Sunday 26 February 2023

In the pink

 A couple of times this winter (here and here) I've noticed a trend in designer shop windows for an all-over pink look, specifically cerise, which is the colour of this font. I said I'd comment in more detail one day and that day has arrived ...


Much as I love the colour, I did doubt it would catch on. I was wrong. This week I saw a woman in all-over pink - boots, tights, blouse and jacket. Her leather miniskirt was a little darker. The outfit was quite striking and I couldn't quite believe it. (I have no photo of her as it's rude to snap strangers without their permission.) But then I saw a young girl and another woman in all-over pink, too. Finally, the other day, I saw this image from designer John Richmond (no relation) in a menswear shop window ... and now I know this is the look for 2023!

(c) John Richmond

I'm in two minds about this. I love the colour, but can you have too much of a good thing? Both boys and girls in the same shade? 

Pink tights are OK on a little girl but I've never been convinced about grown-ups in pastel shade tights. There was a certainly a brief fashion 15 years ago for unusual coloured tights and I have tights in shades of turquoise, purple and avocado green (!) from that era (the last was a big thing at the time, believe it or not). These are Aristoc 50 denier and really the softest, most comfortable pairs of tights I've got. Pity about the hideous shades, but such is fashion! And I have a lot of pink items in my wardrobe from tops to shoes, but I've never tried all-over pink!

My most popular photo on Flickr. Striking pink but with lots of black.

What do you reckon? Is all-over cerise pink a good look? A brief one-off trend or the decade's hot fashion? It's usually impossible to tell beforehand what will capture the imagination of the public. 

Anyway, friends, stay in the pink!

Sue x

Tuesday 21 February 2023

French holiday

 As I mentioned last week, I'm back from a trip to France. I was supposed to go to Spain but rail strikes called that off. No matter, there was lots to see and I got to relax, eat too much and practise my French. I didn't present as female because I am quite spooked by things these days and couldn't cope with any trouble, but I have a sort of unisex look. However, I won't take photos of me looking like that since it's not 'me'. I think you know what I mean.

I spent time in Nice, Montpellier, Nîmes and Marseilles and I thought I'd just share some photos that might be interesting.

Nice's pretty cathedral square:

 A Turkish cannonball from 1543 mounted on a street corner in Nice:

Montpellier's weird cathedral with two pepperpot towers guarding the main door:

 Montpellier's public baths dating from the 18th century, which is very early for such a facility:

Montpellier has several of these amazing trompe-l'oeil murals. How many of the windows and people are real here? And the modern looking window is painted to look like it's reflecting the church opposite. (Click to enlarge image.)

Another painted façade:


Typical street in Montpellier, although my eye was particularly drawn to the rainbow steps:

Another typical lane with little shops. The historic city centre is largely for pedestrians:

There's a spot outside Montpellier station where you can watch all four tram routes converge:

Nîmes has some of the best-preserved Roman remains anywhere. How's this for a complete temple:

Or a complete amphitheatre:

which looks like this inside:

France's first ever public park is also in Nîmes:

 Sunset in Marseilles with the ferry from Algiers coming in. Hundreds of people were lining the harbourfront to watch the sun set over the islands:

France's Alcatraz, the notorious Château d'If, offshore. This was immortalised in Dumas' novel The Count of Monte Cristo, which I read last year, so it was good to match the place to the description:

Old Harbour, Marseilles:

The view from the church at the top of the hill, Notre Dame de la Garde:

The most ancient thing in Marseilles is the Abbey of St Victor, parts of which date back to the 2nd Century. One chapel after another carved out of the living rock:

Just a few images from the South of France, then. 

I'm trying to rebook a trip to Barcelona, to be seen not merely as a tourist but as a trans woman with quite bad dysphoria at the moment who's looking for somewhere which is both sunny and where trans people live in large numbers.

Sue x

Sunday 19 February 2023

Vigils and safety

 I'd like to thank the many people who have been attending vigils for murdered trans teen Brianna Ghey. Solidarity and resistance against hate are essential. 

I have been particularly affected by her death, not because I knew her but because it brings back memories of my violent upbringing and the terror I lived in so often. Had I had the courage to be out as trans like Brianna when I was her age, it would likely have ended brutally. There was enough to be frightened of without complicating things further by making my femininity known and I have lived with caution ever since. It shouldn't have ended badly for her, but this is where we are now at.

