PAL Compatible


Respect is a huge thing during transition. I’d like to argue it’s a two way street. On the one hand, you’d like to be treated accordingly in your new gender. On the other, the general public have comfort zones too. You need to make allowances for this.

After being referred to as Sir this week, this post sort of grew out of two of the most common words I am addressed by, Pal and Mate. Words that can be incendiary to some transgender people. I still struggle to understand why. Both are simply terms which refer to friendship and in my city they are standby greetings to strangers. Where is the problem? They are infinitely better than Sir in my opinion.

They are at least genderless expressions. A cultural no-man’s land. And if you find yourself on the receiving end of Pal or Mate? Please don’t get your knickers in a twist. It’s not a slur. It’s not offensive. It’s just somebody badly searching for an acceptable term which won’t offend you and which they are ok with.

As time has gone on, misgendering happens less and less to me. But it is still the default position of many, e.g. taxi drivers, to use either Pal or Mate to talk to me. In a one to one situation I have to concede that some strangers may not be entirely comfortable with my questionable gender, I can entirely accept Pal and Mate in these moments. Particularly from men. It shows they are trying, with perhaps the minimum of real effort, not to be a dick to me. No matter what opinion they may hold. 

It’s about perspective really. If you look for attacks in life, you will pretty much always find them. But being offended by folk desperately trying to meet you halfway is pointless. Nobody ever died from Pal or Mate. They’re maybe not my ideal greetings but I’ll take either over misgendering any day of the week. As much as I have a right to be, other people do get to have their own opinions about it. That’s just fine as long as there is basic respect involved. But you sort of do have to give it back. If someone is making that effort to try, please allow them to do their best. Life is much easier that way. OK Pal?


World At Your Feet

Taken my lead from someone else today, from an article about the reality of everday life as a Transgender Woman. It grew out of an earlier Facebook post this week. Because it struck a chord. If you fancy reading the article, the link is below. It’s interesting, informative and entirely accurate.

But to me it’s tinged with sadness and an air of defeat. There is so much more to the world and the people in it. And to allow an awful minority to conceal that is a mistake I’d advise against. Transphobia is a real and often daily part of my life. It is, however, protectively framed by the decency and goodwill of the silent majority who simply allow me to live my life unhindered. And it is this population where your allies are to be found.

There are parents, siblings, friends and whoever you call family that come with you through transition. There are colleagues who manage to adapt to a new you. There are strangers who silently let you know that they are ok with you. And then there are the inquisitive ones with a million questions that you perhaps might have an answer to. I choose to celebrate that instead. The other ones? With a problem about it? Fuck ’em and the horse they rode into town.

To give the Very Ignorant any power over you at all is, in my opinion, the worst mistake you can make. Your value does not lie in them. There is strength to be found in rising above it. And although it’s easier said than done, it is far from impossible. Perspective is the key and the best advice I have to offer.

You just cannot please all of the people all of the time. But you can get on with your life using the supports that the world offers up to you. I’ve mentioned before that I have more pity than anger for any would be attackers. They do manage to make me feel sad though. Just no longer for myself. Ignorance is a curse.

I get to live the life I wanted, with or without their permission. That’s a position of power, not the weakness they might perceive at first glance. They see an easy target I’d imagine. But if they actually looked closely, they’d see my head was up. Casually giving not one fuck. They are a passport sized photo in the album of my life. Soon becoming faded and tattered, like any unpleasant memory of them.

Somewhat unfortunately, I don’t know how to really explain how to get there in your head. But if I had to make an attempt, I’d say we’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got. Actually, that’s what Bon Jovi would say but my point remains the same. You take the support and the positives the world gives you and allow them to sweep you through any nasty undercurrents. And that allows you to cope. Simple but effective. This has been a longer rant than originally intended but my world is better than the one in the article. It’s worth standing up for.


We Scare A Lot


I’ve not been scared of much since I started my transition. That might have been a bit naive now I come to think of it. Not that anything bad has ever happened. It’s just I never stopped living the way I always did. Obliviously, as it happens. And maybe with more risk than I appreciated.

I haven’t ever really paid too much attention to danger, up till this week, either. 40 years of previous male privilege meaning that I have probably been a little complacent. And perhaps even cavalier about the reality of my safety.

The penny dropped last week though. Kind of sharply. I’m used to being out at night on my own. Always have been. And other than the odd darkened shortcut, I usually stick to where the traffic and lights are. Safe as houses.

