Friday 23 December 2011

Yo Ho Ho!! Mary Chrimbo

Christmas!!! It’s that time of year when everyone gets all excited and stuff and forgive me for being a bit bah humbug but each year I just don’t get what all the excitement is about… See, I was raised in a very religious family and we never celebrated Christmas so it wasn’t until I was seventeen that I had my first proper Christmas and that was spent in a pub lock-in with my then girlfriend and the only festive thing we did was get really drunk…
I guess over the years I have learnt to enjoy it more and my favourite one was when I was in Amsterdam for a couple of weeks. Maybe it was the ‘local’ cigarettes I was smoking but for the first time in my life I actually felt festive! The air was cold and crisp and every where I looked there was tinselly decorations with the odd Dutchman cycling past whistling Christmas songs. My friend and I were staying in a dingy hostel on some dodgy street until some more friends arrived and we got to share their hotel room. On the big day we ate pancakes and did some sightseeing.
The point I’m rambling towards though, is, Christmas is what you make of it. For me it means enjoying time with friends. Each year my friends back in Jersey would all get together for a big meal and to get nice and drunk and I will miss that this year but my life has started a new chapter so it’s time to look forward and enjoy what I have achieved these last few months.
So whatever you get up to and whoever you spend it with, I hope you enjoy it. :)  

Friday 16 December 2011

Government Ministers and Lesbian Pubs (My Week)

Its been a while since my last blog and I’ve been slacking a little in the online part of my life… I’ve just had such a lot going on recently, when I sit down at home I just want to chill out…
What a few days it’s been though! Last week I was woken up by a phone call from someone who said they were from the Home Office!??!! All kinds of thoughts flashed through my mind, what did they want with me? Were they going to deport me back to Jersey for crimes against fashion? Did they want to nominate me for Prime Minister?
As it turned out the Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone was launching the first ever government plan for transgender equality and had asked for someone from My Transsexual Summer to help promote it. So there I was at 6am having not slept because I was out with the others from MTS the night before and I knew that if I went to sleep I wouldn’t wake up in time, downing Red Bull in the hope that I would be able to appear awake on breakfast TV… It all went really well in the end and I was asked to the actual Home Office building to have a meeting with the minister herself. Who would have thought, me, a girl from a tiny island near France, having a natter with a top government minister!!! Lynne seemed like a really nice lady and was clued up on trans issues. Here’s a link to the actual paper the government produced.
Although it’s great and all that the government are taking steps for the progress of transgender rights, from what I understand from this paper, it’s not actually agreeing to do anything. It just seems like they’re saying “let’s start thinking about doing something” It seems a bit of a cop out to me.
Why are they not doing something to promote gender variance in schools? Discrimination and bullying comes from not understanding and there should be more done to educate people.
Why do trans people feel they have to fight to get treatment on the NHS? Failure or a long wait for treatment is seriously detrimental to the wellbeing of people who are transgendered.
I could go on but I’m trying to keep this post short.

In other news, I have got myself a part time job!! I now work behind the bar at the Marlborough pub in Brighton. Apparently it’s a lesbian bar? I had a shift there last night and it went really well, luckily I remembered how to pull a pint and the night flew past in the end. I really enjoyed getting out there and meeting some new people and I hope it’s the start of more shifts and maybe a proper job.
I’m also over a quarter of the way to my target of £2000 on my fundraising page to fund my hair removal. Yay!! A huge thanks to all those who have donated, I have booked my first consultation for Monday and I’ll know a bit more about the treatments I’ll be getting after then. I’m really looking forward to starting, I hate having to shave my face every day, its ripping up my skin and if I haven’t shaved on a particular day my confidence takes a real hit if I have to leave the house. It costs a fortune in razors too!! Heres a link should you wish to donate <3
I’m off to go and see Karen tonight for her birthday so I’ll leave you with that. J

