Friday, 29 September 2023

Roaming and rehoming

 I have just seen another friend off to the airport. It was good to have him stay again and we did a lot of exploring in the area known as the Riviera of Flowers. There are pictures below of some of the more dramatic and unusual sights.

He's my oldest friend; we've known each other since our teens and he's been fully supportive of my trans life and has come out with me and the girls on occasion. His mother died some years ago and although he took a lot of her old clothes to charity shops not long after, he hasn't touched her favourite dresses and better items. He's asked me if I can go through them and give them a suitable home. His late mother was my size in both dresses and shoes so I will be glad to give any ones I like a home with me. I did ask if he was OK with someone else being seen in his mother's clothes as many people are very sentimental about that sort if thing but he chuckled and said he had no such feelings and that his mother would probably enjoy the slightly subversive idea of a transwoman inheriting her wardrobe. So I may have a few additions to my clothes collection soon, and items that suit me less I can offer within the trans community. 

I'm going to Britain next week and that will be one item on the agenda. Another is sorting through my own household effects which were put into storage before the pandemic and haven't moved since. It's time to get them rehomed.

Here are some pictures from our adventures over the last few days.


Sanremo from the harbour, with Monte Nero, the first of the Alps, behind.

The lush jungle in the gardens of Villa Ormond, Sanremo: bananas, banyans and more.


The root of the problem. Moreton Bay figs ripping up the paths in the gardens of Villa Ormond. The triffids are among us.

Turtlemania! Japanese Garden, Sanremo.

From the beach at Bordighera you can see three countries: Italy in the foreground, France on the right and Monaco on the left.


A huge cactus in a private garden in Bordighera. The label says it was grown from seed in 1955.

The world's northernmost date palm grove is at Bordighera, perhaps originally planted by Carthaginians in the first millennium BC. Bordighera is nicknamed the City of Palms and these trees supply palm fronds to the Vatican City for use there on Palm Sunday. They also produce dates for eating! Down the steep valley you can see some tombs in the British cemetery, from the days when a colony of 2000 Brits lived in the town which had only 1000 Italians.

The Beodo trail through the palm grove has a cat feeding station every half mile or so. I assume there is a crazy cat lady who indulges the pussies' whims every day. We met several overfed cats on our walk who seemed quite insistent that we should fill their empty bowls.


We followed the palm and kitty trail as far as this soaring viaduct that carries the E80 or Trans-European Motorway. This runs from Lisbon to Mount Ararat where it joins Asian Highway 1 to Tokyo, a total distance of 26,659 km or 16,566 miles. That's a pretty scary distance to drive!

Talking of highways, here is a Roman milestone that used to stand by the Via Julia Augusta, the main road from Italy to Gaul and Spain. DXC on the lowest line of the inscription = 590 miles from the forum in Rome. It was repurposed over a thousand years ago to as a column in the crypt of the church of St Michael in Ventimiglia.

There are two more Roman milestones repurposed as holy water stoops in the church above.


I'm now packing to go to Britain. I'm a bit apprehensive but I hope my trip will go well. I like where I now live - the climate suits me very well. But I am missing a lot of my stuff and getting my life back into alignment after several years of chaos would be calming.

Sue x

Friday, 22 September 2023

Transgender spectacles

 I have been wearing glasses on my nose every day since I was 8. Actually, I first had glasses prescribed when I was just 5 but I was so self-conscious that I would put them on only in the cinema where it was dark and no-one could see me. I didn't want to put them on at school, not even to see the blackboard, as the other kids would point me out. With the result that my teacher would politely note that the sums in my exercise book were not the same as those she had written up on the board. Well, I've never been good at maths, one number is as good as another! That's my excuse. But then I could no longer manage anything without glasses and I had to have them all the time. Short-sightedness runs in our family; it's just a thing we have.

So glasses/spectacles it is. In my early days of photographing my efforts dressed as a girl, I never had glasses on as my pair was too masculine. I noticed that also when I was first made up professionally. After just two photos, the spex came off! I couldn't see much but I looked a lot better without!

Since I need prescription glasses to go out, and since I have never been full-time female (though that may come), I spent quite a while studying frame styles to ensure I got a pair that doubled as male and female. Could I have got a more obviously feminine pair? Yes, when I had got used to shopping en femme, I could have done. Except the expense of owning two pairs, his and hers, is offputting. It's expensive enough having two wardrobes if you are not full-time male or female and throwing in the high cost of spex that may have to be altered every couple of years is not a reasonable option. So a good unisex pair works well for me. 

