Sunday, 30 October 2016

An update on transition - My life ROCKS

So it has been a while since I did an update - added to the story of my journey to transition. I just watched a video by Claire Michelle in conversation with someone who transitioned like 50 years ago and it made me think it was time to get my ass in gear and update ya'll.

Life is worth living now. Ha, straight into it, but that is pretty amazing. It took me a long time to get to this stage but nowadays I actually feel alive. I have my moments, have my wobbles. There are little things that trigger me, as I have discussed in older blogs. But in general I would not change a thing with where I am. I am happy with my place in society, the things I do, the way my body is, the pace of my transition. Sure, I would love the odd thing to be different but there is nothing that makes me trip out.

Well, apart from the way trans people are dealt with by the courts, media and schools. We still have progress to make in these areas but I think progress is happening. Change is happening and eyes are being opened. Hopefully I am playing my bit part.

I could not do so if my life was not in a great place, if my mental health was not good and if I didn't have the amazing support of friends, family and colleagues. I have never shied away from the mess that I was. If I had not transitioned when I did my life was done. I think that this is the crux of whether or not you need to transition, as a friend pointed out the other night. I knew I had to transition. Others I have talked to say the same thing - they just could not go on 'getting by as the wrong gender'.

I hate that the press think that it is such a trivial thing, to transition. No one takes it lightly and we open ourselves up to all sorts of abuse. The stats for suicide amongst the trans community are crazy high and I expect that they are so much lower than the reality. Had I ended my life three years ago that would not have been registered as due to gender dysphoria - I would not have registered on the trans suicide stats. There is zero chance that this is uncommon. Right now we claim a figure of 35 - 45% risk of suicide for trans folks compared to 5% for the non-trans community, I say that the true figures could easily be more like 80%. But we can never question the dead.

Sorry, I need to vent a little here. The more visible trans issues are, the more we acknowledge that gender dysphoria is a real issue, the earlier we recognise it the better. The BBC have just commissioned a show aimed at 6 - 12 year olds talking about transition and this is amazing. On the other hand the Daily Mail is leading a campaign against this, against the trans charity Mermaids, against the trans and trans-supportive community at large. This kind of speech is dangerous. This kind of thinking will lead to the loss of lives. We cannot get away from that. It cannot go on.

Is gender dysphoria a mental health issue? Well, as I have discussed before - no, it just leads to issues with mental health. Before I transitioned I spent most of my life in a deep, dark depression. That lifted when I transitioned. Cause = effect. I love life. I have bad days, but I know that they are bad days. I can accept them as such. They don't lead to my mind spiralling into the depths. Transitioning is the best thing that I could have ever done and I will never, ever regret it.

Turns out that life is actually pretty fantastic when you do it right.

In my case, that means in a dress with a TARDIS tattoo on my back and a blood stream full of oestrogen. Bigger on the inside - damn right I am.

Now that I am in the place I am I fully intend to do what I can to use that and help others get to the same place. Social change will take time. It will take effort. It will not be overnight. The signs however are good in this country.

I cannot change the world but if I make one person's life better then that is what I am here for - what my life is all about. There have lucky that there have been a bunch of these moments in my life and of late I have had a bunch more. the other week I had a kid from a trans LGBT group call me cool. Cool - me! I'm a nerd. But I am living an authentic, and very non-incognito, life - the kind of person 'the youth' need to see (that makes me sound old doesn't it...); the kind of person that allows them to see that they are not alone. In the same way that old Baby Chaos albums used to make me see that I was not the only person who got depressed.

I am in a position where folks listen to me and there is a chance I can make little differences here and there. I am getting involved at the uni with loads of events, I have started helping with a local youth LGBT group, I am engaged with Stonewall, doing training to go into local schools. I am involved with the city and county councils in minor but still real way. I was able to bring up a horrible case of repression of a trans schoolie to a member of the county council and fingers crossed it will be followed up. I hope so. The meeting was totally accidental but now I have it I will be keeping my eye on it.

