RSS

Tag Archives: LGBT

Doctor Who is now a woman

Doctor Who is now a woman

Just after Wimbledon Men’s Final, fans everywhere learned what they had been waiting till the end of the match for. Not who won, but who would be the new Doctor Who.

To the shock of few, the new Doctor is to be a woman.

This could raise some really interesting gender pronoun questions and bring them into mainstream discussion. How will people refer to the Doctor’s previous incarnations? And will it inadvertently, even by implication, address some of the issues that a transperson faces being mis-gendered when people refer to their old gender?

Of course, it does nothing to change the perception of gender binary as The Doctor has merely transitioned from one gender binary to the other, but it could rather ironically be a positive step as the issue becomes part of pop culture.

It will be interesting to see how things go. Will they will just whitewash it by having everything refer to the Doctor as “she”, and nobody ever getting it wrong, even if they are a recurring character who doesn’t know about the transition? Or will they will play on it by making her suffer the same awkward situations that many transpeople face of people using the wrong pronoun for them?

Pop culture has a habit of altering language and perception, so it will also be interesting to see what, if any, wider ramifications there are to this in society in general.

One thing is for sure, the internet will be awash with misogyny and transphobia right now.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 16, 2017 in In the News, Opinion

 

Tags: , , , ,

Dear diary

Somewhat surprisingly, people actually read my blog (I know – it came as a surprise to me too) and people have been asking me what I’ve been up to, and how the job is going.

Business Casual

Business Casual

As I mentioned in my previous post, the job is predominantly based at my own home office, with most client interaction being via Skype (either voice-only conference call, or IM) and email. Up until last Friday, I hadn’t actually had any further in-person meetings, but on Friday we had a catch-up and progress meeting which I attended.

Based on previous meetings, I knew people dressed pretty casually so I chose a casual t-shirt dress by Atmosphere which had cost me the princely sum of £5 in Primark, plus the shoes and tights I mentioned buying from M&S in my previous post.

The meeting went very well, and people seemed happy with the progress I have made, my estimates for how much is to do on what I am doing, some design ideas I have, and also a roadmap for what I will work on next. It was all very encouraging.

As before, everyone was very accepting of my presented gender.

However, at one point I had the most bizarre thing happen – I’d just taken a sip of orange squash, put it down, and then a few moments later without any warning or feeling that it was about to happen, a really loud burp escaped from me. I could have died of embarrassment! I was absolutely mortified. I got teased a little bit in a good-natured (but not blokey banter) way, but was still so embarrassed. That really has never happened to me before – normally I can feel a burp coming and suppress it. What surprised me the most, though, was just how much more embarrassed I felt in girl mode about it than I might have in guy mode.

When I got home I did a small photo shoot for a schoolgirl outfit I have been working on for Flickr, but I’m not happy with any of the shots.

Butterflies and flowers

Butterflies and flowers

The next day – Saturday – it was the Monthly Market at Farnham Maltings, which I like to go to. I’ve mentioned it a few times in previous posts, and it’s an Antiques, Crafts and Collectables Fair. It’s a reasonable £1 to get in but the car park is not free and costs £1.20 for 1 hour and £1.40 for 2 hours (and more for longer obviously). I usually go for 2 hours as although I could whistle round in an hour, it’s not worth feeling rushed just for a saving of 20p.

I dressed casually in a nice butterfly top I recently got from eBay (in fact I like this one so much I now have 3 of them in different colours) and a skirt by Hollister. I wore flats in the end, rather than the wedges in the photo, as I knew my feet would get sore quickly in the wedges.

It was clear that a lot of sellers were on holiday, as the place felt very sparse compared with normal. I didn’t find much apart from a very cute silver pinky finger ring of two entwined open hearts, marked 925 silver, which the seller said was 1970’s. It wasn’t in the best of condition, but it fit me just right, and the seller wanted £10 for it. I decided that I already wear rings on both pinky fingers, so told him I’d leave it whereupon he said he’d take £8. I decided to walk away though.
I really regret doing that now. It occurs to me that I already have two rings that fit only my right ring finger, which I choose from as the mood takes me, and my pinky fingers should be no different. A missed opportunity there, because it was very cute. Never mind, maybe the seller will be there next month and still have it.