As I said, it's best to research frames and options before you attend the opticians rather than hazarding a guess as to what you will look like in your other presentation. There are sites now that let you try styles on virtually and this is a great option.

You might ask why I don't go for contact lenses and the answer is partly familiarity with what I have but mainly the health problems I have always had with my skin and eyes. Too many contact lens wearers I know have ended up with conjunctivitis or other problems at various stages of their relationship with their contacts. My eyes have always been prone to such difficulties just as my skin has always been prone to eczema. So, no, I'll stick to glasses, but I think mine suit as the frame is minimal.


A dip in the archives

There's been a lot of rain and wind this week and the hot summer is undoubtedly over. It's been around 25C (77F) today, which is not cool, but very pleasant. 

This is a contrast to the colder day I encountered in London this time back in 2010 when I went on a protest march as Sue. I've posted the photo before but as someone recently complimented me on the grey suede boots I was wearing, I thought it was worth revisiting.

They were a favourite pair and I had them reheeled at least twice. In the end, very sadly, they wore out and I had to say goodbye to them. They complimented the heather tartan skirt so well that I wore that combo a lot, as here:

I still have the skirt although it no longer fits my more matronly girth these days! Still, it remains an old favourite.

Sue x

Tuesday, 19 September 2023


 I had a very nice time with my trans-supportive friend who came to stay. A woman who has been married for fifty years, with two children and two grandchildren - very much a traditional family person, therefore - but who previously was happy to share an art studio with me and display my transgender artworks at an exhibition she organised, go out with me as Sue and be totally unjudgmental. 

In fact, she has given me a lot of encouragement over the last few days. As well as suggesting that I am not as overweight as I think I am (thank you!), she suggested that moving where I now live was a good idea and that therefore I should settle properly and make closer contact with the trans community here. The latter pretty much matches my own sentiment.

I lent her my pink umbrella for the rain and would have lent her my swimming costume only she didn't, in the end, get a chance to swim. 

There is nothing like having the positive support and encouragement of someone outside the trans community. She doesn't understand why I'm trans but then neither do I. A calm acceptance of people as they are as long as they're not hurting anyone is all that is required. So as allies go, she is tops.

Anyway, we did a bit of sightseeing, ate some very nice food out, hired a two-seat rickshaw on the cycleway, had a good catch up with each other and with a close friend of ours via social media. I have just seen her off on the next leg of her journey to Rome. I may see her again next month if I go to England.

So, all in all, a very happy couple of days.



Well, our pool is now closed until the summer season next year. It's a pity as I love swimming there every day but they can't justify the costs of running it and employing a lifeguard for just the few users you would get in the low season. 

The plus side is that since I no longer have to present as male for pool purposes, I can get rid of this horrid body hair that I've necessarily let grow. I hate it. But now I get to remove it and be much more feminine again.

There's always a plus side!


Pretty things

I have been growing lettuces these last few years, courtesy of the local paper that included packets of seeds once a week during the Covid lockdowns so that readers could grow a kitchen garden at home whilst stuck indoors. It was something cheerful and productive to do at that bad time. It turned out to be a massively popular gesture and readers would send in photos of their tomatoes, chilli peppers or whatnot with thanks. So popular, in fact, that we now get seeds in the paper regularly. 

Lenny the Lettuce was a triumph as he was the last of my initial crop of lettuces and went to seed before I could eat him. Lenny's children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren have continued to fill my salad bowl since.

Here's a different species that's now flowered before being cropped and I post it as the flowers are so pretty. I don't think I'll bother with ornamental flowers next year as my veg are just as pretty and a lot tastier, too!

Spring was very late this year so I have only started to see small lizards regularly among my pots in the last few weeks. There was a big fat gecko the other evening. These reptiles are not to everyone's liking, but they are harmless and eat undesirable bugs. Geckos have such cute toes!


I shoo pigeons away from my rail because they make a nasty mess, but there is a pair of collared doves who are very much in love and I let them settle there. They often share kisses there and since I am an incurable romantic I think it's lovely.

There's also a pair of wagtails who visit my terrace regularly, looking for any bugs the lizards have overlooked. They're nice, too.

Sue x

Friday, 15 September 2023

Trans-friendly guests

 I'm preparing for friends coming to visit, one next week and one the week after. They both know me as Sue and so this makes things a lot easier as I don't have to hide the girly stuff, whether women's magazines, my pink house shoes, or even the bra on the washing line, as I had to do earlier this summer when my guests didn't know about my being trans.

