Tag Archives: trans

In Defence of Women’s Aid

 

Women’s Aid, like all organisations in the charitable sector faces a daily battle. The first facet of that battle is concerned with money and funding – put simply how to maintain the same level of service for those women and children it helps with less money in the face of savage Government cuts brought about by austerity.

Furthermore it faces an ideological battle with the kind of masculinity that says it is okay to hurt abuse and be violent to women.

Overall it would be fair to say that Women’s Aid is facing challenging times. The last thing it needs is another battle to fight as well. According to this piece, there may be one looming however.

The trans community is angry once again, this time over the need to provide a Gender Recognition Certificate if you are a trans woman wishing to work for Women’s Aid. The same burden of proof however is not required to be provided by trans men.

This is yet another example of the trans community being in conflict with women. Women’s Aid is in a fairly unique position in that it helps women and children who are in extreme danger from violent partners and may be very vulnerable. It is likely that women presenting to Women’s Aid requiring assistance will be doing so after a great deal of personal trauma, abuse and chaos in their lives.

Therefore, they and their children require the maximum protection possible.

The headline also shows a very vague understanding of what Women’s Aid actually is there to do. It is not there to be a safe haven for trans staff, but rather a safe haven for the many women and children it supports across the UK.

A Gender Recognition Certificate would in this case demonstrate to Women’s Aid that the person applying for the job had lived in their chosen gender role for a certain period of time, thus demonstrating commitment to it. It would also show that the person in turn had no thoughts of returning to a previous gender role.

I believe that the trans standpoint and that of Women’s Aid clash in this instance. On a deeper level what we see is a conflict between respect for an individual’s identity and the wider interests of women as a social class.

I believe Women’s Aid have been unfairly maligned in this instance. They are merely trying to safeguard the interests of a vulnerable subgroup of women whose needs up until the point when they chose to seek help will have been minimised or ignored altogether. Understandably, they may fear men as a social group. Therefore it is vital that Women’s Aid have every single possible safeguarding measure and litmus test in place to ensure the safety of women in their care.

Too often the wants and desires of trans women seem to be in competition with the safety of women. Such competition is dangerous and must end for the benefit of women and trans women.

If I, as a trans woman wanted to work at Women’s Aid and was asked to provide a gender recognition certificate I would have no problem with this. It is unproblematic to me because my dedication to and passion for the work of helping the vulnerable would override any concerns I had about legislation.

As Women’s Aid told Gaystar News;

‘Victims of domestic violence are at the centre of what we do, and there can be no compromise on the safety of the women and children we work with.

‘Decades of experience working with women escaping perpetrators of domestic violence has taught us that there is nothing perpetrators will not do to gain access to their victims.

‘Perpetrators hack into computer records, break into buildings, and will tell any lie that they think will allow them closer to their victim. We therefore take steps to ensure all of our employees and volunteers, cis [non-trans] and trans, are who they say they are and do not pose any risk.

‘We ask all potential employees and volunteers for proof of identity to ensure we can meet our safeguarding responsibilities.’

So we can see from Women’s Aid’s statement that they are just doing their job. In essence meeting the needs of the women they work for, and do great work with.

Decades of experience are not to be dismissed or treated in a cognitively dissonant fashion. They should be embraced and listened to wholeheartedly.

People are becoming more tech savvy, and with the social media revolution, the downside of it is that it makes victims more accessible to perpetrators.

As such organisations such as Women’s Aid need to be vigilant, ever more so as new technological developments come to fruition. Therefore I do not see any issue with somebody being asked for a Gender Recognition Certificate. Whatever its imperfections, it is a legally recognised document by which Women’s Aid can be doubly sure that an individual is who they say they are if they present wishing to be employed.

In my view, the Gaystar news piece was extremely deaf to the issues which domestic violence organisations battle with on a daily basis. The issue here is not trans discrimination, but rather safeguarding women.

Too often in society, women’s needs are ignored and place too far down the food chain. I applaud Women’s Aid for putting them first. I am saddened that this causes such controversy for the trans community. Women’s Aid is uncompromising because the women who seek its help have been compromised enough and have had to make compromises and concessions to violent partners just to keep themselves safe and alive. I do not think Gender Recognition Certificates are  not a big ask as an additional burden of proof. Let us remember that it is the safety of women that is at stake.