I can use my position as a happy, pretty successful, trans woman to fight for those who are not in a good place. When we have the strength we have to help each other.
I am doing what I can to bring things together, to make sure that efforts are not wasted or work is redone. I am seeing so much engagement from outside the LGBT community which is amazing - and this is where strength comes: from all sectors working together for common causes.

My life experience is LGBT but that does not stop me supporting disability or BME issues. This was echoed at a panel I watched yesterday discussing youth disability and the arts - it was amazing how welcomed I felt at the event. People almost seemed grateful that I was at the event as a member of the LGBT community which was, honestly, quite embarrassing. Just because I am fighting for LGBT rights does not mean I stop caring for other vulnerable groups. Those youths were bloody inspiring.

So yes - I am much happier in life and with that I can go about business like a real person rather than the shadow I used to be. I am comfortable in my skin and I am making the most of it.

I get looked at every so often, but I don't really care. Helps that I have the attitude that if folk give me a dirty look I throw them a grin back. I have learnt to accept myself so other people's opinions really don't matter to me as long as they don't have an impact on my life.

Talking of my own skin - that is certainly softer than it was. I am constantly amazed at what hormones can do. My breasts are not huge but are still on their way. My hips and ass are reaching proportions where I am happy in a skinny dress or jeans. Body hair has gotten significantly less and very light where it does grow. I actually think I am starting to have a reasonable body. Really gotta shake my belly off though - not climbing for so long has had its toll in my middle.

My face keeps changing. I am shocked but I really think it is still changing. I cannot explain what but when I look in the mirror, every so often I notice changes. The standard thought is that most physical changes happen within your first two years, but there are still ongoing changes for 5 years of hormones or so. At the 2.5 year mark, I am still finding surprises here and there.

This brings up an interesting point. The truth is that the younger you start hormone replacement therapy, the better the effect you get. However, you can still have kick ass results later on. I was mid thirties when I started and honestly I am so happy with what the hormones have done for me. I tend to pass by in the street without a second glance. It is only when people actually look at me that they realise I am trans. I am in no way 100% passable under any prolonged glance but I don't get clocked from the corner of eyes which I used to. Sure, I would love to pass 100% but I am comfortable with where I am. And let's be honest, if I was not comfortable being looked at I wouldn't die my hair turquoise. I am hiding nothing of who I am.

I guess this is why I am so lazy with practicing my voice. I have done a course of speech therapy, I can achieve a great pitch and can module my voice to a tone that would stand out less as masculine. Yet, I don't. Yes, I (still) hate my voice but at the same time I am comfortable with it. Partially it adds to the visibility and partially I am really, really lazy when it comes to practicing. Odd, but there ya go. Slowly slowly it'll change I think. I'm down with that.

So between features and voice, I am visible in public. That means folk know 'trans people walk amongst them' and this is actually pretty important. Especially as, every so often, someone will come up and ask you about it.

Yesterday I had a lady constantly casting me glances. After a while she came over and said that her child has recently come out as transgender. I was able to talk to her about it - assure her that getting things wrong at first is totally normal, remind her that her lack of knowledge on the subject is actually the norm but that resources are available. That support is available. I dunno, I hope something I said was useful. At the very least she was able to see that a trans person can exist in the community and be happy. Have a laugh. Just do normal things. I could see how many questions she had and if I were not visible, those questions would remain.

Sometimes just 'being' is important.

Whilst I am comfortable with myself, I still want surgeries. I am getting closer to my referral for bottom surgery, closer to the long waiting list for this. I am not happy with my body in this regard and the sooner I sort it out the sooner I can just get on with it. I just want it out of the way really. Being able to wear leggings without worrying about a bump would be ace. And in the same vein, not having to wear knickers that are so tight they are uncomfortable would be awesome too.

I also want some facial feminisation surgery, FFS. Sure, my face has changed and I like it way more than I ever used to but I would still like to alter a few of my more masculine features. Just get them a little in line with what I imagine in dreams. A few minor alterations.