The first guest, Daniela, was the person with whom I shared an art studio and with whom I did an art show. I went out with her as Sue from time to time. So this catch-up should be fun.

Relaxing at the 2012 art show


The second is my lifelong friend Richard who came last year and his attitude towards me as Sue is different from his attitude towards me when he only knew my male avatar. His granny insisted that he should always be a proper English gentleman towards all women. So as guys we were equals, but I am now the lady who has doors opened for her, who is given precedence in seating, who is accompanied to her destination, with him on the traffic side of the pavement, who has the umbrella held over her, and so on. It's very old fashioned but the powerful affirmation of my femininity that this attitude affords is way too strong for me to object! 

It's still summer, not quite as hot as it was, but still fine and sunny. I'm making the most of it and I hope it'll still be good when they're here. 


I've just spent a few days in Milan. Perhaps I should've gone next week which is Fashion Week but really I just wanted a change of scene, to look in gorgeous shop windows without buying, to ride the lovely old trams and have a really good meal at a Chinese restaurant. In that respect, it went well.


1928 stock tram in front of La Scala opera house

Wishing you a good weekend

Sue x

Monday, 11 September 2023

What is a woman?

This question is regularly asked by TERFs and anyone else using trans people as a target.

It's the sort of question that need not be answered because doing so puts you in the position of accepting the questioner's game.

If you include trans women in your answer, you have objections to face on the definition, and if you don't you have objections to face on trans rights. In other words, you're damned one way, and damned the other. It's the classic double bind that nasty people of all kinds like to ask so as to set their agenda on an issue. You could answer, "Don't you know?" or "Not what you think!" Or just don't engage.

It's similar to the moral racketeering that I pointed out when bathroom bills were an issue (see my post The bathroom bill racket).

Let's look at definitions as a subject.

If I asked you what metal is, what would your answer be?

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the (dull) definition is: "any of a class of substances characterized by high electrical and thermal conductivity as well as by malleability, ductility, and high reflectivity of light. Approximately three-quarters of all known chemical elements are metals...."

But if you are an astronomer, you are referring to any elements heavier than Hydrogen and Helium. Definitely not the same as the encyclopaedia's definition.

And what if you are a music fan ...? (Frankly, are metal fans going to agree on a definition? Watch the fight start!)

And if I ask you what a fish is, what would you say.

Well, if you're a fishmonger, you'd doubtless point to your display and say, "That lot is". OK, in that case, I'll have a pound of mussels.

But if you are a marine biologist, you will tear your hair trying to define a fish. According to recent academic discussions, fish can only be a convenience term as it does not correspond to a defined or definable group of organisms (a taxon).

And if you're in prison? You'll have been a fish to start with. So will the officers.

We could do this for many words: sun, foot, fruit, car, music, art (!)...

So, on this basis, what is a woman

If you're a TERF, you have your rigid definition. And if you are a TERF ally, say a nice right-wing male politician, you'll have a similar one to theirs when you feel like trans bashing, although, unlike the TERF, you are really referring to a person who raises your kids, cooks your dinner, cleans up after you and doesn't ask questions.

A biologist defines sex according to the size of gametes (sex cells): big gametes = female; small gametes = male. Therefore a female Homo sapiens is a woman. But some intersex people won't fit this definition, yet they are members of the species. And Neanderthal females are often referred to as women by palaeontologists. So we're into the fish problem again.

A woman, just like everything else, is definable essentially how you wish from your perspective.  

I am trans. I am a trans woman. I am a woman. 

You're a TERF, you're (likely) a woman, you exclude me. Big deal.

Whether that is the same as how government legislation defines it, or someone else perceives it, is irrelevant. The fact that governments can define things by legislation, and refine the definition or alter it, shows its flexibility. I wish to be treated decently, treated as a woman, and not unfairly discriminated against over healthcare, working rights or other matters. If you won't treat me well, then you're a jerk. But you haven't defined a woman in any way acceptable to all others.

It's not a meaningful question with a definable answer. Don't play the game, and don't answer directly. For legal and administrative purposes, trans women should be women. That's what we want.

Fish? Woman?
Image by pikisuperstar on Freepik


I've stayed put in my home since 1 June and it's been a hot summer and I've had little desire to move. But now that autumn is approaching I'll be going away more. 

I'm currently in Milan, it's not quite fashion week, but I'm sure there'll be something elegant to be seen...