When I got home, I tried again on the schoolgirl outfit shoot, but still wasn’t happy with it.

The following Tuesday I got up super-early and made it over to the Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park Racecourse, which you can read about on my public Facebook page.

Shabbytique

Shabbytique

The rest of the week was spent working from home, then on Sunday I went up to Maidenhead for the Shabbytique and eatonthehighstreet fair. I wore a pretty top by Per Una, which was one of my many eBay / Charity Shop bargains, some jeans by Autograph (also a M&S brand), and a pair of boots by DUO.

Bonus Selfie #1

Bonus Selfie #1

Bonus Selfie #2

Bonus Selfie #2

Steve Conway was singing, so it was really nice to catch up with him and his wife and was worth going just for that.

The fair itself was a little disappointing, with a mix of stalls selling crafts and the like, and an equal number of food stalls, all spread out over the length of the pedestrianised part of the High Street. It felt like slim pickings though.

However, I did manage to get the most adorable necklace from a lady who is retiring and selling her remaining stock off at half price. The necklace I bought was £10, reduced from £20, and features a Murano glass pendant with flecks of gold in it, and a Sterling silver chain. I thought it was beautiful.

After that I headed home. I didn’t feel like doing any further photo shoots and had a pretty quiet remainder to the day.

Murano glass necklace

Murano glass necklace

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A new chapter

As you may or may not know, I work on a freelance basis rather than being a permanent employee of a company, although often it is on a contract basis with just one client.

For the past 2+ years I have been having a fairly long distance daily commute to just such a client. Although it was good work, and I enjoyed working with a great team there, the commute did leave me fairly tired a lot of the time and also ate into my leisure time enormously.

Just over a month ago, they gave me a month’s notice that they wished to discontinue the arrangement, which is fine as it’s the nature of freelance work, and a flexible, dynamic working arrangement is all part of the service. More on that later.

It had been my intention to take a sabbatical after I finished there, but a week or so before my last day some new work pretty much fell on my lap. I was sought out by the owner of a small company to whom I had been recommended by two people independently – both former colleagues – and the owner of the company was keen to discuss how I could help them.

A meeting was arranged, discussions were had, and we established that I had exactly the skills and experience that they needed, including some business knowledge in their area, and was ideally placed to be able to help them. Furthermore, I pointed out that as a freelancer I represented a much lower financial risk and commitment compared to taking on an employee, especially as their requirements were for short-term assistance. Also discussed was the fact that their company does not have offices as such, and operates on a distributed basis, so I would be working from home with occasional meetings. And, even better, they are based quite near to me geographically so even the meetings would not be a huge problem for me.

The owner of the company is a trans woman and is also a campaigner for transgender issues, and since one of the people who recommended me had mentioned that I am genderfluid, I raised the subject of perhaps presenting as female for future meetings. She said she was more than happy for me to do this and that I could present however I felt comfortable, even if that might change from day-to-day. As you may recall from a previous post, this is a big departure for me as I have up until now presented exclusively as male professionally (although I confess that towards the end of my time with my previous client, I was mixing it up and wearing nail varnish to work every day).

We had a Perfect Storm, as far as I was concerned. Or, given that ‘Perfect Storm’ usually has negative connotations, I suppose I should say “a synergy of forces leading to a release of energy much greater than any of its individual contributors”, but that sounds incredibly wanky, so I will stick to ‘Perfect Storm’. But I digress. My point is that the timing was right, the location was right, my skills and experience couldn’t really have been a better match, and after some negotiation an agreement was reached for me to work with them for 4.5 days a week at a fee that was acceptable to both.

They were keen for me to commence sooner rather than later, so it ended up that I only had a week off between finishing with my previous client and starting with them.

