Tag Archives: transgender

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

When Elton John opined that ‘Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word’, he wasn’t wrong let me tell you. Sorry is one of those words that is very definite and emotive. We use it in so many multiple situations and yet there is rarely ambiguity inculcated in its meaning.

Here, I do not intend to address the perfunctory sorry which results from somebody being unable to hear what you are saying and making polite if frantic gestures towards their ear. Neither am I talking about the performative sorry that is sometimes said when a child has promised not to eat any more sweets or biscuits, and they are caught red-handed by a parent sporting a chocolate sculpture on their face.

Lastly I’m not talking about a political apology like the one Nick Clegg was forced into after making a U-turn on scrapping tuition fees. The parody video was hilarious but given that many students voted for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats on this basis, the parody video may have been funny, but the resulting fallout was no laughing matter. The Liberal Democrats paid the price for this with a huge reduction in seats at the last General Election.

But there is another kind of sorry which is altogether more serious. The kind of sorry whereupon you really hurt somebody, and a genuine sincere apology has to come from the bottom of the annals of your heart and soul. It is that kind of sorry which is the business of this post today.

It is very personal to me as a writer, and I suspect very personal to the people who will end up reading it. It is rare for me to write such a directly targeted piece, but in this instance I deem it absolutely necessary. I will set out what happened, why the sorry is necessary, and ways forward which enable I and the people concerned to have a better relationship personally and professionally in the future.

I had always known I was trans, even if I didn’t have the vocabulary to describe it when I was growing up. As the song ‘Who Will Love Me as I Am?’ from the musical Side Show has it “always knew that I was different; often fled into a dream.” This is true and the song itself is very special to me, for it articulates deftly and superbly how I feel about my life.

I was born different anyway. I was born with cerebral palsy three months early. So difference was not an alien concept. I transitioned at 25 with the full support of the hostel where I was living at the time, John Darling Mall and the staff there, many of whom I now count as personal friends, and why wouldn’t you after you’ve gone through such a seminal profound experience together? I was also supported throughout by an experienced counsellor who specialised in gender issues, and she had also been a Special Educational Needs teacher prior to becoming a counsellor.

It is fair to say that I bloomed and blossomed for the first five years of my transition. I began writing professionally, I dressed as I wished and found a home for myself at the local gay club. I continued my passion for theatre and show tunes and general fluff and camp whimsy.

For those who don’t know I did come out as gay at 18, but it just didn’t work. I did try my absolute best to make it work. Looking back, it was kind of like going halfway along the yellow brick road, but never quite making it to Finian’s Rainbow.

So in becoming trans, I realised what I really was. I have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, with the onset period for this being mid to late childhood.

Through my writing, I attracted the attention of many prominent trans activists, and it is they who this apology post is predominantly aimed at. Writing from a particular viewpoint seems to constitute activism, and the more you write, the more people get to know you, the more people are interested in watching what you have to say but perhaps most crucially to this post the more people expect of you. You’re expected to have an opinion on certain issues. You’re expected to know your way around them and to give comment upon the said issue at a moment’s notice.

As well as the serious stuff, I threw myself into the LGBT party scene, meeting many interesting and colourful people who were and still are beautiful inside and out.

So my writing career was flourishing. I was encouraged and almost indirectly mentored by some very kind people. There was an initiative built around better representation of trans people in the media, entitled All About Trans, run by a company called On Road Media.

I was asked if I would like to participate in what was known as an interaction with other trans friends, between us and the BBC. Although I can’t quite trace back the exact timing, this is when my trans journey began to turn sour and fall apart, all I have to say because of my own actions which were foolish and stupid and I take full responsibility for them.

Suffice to say I bottled out of the interaction with the BBC, which could have been useful to me, given that I was already writing and desperately wanted to pursue a career in journalism, both written and broadcast.

But my Jungian shadow side was coming out to play and nagging thoughts of low self-esteem, lack of confidence and lack of self-belief crept into my mind. Along with these, thought of body hatred and ugliness crept into my mind.

