I personally hate it when I meet someone on the street or in a club and says something about me being famous or a celebrity. It makes me feel like one of those seemingly vacuous people that sell photos of their wedding or newborn child to a magazine or go on TV to moan about press intrusion into their lives or their latest marriage break up. I don’t feel “famous.” I was on a late night Channel 4 show, which a relatively small number of people watched and then moved on with their lives but it’s left me with a legacy that I can’t ignore.
I still feel like the same person that I was a year ago, I still drink too much Red Bull, stay up till 4am on the internet and wish I could have more confidence. I agreed to be part of My Transsexual Summer mainly because I was just moving to the UK and I didn’t know anyone here, much less knew another trans person or know how really to start my transition. Being “famous” was never a motivation for me and I was vaguely hopeful that some people would take some sort of inspiration from me taking part but it’s this that has become my greatest underestimation of the summer.
Last weekend I went on a trip with the other girls from MTS, Karen, Donna, Drew and a man called Paul as we were invited to open a club night in Birmingham and to attend a night in a gay friendly pub in Bletchingley, Surrey. Now, I was and continue to be uncomfortable with the idea of putting myself on a pedestal above others as if I’m some kind of Elton John-esque “star” and I think it showed, I was self conscious, nervous and a lot more reserved to how I am normally but it was a conversation I had with someone afterwards when I was having a drink to calm my nerves that hit me like a freight train.
This person approached me and begun to tell me how she had came out to her family as trans after watching me telling my mum on TV. She said that seeing how I had summoned up the courage to be honest with the people I love had made her realise that she needed to do the same and she thanked me for taking part in the show. There was a tear in my eye as I hugged her and wished her the best for her life.
The next night in that tiny but lovely pub in Surrey and with the snow falling hard outside I met another young trans woman who, she explained, had only lived fulltime as female for a month. She was painfully shy and we talked about ways to help her boost her confidence and stop worrying about whether she passed as a woman when she was walking down the street. I promised her I would put her in touch with some friends of mine and said we would be able to support her and help her out in any way we could.
Now, I have noticed a couple of comments on Facebook and Twitter from people questioning why I am attending these club openings, events and various things that I’ve been invited to, like I’m milking my “fame” or something. To begin with, even though I put this down to petty jealousy, I thought these people may have had a point, I do not wish to become some sort of “career transsexual” who trades on being on a trans TV show like some Z list celebrity personalities seem to try and milk the fact that they were once on Big Brother or something.
But last weekend has made me aware that the seven of us HAVE made a difference to some peoples lives, we have actually inspired people, given hope to some people, opened some peoples eyes and continue to do so. We still have that opportunity to help some peoples lives and still give hope to some that their personal situations can improve and it’s for this reason that I won’t feel bad turning up to a nightclub in a blacked out people carrier and standing on a stage answering peoples questions as long as I still feel like I am making a difference for the good