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Moving On

So this whole My Transsexual Summer thing will come to an end tonight and I’m thinking about looking to the future. There has been such a huge reaction from everybody and it seems like I’m riding the crest of a wave, which I don’t want to stop. I got to thinking about how I can continue the momentum this program has built up and also about things I want for the future.
Dream job? I want to be a writer. I want to make money out of something I think I’m good at and I really enjoy and that is writing. I’m in the early stages of writing a book about this summer because there is so much that went on during such a momentous chapter in my life that some people would really benefit from reading it. I have a lot of it planned out and about ten thousand words written so I’m going to concentrate on that over Christmas.
I also want to see if I can get an article published or ideally a regular column in some sort of publication, I’ve been in touch with the Argus in Brighton and am hoping to hear back. What I’m looking for is some kind of regular income, a job of some sort. I’ve had a very varied working life, I started out from school as a Rolls Royce car mechanic and worked in a few garages for 4 years. Then I moved to Ibiza and worked at a rock club for 3 years, I used to stand outside the door and talk people into coming in for a drink and even DJ’d heavy metal for a season in the back room. Since then I’ve been a fishmonger, installed Sky TV and audio/visual systems in peoples houses, I can install and fix Apple computers, I’ve been a labourer, warehouse worker, driver, the list is almost endless. I seem to be able to pick things up and learn new skills easily.
I don’t know even how to begin making money from writing, a good start would be a working AdSense account but it’s been disabled for some reason and I can’t figure out how to get it working again. Can anyone help with anything?
I’ve also started a fundraising page too, for some hair removal so I don’t have to shave every day and to see a gender specialist so I can begin my hormone therapy. Both these things will take years before I get to where I want to be, but both will make a huge difference to my life so please, if you can spare it, donate to my transition fund. Heres my Fundraising page. I made a quick video about it too…

Monday 28 November 2011

My Own Transsexual Summer

This summer has been the most extraordinary time of my life. Back in June I was at the bottom of a deep, black hole. I was sleeping in my car and friends sofas, living my life on autopilot. There was no hope. If I didn’t try and change something I don’t think I would have been able to muster up the will to live for much longer. I knew that my only hope was to confront that problem. The one that had bugged me since I was small. The problem that I had put so much effort into running from. I’m not male, I’m female
I’d also been in contact with someone from Twenty/Twenty about a documentary they were making for a few weeks, just some phone calls, I didn’t think anything would come of it but told them that I was about to start living full time as female and they seemed keen to meet me. I remember that boat journey from Jersey well. The feeling I had having a smoke looking out from the back of the boat watching my island home disappear was one of desperation, my last chance to feel good about myself. If this didn’t succeed I didn’t know what would happen. As I arrived in Weymouth I knew there would be a camera man waiting and I was still dressed in my male clothes… Sitting in my car waiting to disembark I hurriedly put on a bra, false boobs and my wig. This was day one. This was the beginning of my life.
I wanted to be part of this documentary because I knew I needed all the help I could get. I decided early on that if I was asked to take part I had to do it properly. I had watched lots of trans related TV shows in the past and some of them had really touched me, even reduced male me to tears and I wanted to be a part of something that had that effect on others. I wanted to show other trans men and women that if I could make this work then so can they.
Looking at how I am now compared to those first few days I feel like a completely different person. Being part of My Transsexual Summer has changed my life forever. It has been, far and away, the most positive experience of my life. I will forever be grateful for being asked to be a part of it. The people I met have become like family to me and it was a privilege to share such an amazing time in my life with them. The personal journey I had was just amazing and I have not only the trans people to thank but the production crew too. Some of the lessons I learnt will stay with me and benefit me for the rest of my life.
The response from people who have watched it has blown me away, I’ve had literally thousands of mails and tweets offering support and gratitude. I think it’s amazing that people I’ve never met have taken time out of their day to find me and send me lovely things, I totally didn’t expect that.    
I’m going to stop gushing now, I need to figure out what to do next, how to use this experience to continue to help others and myself.  

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Standing Up For Myself.

Over the last few days the guy who I was staying with in Swansea has been trying to blackmail me into removing my earlier blog, Just whats fallen out of my head today. He's also been sending me emails threatening to post further mistruth on forums that I use regularly for support and advice demanding I remove my blog. Here's what he has been spamming my guestbook with:

Apart from the flat out lies about me never making my feelings know to him he attempts to gloss over calling me fat! I remember at least four separate occasions that this happened, three times in front of people! How dare you call that gentle teasing!!! What about the times he said that he'd have to get hypnotized after I had my surgery so he'd still like me?? How about the many times he used to hold my face in his hands and force his tongue into my mouth despite me trying to pull away? How about the time he called me a stupid fucking tranny when I burnt the dinner? How about all the negative and sly comments that I chose to ignore at the time because I thought it wasn't worth upsetting the apple cart to challenge them? Was that just "gentle teasing"???