Why would the BBC be interested in you? What have you got to offer? What can you bring to the dialogue?” Also, I was worried I didn’t look as good as the others.

Over time I isolated myself. I began to feel really inferior in comparison to my other trans friends.

At some point I began dialogue with radical feminists. They want to see an end to gender and an end to gender expression. Through a radical feminist prism, there would be no need to transition because everybody could live freely and dress how they wanted.

On some levels, this is a utopian and laudable aspiration. However, its implementation and ultimate realisation as a framework built around society feels more tricky for me.

I will come on to explain why later.

But at the time I found radical feminism, I was at a low ebb in my life. Nobody forced me into anything and nobody forced me to look further into it. I did so freely and of my own volition.

In a sense for me it allowed an escape route from the things I have always found tricky about being trans. Radical feminists were supportive and empathic to me around disability issues for example, and issues around appearance, and my perceived

inferiority. In some ways this isn’t only perceived it is something I still feel quite strongly. Radical feminists too spoke truth to power about doing womanhood differently, free of the need to placate and comply with male expectations.

All this seemed very inspiring to me and I did learn a lot from my time alongside the radical feminist movement.

The main desire of radical feminism is to smash patriarchy – that is to say male dominance and male power structures within society which preclude women from full participation and power in society. Again, this was attractive given I’d been abused emotionally by a man who was powerful physically as he was mentally. I found him intimidating in terms of his height and demeanour.

Whereas many people are comfortable with trans people in society, radical feminists see trans people and the need to transition as a genuine obstacle to ending gender. Some say openly that trans women are really men and vice versa. Moreover, some say that trans women are really gay men and vice versa. But this rhetoric is a sideshow compared to my own issues with trans stuff, which I feel I must lay bare in order that my apology will be sincere and from the heart.

Radical feminists will say that transition and trans people all about dressing up and it is all about focus on the clothes they wear.

Whilst I can attest wholeheartedly there is more to transition, than clothes, make up and other superficial things, the focus on appearance is something I have always struggled with.

When I first started blogging, and when the trans community first got to know me through Facebook, one of the things I noticed compared to non-trans friends was the abundance of selfies trans people posted. I am not blaming them for doing this. That would not be constructive or consistent with the aims of this post. However, the endless stream of compliments based on appearance or fashion choices was often hard to read for me and envy crept in. Envy morphed into jealousy, and jealousy morphed into a real melancholy stubborn sadness that just would not go away. It took up residence in the heartbreak hotel one might say.

Relevant to this in a more overarching sense is my disability. For most people being trans is a monism, it is the main oppression they have to deal with. But for me trans is a dualism alongside my disability.

When seen in the context of this dualism it is not hard to understand why being trans and disabled is difficult. I will try to set it out though as best I can for my own benefit and for yours.

Trans focuses in the physical sense on giving you the body of your dreams, for the male to female trans woman, gaining breasts and a vagina and losing a penis. Being a trans man on the other hand means losing breasts, gaining a deeper voice and gaining a penis perhaps.

But in my case, and in the case of physical disability more broadly, whilst trans focuses upon bodily perfection and looking fantastic, physical disability brings to the fore the imperfect, the damaged and the difficult. This is a very difficult conundrum to live with as a trans person and for the avoidance of doubt I don’t use the word conundrum as a light touch.

So much of trans is imbued with the politics of passing, that is to say looking as much like the everyday woman as possible and avoiding people knowing you are trans. Some people who can pass very well manage to live in stealth which is conducive to this objective. But being a person with a physical disability is not. Due to the need for me, and others to have personal care to various degrees, privacy is non-existant.

Of course there is so much more to being trans than the physical transition and I accept that to some these previous paragraphs may look a little crude both in form and delivery.

My aim in their inclusion though is not to rehearse physical transition procedures. It is something a little deeper. I want us all to think a little deeper now.

Think about it. Trans and disability. It’s a real paradox. And to be honest, you would never sit trans and disability next to each other intentionally in the pub.