Finally with regard to what Sarah Brown says on toilets and cliches, what is cliche to Sarah may be personal safety to another, or even the violation of that personal safety in a worst case scenario. Let us remember to that whilst having to produce a gender recognition certificate may be mildly irritating for a trans person, it is not tantamount to punishment.

Women’s Aid is merely protecting the interests of the client group it serves. We have seen the vulnerability of domestic violence victims through the lens of Maxine Minniver and Patrick Blake in Hollyoaks recently. Yet for many, this is more than a soap opera storyline. This is their lived reality.

I am angry that the issue of Gender Recognition Certificates is distracting from Women’s Aid’s important work. Producing a gender recognition certificate to do work you are passionate about is a mild inconvenience, and is disproportionate to the trauma experienced by women whom Women’s Aid help. Domestic violence and how it needlessly debilitates women psychologically, physically and emotionally is the only punishment we should be talking about here.

If you are experiencing domestic violence and require help, advice and support call 0808 2000 247

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How Intersectional Are We?

If the recent firestorm around Julie Burchill has got me thinking about anything, it is the notion of intersectionality. I am by my very nature an intersectional being, I suppose we all are really. But for most, I contend that paying heed to intersectionality, is an optional thing rather than a must do.

However, for me I have no choice since one of my intersections is fairly obvious, I am  in a wheelchair. I am also lesbian and trans. On one level, it could be said that this puts me at odds with the rest of the human race. To me this is also a victim stance.

On a positive note though, this gives me a chance to see the world through three sets of very enriching eyes, to bring something to the table that perhaps other people could not. 

I began to blog precisely because, in as much as there were some very erudite accounts of life with a disability, or life being trans, or being lesbian.  However though, I saw no stories and heard no anecdotes of all three together together in one big stew pot. Sometimes you know, in my experience they even fight, argue and squabble for attention. We need intersectionality though, and desperately. The need to live , understand and breathe by the  credo of intersectionality for the benefit and maintenance of a socially cohesive  society.It has a mandate but the question truly is , do we truly use that mandate to its full potential, and tap into it enough?

At the height of my mindset around the Julie Burchill, Suzanne Moore debacle, I was kind of thinking in a grumbly way to myself, that it was easy for the rest of the  LGB community, because they did not have to contend with this kind of resultant abuse.

Later though, I began to think again in a cool headed way. The simple truth is, it is not that the LGB community suffers no oppression, it is just that it presents itself in many inglorious and frightening forms.

The general population are en masse users of social networking. A common trick nowadays is to log into someone else’s Facebook account, and post something they absolutely would not. My friendship group is predominantly LGBT. Now , as a woman, I have a dilemma here.

A common lesbian prank is to write “I WANT C**K” on another lesbian’s Facebook. The dilemma is evident. I have two voices screaming in my head at this point.

The trans voice, inevitably will say, hang on a minute, women have c**ks too, it does not make them lesser women, which is true. 

However, the woman’s voice also presents another scenario. The c**k is also a phallic symbol.  It could and maybe does trigger. We need to be empathic and alert to this possibly.

One of the problems with society at large is that it is too dichotomous, reinforcing too many binaries. 

As well as being a person with a disability, a lesbian and trans, I am a feminist. I believe that women’s rights in society are pivotal. You see friends, right from birth, I have been different, silenced and not normal. So female spaces, and feminism were always atrractive to me, it was a narrative that sp0ke to me, and pierced loudly through my heart. From my own standpoint as the feminst sociologist Dorothy Smith would have it, the world looks pretty unique, and pretty shit for women.

Women are consistently used and abused and objectified by a patriarchal society. They have 0ne night stands after which the girl is a s**t and the guy is a stud. Why is that? Due to male privilege. He gets a pat on the back and a beer perhaps, the girl gets objectified and villified.

I have had too many conversations that start with the opening gambit, “I’ve got something to tell you.”

I have grown up with and been around women all my life. One of the most painful things of my life was when a friend confided in me she was suffering from anorexia.

It is a disorder, quite simply that strips away your mind,  body, energy, self esteem, confidence and soul. My friend talked to me for three hours, solid. She said to me that it meant a lot, just to be listened to. I supported her, loved her, cried with her, and heard her. I never judged her. To me, this is the quintessence of what being a woman was about. My childhood was a discourse of feminism really. Of periods, boyfriends, gossip, and fun and clothes. But the thing with it is, all the time, women are jostling to gain a voice in a society which  is largely not given to them. They are oppressed. Women go through blood sweat and tears to be approved of by the rest of society. Their painful insecurities are often manifested in disorders like anorexia, and self injurous behaviour. Yet this is a hidden narrative, concealed on numerous support forums. My friend’s anorexia was a painful experience. I almost lived it with her. But the other thing is, women are strong. You will I suspect be glad to know that my friend recovered, but it was a long and painful journey for us both.

