When Hannah Met Donna, Drew, Lewis, Karen and Sarah In Southampton and Portsmouth: There Ain’t No Party Like A My Transsexual Summer Party

Now you may think that a writer channeling S Club 7 is displaying the first signs of madness and insanity. While all the best writers from Shakespeare to Sylvia Plath were a tad mad, that’s not the reason why I included it. Put simply, it is a happy party song for a happy entry.

I really love music so I like to include as much as possible to reflect either the entry content, or indeed what may be lurking around in my mind. There will be more Music on Rainbow Radio later, with tunes coming up from Flo Rida and Sia, Alison Jiear, Vanessa Amorosi and the Queen of Individuality Miss Lady Gaga.

I almost felt like I was in a radio station again. Nice thought……..

I was very excited when I heard the MTS cast were coming to my little second home The Edge. I’d already been chatting to them for a while via Facebook and they’d obviously been following the blog, although I did not know this at the time. For me it wasn’t really TV or the old adage of meeting celebrities that excited me. It was actually simpler than that for me. As I may have made clear in a previous entry, for me I wasn’t watching the documentary as a fan. Watching it was also very emotive, as it was like watching my own life flashing before my eyes. In some ways almost like watching my own story.

I don’t want to bang on about my own self in this entry, because it belongs to MTS as much as me but I will share a few thoughts with you about the experience of being trans, and living trans on a day to day basis.

It can be a lonely experience, and isolating and the key here is that this has nothing to do with the personality of the individual concerned. They can be bubbly, confident, sassy, outgoing or even all of the above, but sometimes simply, the world just does not get it. So meeting other trans men and women for me anyway is a source of empowerment and strength, and they are lovely friends to me, all of them. Thank you for your friendship at the outset, groupies. It means a lot.

I remember thinking about it all with one word in my mind;glam. I wanted to look good. The MTS cast came to the Edge a fortnight ago and Portsmouth a week later. My prep for both started on the previous Thursday.

I had a list in my head of what I wanted to buy. I went to town with Zina to pick it up. This was a fun build up, as I felt good when buying it all.

The list was eyeshadow, lipstick, mascara, glitter spray, and fake, but (but not orange) tan. Being a brunette, orange wouldn’t really do much with my skin  tone. Katie Price could carry it off probably but I am not her!

Glam was definitely on my mind that day though. The glitter spray was inspired by Lianne. She’d sprayed some on mme on New Year’s Eve and I actually thought it looked good on me. There was something nice about the glitter I chose for the night though. Multicoloured!

Let me say a few words about my love for glitter. I have always been a fan of colour and flamboyance anyway. However, this event was my chance, (and let me say I am confident there will be more chances) to shine and stand out.

I wanted to look as good as the others – one hundred per cent so. A little bit of added pressure, using the term loosely, was that my counsellor was going to be there with her daughter and some trans friends. She was there as a counterpoint to a group called Chrysalis. Tina is a true representative and embodiment of diversity and breadth, and believes that there is so formula to being transsexual, but believes in the right of everyone to be heard and to find their own path..

Anyway, on the day we bought the stuff,  I think I scared the shit out of the makeup ladies in the store. I’ve never heard so many are you sures in all my life. Bloody irritating if I’m honest. I have full mental capacity, it’s only my legs that don’t work, but I am entitled to spend my money on beautifying and titivating as I wish *stamps foot*. Diva strop moment over. Claire’s Accessories was a more affirming experience. I don’t like my decisions questioned, I guess because I’ve had it all my life. People assume continually that because your legs don’t work your brain doesn’t either.

Anyway, it was a very enjoyable days shopping and got me very excited about what was coming.

THE EDGE, SOUTHAMPTON (At the Heart of the Gay Community)

So, as arranged, it was time that Saturday to go and meet Drew, Donna, Lewis and Karen for the first time. Sarah wasn’t booked for Southampton, but although I didn’t know it at the time, I’d be meeting her at a later date. More on that later.

My nerves were starting to jangle a little bit, by the time I arrived at the Edge. Now you may be thinking, I’m a regular there, why be nervous? What made me nervous was the possible bad reaction to my disability, and meeting new people.