The focus on the perfect versus the imperfect. The focus on beauty. The focus on thinness and losing weight. These all present real mental challenges, which are sometimes painful to me at a trans person. Let us take the example of somebody raising money for surgery. They can raise that money and reach their goal, and come to the end of it with self-satisfaction. While I know that no amount of money and no amount of Go Fund Me will take away my cerebral palsy.

And there is too much stupid focus on silly tropes which have no basis in theory or reality. Something like “trans girls are prettier than cis girls” for example may act as a comfort blanket and shield for some but may hurt others who feel they will never reach that standard of perfection. So, there are issues around language and how that impacts upon others. It also gives succour to the idea that trans people are misogynistic. Why provide that ammunition? It is I have to say something of an own goal.

Knowing that my canvas is already damaged and a surgeon will never be able to work on it is a huge source of grief for me. The reason why you would never sit trans and disability down together in the pub intentionally is because there are far more limitations imposed upon the disabled trans person than the average trans person. I know if I was able-bodied and normal in society’s eyes I would have had surgery by now it would have been done and dusted and a part of my life which would have been my history. I also envy trans people who have experienced and those who will go on to experience this reality. Now, it’s a fair comment to say that not every trans person has surgery. This is true. Nobody holds a gun to people’s heads and forces them to have it.

However, I always wanted it. Two buzzwords which often float around these days are choice and agency. To be told you can’t have something is a very different beast from actively considering something and deciding you don’t want to pursue it. When I could see other trans peers actively reaching their goals I was happy for them, but also I had a splash of sadness too.

So in short I decided to leave the trans world behind because the ardent focus on visuals and visual perfection versus the dualism of a deformed and damaged body which could never match up to trans beauty standards was too much to bear. I thought that the best way to cure this would be to aim for a gender free world where would everybody looked like didn’t matter and whatever anyone’s disabilities or abilities were was a mere irrelevance.

But transition rests not only on physicality and biology. There is also a social transition to be made, and that also frustrated me that there was not much discussion of this within the trans community. The visual aesthetic seemed to reign supreme. For more thoughts on being disabled and trans I commend this piece from Medium to you, by Jordan Gwendolyn-Davies. It articulates many of the frustrations I feel on a daily basis.

But social transition is where I come unstuck on the radical feminist trajectory. Whilst radical feminists offer a world where we are free of gender and speak consistently about how wonderful it would be, we are not yet there in present reality.

Therefore, there are still different social expectations placed upon men and women. After being transitioned for so many years (it will be 10 this year, if this temporary blot on the landscape is discounted) it was very hard to adjust to being a man again. I felt like my world had changed from shocking pink to magnolia in 360°. Society is not a gender free entity.

I said that when I entered into the world of radical feminism I was at a low ebb. Trust me that ebb got lower. I don’t blame anybody for this, no individual radical feminists no individual branch of theory, merely circumstance. Social media which had once provided pleasure, now provided only torment and sadness. Instead of using it constructively, I used it to lash out and be nasty to trans people in ways that I’m not proud of, which fell far short of the standards of behaviour I set for myself and others. In a broader sense, I ended up on Mirtazapine, which is a very strong antidepressant drug.

In terms of physical side effects, the main one was weight gain. I’m still not happy about this but there is not a lot I can do. But over time Mirtazapine became beneficial and the fog and misery of depression began to clear. I knew what had brought me to this point of needing a strong antidepressant, and what would pull me back from it. Before I transitioned I was very depressed really depressed. After I transitioned, I wasn’t always mentally stable and I still had frustrations, but I could cope better with daily life and even enjoy it. I am convinced that the catalyst for this was transition. So I knew what I needed to do to pull myself out of the mire. In late summer after not complying with my trans-medical regime of daily hormones, and an injection every 10 weeks, I returned to my GP and asked him to reinstate the medication onto my prescription list. I do take other disability -related medication which is irrelevant to this discussion.