But nowhere is female oppression more evident than in the scenario of r*pe. Seeing the disregard, and the cruelty with which Fantine (wonderfully portrayed by Anne Hathaway) was maimed and objectified by her rapist in Les Miserables  was truly stomach churning. But for many women (and men too) this is a reality.The arrogance of it, and its cavalier nature. What right does anyone have to violate the body and soul of  another, leaving emotional scars and physical scars that may never heal?We read it in the news almost daily but what I see is a chilling ambivalence towards it.

I have lived through women’s problems and pain all my life. One of my friends who I went to school with said to me she was surprised I did not start growing ovaries and a womb! Another friend told me I was too much of a girl to be a guy for too long. Another said “you act like a girl , you’re like us, but you are not a girl. Why? That is what made me want to transition. For I had been pondering the same question from the moment I could talk.

I never owned my gender in my former life, which I can truly say was a living hell. I was massively proud to change that, and go from darkness to light. A former counsellor said I would lose power. I was never really interested in power though, not in that sense of patriarchal power anyway.

I am massively proud now to have a gender which matches up the inner identity and the outer.

What I am not so proud of though is the vile vituperation that was metred out to Suzanne Moore last week. I was more unhappy with the creation of the word”cuntards” in one of her Tweets and told her that.

The Tweets were nasty, and not befitting of fellow sisters. As I suggested in my original blog last week, the article contained much good food. She was arguing that welfare cuts are having a disproportionate effect on women and other minorities I guess. A point worth making. This is why I love feminism so much. It is a philosophy that speaks for the oppressed, and I include myself in that oppression frankly. Were I just looking with my disabled head on, I would say, fab! go girl! she is giving me a voice. Ditto to lesbian.

But I was upset by the Brazillian transsexual slur. I said that she spoiled the article with its use. However there was much good food there.

The reaction of the trans community was disproportionate though, and could be equally construed as hate speech by Suzanne as Burchill’s article was to the trans community. Suzanne has not picketed the homes of Tweeters though. 

The fundamental mistake made was to fight oppression with oppression. I see all too often that the trans community is quite happy to do to others what it does not want done to it, and that disturbs me, greatly. If Suzanne does it, it is oppression. If we do it, it is campaigning or activism. It is not right, unfeminist, and distinctly wrong. Here’s an idea, I am being quite out there I grant you.

If the trans community had not reacted the way it did, then perhaps Julie’s abhorrent piece would never have been written. It did not just float out of a vacuum. Something had to happen for it to happen. Cause and effect. Snowballs perhaps relevant.

Finally the oven ready broad porn star stuff. It reminds me of a certain bird often cooked at Christmas but that is a funny aside. I believe there is pressure on all women to look glamourous, sexy, wear lovely high heels and dresses and look sexy for men’s (sometimes) benefit. Social pressure, peer pressure and inner psychological pressure that all women, trans and not, fall vicitim to. And that my friends is fucking sad. Women should be able to be how they want. 

Many lesbians understandably rock against this pressure. I do not have a particular type. I love faces, eyes and smiles make me giddy. I want to get a tattoo. But I digress.

Throughout my University degree, I subconsciously weaved a narrative of oppression. Postcolonialism, feminism and other such things.

I was born othered through my disability, othered was not something  I became. I am guessing this is why I loved feminism so much.

Feminism is my narrative. What is not my narrative is seeing women oppressing women, and driving them off Twitter.

Women’s concerns should be ours too. At every opportunity, we should be shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with our sisters. The concerns of people with disabilities should be our concerns too. The concerns of lesbians and gay men should be our concerns too.

I have always been characteristically loyal, caring and empathic, before and after transition. I am not a different person but a happier one.  Women themselves made me a woman, through consistently including me in their space, not due to a smash and grab violation on my part, but, more simply, because they wanted to. The transition was gaining a  fun wardrobe and a better name. Apart from that, business as usual, but at the outset of my transition, I did feel very blessed to be  invited to a hen night.