Sue x

Friday, 8 September 2023

The weird world of Hollywood transvestigation, and more

 A mixed bag today: Hollywood transvestigation, mindfulness in schools, fabulous frocks and being a teen again. 



Did you know that Julia Roberts, Sarah Jessica Parker, Heidi Klum, Demi Moore and a whole bunch of other actresses and models are, in fact, MtF transgender people foisted on viewers as stand-ins for the 'real' women you think you're paying to see. Thus the Hollywood indoctrination machine ensures that you get hoodwinked into accepting men as women through this giant transgender conspiracy.

But you knew that, right? You too can tell that all these divas have got telltale square jaws, big hands, Adam's apples, five o'clock shadow and more. And here's the photographic proof! ... etc. etc.

I guess it's the Almighty Algorithm that occasionally suggests bizarre videos or sites to me where self-appointed 'transvestigators' blow the cover of all those men who have been masquerading as women and, somehow, winning oscars (which is a Hollywood scam, too, to reinforce the transgender agenda onto the whole world.)

I won't dignify this mad area of the interweb by providing links, any more than I would to sites for flat-earthers, religious cults, or Donald Trump's fundraising efforts. Conspiracy nuts are weird because they don't trust authority, but for totally the wrong reasons. I don't trust authority either, but not because there's a vast-scale conspiracy. (I'd say it was rather the opposite, in fact; it's the jockeying of individual narcissists and their personal agendas that creates a toxic political situation, not some co-ordinated effort by huge numbers of willfully bad people with a single agenda, as most conspiracists would have it.) And the shape-shifting lizards from outer space who supposedly control it all? Meh, maybe they're transgender, too.

Frankly, most of us MtF trans people can only dream of being some of the world's most beautiful women on a red carpet. I guess we do our best to look good with what nature gave us. But I find it inadvertently flattering on the part of these conspiracy nuts that they believe that all Hollywood stars are trans.

Anyway, I'm not going to delve in depth into this idiocy or try to work out what psychological issues cause it. If you want to gawp in bemusement at this aspect of online paranoia and delusion then by all means use a search engine to look into transvestigation. Or just wait for the algorithm to work out your interests.

Brianna Ghey: Peace in Mind

I was very affected earlier this year by the murder of Brianna Ghey, a trans influencer, aged just 16. Partly because it tapped directly into my own fears such as those discussed in my previous post but also because my beloved trans friend Kate was dying of cancer just a stone's throw away. Yesterday I got an email from Brianna's mother Esther that says:

I’m turning donations off on this page [the Brianna Fundraiser site], so would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone again and to announce the launch of my joint campaign with the Warrington Guardian.

I hope that you all know how much you helped my family during our time of need. Not only did you help with funeral costs, memorabilia and turning Brianna’s room into a special place for us to remember her. You also helped by letting us know that you cared and were thinking of us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so kind

You have sparked my passion about improving society and as a way of thanks to all the kindness my family have received, I have launched a joint campaign with the Warrington Guardian called Peace in Mind. This is Brianna’s legacy.

Our campaign is double pronged. I believe that by bringing mindfulness to schools we can help to create communities built on empathy, compassion, and resilience. I believe this could reduce the number of horrific crimes and create a more peaceful society for us all.

Secondly, Brianna struggled massively with her mental health and there are so many young people right now that continue to struggle. Mindfulness can help reduce the onset of poor mental health and provide tools to better manage existing mental health issues. If we get mindfulness into schools, we can provide young people with coping strategies that they can use in their school years and the rest of their lives.

If you are interested about what we’re doing, please check out our GoFundMe page:

You have already given so much, and I would greatly appreciate any more support that you can give, even sharing the news of our campaign would be amazing. Let’s all be part of a positive change xxx

Dear Esther, I am very happy to share the news of your campaign here. According to your new page:

 The short-term goal is to raise money to send teachers from Warrington on Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) training courses, which will provide more support for children of all ages.

The MiSP website is here: MiSP. This is how they introduce themselves:

Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) is an international, not-for-profit charity for young people and schools. Our aim is to improve the lives of a generation of children and young people by making a genuine, positive difference to their mental health and wellbeing.


Our view is that everyone deserves to not ‘just get by’ but to positively flourish...

Mental distress in school is by no means a new phenomenon but it has new aspects in the 21st century. I had a poor experience in school and whilst some people's attitude is to say that so did they but it was 'character building' and kids theses days have it too easy, my preference is that people should be able to thrive at school not struggle unnecessarily and unjustly. I'm glad other people see it that way, too.

