Raising the bar and reviewing the situation

In my previous entry, I spoke about the trans community perhaps having a different modus operandi to the rest of the LGB community, as being trans is primarily concerned with gender, “who you go to bed as, not with”. This is a popular explanation, and often used as it is quick, easy and simple.

I also mentioned about perhaps visiting The Edge less in order to concentrate more on doing things with and for the trans community, and by extension for other minorities as well. It can be observed plainly that there are many overlaps between the trans discourse and many others, including disability, confidence, self esteem, and empathy for example. Even something like agoraphobia would be relevant since many trans men and women at least initially struggle to pluck up the courage to leave the house.

In this entry, I want to move the topic of a different modus operandi on a little further and wax lyrical about the benefits of it. 

Plus I want to talk about what those benefits have done for me emotionally and where my mind is at currently. Finally I want to talk about some interesting developments which are going to be like lexical Marmite to some. I cannot wait to get to that part of the entry. 

But some of you may not like what you read so be aware of that.

On Thursday of last week (now Saturday as I type) I went to London.  I do go to London quite a bit but normally to appointments or the theatre to see something campalicious, aka high culture high brow entertaintment.

However, on Thursday there were no theatres or musicals in sight. I am confident though that they are not going to cease to exist if I want to visit them in the future.

On this occasion thought I went there to spend the day with some trans friends of mine. The journey up was uneventful and relaxing, and the weather was beautiful, sunny and warm. What more could you ask for? I was also lucky because the train I wanted was already on the platform. The only drawback was no music as the headphones are very large and non portable. I like to do things in a big way, especially my music. Fuck off world I’m not listening to you..

I went with Zina, all round good egg and my faithful PA, and partner-in-crime. We got into Waterloo at about 1.30 pm, Zina had to go and do something urgently, so I met up with my friend.

We had a bit of a mission looking for her, during which we played on some African drums without much success in my case (not got the dexterity) walked past the Houses of Parliament and tried to queue for the London Eye without much luck either. However, it was beautiful just drinking in the ambience, feeling the relaxed buzz of London and chatting to my friend in the sun.

We were then reunited with Zina. She’d done what she needed to so we carried on walking. Zina met my friend for the first time and we all got on well together.

Then, we walked around for a bit longer before meeting up with another mutual friend.

After this it was straight into the funk of modern London. Young, sunny, cosmopolitan London.

The best bit for me was not being stared at. Now being trans and disabled is not an easy combination by any stretch, but I’m used to being a museum piece. The worst bit is when they bore into you with their eyes and actually stop what they are doing in a very non-subtle way to do it.

But in London, nobody actually cares because they are all too busy with their own problems and worries. It is the only place where you can perv at policemen, if you wish, where you can sing Petula Clark’s Downtown  in perfect falsetto, whilst skipping like a kangaroo and nobody cares.

Honestly if I had been any more relaxed that day though I would have been horizontal. What a thought.

We then had a walk into Leicester Square, and had a bite to eat in Yates.

The conversation was so relaxed, we were joined by some other lovely friends, and the conversation flowed nearly as well as the Malibu’s and Cokes that found their way somehow down my throat. Malibu and Lemonades too. Basically I will drink anything that does not taste too bitter, but a cheap date, well you decide!!

I am not going to reveal details of the conversations here, out of heartfelt respect and genuine love for the people involved.

However though I will make this general point. It may be bloody obvious but I believe it is worth making. It is amazing how much more relaxed you feel when around others in your situation. How nothing is off limits, and you can be open and honest. The best thing is, someone will more than likely have had a similar dilemma, or even better a solution to what you are saying.

What I will say though is this. A huge diverse range of issues were raised around that pub table. However, there was an unlimited supply of love, support and understanding available for every issue raised.

We then went on to G-A-Y and had more drinks, fun and laughter at the bar. Can I just say at this point, well done to Zina because she was not very well that day and carried on regardless? She’s a credit to herself and she’s a fab friend and carer.

Now I guess, on to the real substance of the post. 

I did not want to come home. Now you are probably thinking, yeah yeah whatever you had a nice time get over it. Maybe some bold type will help.