So, how intersectional are we? The answer is not nearly enough. There is a tendency for  some to retreat into the trans bunker, and moan. That option is not open to me, because I am intersectional by proxy. I have my disability and lesbian identity too.  So in order words, it is a juggling act, rather like plate spinning in a circus.  However, I want to say categorically that none of my identities are a stigma to me. I am proud of them all.

If we want change, we have to be the change. For radical feminists, we need to see behind the lens of why they think the way they do. I do not want to invade their space, but perhaps understand it better.

Trans oppression is not the only oppression. We need to be careful not to be the perpetrators of hate speech instead of the victims. It just gives Julie Burchill more reason to think that her polemic might be true.

So how to change things? Solidarity with feminism is a good start. We also need to be intersectional. This is why disability rights succeeded. It was due to common aims, goals and objectives. What are ours?

We need articles like that penned by Burchill. They challenge us, we can rebut them and argue with them. But we do not need to respond to hate speech with hate speech. We have a responsibility to show we care not just about our own plight, but that of others too. Finally, to the radical feminists, I hear your position. You may not respect my gender. But I hope you can see that this is a decent piece written with the best of intentions.

The Scope and Limits of Representation

Generally in society, we consider representation to be a good and helpful thing. It is very necessary, for example in a court case, to have someone who knows in detail the ins and outs of the legal system representing you, in order that due process is followed and any court proceedings are carried out fairly and justly.

Campaign groups are also an important force for good. They may often be asked for a quote to beef up a particular news item or story, in order to save interviewing thousands of people, it is far easier to go to one group for a quote. They have to be sure to be speaking on behalf of their members and supporters.

But, I am sure we have all experienced a news bulletin, or story, in my case as a member of three minority groups, where we have thought that, even though the organisation speaks for people in our position, it is not upholding our individual views.

This is why representation as a societal force, has scope, and limits. What is the scope, what are the limits, and what can we realistically expect of those who represent us.

The other night, I was aggrieved to see the following status on Facebook.

I don’t represent you i represent myself. I speak for my rights which benefits us all. but I am ME ONLY”

This status was posted by good friend and lovely person Drew-Ashlyn Cunningham, who fights to the death for equality and better rights for trans people, and everyone really. In my view she is a great ambassador for humanity, and for the rich diversity it encompasses.

However, at times she has been accused of “letting down the community” and giving it a bad name due to opportunities she has chosen to pursue. This is frankly absurd. 

Let us look, and look hard at some facts. Drew has a job, and therefore contributes money to the economy. Secondly, any opportunities Drew has gained, she has gained through her own courage, determination, infectious personality and drive.

She used the springboard of My Transsexual Summer effectively overcoming shyness, gaining confidence and becoming a much happier, more together person, going on to get a job at Illamasqua, where using each face as a canvas, you can see her confidence shine through every day. You can see that confidence shine through on the faces of her clients every day.

So, that is what I think of Drew, and I am sure you will agree with my sentiments. Why are people angry with her though and what are their grievances?

A point worth making is that trans men and women, and the genderqueer population do not come vacuum packed as identikit models. Indeed, looking through my own Facebook friend list, it is as rich and diverse a representation of humanity as I could reasonably hope for at this point, given my open and inclusive mindset. That diversity is therefore  no surprise to me.

But we are not all the same. Even though we have a shared (and strong) empathy due to being trans, we all lead different lives, have different backgrounds and different histories. But, that thing that unites us is indeed stronger than that which divides.

Drew can represent people regarding certain things, and so can I. Mainly, we come together when we want to make a big statement on a big issue. For example, Drew is a patron for Gendered Intelligence. I have also blogged vociferously in support of and about the trans community. The My Transsexual Summer cast have also encouraged the World Health Organisation to de-classify transsexuality as an illness by starting an online petition.

But as much as we all belong to a collective minority group, we are always, thank goodness, individuals. We have different thoughts, feelings and opinions. Crucially also, we have different lived experiences.

One of the reasons I began to blog many moons ago, was because of trans narratives I had seen. Now they had all the factual information I could want, but none of them told my story as such, with the unusual narrative and some would say, difficult marinade of disability, transsexuality and being lesbian.

So I began blogging, pouring out my story and people seemed to enjoy my outpourings. I love the freedom that blogging gives me. It can be as multi-faceted as I want it to be. In short, I set up the blog because there was nobody publicising my story, and I wanted to, not out of conceit or vanity, but to add my own twist if you like, to the myriad of stories already out there.