Fabulous frocks

I have to urge you to look at Isobel's latest post on her blog because, frankly, I don't think I've ever seen such a super collection of gorgeous frocks, both contemporary and vintage, all in one place as in her latest post:

Indisputably Isobel: 50s Seaside Fun

Keep up the great work with your friends, Izzy, making the world more alive with trans fabulousness. And keep having fun.


A dip in the archives

I've posted this before but this picture does prove popular and dates from 15 years ago. I asked Jodie at the Boudoir Dressing Service to make me look like a teenage girl. (I was over 20 at the time ... quite a bit over 20, in fact.) And this is the result, which I still can't quite believe, but with good makeup, the right clothes and a suitable attitude, I think I pulled it off.

Sue x


Monday, 4 September 2023

Of bears and men

 I am in shape, goes the old joke: round is a shape, right?

Let's start with the good stuff: over the last three months I've lost 6.8 kg or 15 pounds so I'm getting back to where I feel I need to be. My clothes are fitting better. 

The bronchitis I had last month is over and, apart from a slight cough, I am OK.

As mentioned in my last post, the weather has become more normal and more manageable. It was a perfect 29C this afternoon with a gentle breeze and there was a beautiful fluffy pink sunset.

There's one thing amiss, though: I'm frightened. Not today specifically but in general these days. Mad, violent men are getting to me. 

I think it finally hit home with this story that's gone round the world about a bear shot dead in a national park in central Italy. 

There are just 60 or so Marsican bears, a unique subspecies of brown bear who have lived happily alongside people for centuries and never attacked anyone. One bear, nicknamed Juan Carrito, broke into a bakery last year and ate all the biscuits, as though he was the Cookie Monster! His mother, nicknamed Amarena ("Black Cherry"), was the most fertile of the few breeding females and something of a symbol of the park. She was snuffling behind someone's back yard with her two latest cubs when the homeowner shot her dead. What bugs me so much about this story, apart from the senseless, excessive cruelty of killing a harmless and much-loved creature and nursing mother, is that years of hard work by local authorities, park rangers and locals to make a protected environment thrive is terminated in an instant by one selfish jerk. 

Now that Covid is no longer deemed a major problem and things have returned to normal, I am trying to put feelers out to the local trans community. However, a trans girl was beaten in the street by a man who claimed her existence was offensive to his religion. That one incident is putting me off going out here.

Given the violent father I have, the violent school I went to, the violent workplaces I have been in and the violence I see in the world, almost all of it caused by men and their narcissistic rage, their unpredictable and often inexplicable and excessive brutality over even minor frustrations, like the guy with the bear, and I am fearful. I have never got on with men, largely for this reason, but the problem has exploded in places we didn't expect, like Trump's incitements in the USA, or Putin's war. Whilst it's not going well for Trump or Putin just now, I do wonder what may replace the rule of law if they succeed. The LGBTQ community is always an easy and favourite target for such people and their nasty followers. Whilst I've said before that I don't think the general public are buying the transphobia yet, the violence of a tiny number of men is of serious concern.

So I'm frightened about things right now. I've had to acknowledge that to myself and it's making me very cautious. How different from a decade ago when I had little fear of living as a woman. 


Art pushes back

I do try to be positive in this blog and I am happy to say that the trans-positive theatrical and art shows I wrote of last month are thriving and this presents the public with the image of a vibrant community, supportive allies and the realities of our existence. Here are three more:

(1) Former member of parliament and trans activist Vladimir Luxuria sang in another stage show locally at Alassio, alongside impersonator Vincenzo de Lucia, who specialises in female TV presenters. Not my sort of show but certainly very popular.

(2) In Arles, France, the largest ever exhibition of US photographer Diane Arbus's work, titled Constellation, is on. Many of her photos of New York are of trans people, female impersonators, and the queer community. 

(3) Also in Arles, the touring exhibition of photos from Casa Susanna can be viewed this month. This exhibition has proved very popular.

I was also gratified to read actress Annette Bening, who has a trans son, fiercely defending the trans community against the sort of attacks we are currently subject to: Annette Bening shares heartfelt tribute to her trans son

I'm a bit worn down with the troubles, stresses and fears of the last few years and I know I need to take things gently right now. So I'm grateful, whilst I find my mojo again, for these various public advocates.

Some of the pretty things in the lane behind home

Being trans is not all about clothes and makeup. Pretty and delicate things make me happy.

