then is wrong. This is because, prior to that sort of age, kids play lots of games, indulge in frequent role-playing and imagine their place in a made-up world. There is so much fantasy in early years, he said, that swapping gender role is merely an aspect of childhood play and it is inappropriate to treat that as a determinant for the future.

Now, no-one could argue that kids aren't full of fantasy and imagination. They love playing roles and pretending to be all sorts of things. But if this is a game, then I've been playing it for 50 years! The only variation in my feeling trans is the intensity with which that conviction has existed throughout my life. And whilst it is true that some people, especially children, do actually swap gender roles for a little while before reverting to their designated gender, there's a deepset innate sense in a trans person that their place in life is with the gender they experience and identify with, that it's no game and that they're not making it up. We do not have the vocabulary to describe this conviction nor are we able to say convincingly "I feel like a woman/man" since no-one can accurately describe what feeling like a particular sex is. Most people whose sex and gender match never even give this notion a thought.

So I said that gender dysphoria and childhood fantasy games might seem similar to an outsider, but that imagination had no direct connection with the trans experience. I also had to point out that his training, unlike that of a doctor, did not involve studying biology, and that fields like genetics, endocrinology, evolutionary biology, ecology and so forth reveal distinct possibilities that being trans is a natural and inevitable consequence of genetic makeup, of hormonal differences, of environmental factors, of evolutionary pressures and many other physical forces at work in nature which have nothing to do with the mind. I also pointed out that I had taken part in various studies into trans people, including the 2010 Kennedy/Hellen study on when trans people perceive their gender incongruence. The overwhelming majority have done so well before 14. I myself am typical in that I felt I wanted to be regarded as a girl when I was about 5-6 years old (there's a useful chart on p.4 of that study). And that's never changed. The main reason I have never transitioned, even though I would love to live as female all the time, is that the self-preservation instinct and social pragmatism have so far overridden my natural feminine instinct. When you are brought up in a brutal and judgmental environment, and society is not always accepting, acting safely is essential for survival. 

As far as his own field was concerned, I also pointed out that transgenderism was being regarded ever less as a condition requiring mental health intervention but more of a natural experience. The rewrites of the DSM, for instance, bear witness to that.

This all seemed to be news to my psychiatrist friend. He still suggested that the happiest life for me would be to conflate my feminine side with my masculine one and meet in the middle, which annoyed me, partly because I hadn't asked for some clinical diagnosis but mainly because my male side is merely a public mask for self-preservation purposes, whereas my trans feminine side is that actual real me and not some game. Frankly, this discussion left me feeling that psychiatry has limited benefits when dealing with trans people. I can see from my own experience of visiting gender clinics, from general discussions with trans friends especially transitioners, and from everyday interactions, that a lot of people who transition have underlying conditions such as autism or bipolar disorder, much more so than in the general population, and that they could benefit from intervention by psychiatrists to assist with informed, practical decisions on transition rather than the often precipitate or extreme approach that some trans people take as a result of those conditions (or indeed through peer pressure); but as for psychiatrists assuming that trans children are merely playing games, that is depressing and unhelpful and makes me wonder about the value and quality of that profession in dealing with us.

Oh well, I thought I'd mention this.



Wishing all my friends in Europe resilience in this heatwave and drought. I tolerate heat well but I confess that even I am having trouble sleeping in these hot, airless nights.

I let my herbs and salads flower and go to seed, which generates the next crop, and this also attracts little insects that in turn attract the lizards and geckos who eat them. I am now convinced that a tiny lizard has taken up permanent residence among my pots as I see her so frequently, either scuttling about or basking in the sun. I call her Laura. I don't know if the lizard is actually female, but she is to me. Should I see a shrink?

Sue x

Friday, 15 July 2022

Parenting challenges

 It's been a very odd week. I had two significant conversations about trans children, one with a parent, one with a psychiatrist.

I had friends to stay. They were very keen to come in July to enjoy the sea, the swimming, the sightseeing. The weather, the water, the sunlight and the air are scintillatingly perfect right now, in my view. But one, it turns out, can't tolerate heat and spent the week sitting on my sofa trying to get the air conditioning to create an environment that was 18°C or less, and the other one spent his time indulging his partner's whims. Why they come to the Med in summer when it's inevitably going to be more than 18°C, I do not know. So they did nothing for a week. Travelling abroad seems an expensive way of doing nothing to me, but each to their own. As the old Northern English expression goes, there's nowt so queer as folk. The trouble is, I found their lethargy exhausting!

Anyway, one is a psychiatrist who largely deals with children and has developed some strong views about how childhood problems are caused by irresponsible, lazy or stupid parents. And many parents seem to him to be stupid. He has no children himself. Neither do I. It strikes me that parenting in the modern age is immensely challenging, probably more so than in the past when life was more basic and communities more cohesive. Furthermore, there's no instruction manual. That the young generation right now seem to me to be more genuine, responsible and decent than mine was, strikes me as being a testament to someone's efforts to educate, and I'd put parents at the forefront of that achievement. Well done, mums and dads, you seem to have managed well.

His views, based on his clinical work and training, that no-one can know they are trans until they are about 14, is not correct and I had a long conversation with him about this, providing him with evidence from fields other than psychology and from my own experience. 