Butterfly cowl dress by Purplish

Butterfly cowl dress by Purplish Fashion

So on Monday this week, I turned up for our 10am kick-off meeting in girl mode. I chose a nice Butterfly cowl dress by Purplish Fashion and my favourite black DUO boots, and wore my short wig as I thought that I might get less ‘hot & bothered’ with it. The owner and I signed the contracts, and then we were joined by two other members of staff and we got down to business, thrashing out technical details and talking about where I could contribute. Later, we all went out for lunch at a nearby pub, which was a good opportunity to get to know each other a little more, and then resumed before finishing mid-afternoon to go back to our respective home offices, having first spent time making sure my laptop was all set up to access their systems and that it all worked.

The next day was an all-hands meeting in the afternoon starting at 2pm, which gave me a great opportunity to meet everyone. It was also good to learn more about what the company did, and to see their roadmap for the immediate future as this gave me an idea of how what I would be working on fit into the bigger picture. Everyone accepted my chosen gender, and used feminine pronouns throughout, and never once got it wrong. Then from 5.30pm onwards it became a social. I felt so natural in girl mode, and much more at ease socially, and found it easy to chat to everyone which is not something I find so easy in guy mode. I also found I ended up talking to the other ladies rather than hovering on the edges of a group of guys, and felt a lot more comfortable with that and also very accepted.

'Marie' dress by Crew Clothing

‘Marie’ dress by Crew Clothing

For this meeting I wore a favourite dress by Crew Clothing which you will have read about before in a previous post.

I left around 7pm, then popped in to Maplin on the way home to pick up a “Collect In Store” purchase I had made a few days previously.

I’d ordered the item in a gender-neutral name, but unfortunately the billing details were in my guy name, and the assistant asked me if I could sign for it and what my relationship was to the purchaser. So I simply said “Actually, I am that person; I’m just presenting as female today” and he apologised and said that he would absolutely never have known and it never even occurred to him. Awesome – I’ll take that as a compliment thanks. 🙂

On the way home from there, I decided that I needed some more tights, some new undies, and some shoes. So I called into a big out-of-town Marks & Spencer’s near me. I was delighted to find that M&S now go up to a size 8 – in the past they only went up to 7½ – and this gave me a lot more choice.

Shoes by M&S

Shoes by M&S

Eventually I settled on some cute sling back shoes with a snake-skin effect block heel. And as a nice bonus, I qualified for a free pair of flip-flops too. Yay!

I also picked up a pack of tights and two 5-packs of the cutest cotton bikini briefs, but I draw the line at posting pictures of those. 🙂

Today (Wednesday) I was working from my home office and put in a really solid day’s work, took a little break every hour as prompted to by my Fitbit Alta, and walked the suggested 250+ steps each hour by using my treadmill in the next room. If anything, I think my life may actually become less sedentary due to the treadmill.

Right now I am feeling really happy and content. It’s a real change for me, especially presenting as female professionally, but I really couldn’t have asked for a safer and more accepting environment in which to do it.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Transgender – Richard O’Brien and Germaine Greer

The Rocky Horror Show Opens In Sydney - Arrivals

(Photo by Gaye Gerard/Getty Images)

 

Well… wow. What do you make of this? Richard O’Brien responding to Germaine Greer’s comments on transgenderism.

I agree with Germaine Greer and Barry Humphries. You can’t be a woman. You can be an idea of a woman. You’re in the middle and there’s nothing wrong with that. I certainly wouldn’t have the wedding tackle taken off. That is a huge jump and I have all the sympathy in the world for anyone who does it but you aren’t a woman.”

~~ Richard O’Brien

My opinion on this is that I think Germaine Greer is a fairly abhorrent person with regards to her views on transgenderism, but I think Richard O’Brien is kind of making a fair point, although it comes across rather badly.

As a “third gender” person myself I can see what he is saying – if I had surgery then it wouldn’t alter the person I am inside, it would only affect my outward appearance.

Your gender identiy is a state of being – an internal state of mind – and physical genitalia have little bearing on that. The difference between him and Greer is that he appears to suggest that he thinks it is possible to be a woman even if you weren’t born one genetically, and she emphatically does not.

I don’t understand how she can campaign for equality, acceptance and inclusion, and then say that transwomen are not women but are men trying to usurp and subvert feminism. What an abhorrent thing to say!