Here is a stunning flower:

Here is the shrub with the pale blue flowers:


Here is passionfruit ripening:


And here is a snoozing cat flopped out in the shade:

Nature quietly doing its thing around us is soothing.

Sue x

Friday, 1 September 2023

The switch - more feminine

 I've not posted in a little while because this time of year is difficult. Throughout my life, work (or school) has always got going in early September so the end of August has therefore always been a time to enjoy the last days of carefree summer with its feelings of warmth, freedom and release before serious things begin again. There's a sort of pregnant expectancy in the air in late August and you want to make the most of the time you have to yourself before 'real life' kicks off again. I would prefer that there weren't these brusque changes but there's definitely a switch in mood and activity between August 31st and September 1st each year.

Thanks for the good wishes regarding the forest fires and other problems we had during the heatwave. Last weekend the weather changed, we had heavy rain, waterspouts on the sea and more lightning than Zeus has unleashed from his armoury for many years. Well, at least the fires are out and the temperature is a more manageable 26C (79F) today.

In the high summer, when it's 30C or more at night, I wear little other than my underwear in bed, but last night was cooler and I went back to wearing a nightie and feeling the extra material on me actually gave a feminine kick to my system. Rather than just a bikini, as I've worn in the daytime over the last two months, I have a fitted top and short skirt on tonight and that looks and feels so right. Although I don't have dysmorphia - I don't feel my body is wrong - I do find that the more feminine I can look, the more I feel right and happy. I don't have a fully female body, of course, but my clothing boosts my confidence in my femininity. I've always felt that clothes were so important to trans people not, as many would have it, because they are fetishy but because they give the clearest signal of intent, like a badge of belonging. I am a woman: here's my skirt, kind of. So if you are trans, when you can wear more, you actually feel more of a woman. The main benefit of autumn is the ability to look and feel more femme.

Pretty thing 

The type of bold flower we have at this time of year. Such a stunning colour.

Sue x

Thursday, 24 August 2023

Superheroine costume ready to don

 We certainly have some exciting disasters going on this summer, from heatwaves and forest fires to tsunamis and tornados. And in the face of chaos a girl like me has her cute disasterwear firmly on.


That's not jewellery, those are ultratech crimefighting gadgets

I mentioned a forest fire on the hill I live on a couple of weeks ago that required the intervention of a helicopter. This week we have a much bigger fire on the mountain above town that's already been burning for three days and has two helicopters and four Canadair tankers dealing with it as well as firemen and volunteers on the ground.

Canadair tanker heading towards the fire

Given that the thermometer in the coolest, shadiest outdoor spot of my home reads 36C (97F) in the afternoons, I don't know how those firefighters have been coping in the blazing sun on a bare mountainside (apparently about 42C, or 107F). That's truly heroic. Although an absence of dwellings there means no-one's in danger, it also means a lack of roads and paths means they have to scrabble around the steep, broken landscape on foot. The tanker planes fly endlessly, filling up from the sea, flying up to the fire and dumping their load before returning to the sea, again and again and again from dawn till dusk. (We won't go into apocryphal stories of scuba divers found lying in the charred remains of burnt forests!)

The smell of woodsmoke is everywhere and the chains of flames creeping over the crest of the hill the other evening was eerie. I hope they can get it out very soon.

Last week there was a lot of seismic activity in the Med (they've also discovered three new undersea volcanoes, so maybe the earth felt like having a celebration!) So we were greeted by this unusual, dead straight wave 1-2 metres high that stretched all along the coast as far as we could see. My neighbours and I reckoned was most likely due to underwater seismic activity, a mini tsunami if you will.

The heatwave this week has been breaking records in the region. More seriously, people have died as a result and others have been treated in hospital for it. It should end at the weekend. At least, we hope so.

I cope better than most with heat but I have to confess that it's not easy at night. Thank goodness for the beautiful outdoor pool just below. And for my lovely microfibre underwear that I bought from Marks & Spencer's when I was last in the UK. Their pretty but practical bras are ideal and their microfibre briefs have been my touchstone for 20 years now. In this heat they are very light on the skin and mould to your contours. Recommended. 

It always puzzled me as a kid that, when the going got tough, male superheroes put on extra armour, bigger protective capes and filled their utility belts with extra special gadgets. Whereas the superheroines seemed to lose clothes in the face of danger and fight in just a bikini and cute boots. Admittedly the bikini is radiationproof and bulletproof but it still leaves vulnerable areas... like most of the body! Even as a child I sensed there must therefore be something decidedly more heroic about the women than the men! So I guess if I'm going to combat natural disasters, this underwear will have to be the outfit. It's just too hot to wear anything else!