Representation does bite you on the arse in a political context though, as Drew has found. Sometimes too, my blog posts get people riled. It is impossible for one woman, however open minded they are, to represent the views of all trans people. Nor can she be held to ransom over people disagreeing with how she chooses to live her life. She is merely expressing her unique and beautiful self. She is not letting anyone down, as she is not responsible for every person  within the community.

As a community too, we should celebrate activists and advocates, not push them into the shadows, as the cisgendered population have done historically.

I have a theory about why people send Drew the vile and abhorrent abuse they do.

When they accuse her of letting them down, this is a red herring. In fact, they are letting themselves down, but as we know in a blighted society, it is far easier to blame others than it is to take responsibility for your own shit.

Instead of flinging mud at Drew, use her and my experience to help. If you feel your voice is not being heard, then make it heard. Start a blog or a vlog. Become active and passionate. Sign petitions. Pester people. If you want to make change, you have to be the change, not impede those people who are trying to bring it about.

Also, if we try to represent an abundance of views, we make mistakes, perhaps we express something not as somebody would have wanted. So therefore, it is better not to take the risk.

Representation does a lot of good on a global scale, but do not expect one person to represent your views. Remember we are all human and have our own shit to deal with. Also, as long as Drew is happy in her own life, no one has the right to question what she is doing, and place upon her a torrent of disapproval from chattering trans people, who do not do a lot apart from bitch from the sidelines.

It is a bit like complaining about the X Factor result when you did not vote.

To conclude then, Drew has done a lot of good for the trans community, along with the rest of the MTS cast and Channel 4.

If you feel your voice is not being heard, or your story is not being told, then it is in your power to tell it, and speak out. It is the only way. Carping achieves nothing.

Good and effective representation of the self and the whole achieves many things. You have no right to expect others to make the case and complain if you are not involved. 

People too have no right to expect Drew to be a carbon copy of them. She is a wonderful talented individual who celebrates her life.

You could be too. Whether you are or not, is up to you. Are you jealous of success or do you want to be successful?

It is not Drew who has let the community down. It is those individuals who have taken exception to her right to a personality who have let the community down. Trans women and men and genderqueer people are individuals. Drew is, I am. You are. I and Drew have fought hard for our individual true selves. You can do the same. Will you?

A Good Time To Be Trans

Do you know the feeling, when the weather is baking hot outside, and you rush to the fridge to grab an ice cold drink? Alcohol is of course optional. 

Then, you feel the catharsis as the icy cool hits the back of your throat and your thirst is quenched. It has a good effect on your body, and makes you feel good too.

Metaphorically speaking, that is what I feel like about being a trans woman at the moment. I feel  like I have drunk a thousand cold drinks and had my thirst completely quenched.

Of course, this is not to say there is not still work to do. I am, as is every human being, a work in progress. But the fact that my thirst has been quenched for now does not mean that I am becoming complacent. There is work still to do. Therefore, having had my thirst metaphorically quenched, it galvanises me to strive towards my goals.

At the moment, it feels like a good time to be trans.

I think that today, the trans community has much to be optimistic about. 

Lana Wachowski, the director of such iconic films as The Matrix, has today come out as trans. As a sentence in and of itself, learned readers will think, oh well, someone has come out, big  deal. But, let us consider it in context. I would hazard a guess that the majority of people have heard of The Matrix even if they have not necessarily seen it. Therefore, people involved in films in whatever capacity have a massive sphere of influence at their disposal.

The consensus amongst commentators today, appears to be that Lana Wachowski’s coming out will contribute a lot towards trans visibility, that is to say trans people in the public eye just coming out and living life. For my own part, I think it will serve to make the state of being trans and living as trans more acceptable, amongst would be trans people who have been in a state of struggle, and may be contemplating transition, or those of us who are younger and perhaps less able to be our own advocates. It provides hope, and hope can only be a good thing.

Musically, the presence of the trans community is being felt too. This year so far has also borne witness to the coming out as trans of Laura-Jane Grace, lead singer of punk band Against Me!  The fact that it ended her relationship is proof positive, if proof is needed of what being trans is not. It is not fetishistic, nor a choice, nor a phase. It is a life changing, defining, and altogether completely liberating moment in one’s life.

Some people do, but I have not gone between gender roles since my transition in 2005. I am one hundred per cent committed to my life as a woman, as it is the life I yearned and ached for, always.