By contrast, Richard seems to be saying that you can be a woman inside and no matter what you do (or don’t) to your genitals, who you are remains. As in, still a woman. And I can totally accept that.

If that’s not what he meant, and instead he really is in agreement with Germaine Greer’s bigotry, then obviously I don’t endorse that. However, what *I* am saying is that who you are inside is what is important and your physical attributes less so.

That isn’t to say that gender reassignment surgery is wrong, or unnecessary; it’s perfectly natural to want your physical appearance to match your gender identity should you genuinely need to transition. But by the same token, no matter how much surgery you have you will never reach the nirvana of being exactly the same as if you had been born differently. And, further, there is immense pressure on transgender people to transition from one society-endorsed gender binary to the other, and as I’ve observed many times in this blog, there are more options and states of being than that.

So, in conclusion, my interpretation of what Richard O’Brien is saying is that he is advocating finding contentment in being yourself rather than feeling pressured into transitioning. And that is a world away from agreeing with Germaine Greer.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 17, 2016 in In the News, Opinion, Transgender

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Transgender in the driving seat

You’re probably aware that Russia recently passed a law that effectively bans all transgender and transsexual people from driving, on the grounds that it is a ‘mental disorder’. Also affected, amongst many others, are amputees – even those with “prophetic limbs” (sic), according to the Daily Telegraph (one would assume that a limb that can predict the future would make you a safer driver? 🙂 )

However, not all is doom and gloom as this article, also from the Daily Telegraph and written by Paris Lees, points out.

Things are changing for the better for genderqueer people – albeit not in Russia – with society generally becoming more tolerant towards people (and less tolerant of prejudice against them). It happened with racism, it happened with homophobia, and it’s happening with transphobia too. Slowly, anyway.

Who knows, maybe in a few generations we will finally reach enlightenment? Although whilst religious intolerance and the hate, war and terrorism associated with it continue, I very much doubt it.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 12, 2015 in In the News, Opinion, Transgender

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Transgenderism – in the news

My friend Jo T brought two articles to my attention today.

The first was a Huffington Post Blog article by called On the Other Side: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly about how her husband became her wife, and the three categories that their friends and family fell into – good, bad and ugly. The ‘good’ being the people who were open-minded, accommodating, understanding, and willing to be positive. The ‘bad’ being people who were closed-minded and refused to accept, or were at best indifferent, or attempted to pretend that it doesn’t exist (giving a cloak of invisibility in the process). Sadly I would put my family into this category – it’s all very much swept under the rug and ignored, is not talked about, or is considered an irrelevance and of no consequence, depending on family member. Lastly there are the ‘ugly’ who were abusive about it. I am thankful that I have none of those in my life. The article also talks about how their children accepted it, and also the questions people asked. I found it a really good article.
You can read it at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marvi-matos/…

The second thing that Jo mentioned to me was the story of the Radio DJ Stephanie “Hirsty” Hirst, formerly Simon. She was a presenter on Capital FM Yorkshire and Vinyl Heaven on Gold when she was Simon, and who left her position in June after 11 years in the studio shortly after she decided to transition from male to female. It is looking very much like she was pushed out of the job by her employers who “did not think gender reassignment was suitable or commercially viable content” for her shows. I’m quite saddened by this. However, on the other hand, the public support for her has been very strong with an active Facebook campaign to get her back and also a lot of positive press and support from various quarters.
There are many articles about Stephanie if you google for them. However, I thought this article by the Independent was a good one: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/stephanie-hirst…

Just before Jo contacted me, I had been reading a report from the BBC of the truly bewildering situation in Iran where homosexuality is banned, but where gender transition to the opposite gender binary so that you are then effectively heterosexual is almost encouraged. This is a very odd dichotomy of conservative and liberal. However, it’s deeply flawed as it completely misses the rather fundamental fact that gender identity and sexuality are two completely (and radically) different things – it’s not an uncommon misconception. A man who is sexually attracted to men is not a woman inside – he’s a man who is attracted to men. His gender identity is male, and is separate and distinct from his sexuality.
You can read the whole article at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29832690

I’m sure there are plenty of other stories too, but these are the ones that I came across today and I just thought I would share them with you.