Yes I do owe him some money but this is no more than a regular dispute over flatting expenses - which hardly requires blackmail and subterfuge to resolve it! He was like two different people, kind on one hand and unpredictable on the other.I did not feel safe living there and I should not have to justify that.

Like I said in my earlier blog: What people don’t realise is just how vulnerable trans women are. I was so desperate for acceptance from someone, anyone as a female human being that I felt I had to do things I wish I hadn’t. I should have never let this happen. 

I'm writing this because I can't ignore the mails I have been receiving, I wanted to just move on, forget all that had happened and get on with my life. But for the first time in my life I feel I have something worth standing up for. Me.

I have been receiving help from a wonderful charity called R.I.S.E and their LGBT officer. They have helped me get back on my feet and given me the strength and power to stand up for myself.  Please, if you have a few spare quid, donate to them. Their help and support has benefited me and many, many others no end and their funding should be more.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Transgender Day Of Remembrance and Political Annoyances

Today (20th November) was the international transgender day of remembrance. Events and services were planned all around the world for people to get together and remember the murders of trans people. A few friends, Fox and me went to the Brighton Methodist center on St. James street where about fifty people eventually turned up and we had a lovely talk from Stef, from the Claire project and heard songs from an LGBT choir. There was also over a hundred lilac, purple and black cards laid out on a table in the middle of the circle with the names of trans people who had been murdered, their ages and where they died. For me the most moving part of the service was when we were invited to stick these cards on the wall. Reading the names on these cards made it real. These were all real people like me, who died because of who they were. After there was a chance to have tea and cakes and meet some of Brighton’s bestest trans folk.
One thing that surprised me though was the statistic that trans people of non-white ethnic origin are much, much more likely to be murdered or become a victim of crime. I have no idea why this is but it’s wrong. The plight of trans people who aren’t lucky enough to be born in such accepting societies needs to be highlighted. I know Paris Lees, of TransMedia Watch has recently travelled to Turkey to investigate their shockingly high murder rates for trans, it will be interesting to see what she has found out. 

Two things prickled me though…  
First and foremost, every political party was invited to join us and show their support. None could be bothered to turn up. In Brighton, arguably the UK’s most trans friendly city, not a single member of our great ruling parties saw fit to spend two hours of their Sunday afternoon to come down and give the trans community a visible message that they cared. Transphobic crime and murder happens in the UK a hell of a lot more than I want to imagine and I wanted to hear what the government was doing about it.
The collective ignorance from politicians in general says a lot about where trans people stand on their list of priorities. I, for one, would like an answer why!
The second thing that made me think was that although the TDoR was that it was a day for remembering our dead. More specifically though, it was to remember those murdered. What about the suicides? Depending on where you get the statistics from, fifty percent of trans people attempt suicide at some stage in their life. God knows how many succeed. This day should be for remembering our trans friends that have died, no matter how they died.


Wednesday 16 November 2011

About The Haters...

The thing that’s been getting to me the most these last few days since the first My Transsexual Summer went out and people have started knowing who I am, on the internet more than anywhere else, is the constant highs and lows, peaks and troughs that my life seems to have become. One moment I’ll be reduced to tears by a lovely email sent to me by an old friend that I haven’t been in contact with in years telling me how he remembers being in a pub in Ibiza with me, six or seven years ago and how I was crying and telling him how unhappy I was and how glad he is seeing m on TV now having found the cause of my problems and how happy I looked.
The next moment, it seems I’ll read a negative or insulting comment on my blog or on twitter and it will really affect me. I’ll get angry and hurt and react in some way. It seems like a never ending rollercoaster.
I realise that I’m wrong letting the negativity get to me, I can simply choose to ignore it. The amount of positive, supportive and nice comments, tweets and emails I’ve been receiving has far, far outweighed the bad.
I knew when getting into this documentary thing that there would be negative feedback and I thought I’d prepared myself for them better. Life is just a learning curve after all. At the end of the day it says more about the person being nasty than they could ever say about me.
Radiate positivity and it will be reflected back.