In the world of broadcasting too, there has been a sea change. The trans predicament seems to be a hot flavour on the tellybox right now. More4, Channel 4’s more longitudinal catch up service, is now re-showing My Transsexual Summer first aired last year. It is capturing the imagination of a whole new audience who missed out on it when it was first aired.

But having the privilege of counting the cast as my friends, I know how much they have all grown and developed in that intervening time. I also know that many others have been touched, encouraged and helped by the sharing of their collective, and individual experiences.

That series was seminal, in making trans acceptable, as well as increasing visibility of us as a part of society, and not some othered fraternity.

A documentary on Ria Cooper too, showed that whilst being trans is not always plain sailing, and people forge their own path based on individual experience, it is possible still to attain and achieve a more authentic life for yourself.

This summer also, BBC Three will break new ground with their slate of programmes focusing on The Body Beautiful unveiled by BBC Three Controller Zai Bennett.

As part of that slate there will be the documentary Jackie Green: Transsexual Beauty Queen charting Jackie’s journey through the Miss England Contest. Now to have a trans woman entering the contest is wonderful. I shall be watching with interest, and would suggest that my readers do so too, of course with an open mind and heart.

Moving away from the wider picture now, I would like to talk about something pretty lovely in my own journey.

As those who know me will know, I am a party girl and do like a drink. I had the lovely happiness of being invited to the 25th birthday of Paris Lees, META magazine editor, trans activist, and lovely person as well.

I had an amazing time, and met some incredible people, and hope to meet them again.  However, I thought about something after I had slept a bit and the hedonistic mist of alcohol had evacuated itself from my brain.

I knew no one else there personally, although I had corresponded with some guests via social media. I began to mull over not only the macro changes in the trans landscape but the micro changes within myself.

One thing I believe in with a passion is writerly integrity. I never bullshit when I blog. If I did my words would have little credibility, meaning and impact.

So why the qualification? I am about to make a bold claim.  This is the sort of thing I would never have done, even with the best coaxing and cajoling available to humankind. When I think about where I could have ended up, possibly in a day centre singing bad karaoke, I shudder I really do.

I used to be ultra scared of going outside. It was a major effort to get me outside and on to the bus to go to Southampton.

A birthday party of strangers would have been unthinkable. I want to say two things here. Firstly, strangers can quickly become friends if you let them. Secondly too, all that was required of me was a change of mindset.

Instead of seeing being trans as a curse, I would rather see it as a blessing and an opportunity. After all, if you squandered it and wasted it, would it not be like flushing a gig ticket down the loo after paying for it? I would also like to see what I can give to people, as well as taking their wonderful support.

So in short, it is a good time to be trans. An opportune time even to bring about everlasting social change. That is to say, trans is for life, not just for Christmas.

We are becoming a visible force, and not only that, a force to be reckoned with too. With views, thoughts and opinions, expressed with eloquence and candour. 

What would I like to see going forward? Mainly less intersectionality I guess. Social movements are at their best, and effect the most change when we speak as one with a united voice.

I would also like more voice and prominence to be given to the thoughts, needs and narratives of those who consider themselves non binary. Their contributions too are valid, and need to be considered too. As a woman with a disability, I understand feelings of isolation only too well, and I think feelings of non binary and intersex isolation do exist.

I am not ending this on a moan. I just think that as the trans community is moulding itself into a really positive animal, the time is right to address these issues, whereas before it may have felt like too big a quantum leap to make.

Furthermore, I would not wish to re-write history or suggest that we in the trans community do not get bullied or victimised any longer. We do. It happens. But I think understanding is slowly beginning to trickle through to the cisgendered population.

In general, we also need to tackle prejudice. I heard a man saying to a woman on the bus this week, that just because he was single, it did not mean he was “queer or nothing”. Now, where did he get the link from and why feel the need to couch queer in a negative way? Sad.

Finally though, I feel society is moving forward. We live in times where trans people are becoming  more visible in the media and in the general social sphere.

So we have a chance to grasp a nettle. The nettle of campaigning, the nettle of greater equality, the nettle of creating, and the nettle of shaping, and bringing greater understanding and empathy of and towards one another.

But above all, do you know what that nettle represents for me? Being yourself, being authentic and being alive.

I long for a time when being trans is no longer tabo0 and pathological. When instead, it is just another facet of the rich and beauty tapestry of life, just like race or disability is. 

It is a good time to be trans, so let us grasp that nettle and grasp it now.