Since then my mood is improved I have improved. I’m 10 times happier finding new people in life to engage with, forging some positive artistic and creative relationships. I have rediscovered my musical and writing sensibilities and feel at peace with myself. I am now happy to say also that my body is a Mirtazapine and antidepressant free zone for the first time in 10 years. I weaned off them gradually under supervision from my GP, following the pattern he set and I am feeling no ill effects. My GP suggests that I have done well to do so.

I would be a liar if I said that nobody has ever de-transitioned. However I’m telling the absolute honest truth, hand on my heart when I say it just didn’t work for me at all. It pushed me right back to square one. In fact it pushed me right back to the time when I was first told at college I needed to take antidepressants by a very empathic counsellor. I’m not saying it undid all the progress along the way for I have always been there. I have always been present throughout in the moment.My indomitable flame and spirit may have faded during that time but they were always there, and I am forced now in a healthier place to re-examine my conscience and my actions during that time.

Depression may provide a rationale for out of character behaviour, however a rationale is not the same as a get out of jail free card.

In ending this post, there are people I would like to apologise to. They include but are not limited to:

Paris Lees – You were one of the first people to see potential in my writing. You were so pleased when I got the article published in the New Statesman just after Lucy Meadows’ tragic death. We last spoke on Skype when you offered me the chance to collaborate with you and Roz Kaveney on a blog version of the innovative and intuitive META magazine. From then onwards I isolated myself and cut people off. I’m sorry for that and would like to work with you again in the future to do whatever needs to be done. Roz, I would like to apologise to you also for discrediting you on Twitter it was disgusting behaviour for which I’m deeply ashamed.

Sarah Lennox – You also believed in my writing and supported it unconditionally. For that I am forever grateful. Along with Paris you planted a seed which let’s face it died for a bit but I hope it can be brought back to life. In a similar vein via you perhaps, I would also like to apologise to Alana and Natalie at On Road Media for letting them down regarding the interaction and not supporting subsequent endeavours.

Natacha Kennedy, Sophia Botha and Sabine – This apology is for the Twitter abuse you suffered at my hands. I apologise for that, I realise it must have caused deep trauma and hurt after you extending the hand of friendship to me. I am sorry I betrayed that trust and hope we can move forward in a spirit of reconciliation if not immediate regained trust.

Sophia Banks – similar Twitter abuse really. I’m sorry for it and will never do such things again, the same goes for CN Lester, and every other trans person I have let down with my actions

This is not an exhaustive list, and if you’re not on it it doesn’t mean I don’t care about the hurt I’ve caused you. This apology extends to you too.

Why I wrote as I did about the difficulties around me being trans and disabled is not to provide a critique of or raise the temperature in the trans community. It is what I should have done in the first place; used my writing gifts to articulate my feelings instead of running away as I did lashing out at people non-constructively and causing a great deal of hurt, anger and upset to people I care about.

A friend feels that I was trying to rid myself of one oppression, given that I can’t in her words un-disable myself. But the strategy was flawed. I just ended up more hurt and more lost than ever before. The absolute truth of the matter is that to me I couldn’t un-trans myself either.

There is much unhelpful language from trans people as there is invective directed towards trans people. Telling women that they are witches and should be burned is no more helpful than telling trans women they are really men.

One of the main reasons de-transition didn’t work for me either centres around socialisation. Much of radical feminist theory is predicated on the idea that males and females experience a different form of socialisation due to the way they are treated respectively.

Now there is no doubt in my mind that women and girls are exposed to a disproportionate amount of sexism and misogyny throughout the life course. This is regrettable disgusting and every effort must be made by Government and other agencies to reduce the grip of sexism and misogyny upon society. Socialisation and the theory thereof suggests that whilst girls are taught to be caring and nurturing, men are taught to be tough physical and competitive. However I think that there is far more variance in socialisation experience than is shown by exploring these two variables in isolation

For example, an only child as I am experiences the world very differently to somebody with a number of siblings for example. Whether a child’s parents are divorced and who they spend most of their time with also affects socialisation. Finally, variables like disability, which may affect physicality also mediate within socialisation. My contention is here there is no one single socialisation as a monolithic boy or a monolithic girl, but instead a plurality of socialisation possibilities for both sexes or neither. This is why radical feminism doesn’t work for me. It limits itself to the binary and the black-and-white at a time when the shades of grey looking increasingly interesting and relevant to contemporary society and Sociology.

