Birthday Turbulence Mid-Flight

When I began this new blog, and in doing so closed the old one, I made a pact with myself. I said that I wanted to be less emo-ish and a bit happier about the positive situation  I find myself in, and that for the most part is possible.

However, life does still throw you curveballs. Being transsexual does not END  life’s problems and can increase them. I guess you could say some pain for internal gain. By internal gain. I mean how you feel about yourself inside.

But when the pain does bite, it bites hard.This entry will not be a pity party, just honest.

Around me, I have supportive friends, a  supportive carer (very) and a supportive counsellor. Did I miss out supportive family? Oh well this was not a deliberate mistake.

Returning to the theme of curveballs, one such ball hit me full square in the face on my birthday. I still have the emotional bruises to prove it.

17th January 1981. The day Hannah Buchanan entered the world, 3 months prematurely, and via an incubator. More of that journey and my j0urney to being Hannah full time is covered in my other blog, via my Facebook page if you’re lucky enough to be my friend. If not……well, not quite sure.

I was born in a small town in Scotland, Dunblane, as Wikipedia quaintly puts it,just off the A9 Road heading to Perth” . In relative history, Dunblane has become famous for all the wrong reasons, but I am not going to go into that here. 

So, Dunblane, what can I say, Dunblane is the epitome of normal. Normal however is based on perception and self definition. I myself have never bothered with it. Normal to me signifies conventional, ergo boring. I was brought up in a backdrop of men don’t kiss men and a lot of other heteronormative bollocks, which is a prime example of cultural hegemony. Thank you Antonio Gramsci. I salute you.

But Dunblane to advance my argument is the sort of place where nothing out of the ordinary happens, everything is normal (ergo boring) and everyone knows everyone’s business.

Really though, it is when hegemonic norms are broken that the shit hits the fan, in a very scientific sociological way. I remember my guru, Tina, telling me about a funny anecdote from a conference she’d gone to in Exeter. When a fellow counsellor asked her what she was there to speak about, and she mentioned trans issues, the counsellor replied that they don’t have transsexuals in Exeter.

Well dear friends, I do not think they do transsexuals in Dunblane, or on the outskirts of Edinburgh where I was born. If they did my trans status would not be an issue for my mother here and now. Those last two sentences are written with my tongue firmly positioned in my cheek by the way.

But given that it was a source of tittle tattle for my mother when a gay couple moved in over the road, and “there’s a gay guy at work” I should not really be surprised at what unfolded on my birthday.

She has very perfectionistic standards, and if you do not agree with her opini0n you are wrong, there’s no “entitled to your opinion” in the Benign Communist Autocracy of Mother.

I knew there’d be trouble when she got cross over an onion. Yes, you read right. A motherfucking onion. Onions you see, ought to be wrapped in clingfilm in the freezer. Don’t forget!

So anyway, things spiralled downwards after this, until this crescendo;

You were my boy and I loved you the way you were!! You were **** and you just want to sweep that away and I’m not saying sorry!”

The asterisks are deliberate. It still pains me to say or hear my in-appropriated name in conversation, written down , or heard. I will not be revealing it here either.

However this is not what pained me most. It was not the end of the onslaught.

“You will NEVER BE A GIRL!!!”

I have to say, this was a bit of a Jerry Springer the Opera moment for me. You know the what the fuck tap dance? It felt a bit like that for me. My brain started going at 90 miles an hour, I was so stunned and shocked and saddened all at once that this blatant homophobia and transphobia could come from one so close. Our relationship has always been turbulent but I thought we were making headway. It appears not.

What pains me more is that this is not exactly new. I began my old blog back in 2005, roughly around the beginning of transition. It documents accurately and fairly the start of that process. I still remember the milestones. Deed poll, local psych, first appointment at Charing Cross, speech therapy, all those sorts of things.

But what pisses me off even more is the TOTAL misundertanding of why people transition, and what gender dysphoria is.

It is a devastating travesty of the truth to suggest I have never been a girl when I already am.  The truth is, I have never been a boy. The truth is, there is nothing to sweep away because I am a girl who was born in the wrong body. The word never also, is pretty finite. It is conclusive. There is no ambiguity. To tell somebody they will never do something closes down the possibility. It is also devastating to morale and emotional stabilty. The truth is I am only starting to put myself back together.

But, in 2012 we know my mother’s transphobic assumptions are poppycock. Gender is as fluid as a DJ’s mixer, or as fluid as an artist’s canvas. That my friends is what makes it exciting. Endless possibilities, combinations, interpretations, visual, and emotional stimulus.

Take for example, the recent Channel 4 series My Transsexual Summer. All different characters with very different backgrounds and stories. However, the support and kinship they all gained from each other was nothing sort of inspirational. Before the show started, I expected a whole myriad of professionals to be involved, daily counselling et cetera. But the focus very much was on the people themselves, and gives credence to the view that we are all counsellors really!

So I have theorised around this but how did it feel? Truthfully, shit. I lost it and cried my eyes out. I told her she was horrible and cruel and had never said sorry for anything that had happened in the past. We have not spoken since my birthday, and to be honest, this is a pattern. It has happened so many times now, and I have given her the benefit of the doubt. It feels like there is a massive fracture line down this emotional X-Ray.  I am not a pushover and I do not always want to be the one to play nice. Just to be clear, I am proud of my status as a woman, a transwoman, and a lesbian. I have never been a boy. Transsexuality is not a mental illness, it is not a delusion, they screen all us infidels for those at the beginning. I have NEVER been a boy but as a woman, I’m living the dream, I really, truly am. I am proud of who I am, I am not sorry for it and I never will be. To apologise for being trans would be to apologise for my true self. It would also feel like a betrayal of myself. 

Apparently also going to The Edge is not mixing because everyone is in a minority. I am not even going to grace that with a response, frankly. I did not have a good birthday, but I had a lovely time at The Edge the next day.

People I feel misapprehend the bond between mother and child. They get sentimental, and believe that this bond has some kind of special status.

As I discussed in a recent session with Tina, love is not unconditional. It is a populist notion which appeals to the sentimental masses, but is also a dangerous heart wrenching untruth. Whilst many transsexuals do enjoy the support of parents, many do not. Therefore, I treat my mother in the same way as anyone who spoke to me in this way. I ignore them. Some people are just not worth having in your life, irrespective of their relationship to you. Some are toxic, some are not. What I am saying is that nobody who spoke to me like that would be accepted into my life for a good while. 

So, the midflight bit. With trans status comes stigma. With stigma comes fear. With fear comes prejudice. However I will not allow any further hurt or damage to myself from my mother. If I condone her behaviour, then each time I become upset, I can blame no one but myself for allowing it. I am in control. The reality of flying on the rainbow is that not everyone will come for a ride, but those who do, my friends from The Edge, and my fellow trans friends are a blessing and a support. The last week has been rocky, but I can get back on course. Feeling smiley already.

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One thought on “Birthday Turbulence Mid-Flight

  1. Tina, now seeing clients in Glasgow and Southampton. She is banned from the Southampton art gallery. There is a sculpture by Rodin there, Eve just expelled from Eden, looking traumatised. Tina would get Eve into the coffee shop, cheer her up and make her feel good about herself, and ruin her as a work of art.

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