There is a very hard-hitting article on the role of the press in promoting transphobia in satirical newssite The Onion: It Is Journalism's Sacred Duty to Endanger the Lives of as Many Trans People as Possible. The hostile atmosphere promoted in Britain by the government and the press is palpable. Britain has always had an atrocious press (it's only since moving to Italy that, for the first time in my life, I am taking a daily paper as independent, objective journalism is still alive here); however, it's pretty clear that transphobia is now everyday fare in the UK papers.

Evil, violent people are a minority but they dominate life and here's yet another example of how being a child, especially a trans child, is dangerous. I had felt, when I got out in public at last, from 2010 onwards, that we were moving away from this repression, and that trans rights were progressing, but in the last few years the world has been embracing the hatreds of the 1930s and '40s again, including repression, racism and transphobia, and I am very worried. It's only the incompetence of the current crop of dictatorial leaders that is keeping the world from disaster. With the direct threats on me, my family and my industry following the Brexit vote in the UK, and on me now as a trans person, I feel like a Jewish person must have felt in 1930s Germany and I, too, have cleared out of England to another country where I feel less persecuted.

It's a pity I didn't get to Spain last week as intended but I will try again soon. The Spanish parliament has just voted not only to allow trans people to self-identify from age 14 (even 12 if allowed by a court) but also to stop conversion therapy. I will live wherever I feel less threatened, and moving there is an option. Watch this space.


Sue x


Thursday 16 February 2023

The ultimate bikini babe

 I can't not record, with sadness, the passing of actress Raquel Welch, whose portrayal of sexy yet strong women was a big influence on my trans childhood. Being feminine yet respected is the transwoman ideal, I'd say.

Let's face it, nobody, not even Ursula Andress, could sport a bikini quite like Ms Welch, who accepted many opportunities to do so. I will never look as good as her in a bikini and I think so many other woman might say the same. Yet, it's not a question of jealousy (though I admit some regret) as she and the characters she portrayed were so often the sort of women that other women admire. She never did nude scenes and was, she says, not at all her screen persona in real life. Sounds good.


Thus passes another of my influential screen goddesses, like Gina Lolobrigida and Nichelle Nichols.

The swinging Sixties that made her can be chuckled at in lots of ways but the general opening-up of society to greater personal freedom was very beneficial to trans people. There's much work to be done still, but I think the genie isn't going back in the bottle again, at least not in the West. 

Rest in peace.

Sue x

Wednesday 15 February 2023


 I am trying to keep my blog positive these days in the face of many bad things. I was writing a post about my holiday, which will go up soon. But another murder of a trans person, this time a trans teen, can't go unmentioned, especially as a dear friend of mine lives a stone's throw away from where she died.

I am heartened that, as far as I am able to judge from another country a thousand miles away, the public response to the murder of Brianna Ghey in the UK has so far been one of widespread mourning and remembrance with many candlelit vigils having already taken place and to be held soon. The fundraiser for her family has beaten all expectations many times over (and if you wish to contribute, here is the link

It is violence like this that make most trans people scared to go out. It took me decades to pluck up the courage to do so and I am not even now, after the setbacks with health and moving abroad, quite ready to do so properly again. Perhaps this very public case will illustrate to the British public at large just what trans people face. Perhaps a turning point against the disinformation campaigns by hostile groups that are thriving in the current environment in the UK, which is one of the reasons why I have left that country.

Rest in peace, Brianna.


Sue x

Monday 13 February 2023

Well that didn't exactly go to plan!

 Hello little blog, Mummy's home. And she's been very neglectful, hasn't she? Well, there are reasons for that. A lot of reasons. But mainly that my trip to Spain got cancelled and the laptop I took away to load photos onto and update my blog with as promised was the old one with the worn-down keyboard (so it would be less valuable to thieves and less of a problem if lost). Except on my first night it told me it was so old that the hard drive was almost full and trying to deal with that, with rebooking stuff online and with uploading photos in hotel rooms with imperfect WiFi was too much in the end. So here's a quick update, with lots of fabulous photos in another post soon.

Ah, yes, so why did my trip to Spain get cancelled despite my stating in my last post that it had been planned carefully to avoid issues like carnival. Because a bunch of strikes and protests blew up at short notice in France and this caused the cancellation of my train to Spain, not only on the day I'd bought it for but there were no trains the day after either. So if this was all a ploy by the French tourist authority to keep tourists in France, then it worked a treat since I have spent the last nine days in France instead. 