But an unplanned night time subway journey has shown me I might want to start being a little more careful. Casually chose an empty carriage on my way home. I wasn’t too concerned as it was at best a ten minute journey. And then two belligerent drunk guys chose the same carriage. Although thankfully at the opposite end.

They didn’t do or say anything to me. I just had the sense of being scared for a change. The situation felt palpably threatening and despite being used to scrutiny, I just really wanted not to be noticed. At all costs. That’s new to me. Because I definitely was more than a little afraid of where that journey might end. And it was then an epically long trip.

They might also have been the loveliest guys in the world though, I’ll never know. But I do know that surly drunks, misunderstandings and violence are easy bedfellows. I realised I didn’t want to find out the hard way. But it’s a lesson learned. I’ll be trying not to put myself in stupidly risky situations. Especially when I’m alone. I might still take the occasional shortcut though. Old habits etc.


Where My Soul Is At


Limping towards a 10 day holiday in the Mediterranean. My soul is concrete heavy and I simply cannot wait any longer. Been a horrible couple of months where I have been constantly hormonally challenged and sometimes the costs have felt a little high. 

I was pretty sure at the start of hormone therapy that it would be somewhat tricky. I really had zero idea just how much. But I have found that I can adapt to just about anything. Hormones have screwed mercilessly with me recently and in the more difficult moments, they almost convinced me I didn’t want to be here. Disturbingly honest perhaps but there it stands.

I am neither embarrassed or awkward about putting where I was out there. I’m dealing with the erratic moodswings better now and it was only ever about feeling emotional in a moment. And finding that level of feeling things hard to cope with. I like my life way too much.

And life isnt half bad if I really look closely. I’ve learned I am resilient, who I can really rely on and what I’m coming home to after a well earned holiday. In fact, barring the very immediate need for a break, everything in life is pretty much ok. 

My holiday is going to be about letting go of things though. I’ve already had to let go of my brothers, although I didn’t wish to. And I’ll let go of anything else I have to, in order to survive how demanding transition has actually turned out to be. 

When I come back, it’s full speed ahead and I’m totally moving forward. I have an appointment late October which should give me my second psychiatric opinion and finally open the door to seeing the surgeon. So, I have much to be excited about. And just twelve more days till I can kick back and relax. Not that I’m counting. I just have to get there. 


Innit Just!


Was having quite a happy little day until about 15 minutes ago. Well, to be honest I’m still having a happy day but there’s a point to this.

Two morbidly obese gentlemen were walking past me in the city centre. At the exact point they draw level, Troll 1 turns to Troll 2 and announces fairly loudly “That’s a guy, innit?”. 10 out of 10 for observation skills though.

I’m entirely accustomed to being a “that” or an “it”. But I’m not actually deaf or invisible so it’s sort of piss poor manners to comment openly on me from a foot away. I didn’t feel the need to comment on their out of control, diabetes waiting to happen, weight issues. Although I just did, which kind of undermines my point.

The positive to be taken is that I’m still feeling quite chirpy, robust enough to bounce straight back and arguably the best dressed transsexual they will see today. They will remain arseholes no matter what I do. I’m happy to let them get on with that. Live and let live.


Joining The Dots

I’ve mostly been a very mainstream sort of Transsexual. I didn’t want to be part of a dedicated scene and I kept the LGBT side of things at arm’s length. I wanted my transition to be mostly similar to my old life. I’m finding increasingly that this will not be possible.And that I’ve wandered out of my comfort zone. However accidentally.

I’m starting to realise that because I am Transsexual, I do need some connection to a wider community of people who understand what that means. It’s not a Eureka moment or anything though. I’ve been involved with a local Trans support group for a while. I just never intended to find myself helping to deliver it. But it brings me more than it has ever cost me. There is so much to be learned from shared experience. And it’s been great to watch others grow into their own transition too. It’s generally the most supportive environment I encounter. I hope I provide some of that back.

I’m growing more confident because I feel connected and I just want more of that now. I want to be more involved in my community. Specifically the Trans community for me but equality should be for everyone. So what do I do about it?

Just being active seems a good place to start. I’m already a Trade Union Representative. That offers opportunities I hadn’t previously considered. I am able to get involved. I’m hoping to take the Trans seat on my Union’s Scottish LGBT Committee and I’m going to my first National LGBT conference for them in November. Although whoever booked Llandudno in winter clearly wants shot.

But I am definitely starting to feel like that’s where I want to be. I used to be terrified of change. Now, not so much. One door closes etc. And life trundles on. I just don’t want to be sleepwalking through it when I could be doing something.