Finally, Elton John was right. Sorry is the hardest word. But it is a word worth saying. It is worth saying in order to prove our integrity, sincerity and honesty to the people we care about. Those reading this can be in no doubt that these words come from my heart and are written with the utmost integrity honesty and sincerity in mind.

The Scope and Limits of Representation

Generally in society, we consider representation to be a good and helpful thing. It is very necessary, for example in a court case, to have someone who knows in detail the ins and outs of the legal system representing you, in order that due process is followed and any court proceedings are carried out fairly and justly.

Campaign groups are also an important force for good. They may often be asked for a quote to beef up a particular news item or story, in order to save interviewing thousands of people, it is far easier to go to one group for a quote. They have to be sure to be speaking on behalf of their members and supporters.

But, I am sure we have all experienced a news bulletin, or story, in my case as a member of three minority groups, where we have thought that, even though the organisation speaks for people in our position, it is not upholding our individual views.

This is why representation as a societal force, has scope, and limits. What is the scope, what are the limits, and what can we realistically expect of those who represent us.

The other night, I was aggrieved to see the following status on Facebook.

I don’t represent you i represent myself. I speak for my rights which benefits us all. but I am ME ONLY”

This status was posted by good friend and lovely person Drew-Ashlyn Cunningham, who fights to the death for equality and better rights for trans people, and everyone really. In my view she is a great ambassador for humanity, and for the rich diversity it encompasses.

However, at times she has been accused of “letting down the community” and giving it a bad name due to opportunities she has chosen to pursue. This is frankly absurd. 

Let us look, and look hard at some facts. Drew has a job, and therefore contributes money to the economy. Secondly, any opportunities Drew has gained, she has gained through her own courage, determination, infectious personality and drive.

She used the springboard of My Transsexual Summer effectively overcoming shyness, gaining confidence and becoming a much happier, more together person, going on to get a job at Illamasqua, where using each face as a canvas, you can see her confidence shine through every day. You can see that confidence shine through on the faces of her clients every day.

So, that is what I think of Drew, and I am sure you will agree with my sentiments. Why are people angry with her though and what are their grievances?

A point worth making is that trans men and women, and the genderqueer population do not come vacuum packed as identikit models. Indeed, looking through my own Facebook friend list, it is as rich and diverse a representation of humanity as I could reasonably hope for at this point, given my open and inclusive mindset. That diversity is therefore  no surprise to me.

But we are not all the same. Even though we have a shared (and strong) empathy due to being trans, we all lead different lives, have different backgrounds and different histories. But, that thing that unites us is indeed stronger than that which divides.

Drew can represent people regarding certain things, and so can I. Mainly, we come together when we want to make a big statement on a big issue. For example, Drew is a patron for Gendered Intelligence. I have also blogged vociferously in support of and about the trans community. The My Transsexual Summer cast have also encouraged the World Health Organisation to de-classify transsexuality as an illness by starting an online petition.

But as much as we all belong to a collective minority group, we are always, thank goodness, individuals. We have different thoughts, feelings and opinions. Crucially also, we have different lived experiences.

One of the reasons I began to blog many moons ago, was because of trans narratives I had seen. Now they had all the factual information I could want, but none of them told my story as such, with the unusual narrative and some would say, difficult marinade of disability, transsexuality and being lesbian.

So I began blogging, pouring out my story and people seemed to enjoy my outpourings. I love the freedom that blogging gives me. It can be as multi-faceted as I want it to be. In short, I set up the blog because there was nobody publicising my story, and I wanted to, not out of conceit or vanity, but to add my own twist if you like, to the myriad of stories already out there.

