Decisions Vs Incisions

I’m rapidly reaching the end of my 2 year Real Life Experience. Which means surgery appears ever larger as an option. An option which will require me to jump through more medical hoops I expect. And an option that will not come without it’s own difficulties, both physically and mentally. For all that I would stand to gain, there is an inevitable loss that has to be made to get where I want. And that’s a little bit terrifying. My life is still ticking along pretty nicely. I am still pretty much accepted by my friends and colleagues and society at large seems to find my presence tolerable. At a glance I think most people don’t determine my gender based on what genitalia they believe I might have. And neither do I. I am still wary of a huge operation that changes things forever. It may be the most important decision I’ve ever had to make and I’m not remotely casual about it. So I’m going to start the ball rolling with the Gender Clinic. Not for some fast track femininity but just a discussion on the Pro’s and Con’s of surgery and whether I need it to be happy. I suspect not but I’m 99.5% sure that I will have surgery. When I am good and ready. And on a sensible timescale, two years seems awfully quick to decide and that 0.5% says “Repent at leisure”. I am fairly lucky that I am not Body Dysmorphic though. Other than the fact I am pretty skinny, I am not distressed at all by the body I have. Also a lucky place to be. But it’s probably time to start taking this more seriously. Maybe practice my speech therapy properly and wrap my head around where I’m going with this. All of this seems like a grown up sort of plan. And that is truly terrifying.

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That’s Easy For You To Say

The least successful part of my transition so far has been Speech Therapy. But that’s more to do with my resistance than any failure on the part of the NHS. Both of my Speech Therapists were lovely and gave me the tools I require to successfully feminise my voice. I’m just inherently lazy when it comes to practicing. And a little bit scared. At the start of this I promised people they wouldn’t lose Chris. My voice is practically all that remains though. And that’s a hurdle I’ll have to get over. At least once a week I have a telephone conversation on the phone where I have to reveal my Trans status. It usually goes like this:-

Random Government Lackey: “Can I take your name?”
Me: “Chrissy”
Random Government Lackey: “Ok Chris, how can I help you?”
Me: “If you don’t mind, it’s Chrissy, not Chris”
Random Government Lackey: “Oh sorry, What’s it short for?”
Me: “It’s short for Chrissy, that’s my name”

Small potatoes, you might think. But if it’s the fifth time in an hour then it gets a little grating. And it is pretty constant over the phone. Hourly and daily. But it’s entirely down to me to change this. It’s also entirely possible that I can. This confusion isn’t without benefits I suppose. You will never find anyone so helpful to you as when you’ve just revealed your status after they’ve called you Sir for 5 minutes. Over the sound of furious back pedalling and data protection concerns being mentally shredded, you usually have a new best friend. At least until you put the phone down. I’ll miss that level of co-operation if I do sort my voice out. It gives me an unexpected bargaining tool, something I willingly take advantage of when I can. But it has to stop sometime. Smart money would probably not bet on this month though.

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Woof!

July has been a Black Dog sort of month. I will be overjoyed to see it wither and die. Fortunately, this is only days away now. I’m just not yet used to emotion having such a large part to play in my thoughts. I’m more accustomed to meandering through life with utter ambivalence. But July has been a bitch of a month to date. On the face of it, nothing really bad has happened. Part of me sees this and wants to give myself a good slap and a “Pull yourself together” pep talk. But thoughts of my family are difficult to get away from. My relationship with my brothers is somewhat wrecked. And I did that. For the first time in my life I feel entirely impotent. I miss them. Every day. But contacting them still has the potential to make things worse. And that’s tricky to compromise with yourself over. But that’s the “feeling sorry for myself” part of this post over though. August is a new month and July is getting put to rest. If I do nothing else in August, I will at least be grabbing my life by the proverbials and getting on with it. Rover, however, is getting put to sleep. For as long as possible.

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It Will All End In Fears

So, the Scottish LGBT Equality Report is fresh off the press. It’s pretty bleak in comparison to my own experience. For example, the section below;-

Coming out and living openly
As a result of societal prejudice too many LGBT people still feel unable to ‘come out’ and live openly, even with those they are closest to.
•  More than half of LGBT respondents (52%) ‘never’ or only ‘sometimes’ feel able to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity with their own family.
•  More than six out of ten LGBT respondents ‘never’ or only ‘sometimes’ feel able to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity at work (60%) or when accessing services (71%). •  LGBT respondents said they fear negative reactions, different treatment and discrimination if they do come out.

These figures terrify me and I don’t really recognise this as being true of Scotland. I could of course be wrong. But I can only comment on my own experience. Further in though, things take a turn for the worse.

Transgender respondents  were most likely to have experienced prejudice or discrimination in a recent period. One out of seven transgender respondents (14%) had experienced or witnessed an incident within the last 24 hours, almost half (45%) in the last week, and nine out of ten (91%) in the last year.

My experience couldn’t be more different. Mindbogglingly so. Most of the time the world I inhabit meets me halfway. I’m only starting to appreciate how lucky I’ve apparently been. But then I struggle with the why of how I have been so lucky? What has allowed me to buck the trend? I don’t know and if I did I’d write a book, retire on the profits and move somewhere moderately warm.

The fears of coming out, committing to transition and a societal tsunami just never came to pass for me. I’m saddened that for other folk society hasn’t been so accommodating. And I’m exceptionally saddened at the percentages still reporting discrimination and disadvantage in 2015. Simply for being themselves.

The full report is available here http://www.equality-network.org/resources/publications/policy/the-scottish-lgbt-equality-report/ , if you feel like reading it. Rather than let it dishearten me, it makes me all the more appreciative of the friends and colleagues that I have and prouder than ever of Glasgow. Keep flying the (rainbow) flag!

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Hungry Like The Wolf(man)

Wandered around the corner for a roll and sausage and managed to befuddle not one but two of our local Eastern European scamps. Interestingly they both had the same question, “Are you a gayboy?”. To be fair, that may be at the limit of their English. And perhaps understanding. This was within about 90 seconds of each other but neither was an unpleasant exchange, despite the question at face value. The first one is always pleased to see me, generally full of smiles and I think just inquisitive. Who knows just how often you happen across transsexuals in Romania? In my area we’re ten a penny though, there are at least 7 others I am aware of. The second was a little older, late teens maybe. I had just benefitted from his best version of Joey’s “How you doin’?” and his was a far more confused question than the first. I don’t think he even knew what to do or say next. My answer of “something like that” probably didn’t help him much. But both comments helped me. I used to be terrified of this sort of public exchange and had little in the way of practiced answers. But 18 months on, I’m plenty confident, took it in my stride and whose day isn’t improved by a little “How you doin’?”.

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Stop. Look Around

Ever since I started this blog I keep returning to the idea that life is pretty good and I have little to complain about. Which is all very positive but equally all too easy to take for granted. I’d be hard pushed to say what I’ve done in the last couple of months unless it’s written down somewhere. I’ve not been idle, this much I know, but I’ve definitely been distracted. And before you even realise, it’s weeks since you’ve caught up and sat down with people. And you have no idea where the time went. Fortunately this weekend is a Glasgow holiday, giving me 4 days back to back. A bit of time to jump off the Merry-Go-Round, kick back and get some visiting in. Not a second too soon.

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