A dip in the archives

It was ten years ago that Emma and her wife came to London and we went to see the Cutty Sark sailing ship. I have some favourite photos from that day. 

Sue x

Saturday, 19 August 2023

A woman trapped in a dog's body

Thanks for your kind comments on my anniversary post. 

Now, what's the difference between a beautifully dressed woman and a tired dog?

The woman wears an evening gown, the dog just pants!

Today, I am like the dog. The North Africa heatwave is back and it's best to do little, just aestivate. I'm still recovering from this bronchitis thing (I'm sure it's not Covid) and I didn't have a good night last night with the heat and the coughing. However, in the last few days I've felt able to go back to the swimming pool, where the water has been beautifully refreshing and the exercise has done me good. There are no mosquitoes this year, thankfully, but there are a lot of cicadas making a racket in nearby trees. I do like the hot summer and maybe I'm just lazy at heart. My girly swim shorts and bikini top are enough clothes for today! So, like the dog, I'm sprawled out, panting.

Image Credit: Liliboas/iStock/GettyImages

What's good, though, is that when it's very hot I eat less and better. Yesterday, for instance, I just had a big bowl of mixed salad and some fruit for lunch. I've lost over 6 kg (1 stone) since 1 June so that's all for the good.

"Gary" review

I'm pleased to hear from my friend Grace that the play Gary she was performing in at the Cockpit Theatre in London went well and there are two more performances at the Etcetera Theatre on 3 and 10 September. Here's one review of it that gives it 3.5 stars out of 5: Luvvie with a Rollaboard review.

I hope to be in London in October and if they still have performances then I will try to catch it myself.

What, me worry?

I see MAD magazine is still going. As an occasional reader I used to enjoy the film parodies most, and the fantastic work of cartoonists like Mort Drucker and Don Martin.

I found this page in an archive site and I'm sure Mad won't mind my copying it.

I'm not sure Miami was ever quite like this. And sounds even less so right now. But it made me laugh.

(C) Mad magazine

Sue x

Monday, 14 August 2023

Anniversary post 2023

 Nearly 600 posts and my blog is 12 today. Time to start thinking of puberty blockers!

Thanks to all my readers and subscribers who have made this task worthwhile, and to the metasites like T-Central and Feedspot that feature transgender blogs like this one. 

I read all comments and do my best to take suggestions into account. Do keep them coming.

On a practical level, I've made a few additions today. Mainly a search function for posts by label. I have been labelling my posts over the last three years and have started labelling early posts from 2011-12. It's a lengthy task and I've no idea when every past post might be labelled but this means you can search by topic as well as by word using the normal search function.

The early days of this blog were mainly about what I'd been doing as a trans person out in the real world. The world has changed dramatically since then and not for the better as far as my and other trans lives are concerned. I try to remain positive as I do not think the current anti-trans culture war in certain countries is actually influencing the public much and I see a lot of trans positive things out there, such as the plethora of art, photography, theatrical and online shows dedicated to us that my last few posts have highlighted.

Let's face it, being trans is not necessarily a great prize in life's lottery. But it has many rewards. No woman brought up as one that I ever met said she was glad to be a woman and all my female friends, when asked, stated that, in their view, being a man would have been better for them because of the greater strength and aggression, the higher social status, the better pay at work, the less domestic responsibility, etc. This either means we are most of us, in some respect, transgender, or that women don't appreciate how much better it is not to have to be like an 'alpha male': competitive all the time, hunting out sex and status and dominance and repression of perceived inferiors all the time, abrasive and domineering and flaw-seeking all the time, paranoid of succumbing to some other male all the time, and constantly on the alert for challenges from any quarter. But when I see the state of this male-dominated and male-oriented world I feel we lose a lot by it. Of course, women have their own challenges, not just from men but from other women that, in many ways, doubles the jeopardy. Yet, despite the threats, I love being a woman. I feel calm and happy and right when I do not feel forced to hide myself behind a male veneer. I embrace and enjoy and revel in my femininity every day. This blog is a small testament to that joy, to pushing back against abuse and repression of our trans reality.

Thanks for reading, have a lovely summer and keep being beautiful.