Representation does bite you on the arse in a political context though, as Drew has found. Sometimes too, my blog posts get people riled. It is impossible for one woman, however open minded they are, to represent the views of all trans people. Nor can she be held to ransom over people disagreeing with how she chooses to live her life. She is merely expressing her unique and beautiful self. She is not letting anyone down, as she is not responsible for every person  within the community.

As a community too, we should celebrate activists and advocates, not push them into the shadows, as the cisgendered population have done historically.

I have a theory about why people send Drew the vile and abhorrent abuse they do.

When they accuse her of letting them down, this is a red herring. In fact, they are letting themselves down, but as we know in a blighted society, it is far easier to blame others than it is to take responsibility for your own shit.

Instead of flinging mud at Drew, use her and my experience to help. If you feel your voice is not being heard, then make it heard. Start a blog or a vlog. Become active and passionate. Sign petitions. Pester people. If you want to make change, you have to be the change, not impede those people who are trying to bring it about.

Also, if we try to represent an abundance of views, we make mistakes, perhaps we express something not as somebody would have wanted. So therefore, it is better not to take the risk.

Representation does a lot of good on a global scale, but do not expect one person to represent your views. Remember we are all human and have our own shit to deal with. Also, as long as Drew is happy in her own life, no one has the right to question what she is doing, and place upon her a torrent of disapproval from chattering trans people, who do not do a lot apart from bitch from the sidelines.

It is a bit like complaining about the X Factor result when you did not vote.

To conclude then, Drew has done a lot of good for the trans community, along with the rest of the MTS cast and Channel 4.

If you feel your voice is not being heard, or your story is not being told, then it is in your power to tell it, and speak out. It is the only way. Carping achieves nothing.

Good and effective representation of the self and the whole achieves many things. You have no right to expect others to make the case and complain if you are not involved. 

People too have no right to expect Drew to be a carbon copy of them. She is a wonderful talented individual who celebrates her life.

You could be too. Whether you are or not, is up to you. Are you jealous of success or do you want to be successful?

It is not Drew who has let the community down. It is those individuals who have taken exception to her right to a personality who have let the community down. Trans women and men and genderqueer people are individuals. Drew is, I am. You are. I and Drew have fought hard for our individual true selves. You can do the same. Will you?

The L to T of LGBT

I had a little quandary when thinking about this chapter last night. In bed. Yes! It is true. I plan most of my writing exploits in bed.

I had an idea of where I was going with this chapter, but I had a quandary as I say. It was sort of a toss a coin scenario. I wanted to either write an A to Z of LGBT or an L to T of LGBT.

I decided against the A to Z as I thought it would take forever, plus I did not want to just include something for every letter of the alphabet for the sake of it. I decided to go with The L to T of LGBT. I will also talk about a few words which do not begin with the letters in the acronym. I hope you enj0y the results of my bedroom musing. We will start with L and end with  T.

L is for : Lesbian, Loyalty,Lies and Liberty

The dictionary definition of a lesbian is;

“Of or pertaining to female homosexuality”

Interestingly also, dictionary.com also offers the definition erotic and sexual. How modern.

So clearly we know that lesbians are women who fancy other women. For me, it is not about certain hair or a certain look. It is about personality. It is about sensitivity, sensuality and an emotional connection. Now I am sure gay men would say the same and more about their relationships with their boyfriends too, and more. However, I guess that is the unadulterated pleasure and luxury of same sex attraction. You can put all your eggs is one basket, focus on it, and be really excited about it. Plus you can enjoy good quality friendships with gay men for example, without attraction.  You also know that that will take care of itself . That is incredibly comforting.

A phrase I have heard a lot in the gay community is that people “have your back.” It is basically saying that you have friends, you are cared about and will be looked out for in the gay community and beyond. Reassuring. It is reassuring because as much as I may do camp and fluff very well, the LGBT are a vulnerable minority. It is reassuring that for all its’ bitching, rivalry and tiffs, the LGBT community is anchored by one major thing. Loyalty. When you are an oppressed minority, you are stronger together than you are apart. Hate crime also is on the increase. It amazes me that in a modern society, people still hate each other based on the fact someone sleeps with the same sex, or indeed that people are defined solely by primitive biological genitalia. It is worth noting that the TS  community is campaigning vigourously to have transsexuality de pathologised as an illness or disease as well.