Now if the truth be told, I’d been chatting to them all for quite a while on Facebook, and this had already earned me my stripes, although I wasn’t aware of it then. What I’d also been doing quite a bit of to be honest was kicking butt. The amount of hate and bile sometimes posted on their Facebook pages is sometimes quite shocking with a big fat dollop of ignorance to boot. I am diverting off the point here to say this. What has really annoyed me (and I’ve made the same point to them) is the way they have had to justify their decisions re having work done, and wanting boob jobs etc. Just because they have been on a documentary does not mean they are accountable to the public in any which way. If they want botox, let them have it. If they want boob jobs, let them have it. They are not forcing you to have work done, or have a boob job yourself.

I am a firm believer that people own their own bodies and rightly so. You may have opinions, but it is a person’s right to choose. You may think they look good as they are but again, it is their right to choose.

Anyway, back to the Edge, and my disability. Sorry for the small tangent. Yes I was in no way nervous about meeting other transsexuals, as it is no different to meeting myself in the mirror every morning. However, I was nervous about how they may react to my disability. I am cool with it but everyone does have their own prejudices. I never hide anything about myself. I am proud to be trans these days, but disability is a more difficult pill to swallow.

I decided the best strategy was to get tipsy. However to flip the coin of what I just said a bit, I thought that they would also be nervous. No matter how confident you are, at least nervous energy is useful as it helps you strive to do better at what you do. It’s like opening up a radio microphone, once you learn not to “read” everything it becomes easier.

When I got there, James helped me in as usual, and I was asked if I wanted to speak with Chrysalis, a charity who had hired the upstairs bar for the evening, However I declined for my own personal reasons.

Not long after Tina came and greeted me with her hareem looking very gorgeous. I also had a photo taken with some friends. 

 Anyway back to Tina and hareem. Hell those women can dance. I was shocked at the amount of energy my former counsellor has, and her companions for that matter. They are all over 40 (hee hee) and I was shocked for no other reasons. I even spun them round the dancefloor a few times. If anyone happens to come across my wheels on the dancefloor again that’s quite a normal, and usual party trick for me. Giving away all my secrets now.

I spent the rest of the evening dancing and having fun as I regularly do, until it came to the big crescendo and it was time to bring on my very lovely friends

I was excited by this point, as it was nice to be able to finally meet the people I had “met” virtually a few months before.

I loved by the way the moment when Tiani turned and said to me “this is your night”. Not really cos i iz not a notorious tranny yet but hope to be soon.

But anyway, they came out on stage, Donna and I had a little waving moment, and after a shout of “MERRRRRRRY CHRISTMAS” (Donna channelling Britney there) they were off to the VIP area.

However, they were back down soon after to have a photo taken and we had a lovely chat. Everyone was pushed back slightly for the photo to be taken. God I thought, I could get used to this. It was like being papped. And a damn good excuse to get glammed up to the nines.

So that was lovely, but there was one more surprise in store. James came to help to out to my taxi and Donna was dancing naughtily somewhere a few feet away. Now I never normally trust a man who knows exactly how to put my chair into manual, but I made  an exception for James Dickason.

Now I didn’t immediately notice the taxi, but what I did notice were Donna, Drew, Karen, Lewis and Paul standing outside waiting for me. How the hell it came about I don’t know. Lots of nice chatter, and lovely hugs, and talk about how hectic life and Facebook is for them but hmm……hold on………..there was something else. THEY LOVE THIS BLOG!!

Drew told me they were all really excited when they got told they’d be meeting me as they are huge fans of me and the blog.

AMAZEBALLS! You see a blog is an intrinsic thing, you write on your own, by yourself, and don’t really imagine the impact it has on others. I know now. 

Also, I was so touched by what James arranged, so thank you James! It meant the world and I did shed a little tear on the way home.  As I climbed into my taxi, Donna said she was sure we would meet again.  I didn’t think she meant a week later though. For the next night of transsexual abandon the Rainbow will take a little flight to HB in Portsmouth otherwise known as Hampshire Boulevard.

HB (Hampshire Boulevard)

For some strange reason I ended up partying with this bunch of lovely people again at HB in Portsmouth a week later. To be honest, it would be rude not to with a bar named after me (almost) right. This time th9ugh there was a difference of three letters, VIP. VIP of course means the drinks are free.At the outset, I would like to thank former Tour Manager Paul Whitbread (no relation   to the talented Donna) for organising this and wish him all the best with future ventures.