Monday 14 November 2011

Just whats fallen out of my head today.

What I wanted from My Transsexual Summer was a lot different than challenging stereotypical gender binary ideas people have or breaking down barriers between cisgender and transgender people.
 At the start of all this, I wanted the chance to tell my story. I wanted people to see the journey I was embarking upon. I wanted to meet and get to know other trans people like me. I wanted support. I wanted friends. I wanted a life.
All that I originally desired has come true tenfold. But I find myself wanting more. What this documentary will never tell because of time restraints is what else was going on in my life, what circumstances led up to me moving to Wales, what happened when I was living there and the situation I find myself in at the moment.
Before this summer I always lacked direction in my life, never being able to stick in one job, home or relationship. The last time I lived in the same house for more than a year was over ten years ago. I’ve never had a job for longer than eighteen months. I’ve never felt like I could be open with a partner one hundred percent because of these feelings inside of me so I flittered in and out of relationships. Nothing ever seemed quite right. I had this huge battle between masculinity and femininity raging inside me constantly eating away at me and devouring my will to give a shit about anything. I destroyed friendships, relationships, anything that did some positive for me, I just couldn’t bring myself to fight for the things that should have mattered.
But now I find myself giving a shit about stuff, and sometimes it’s hard to know what to do about it.
What the documentary won’t show is how I had somehow found myself in an abusive situation with the guy I was living with. I’d met him a couple of times before, when visiting Wales and he seemed like a nice guy, he was softly spoken, calm and chilled out and to be honest I was kind of attracted to that. He said I could come and stay in his spare room and he would help me get on my feet. He started taking me out to places and buying me drinks, cooking me meals and generally paying my way. I started looking for work and applied for job seekers allowance and housing benefit, which took months for me to sort out. During this time he was pressuring me into sex and constantly following me about the house hugging me and kissing me. I stupidly thought I owed him. I thought that he was letting me stay there for free and I had to pay him back somehow. I used to dread leaving the Retreat or driving back home from some filming trip. I didn’t know what to do, if I left I would be homeless, I knew barely a handful of people in the whole country and I didn’t want to feel like I was a burden to someone. Most of these people I had only known for a few weeks.
All this just ate away at me, my life was full of newness and excitement and joy everywhere but at home. Not that it ever felt like home. I’d come up with excuses as to why I needed to stay in my room but then when I came downstairs for a cup of tea or a smoke, he’d be there, following me about and kissing me. I told him on many occasions I didn’t want to, it was like he was challenging me every time he did it. If I resisted any more than I did then it would have caused real friction between us. There would have always been an atmosphere and the last thing I wanted to do was make things worse. Then he started insulting me. He would point out my belly and say I was fat. He would do this in front of people, again challenging me to react. I felt like I was stupid for getting myself into such a situation, I kept most of what was happening to myself. That, I regret.
What people don’t realise is just how vulnerable trans women are. I was so desperate for acceptance from someone, anyone as a female human being that I felt I had to do things I wish I hadn’t. I should have never let this happen. I had to leave. About a week before the documentary was aired I upped and left while he was out and moved down to Brighton, the only place in the UK where I knew two people in the same town. They have been amazing friends to me and I can never thank them enough for all they have done for me.
But boil it all down and I still feel like I’m in their way. I still have no home. I need somewhere to call my own. And I need money for that, which is one thing I don’t have. I don’t even know if I want to stay in Brighton.
All I want now is a job and somewhere to call home. And someone to love who loves me back. I want a normal life. No more drama, no more fucking about, I just want to get on with doing millions of people around the world do.

I've recently met someone though and love may be blossoming so I think I'm on the way to finally getting what I want. She's the kindest woman I've ever met and makes me feel happy when I'm with her. I have high hopes for this girl.
But now I’m on TV and I’ve put myself out there under the scrutiny of the general public and opened myself up to all. I can’t run away and hide, I have to face this head on, I have to fight for what I believe is right and stand up and be counted. I have to deal with the positive and the negative from people about the show and at the same time I have to get on with building my life, wherever that may be.