You may wonder why I have included lies. Simply because, the LGBT Community have lies in common. We all have to suffer the indignity of living a lie before we come out. It can be painful and agonising, but I just thank goodness we live in a free and democratic society where we have the liberty to come out and do as we choose. Yes homophobia exists, but we can feel comfy in our own skin.

G IS FOR, GAY, GROWTH, AND GRATEFUL

The term gay was originally used to describe men who are attracted to other men, however it is also widely used in a contemporary sense as a blanket term to describe the whole gay community.

Turning to growth, flipping the point about lies, I think the coming out process enables you to grow as a person enormously, you gain confidence, charisma and a stronger sense of identity through finding out who you are, whether you are keeping secrets of gender, sexuality or something else. You can then feel more balanced and concentrate on either building or re-building a life for yourself. Also a sense of authenticity and blossoming happened for me.

Now being grateful. I do not mean this in a sense of bowing down to people. However I am enormously grateful to those who have supported me on my journey to date. They are in no particular order, Clare and Michelle from JDM, Pat from JDM, and all the others who were with me at the start. Without you, this would never have happened and I am eternally glad it did. From a counselling viewpoint, The Queen of Positive Beams Ms Tina Livingstone. She created that initial safe space where I could be open and honest about how I felt. She has shared, and continues to share my ups, my downs and the space in between. With every new shoot that has grown in my life, she has been there to witness it, and I am eternally grateful for that.

In more recent times I am grateful to Nick Lindner, James Dickason and their team at The Edge for creating a friendly, welcoming, buzzing and lively place for me to go and well, just be. When I go there now it feels like coming home and I am never short of friends from there, both online and off.

I’d also like to thank the lovely Rebecca Goodchild for playing hot tunes at The Edge, taking the piss out of me, complimenting me on my writing and for being a friend of the blog. Her website is also in the Links section. She goes all over the world you know, and is a new fan of oats, pineapple and flapjacks.

B IS FOR BISEXUAL, BRAVE, BEAUTIFUL AND BUCKETFUL

Bisexual of course refers to an attraction to both men and women.

I think being part of a grouping, or more than one grouping within the gay community takes bravery. I say that not because I think participation is a bad thing. It is extremely good. However, I say it because of  wider society and its perceptions.

You see, if you are not different in any way, you are seen as normal. Of course normal is really a social construction and non existent. However, if you live outside pre ordained parameters, you other yourself  and become more vulnerable. Knowing this, and pressing on with your journey does take immense bravery. But who knows, along with My Transsexual  Summer and  Coming Out Stories  your efforts may inspire others.

This is your blog and your voice too. No readers, no blog. So thank you for your reading and kind comments.

Of course also, we are all beautiful in are own ways.

But there can be times when you feel like you’ve had a bucketful, enough and you want to give in. Another blogger, Lady Muck (a.k.a Sarah Savage from My Transsexual Summer) has some fantabulous advice on this very point. A link to her musings is in the Links tab.

She encourages people to remember why they started. I think this is invaluable advice, and advice I definitely follow in my own life.

T IS FOR TRANSSEXUAL, TRIUMPH, AND TRUTH

A transsexual is someone who does not belong to their biological or birth sex.They may take several steps (psychological, visual, vocal or surgical) to align themselves with their desired sex, and correct the incongruence between mind and body.

Now obviously our journey as part of the LGBT community never ends, nor quite concludes, as we are always discovering new things about others and ourselves. When we reach a point where we are at peace with who we are , what we are, and are happy to share it with others, we can say that we have triumphed, and are living truthful, honest lives.

Living in truth is so much better than living a lie, and I speak from the heart when I say that, t is for truly.