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 5, 2014 in In the News, Transgender

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Same Love

I heard Macklemore’s “Same Love” on the radio today for the first time. I confess I didn’t know of it until now – sorry for being so late to the party here.

My initial reaction was that it’s a positive thing that a mainstream music song is saying that it is ok to be gender-queer and that they support marriage equality. Also, I really liked the song (despite rap being one of my least-favourite music genres).

I wanted to know more, and read the lyrics, so googled about it when I got home, and came up with some interesting articles on the subject (linked to at the end of this post)

The articles I’ve linked to below are making the observation that it’s a little odd that a white, straight, cisgender man is telling people in the LGBT community that it’s cool to be how we are. That his opinion isn’t valid because of it, that the song is fake because of it.

However, the comments people have left to the flavorwire article are even more interesting, and there are some good points made there. The overwhelming one being that the fact that a song with a message like this is getting mainstream airplay is a positive thing, and it’s good to get a message like that out to more ears than would usually hear it.

Does one have to be black to be abhorred by racism? Or female to be against sexism and misogyny? Were all the people in favour for the abolition of slavery themselves slaves? In short, does one have to have a direct experience of an injustice, prejudice or equality in order to have the moral opinion that it isn’t right and to stand up and be counted in saying so? I don’t believe so.

So I think I’m sticking with my initial reaction.

 


Links:

http://flavorwire.com/412156/queer-rapper-le1f-speaks-out-against-macklemore-why-same-love-doesnt-speak-for-the-lgbt-community/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/emma-joslyn/desperately-seeking-music-equality_b_4020086.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Opinion, Transgender

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

What do our labels mean?

Now, before I go any further on this post, let me make it absolutely clear that I did not write this. I found it via a google search and it was on a site which required registration in order to view it. However, it was viewable via google’s cache.

I’m reproducing it because I think it is a good article that clearly explains some of the concepts of the gender spectrum and I think it’s a real shame that it won’t get a wider audience. Not that me reproducing it here will give a much wider audience, of course.

So, here it is:

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 9, 2013 in Transgender

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

More than a woman

The BBC published a very good article on transgenderism on the News Magazine area of their website entitled Richard O’Brien: ‘I’m 70% man’

Credit: BBC / Tommy Candler

The article, written by Jo Fidgen, quotes Richard O’Brien (of Rocky Horror fame) as talking about the gender spectrum, and how he sees himself as maybe 70% male and 30% female.

However, one part of the article really surprised and struck me. It said:
“O’Brien’s idea of a gender spectrum may sound far-fetched to many, but there is scientific research that backs up his position.”

I’m really surprised that in this day and age, where people readily acknowledge the concept of bisexuality, that the idea of a gender spectrum could be considered ‘far-fetched’. Certainly the idea of a sexuality spectrum is well established, encompassing gay, straight and bisexual. And even then, bisexual doesn’t automatically mean you fancy men and women equally. Surely then, the idea of a gender spectrum can come as no real surprise and is equally logical? One only has to look at the concept of a girl being a tomboy, or describing herself as “not a girly girl”, to see that it is so. And, despite being less socially acceptable to say it, the same is true of men too. However, men have far more pressure (in Western society at least) to conform to a gender stereotype.

Having said that, I read on the news today of Maria Toorpakai; The Pakistani squash star who had to pretend to be a boy. In the area of Pakistan that she lives, it is completely socially unacceptable for a girl to play such sports, or wear shorts, or be a tomboy. She was forced to pretend to be a boy (with her father’s consent and support) and won several tournaments before being ‘outed’. Since then she and her father have had death threats and persecution, just because she doesn’t conform to a gender expectation. I’m both heartened by her and her father’s courage, and dismayed by the actions of their persecutors.


(Please note that the links in this article are to the BBC website and may not be available to you if you are outside of the UK)

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 20, 2013 in Opinion, Transgender

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: