Transition

Wallflower

Curiously, the first vinyl I ever purchased as a boy was Tiffany – “I Think We’re Alone Now”. Bought from a market stall along with Pet Shop Boy’s outstanding cover of “Always On My Mind”. I loved them both. This was originally going to be a post about how social isolation and being transgender often go hand in hand. Hence the title and song choice. But as much as it can be a terrifyingly lonely experience for many, this week arguably showed me something worse. Anyone with an interest in Trans issues, or fans of car crash journalism in general, could not be aware of Bruce Jenner’s very public “coming out” on American television. Part of me applauds this as courageous and to be welcomed with open arms. But part of me recognises that the news was hardly revelatory because of the excruciating scrutiny that has been applied to his (his choice of Pronoun) private life and personal journey in the press. I have said before that I am very lucky, I’m far from alone and have avoided the stigma and loneliness that being Trans can bring. But I cannot fathom how you would cope with going through this as public property. And that’s where Bruce Jenner really has been exceptionally brave. On a worldwide scale, his life is up there for public discussion. And that can only increase awareness, which has to be a positive thing. More power to him.

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Transition

Nuremberg

Today I learned a new definition of indignity. Had my monthly round of electrolysis. With an added twist. Today, instead of just face and hands, we started on the Pre Surgical area. While it wasn’t as painful as anticipated, there is little amusing to me about chit chat with a relative stranger while they methodically zap your nether regions. Women do this treatment through choice apparently. Mine is more from necessity. Barely started and it won’t end soon enough. I have no idea where you learn to practice IPL but suspect the Josef Mengele School Of Beauty figures highly. Still, no pain, no gain.

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Transition

Crustacean

Just found myself accidentally watching a documentary on Channel 5. A hotchpotch of human interest stories that I’d normally zip straight past. But then, one of them was a transgender woman estranged from her family. Sort of impossible not to connect with that. If we gloss over an ill advised attempt to auction her virginity then it’s strangely comforting to know that my situation with my family is not an isolated one. And that there is space to hope that things can change. Which they did for her. Still early doors for my turn and it’s probably a little “s(h)el(l)fish” of me to want it any quicker.

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Transition

What’s The Mantra With You?

Back in Glasgow after a short holiday but managed almost 5 days living as a woman in an Eastern European city where almost everyone we encountered spoke little English or none at all. On the plus side, my limited Polish is slightly improved. But it’s been a hugely positive experience. Like Sinatra sort of said, if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere. Kind of love Poland. In general, not one fuck was given about whether I was Trans or not. And I like that attitude. I’m totally stealing that. It’s really no more important than my blue eyes or the colour of my hair. The one thing this trip to Poland has proved to me is that I’m really doing pretty ok. I don’t have to care about “passing” and basic manners get you respect, regardless of where you are. Like the video says “it’s a long road, there’s no turning back”. Pretty much covers my journey, home and otherwise.

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Transition

Standard Operating Procedure

In my 16th month of living fulltime, it seems reasonable that my thoughts might be ever more preoccupied with the surgical option. Despite being told the Real Life Experience is two years, in truth it is completely arbitrary. It seems to be more to do with where your head’s at rather than a fixed timescale. I’m already on hormones, about to start a Testosterone blocker and can clearly see movement in the direction I want. But surgery is a complicated thing. And very permanent. I would also imagine it to be  physically and emotionally traumatic, e.g “I miss that little guy”, uttered too late might be catastrophic. It’s not second thoughts though, I’m definitely doing it but I’m just not being naive about it. The “grass is always greener” aspect is not lost on me. Caution seems  sensible. I’m currently pretty happy with my progression and just enjoying that for a while seems like a plan. And in the unlikely event that I never got around to surgery? There’s always the circus.

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Transition

Travel Sized

Today finds me travelling abroad for only the second time as a woman. I’d be lying if I said it was without trepidation.  The destination is Toruń  in Northern Poland. Any concern I have is only because I am completely ignorant about current Polish views on my particular situation. I have visited Toruń before, as a male. It’s a beautiful city with a vibrant University population and since it has a centre against homophobia, I’m expecting it to be pretty tolerant. Why Toruń you may ask, well it’s “the birthplace of the greatest and (most) famous Nicolaus Copernicus. In the Middle Ages Toruń was a prominent trade centre as a member of the Hanseatic League; in Poland it is called (the) ‘Krakow of the North’. Toruń is the most Gothic urban complex in Poland, one of the most important and crowded tourist centres of unique value, right after Krakow the second richest of original and best preserved historical monuments city in Poland”. Or so says the tourist blurb.

Looking forward to returning to a couple of my favourite restaurants in the Old Town and hoping that it all still feels pleasantly familiar. It was the first Polish city I ever visited and I’ve been a wee bit in love with Poland ever since. Most of all, I’m looking forward to finding out how good I’ll be at managing my new gender with a language barrier added. It’s all very well feeling confident within the confines of Glasgow but it’s good to stretch things now and then. And a Glaswegian mangling Polish is as stretched as it gets. But we’ll never go thirsty, “dwa piwa proszę”. Important priorities sorted.

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Transition

Stoically Yours

Something that’s been offered to me frequently since I started to transition is how brave a thing to do it is. It certainly doesn’t feel brave. For me, it’s the most self centred thing I’ve managed in my 40 odd years. I am certainly happier and more confident but the cost was phenomenally high. I’m glad I made the decision but the body count of relationships is uncomfortable all the same. To date, I’ve almost wrecked my Mother, “lost” two brothers and at least a few people, that I was close to, are currently footnotes in my daily life. So the price of admission is prohibitive. And it’s pretty hard to wear it as a medal, if you’re feeling emotionally scalped. I’m not angry with them and I hope they stop being angry with me at some point. The Indians had it right, “Never judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.”

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Transition

Cockney Rhyming Slang

In a roundabout way I’ve had it confirmed that at least one of my brothers categorically doesn’t want to hear from me. But it’s still a waiting game. Not remotely disheartened, nor upset. Prepare for the worst and anything else is generally a bonus. I’m not going to pretend they don’t exist but I’m not going to push it at the risk of making things worse either. Although I’m not sure that is even possible. 15 months is evidently just not enough time. That’s difficult to swallow but will have to do for now. I’ve came this far with enough to make life pretty reasonable, be it family, friends, their kids. There is more than enough to be thankful for. For the sake of clarity, the title of this post is not about my brother though. It’s about the biggest disaster I have ever managed to orchestrate. Because, quite honestly, I did this. Still, I’ve said it before. There is always tomorrow. I’m off to watch epic skateboarding fails on YouTube. Today’s lesson might be “Keep getting back up”.

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Transition

Warpaint

I did not realise how quickly makeup would become an essential part of my daily arsenal in dealing with the world. Not that I am particularly skillful or gifted. I essentially do the same thing every day. With surprisingly differing results. I also found that Chrissy rapidly became something of a “High Maintenance Bird” (for non-UK readers, read nightmare.)

I am literally unable to leave my home without a full face of makeup. Less than 2 years ago Chris did that every day. But now I need that for the confidence to just be Chrissy. With a face on there is nothing the world can throw at me, no matter how horrible, that I cannot deal with.

That’s not to say that I can’t be stripped back, own hair, no makeup with my oldest friends. I can. They don’t judge. I’ve just found that in this stage of my transition I need it just to cushion me from the outside world. I know I’ll be fine but right now, always battle ready!

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Transition

Jeepers Creepers!

The one thing I worry about throughout this is the notion that those I care most about might think I lied to them or misled them about who I was. All I can offer is that at the time, I didn’t. I’d yet to decide definitively before I reached my late 30’s. But I knew that some of my thoughts were way off from male thoughts as far back as single digit birthdays. I also knew, instinctively, that it would not be wise to broadcast this. At all. I also felt the pressure to have the kind of life that fell within “normal” expectations but that’s not a complaint. Some of the most important relationships in my life were born during this period. And I regret nothing about it. The only concern I have, with hindsight, is that people might think I hid something from them or was less than honest. Or that the thought might cause them pain and confusion. I couldn’t tell people about something I had never decided on up until then. And unlike Hollywood or televisual transsexuals, I didn’t know aged 3. The best way I can describe it is as a creeping realisation. Slowly but relentlessly it inched forwards. From initial forays into costumed clubbing, to parties as a girl now and then, to wondering if I was really prepared to do this. Clearly I was. But it’s not lost on me that the trauma of all of it was not solely mine. If anyone felt hurt along the way, they were not just collateral damage to me. I simply didn’t know what I was doing. And I wish I’d done things different. Good thing that I had the friends I had. I am a lucky bitch. On a lighter note, even if you normally don’t, please give today’s YouTube link a click. A thing of epic beauty.

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Transition

Hey, What’s My Name?

I changed my name legally in January 2014. It is officially Chrissy. On my passport and everything else. In fact, my passport identifies me as female. Which was bizarrely easier than the actual change of name.

But I chose this name very deliberately. I’ve had many others. Christopher, Chris, Christmas Cake, Xmascake and then my drag name, Tara DeBoomdeay. They all worked at their time.

Tara was essential for me to reach Chrissy and I am thankful for all she taught me. Stranger still when referring to yourself. But Chrissy was simply a feminisation of Chris.

I felt this would be less traumatic for everyone. Although I briefly considered Samantha. Give me peace, I saw sense eventually.

Sometimes my friends still call me Chris. And I see them wince, as if they have mortally wounded me. They’ve not. They just see me as exactly the same person. Love that.

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Transition

The Kids Are Alright

Something that was a total surprise to me was how open minded the younger generation are. In truth, they are a much maligned group. Adults are quick to bemoan their perceived lack of respect etc but, credit where credit is due, I generally get less problems with children and teenagers than society as a general whole. They simply don’t seem to care. Travelling on public transport I am frequently surrounded by groups of youths. As unlikely as I thought it, I am barely on their radar. They are too busy with tales of weekend exploits, departing One Direction members or how much of a cow their Maths teacher really is. Younger kids are even better. Answer their questions honestly, like “What kind of pyjamas do you wear?” or “Do you prefer being a boy or a girl?”. That’s all it takes, an answer to whatever little question might be bothering them. My friends’ children seem to have taken it in their stride. That’s a mixture of good parenting and maybe just their innocence. Whichever, there’s plenty of hope for a future where it just doesn’t matter. And I’ll take that, any day of the week.

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