I will write that conversation up more fully in another post because it merits a closer look and because something else happened this week, and that was a distraught phone call from a very close friend of mine whose teenage child has suddenly and unexpectedly come out as a transman and has demanded everyone use a new male name, wants hormones, breast binding and so forth. It seems there may be a lot of inappropriate peer pressure involved. I am not best qualified to comment on female-to-male transition, on teenagers, on parental rights and responsibilities, but I'm touched she came to me. In the UK my friend and her child can get support from charities like Mermaids, specialising in trans youth and their families, and from her local trans group, so I put her in touch with both (and thank you again to those who responded to my initial queries). She seems glad that there is support out there. My friend and her saintly husband are two of the best people in the world and her child, who has already had support from the school authorities, will, I think, have the best circumstances in which to arrive at their reality on this matter.

I'm getting back to my routine and to enjoying the climate that seems so perfect to me at this time of year - it's why I moved to the riviera, after all. Yes, there is a drought and now we have restrictions on water use. Despite my best care, some of my potplants are struggling. But the sun makes me feel alive, the limpid air is a delight to breathe, the sun- and moonlight sparkling on the sea are mesmerising... the whole season is joyous to me. And it's all free.


Sue x

Thursday, 7 July 2022

Integrity and the TGirl

 Two years ago I mentioned an exhibition of photographer Lisetta Carmi's work documenting the lives of trans people in the 1960s (link: Trans lives in the 1960s). I'm sad to say that she passed away the other day, although at the grand age of 98. Her book about the subject was very controversial as it highlighted a large subculture that people had preferred to ignore. Having been the victim of anti-Jewish laws and proscriptions in the 1930s-40s, and having felt that she wanted to be a boy when younger, her many projects documenting the realities of the lives of society's underdogs were non-judgmental and the subject matter spoke for itself without much need for commentary. 


I am pleased to see that the DSM, that bible of behaviour that has always included much about being transgender, has been updated with some more sensitive definitions (see this post from Crossdreamers here). I do like the definition "experienced gender" replacing "desired gender". For my part, I've never desired a gender, just experienced one that is not so common.

Living one's reality and recording that of others involves integrity. I have never been much bothered about a person's beliefs or politics because if they are a person of integrity they will do the right thing. It's the abusers whose philosophy one needs to watch. No amount of abuse and threats by transphobes alters our reality though it may alter our behaviour to avoid violence or punishment. 

I think it worth mentioning this on the day when a certain Boris Johnson may be resigning as British Prime Minister, "in due course, at the appropriate juncture, in the fullness of time, when the moment is ripe, when the necessary procedures have been completed, nothing precipitate, of course," to quote Sir Humphrey from the '80s sitcom Yes, Minister. Johnson, like Trump, like Putin, is a man with no integrity whatsoever. That wholesale absence of integrity in oneself and the inability to understand when it is advisable to pretend to have it, is a rare trait but you can see the chaos and misery that it brings to millions. The transphobia that has erupted under the premiership of this individual, which was not found even under his psychopathic predecessor, is one of the legacies of his inhumanity. I have found little integrity in government at any level over the course of my life, but we seem to be at the nadir.

Gay old times ahead

I have two friends coming to stay with me for a few days so I may not be able to post again for a week or so. They are the first guests I will have had since moving to Italy nearly four years ago. Thanks Covid! I hope they'll enjoy their time with me. Let's hope the weather remains nice but stops being quite so hot and dry as it has been this week.

They are a gay couple who know I am trans and have met me as Sue, though they don't understand why people are trans. But they accept who I am, and that's what counts. After all, do we ourselves understand what it is that makes us trans? Not really, and the many rewrites of the DSM reflect that. Anyway, here's to fun and mutual respect with other LGBTQ+ folk.

Sue x

Monday, 4 July 2022

Impressive Pride attendances

 More Pride news that has cheered me up. 

Here in Italy there have been impressive turnouts at various Pride events over the weekend. Milan, for instance, saw 300,000 people celebrating. That's 10% of the entire population of the city and its surrounding province. It's the 50th anniversary of the first Pride and the first proper event after the pandemic, both of which likely contributed to a larger turnout, but I dare say some worrying pressures put on the community by repressive groups had an effect, too. The recent suicide of a trans teacher after endless abuse has highlighted the long way to go to equality and security.

I can't resist this classic Milan tram in rainbow livery!

(c) Corriere della Sera


I was also pleased to hear of the huge turnout (1,000,000+) in London where I used to live. The UK government's refusal to include trans people in a conversion therapy ban was certainly one theme of the day.

I said I'd share more positive news this month and the huge numbers of people who have been prepared to turn out and be seen and counted is amazing. The LGBTQ+ community is very much bigger than detractors claim and our allies and supporters are growing. There's nobody now who doesn't know relatives, friends or colleagues who are queer in some way. 

At London Pride of yesteryear

I feel a boost of confidence since my last post with huge, successful days like these and similar parades and events in smaller centres popping up increasingly. We are a large community; a minority, yes, but not negligible.

Blogger comments

I seem to have solved the issue with being unable to reply to comments on my blog. One or two other blogs still won't let me comment - maybe something to do with cookies. I'll keep working on that. Thank you for all your comments.


A dip in the archives

A photo when sporting a casual look at my local park back in July 2013 when a trans friend, Gillian, came over for the afternoon. You don't always have to look superglamorous and dressing like the other women around has always been, for me, the way to go.

Sue x