Dear reader, your Auntie Sue here is resourceful and ensures that all her journeys and bookings are fully insured and refundable and so I've got all my money back on the tickets and hotels I wasn't able to use and I just booked alternatives whilst on diversion. So instead of Barcelona I spent time in Montpellier, Nîmes and Marseilles as well as the night in Nice that went as planned. I do recommend and

And there were no comments on my girly clothes - the French do like to point out a nonconformist (ah! c'est un travesti!). Frankly, everyday casual fashions in the 2020s are pretty unisex anyway. And things worked out just fine and I stayed in some lovely places.

Here's a little anecdote. On my first evening in Nîmes, I found a venue to eat at in a street recommended by my hotelier. Carré Jazz it was called, a venue that the locals seemed to frequent (always a good sign). The food was not bad and the local wine was agreeable, too, but the youngish couple who ran it (and she, slender as a rake in skinny blue jeans and red high heels, looked fantastic ...and I really must not eat chocolate mousse but must slim to be fab like that..... where was I?), anyway, the youngish couple had their nephew and niece in that night, aged about 8-10, and while their mother sat chatting with a friend the kids made themselves busy waiting tables, which was cute and often funny as some were tall bar tables that they could barely see over. But they didn't drop anything and were very polite, to the extent that all the customers were more than happy to tip them, which was a source of delight to them and that was sweet to see. 2 euros apiece seemed about right. Don't worry, it's not child exploitation all over again but a bit of fun that we all enjoyed and the two kids were unexpectedly happy from. A nice touch to a good alternative holiday which I had. 

Here by the way, is my chocolate mousse - which they promised me would be excellent and they weren't lying - with the venue picked out in icing sugar.

A proper write up of my trip will be here very soon.


Sue x

Friday 3 February 2023

That TGirl suitcase

 I used to travel a lot for work thirty years ago (and I've just realised how old I am getting!) and on one trip I forgot to pack something vital. I can't remember what it was but it was important - shoes or shirt or necktie (ugh!) or something like that - and ever after I have made a list of stuff to pack into a suitcase for every trip. Some people think this is excessive (including an ex-girlfriend who scoffed at it and always forgot essential stuff as a result!) but my mistake taught me that it's better to be overprepared than to goof as it's harder to rectify omissions when you're away. So I've printed off my list for my latest trip.

It used to be fun and daring when I first starting going away en femme to pack only female items in my bag so that there was no chickening out and slipping back into male mode. It was fem time all the way from leaving home to arriving back. There's nothing like having no escape route to hone your TGirl look and behaviour. 

This time I'm also packing only female items as that's what my wardrobe consists of even if I'm not necessarily going to present as female. I'm taking things gently as it's the first long holiday trip I've done for many years.

So my first tip for a TGirl suitcase is to make a checklist in advance to make sure you haven't forgotten anything vital, or useful, or something that you really want. 

My second tip is to travel light. So many times we think: "Shall I wear the ballgown or the disco pants to the club? I don't know, I'll pack them both and decide when I'm at the venue." But this just weighs you down with endless clutter that you can't use. So decide before you go and stick with your decision. If the funky pants weren't a hit after all then you'll just have to take the ballgown next time. And when you're a TGirl, any excuse is a good one for planning a next time, right?

Similarly, if you're away for a few days, learn to mix and match, to combine. Take two skirts and four tops, say, which can all complement each other, and the same for shoes. A neutral colour jacket or cardigan can go over if it gets cooler. That's four days changes of clothes in just nine items. Leggings are super versatile: they can be treated like tights or trousers, they're smart or casual depending on how you style them, and they weigh little and take little room in the case. A pair of jeans is versatile for more casual moments. Stick with one colour for nails that will work with all your clothes. There's no need to take all your jewellery either - select just a few complementary items. 

So whilst nature may have blessed you with the strength of an East German female weightlifter on steroids and heaving big cases and holdalls around is no problem for you, it's so much easier and much more the part if you can pack your preselected complementing items into a cute little trolley case. Make it a pink one if you like.


Ancient tradition has it that February 7th is the first day of Spring in the Mediterranean. The same tradition states that a week later, the 14th, is when birds start to choose a mate, and this is one of the possible origins of Valentine's Day. 

The weather was lovely today (see photo below taken from home) and the ten-day weather forecast for my trip is looking good, almost springlike. Whether romance arises too is another matter!

I've actually planned this carefully to try to avoid the chaos of local carnivals. When working in France in the 1980s, carnivals in February were just a licensed riot. Locals would dress up in costume, get drunk and have a massive street fight. Nowadays events are fully planned, ticketed and policed, but it means city centres are out of bounds to tourists without tickets. So still not ideal, but more civilised.

I'll take my laptop and report back on my holiday with any photos of things and happenings worth recording, and any trans things I come across that can be applauded.

Sue x