Sue x

Friday, 11 August 2023

Difference is beautiful

 Being trans need not be about trauma but about celebration. My last posts have been about trans art and theatre shows taking place this summer. Here are some more. 


(1) Seahorse Parents

This is a beautiful photography show in Amsterdam celebrating transmen who are pregnant. A series of calm, fairytale shots underwater by Miriam Guttmann (nominative determinism at work?) 

The official site is here: Seahorse Parents (they don't seem to have a page in English) but there is a recent illustrated article about it here from the UK: Difference is beautiful. There's a trailer for Guttman's film here: Seahorse Parents trailer.

I have tried to make my own blog a celebration of trans positivity over many years so reading this from Alex, one of the transmen involved, was uplifting: "I feel like far too often projects involving queer and trans people revolve around trauma. This project is all about celebrating and embracing our transness, our bodies, and our babies." 

The idea of a man carrying a baby can still seem strange to most people. After seeing this, though, it seems beautiful, right and normal.


(2) Mona

An exhibition by photographer Dominique Pasquet with accompanying book that presents six series of photos of LBGTQI+ people and so illustrates aspects of life in 21st Century France, from trans and same-sex families who are having babies to transitioners (and lovers of body art) who transform their bodies. The portraits are left to speak for themselves but the book's independent texts are provided by 30 well-known writers and journalists who are given a free hand to express their thoughts. 

"She could be called Mona" cover, published by Lelivredart


I haven't bought this yet but will let you know my own feelings about it in due course.


(3) Amsterdam Rainbow Dress

"The Amsterdam Rainbow Dress is a living work of art, made of all the national flags from countries where being LGBTIQ+ is illegal, on penalty of imprisonment, torture or capital punishment. When a country adopts LGBTIQ+ inclusive legislation, the respective flag shall be replaced with a rainbow flag." 

Here's their website: Amsterdam Rainbow Dress

The dress has been modelled in cities all over world. One day, we hope, it will made entirely of rainbow flags.

San Francisco City Hall - Ashlyn Danielsen and Amsterdam Rainbow Dress Foundation 2017 (c) Amsterdam Rainbow Dress Foundation


Health update

I'm not ill that often but this last week has not been easy thanks to this bronchitis. I feel quite a lot better today, though, and hope the remaining cough and other symptoms will be gone completely soon.


My next post will be my annual anniversary post. This blog has been live for 12 years now and I will be making a few additions.

Enjoy the summer.

Sue x

Saturday, 5 August 2023

Arty and trans

 I said last time I was failing in my TGirl photo duties but I did get dolled up in the end...

It's the least horrible picture I took. I wasn't feeling it, especially as I'd made an effort to look nice for a video chat and then the other person let me down at the last minute. And the next day I went down with bronchitis and I'm still unwell so, yeah, not at all my best. But some days you've got it and some days you haven't and that's the way it is.

I think when the hot weather is over I'll try again. I did break open all my lovely new makeup, though, and that is always a delight, especially with a squirt of perfume.

Trans and LGB art

This summer there are a number of exhibitions in prestigious institutions aimed at showcasing LGBT art, photography and activism. 

(1) The Centre Pompidou in Paris has a major exhibition of LGBT art from its own extensive collection and others. "Over the Rainbow" runs until November 13th.

Jean-Baptiste Carhaix, "Sister Sadie the Rabbi Lady" (1983). © Jean-Baptiste Carhaix, Courtesy Galerie Vrais Rêves, Lyon Photo: © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/Bibliothèque Kandinsky/Dist. RMN-GP

Link: Over the Rainbow (English)


(2) The Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art in Prato, Italy, a small city near Florence, has an exhibition till October 15th of photographs by Lina Pallotta of trans activist Porpora Marcasciano.

Link: Lina Pallotta, Prato (Italian only)

(3) I notice that the nearby town of Menton, France, which has a large museum dedicated to creative polymath Jean Cocteau, who made no secret of his homosexuality and was strongly influenced by 1920s drag queens like Barbette, has put some of its Cocteau exhibits in the main square. 

I must visit the museum and report back.

Sizzling hot news

Forest fires are the order of the season and we had one on the hill I live on the other day. Here's the emergency helicopter carrying a bag of seawater from out front to dump it on the fire out back. 

Most of these fires are started by idiots being careless with cigarettes or barbecues, a few by pyromaniacs who love a cosy blaze or people wanting money off insurers. The cloudbursts and flooding in Austria, Slovenia and Croatia, though, are caused by the climate crisis and I am worried about my friends there.