I got there a little bit before them all so was slightly nervous (unfamiliar venue, not my gay scene etc). My nerves weren’t helped by a random older woman wanting to dance and nearly disconnecting my arm from my body, drunkenly telling me I’d be happier if I danced. No darling, I’d be happier with my arm back, especially as it is the one I need to drive the chair with in order to get away from you!! At least the diva moment was done and dusted early!

But I need not have feared because my new best friends arrived soon after, this time with the addition of the lovely but LadyMucky Sarah Savage. It was lovely to see them all. We greeted each other with kisses and hugs and Drew said she was really glad I was here cos I’m a lovely person. Was she paid to say this?? I say that with a smile don’t worry!!

It was also lovely to meet two needs friends, Hope and Sarah C. Sarah C had kindly escorted me to the VIP area and we got drinks and waited for proceedings to begin.

Sarah C and Hope are genuinely lovely people too, and it was great to meet them. I predict it is not the last time we will all be seen on a night out together. “Sisters from another Mister” as Hope put it. I love that.

What else can I tell you? Ohh yes. I saw the lovely Lewis with unbrushed and brushed hair.He looked good with both.

The drinks were free and Donna and Drew forced me to drink them, naughty ladies. It was great to meet Sarah too, from behind the safety of the VIP rope. This is a weird thing to say but the VIP rope increased my confidence being in a strange venue.

The drinks were as follows. Sambuca, tequila, Malibu and Coke and vodka, lime and lemonade. I only just managed to stand up when I got home. Naughty Hannah.

You also know you are having a good night when you sit in a random cloakroom with Donna, Hope and the two Sarah’s contemplating the meaning of transsexual life and eating cold Domino’s pizza. That’s showbizz baby.

I realised at this point that I am very proud to be trans. It gives me a sense of uniqueness and insight. A sense of self. A sense of belonging and a sense of my place in the world and the contributions I could make to it.

I also met Jodie, and she’s so friendly as well. I felt so welcomed and wanted. It’s amazing. I’ve never felt so comfortable in a group before.

Then I somehow found my way on to the dancefloor with Donna and we had a great dance and a chat.

After one final drink I was then escorted to my taxi by Donna which was hilarious as my company that I use for longer trips is called Transmobility. Perfect photo opportunity for two drunken trannies!!!

I had an amazing night with them all. I do not see them as TV people. I would never go as far as to say fuck the TV show, as without My Transsexual Summer  I would not know them. But I think they are kind, respectful, caring, lovely, compassionate people in their own right and I am proud to call them my friends, I’d be happy to meet with them, or indeed collaborate with them in future.

I need not have been nervous regarding my disability as it was really a non issue. The ice had obviously been broken via their reading of the blog and I am immensely proud they like it.

In closing though, my own outlook has changed. I am becoming more ruthless with regard to friendship and life. Some may say this is distinctly unfeminine but I couldn’t care less! Women need to be ruthless in order to survive, and trans men and women more so.

If you want to be my friend, this is what I ask of you. I ask that you accept me;

  • Truthfully
  • Totally
  • and Transonditionally
I am open now about being trans, because there is no other way. I don’t want to hide it. The three T’s were prompted by a conversation with a recently former friend.
She always called me H, never Hannah. I asked her if it bothered her, or  if she found it hard to say Hannah. She said in her head she was still talking to ****. Donna and I had talked in Portsmouth about things that could be “tricky for a tranny” and misgendered names was one of them.
A name and your gender go to the core of your identity. To substitute these for a letter of the alphabet gives you nothing.
People have to accept that I am trans if they want to be my friend. It governs how people relate to you, and they cannot assume that your gender identity has not changed.
Also, you cannot have double standards based on how much you like people. That it’s ok for A to call you by your old name but not B.
So we had been friends for 10 years, but she was gone off my Facebook friends list within a millisecond. Cruel, yes. Equally neccessary yes. It was heartbreaking, but you can’t force people to accept stuff they don’t want to.
I am not saying that friends do not go on a journey of acceptance, and it takes time at the start. But because I have real friends and authentic acceptance that’s all I want now.
I want people to respect me truthfully, totally and transonditionally. This is what Drew, Donna, Lewis, Sarah, and Karen and Fox, have done for me, not to mention the delightful Hope, Sarah, Jodie, James and all my friends at The Edge.
They have fulfilled the three T’s without question or exception, and if you are my friend, I expect you to do the same. But to the above mentioned people I am proud to call you my friends and I love you all. xxxxxxxx

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