The journey I have been on this summer has been the making of me and the people I met will forever empower me. I will get through this and my life will be amazing.

But I’m still homeless and penniless….  

Monday 29 August 2011

So, This Transitioning Malarkey...

So I tried in Jersey to get some kind of medical help for literally years. I spoke to my doctor many times about wanting to transition. Once I was referred to a psychologist who admitted she had never even met another trans person and then proceeded to tell me that in her opinion I was only feeling  like this because I was unemployed at the time and I should just get a job... Thanx... The last time I saw my doctor I went presenting as female and asked them to refer to me as Sarah and to help me to find someone who would know what they were talking about. A week later I received a letter from my doctor;

Dear (Male name)

Unfortunately after contacting both the psychology and psychiatric department on the island there are no service (sic) available on the island with regards to gender change. The only was (sic) forward therefore would be a private referral to a unit in the UK.

Yours, Doctor.

I was blummin fuming!!! I gave this doctor bloke forty odd quid for a badly spelt letter telling me they were not going to help me at all! Grrrrr.

This was the final straw for me and Jersey. I had to get out. Not for the first time I had been slapped down by the medical profession in my island. I already wanted to move away to transition as I felt that the anonymity of a larger city or town would help me be more expressive and open than I could back home but this, this just made me even more determined to succeed with my plans to move.

I should add that the day after the boat dropped me off in England I received a call from my doctor and he said he had managed to sort a psychiatric appointment for me but not to hold out any hope of getting any more help than that. Too little, too late for me. I had made the leap and wasn't turning back.

The day I moved to Wales was the first day of the rest of my life. I have dressed as female everyday since. Within a couple of weeks I had an appointment at my local GP's office and met a new doctor. I went in for the appointment armed with the International Standards of Care for Transgendered people ready to assert my need to transition and fight for whatever rights I thought I had. She was actually really nice, she said that she'd never treated a trans person before but was willing to do some research and learn more about what it involved. I made another appointment to come back the next week.  

When I went back I couldn't believe how helpful my new GP was. She'd done a load of research and had come back with a more definite course of action. First a psychology meeting to make sure I'm not completely crazy then I've gotta see a kind of gatekeeper person to get the NHS Wales funding for a referral to the gender clinic in Charring Cross in London.

So I had my first psych appointment last Tuesday. That went really well too!! We talked about lots of things, memories of first being trans, family, friends, my past, my future... The upshot of all this is that I'm not mad!!! Yay!!! The Psychs assessment is that from her clinical point of view she won't need to see me again and she will write a letter to the next person up on the list to refer me. :)

So now I wait. one thought that has been playing on my mind a little bit is that this whole thing is going so well, I'm almost waiting for something bad to happen. Things have progressed so well and so quickly for me the last couple of months that I'm just waiting for things to slow up and for a setback to happen. I know it's the wrong thing to be thinking about but it's been in the back of my mind for ages now. I think I should just relax and enjoy the good times now and deal with whatever problems come, when they come.

The UK is Fucking Big.

Where I come from, my entire universe, everything that mattered was contained in one nine miles long by five miles wide island. It takes fifteen minutes to get everywhere. Everybody knows everyone. Jersey is so small that it doesn’t even show on a world map. Now I move to the Mainland and I’m struggling to get to grips with the enormity of the place. In forty eight hours I drove almost nine hundred miles last week. Nine. Hundred. Miles. That’s like, St. Ouens to Gorey a hundred times!!!


Maybe it’s not just the size of England and Wales, overt advertising is still rare in Jersey, for me it’s a strange sight to see a taxi with a corporate logo or bright pictures stuck to its doors. There are no roadside signs trying to tell you which car you should buy and the busses are just plain blue. I go out to any large town in Wales or England and my senses are assaulted by giant illuminated signs, billboards, stickers on bins, flyers… Almost everywhere I turn everyone’s trying to shove an advert down my neck. 

Everyone seems to know what they’re doing, where they’re going and they’re getting places as fast as they possibly can… Jersey seems so tranquil compared to the mad world I have moved to. 

   I took this one just before I left Jersey.

Having said that, I think I’m getting used to this place, I managed to go all the way to London and through the half closed down Underground the other week all on my own! I still feel very much like a small town girl in a very, very big world sometimes though.

I have been unbelievably busy for the last few weeks. In the two months I’ve been here I have been to London twice, Crawley, Brighton, Okehampton three times, Bristol thrice, Cardiff many times, Manchester, Wakefield twice and a few more that I’ve forgotten. Everywhere I’ve been there has been parties, clubs, hugs, cups of tea and a few tears. Every journey I take is one of epic proportions for me, both geographically and emotionally. 

Thursday 4 August 2011

My First Blog. By Lady Muck (Age29 1/4)

So.... First ever attempt at a blog or even some kind of diary thingy... We'll see if this thing lasts... I guess I want to record some of the random things I seem to get up to because life is going past so fast recently...

First Things First.

I've lived in Jersey, UK for all my life, apart from a few summers in Ibiza and France but always knew deep down I had the wrong body for my internal gender. It caused me to fuck up a lot. I hurt people i loved and hurt myself. So I decided enough was enough. I was going to tackle this gender problem head on. If I was ever to get on in my life and actually be happy then I have to sort this out. Now.

So I packed all my belongings in the world into my cavernous volvo and set off on the boat to Weymouth, UK with about £5 in my pocket and a bucket load of hope. It doesn't sound like it never seemed like a big step to me, more like the next, natural step in my life. I'd just have to figure out things out along the way.

I had met a guy, M, who said I could stay with him in his spare room, and pay rent as and when I could afford it, which was lucky because without that offer I would be living in my car... Not good for a glamorous girl like myself...  So here I am in Swansea, new to living as female, having thrown all my male clothes away, I know nobody here apart from M, I have no job and very little money but even this is better than living my life as a lie.

The great thing about staying with M though, is that every weekend he goes out to different clubs, nights and events all over the country so I get to meet loads of cool people and do lots of cool things.

Sparkle, Manchester, UK

The first weekend after arriving in Wales we went to which is an annual transgender pride sort of event. It's held in and around Manchester's Canal Street and gay village area and theres nights out, workshops and a big party in the park on the Saturday.


First night there we went to a cool club called V Bar or something, just on Canal street and met with Aerie, Sophie and a few friends from Devon too. It's kinda hard to describe the feelings I had as the night wore on, within a week I'd gone from living on an island 9 miles by 5 where there was only one gay bar and I was the only TGirl who wasn't scared of going out clubbing to a metropolis in England surrounded by literally thousands of other TGirls, partners admirers and any other poor bugger that happened to be in Canal street that weekend. I think I was out smoking a cigarette when it dawned on me how amazing my life suddenly seemed, I was surrounded by all these people and none of them batted an eyelid at me, there I was in my slinky polkadot dress and stupidly high heels and nobody gave me a second look...

Now I'm not sure if I should have been annoyed that i wasn't getting appreciative glances left right and centre and I don't know if it was the vodka lemonade I was drinking but I felt something strange, a liberating, freeing feeling, within a couple of hours of going out I was chatting to random strangers and walking up to random people and introducing myself.  I'd never been like that before, always been the quiet one. It really felt like am epiphany moment, I could for the first time start living my life how I wanted it and not have to hide myself ever.

The next night was even better, during the day I went to a workshop on surgery and saw the fĂȘte type thing in the park on Canal Street  I met up with the lovely Wendy and a couple of her friends and had some food and headed back to the hotel and got ready for the night out.

This night I went for it, there was nothing holding me back I went off on my own and found a rock club! Now I love rock and metal, the amusingly named Satans Hollow had a big dance floor in the middle and a massive grinning devil above the DJ booth and to my surprise there was about 30 TGirls and friends mingling with the straight crowd. I was in heaven! My only slight niggle about the whole club scene was the crappy music everywhere seemed to play and here was a place that played the music I love.

I maybe got a bit too drunk but I had the most amazing night, I danced!! I've not danced in a club in years and had never danced while all dressed up in heels before, I probably looked a right state but I didn't care, I had never felt so free before.