I did NOT  want to come home period full stop end of sentence. I did not think we came home too early, I did not want to stay a little longer, I wanted to stay a lot longer, just sort of permanently.

No biggie then really.

For a sentence’s worth of context, have this.

Since my counselling finished, clearly I am at peace with myself. However, it also makes you turn your attention to other things that are less than perfect in your life. One of the major headaches has been my living arrangements and location.

Many of you who have known me for a longer period will know that I have never been particularly happy living in Eastleigh. I feel very much like a museum exhibit or a goldfish.

It is not the most cosmopolitan nor forward thinking place. It is hard to be trans here, very much so. I cannot put this down to one single thing, more a collection of things over a wide range of areas.

One main thing is that it was not my choice to live here. I came here by proxy as a result of living in Eastleigh through John Darling Mall, the place where I was rehoused temporarily after uni. Now, it was not all bad. If I had never come to Eastleigh, I would have never met Tina, probably transitioned in a clunkier way and had much less support. 

But in a very non sentimental, honest way, that was then, this is now. I was as happy as anything in London. I did not get stared at, pointed at, laughed at or stressed. Furthermore I did not worry about all the driving I had to do in my chair, I just loved it and enjoyed every second of it. I really did feel a kind of happiness I had only tasted at brief intervals before.

Then, obviously, my mind asked the next question. If I was this happy now, why couldn’t I be this happy all the time? I could, of course, if the conditions were right. That is of course entirely within my responsibility and grasp to make that happen.

So, that is basically the first thing. I want to initiate a move to London, at the earliest opportunity. I do not quite know how I will do it, but I have a few ideas.

Having a gregarious flamboyant personality can be tough sometimes, especially in a small town. I am well aware there are those who would say well tone it down then. To that I simply say why should I?

Let me quote from Sunset Boulevard again. The quotation is from near the beginning of the piece, when Joe Gillis and Norma Desmond first meet.

JOE: Aren’t you Norma Desmond? You used to be in pictures…you used to be……..big.

NORMA: I AM BIG!! It’s the pictures that got small.

The thing is, I guess I really don’t want to be too big for a small picture. I do not mean big in terms of stardom or fame, here’s what I do mean though.I mean this. I have a big personality. I am quirky, often misunderstood, and out and proud. I have a low boredom threshold. But in London, you could never get bored. There is always something going on. It is vibrant, diverse, and multicultural. Aside from that, I love London’s buses. The ramps go down on their own. Just these simple things make you feel more empowered, more in charge and less reliant on others. I love theatre, and nightlife and there’s so much of this in London. I guess it really raised the bar for me in terms of what I can expect from life and myself.

So that’s that dealt with. I move to the next thing I want to address.

I move to the next thing I want to address, The Edge.

I will be significantly lessening the time I spend there as I strive towards future goals. The goals do require strict financial prudence and discipline, and I will need a lot of money to achieve them. Having said that, a few trips are not that costly so what am I really saying.

I have been finding the interplay between gender and sexuality incredibly hard recently. Then there was getting the ramp.

I am extremely grateful that this was purchased. I am extremely proud too to have attended the My Transsexual Summer night at The Edge, and to have met everyone.

However though, I think my interests are better served again by focusing on more urban environments.

Sexuality and gender are two very different beasts, and while people may, and do try their best to understand, they do not live it or breathe transsexuality. This is what I need now, in order to ramp things up a gear.

I hope people will understand and respect my decision. What I will say though is that it has not been an easy one to arrive at. You see The Edge will always have a place in my heart. It gave me a place to be where I felt safe secure and wanted.

But there are down sides too. You see I am not like the the others. For me, there is more at stake psychologically, sexually, and in terms of sexuality also. In The Edge in general, sexuality is very much in your face. I am not suggesting for 0ne moment that anybody has done anything wrong. I just find it painful. So therefore, I feel it is better to go out on a high and remember the best times I have had there, before I keep going and it turns in on me. 

As I alluded to in my previous post, it is a different modus operandi being trans, and it does not always sit so comfortably inside the LGBT acronym as it could.

Also, I want my friends to have happy and joyous relationships and I cannot just turn them off to suit me. But the road I walk, coupled with the disability is a complex one and I need to allow my brain space to get to grips with that.

You see, the thing is dear readers, I want the same as you, a boyfriend or a girlfriend. I do not always want to be your attached gooseberry as lovely as you all are. Perhaps I just need a break, I’ll get back to you. 

But I do believe the way forward is to spend more time with people as I did in London. Also, job prospects there may be better.

There is an issue here of the ability to relate to people’s lived experiences. Sometimes, being with other LGB friends reminds me of what I do not have, and wish I did. Even though we are on the same team, the means to the end are very different.

However, I would like to thank everyone at The Edge for putting up with me for a year and wish you all well. James deserves a special mention, as he’s always been helpful. As well as James, I would like to thank Bex, Linzi, and Cath for their casual laid back attitude to what is my life and I love them loads. Lianne and Tiani too.

But what it boils down to is this. Everyone wants to be understood, and assimilate. In the Edge sometimes I find it hard because I cannot relate to the challenges and pressures of having a boyfriend or girlfriend, splitting up or arguing.

That said though, I have challenges of my own, which I am now going to take the time out to address. Around that pub table last week, I just felt trannytastic. Usually when people ask how I am, I will say ok. I find it hard to use the more optimistic range of adjectives, since they don’t normally fit the situation but last week I felt fantastic and awesome.

Continuing in the vein of awesomeness, I will shortly be starting electrolysis for hair removal on my face. The hair will be permanently removed and will not grow back. Yay! I shall be setting up a gofundme page when I have an idea of costings.

I am aware that gofundme has caused a lot of controversy for the My Transsexual Summer cast so was dubious about using it. The NHS will not fund any form of hair removal. I know this as my gender psychiatrist applied to my Primary Care Trust on two occasions and each time the application was rejected.

For trans women, electro or laser are not cosmetic. They are essential for trans women to pass, and my carer and I are at one on this. If anybody thinks for one moment it is for vanity, you are wrong. If anyone thinks it is for luxury, you are wrong, and if anyone does think that, then I do not wish to be your friend. I do not wish to carry passengers, only people who 100% support me, understand me, and understand my aims and goals.

Further down the line or maybe sooner than further, I would also like some botox and fillers for my lips to make them a little bigger. The primary goal is absolute, total, complete feminisation. I want to look good, and feel good too.

I completely support trans women using cosmetic procedures. I supported the My Transsexual Summer cast unequivocally on this, and still do. I now also support myself too.

It has pained me to watch people have to justify the things they have wanted, but if I have to do the same, I certainly will.

Another thing I am considering is vocal cord surgery for feminsation. I am making an appointment with my GP to discuss this and to arrange an appointment with Charing Cross in London.

I am aware this entry will probably anger some people, mystify some people, shock some people and a whole spectrum of other emotions.

But you see, I am my own counsellor and my own sister now, and I have to do what is right for me. Round that table, I tasted, smelt, and touched utter euphoria.

I am not saying my life would always be a bed of roses, it never is. But I think my quality of life would be improved in a more vibrant, cosmopolitan environment.

Let me tell you something. I came home to bed and cried that night last Thursday, because I did not want the best time of my life ever to end.

The next morning I just thought……… well Hannah you need to make sure it has only just begun girl. That is exactly what I am going to do.


2 thoughts on “Raising the bar and reviewing the situation

  1. Hannah, that was so well writen, lovely words with feeling, i fully understand where your coming from having gone through most of it myself but without the disability side of it, but clearly that isnt & shouldnt stop you from making your life just how you want it, i only wish i could have started my transition when at your age intsead of waiting until i was past it lol, although i have lost a fair bit & people along the way i now have inner peace that my body matches my brain ( the voice still needs work )
    the very best of luck to you Hannah i really hope your happiness goes from strength to strength Chell xx

  2. Well, I seem to find myself saying this a lot lately, but I admire the slightly more experienced generation for their sheer endurance and guts in waiting so long.

    It takes real courage and strength but I am so glad you have found your inner peace now.

    Much love,

    Hannah xxxx

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