I also realised recently that if I was offered a free boob job I may actually take it. I have never been of the thought that boobs make the woman. But for free… maybe. Not huge, just a little extra. I hadn't really thought about it to be honest but my gender clinic mentioned it on my last visit. Sure I'll take it if offered but I would rather have the two surgeries above first. Unfortunately FFS is not often available in England (yes in Scotland sometimes, I think) on our NHS. That is something I would like to see change - but I also would like to see the NHS actually be funded better all round.

Well, I guess I have made follow-up updates to previous blogs on mental health and physical changes, as well as going all social change warrior.
I guess that leaves the 'romance' side of things…

I watched a retired woman talk about how she has not made romance work for her despite having a long, successful life. Yet at weekend I hung with a married couple, one of whom has recently started to transition. Truth is, whether you are straight, gay, cis or trans you may or may not find love. Simple as that. It would be interesting to compare stats of straight and gay populations who are happily married but I don't have them and at this stage and I feel too lazy to research it.

From a trans take, I guess some of it is confidence and comfortability in our own skin. I am finally starting to feel normal in my own skin and my confidence is growing. Not that I think I am a sexy lady or owt like that but I feel happy with myself. I am still waiting for surgery, like I say. I think I would be much happier once I have the right bits. Hormones do 'effect' how things work and I also worry that were I lucky enough to be in a relationship it would get complicated changing so drastically.

So for now, when it comes to relationships, I am patient.

That does not mean that I don't look around. Well, I am not actively looking around but I am starting to notice people again. For a while it was like I had my eyes closed to others - which for anyone that used to know me probably sounds crazy. But yer, I was just happy getting on with my own little self and making loads of great friends instead.

Since changing my hormones a few month back I have started to develop mini crushes on people. Weirdly for me these are both male and female crushes. I have always had an open mind but I just never found guys attractive. But of late I find myself thinking "hmm, cute". This took me by surprise. It is only minor for guys - my big crush right now is femme, but it is an interesting change of perspective. Course, most of the guys are gay, damn, but there ya go.

And that raises an odd one in itself. I don't know what sort of sexuality I actually appeal to. If I appealed to a gay man then does that mean I am failing as a woman? Can a lesbian really fall for a trans woman? Can a straight woman? Hmm. It proper mashes my swede.

The idea of actually approaching someone and asking whether they like me or not is insane. I guess this stems from knowing that I am not fully accepted as a woman. Sure, folk will accept my gender identity and support me but on some level, some level there is that 'something'. That same thing that makes people call me 'sir' in shops when I am looking half decent. The subliminal level of acceptance, no matter how much I am accepted on a rational level. I'm not moaning about this, it is how it is. Heck, I have moments where I wonder how I see myself. In my dreams I have a very clear trans-female identity rather than just female.

Makes the idea of dating a 'mare! - Like it wasn't confusing enough as a straight teen boy.

I think we need little badges that say 'open to dating a trans woman'.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Can we not try to kill off our trans kids please?

I am furious today. Furious. I keep reading really negative things about trans people in the press, seeing hate online and hearing about ANOTHER trans suicide. I keep reading articles of oppression for no reason. 
Last Sunday I had a young lad tell me of the oppression he faces in his school – they will not let him wear trousers. What. Why? Is the world really going to crumble if we let our children choose what form of school uniform they wear? 

Remember this statement - schools in the UK do not understand how to work with transgender children. Some do but not all.
So I am using this platform to ask for your help. 
Read, see what you think and spread the word if you think I make sense. How you can help in the case is to sign a petition here. Read why below. No need to blindly just sign. But I offer you my opinions. 

Today I wake up and read about the case of a young trans girl being taken from her loving and supportive mother and placed with her dad to live as a boy.

Now – here is the thing. This article does not give much information but I have very serious concerns about the information the judge used to make the decision. Alarm bells ring and I looked into it a little more.

This is a sealed case – it cannot be talked about, but the ‘allowed’ transcript is included in a link below and it worries me. I explain why – but first I want to discuss how important it is to make sure that a child is correctly identified if they do have gender dysphoria. If they do suffer from transexualism.

It is hard to know family dynamics and I agree with anyone that says a case should be investigated if there is source for concern. This case was brought as it was thought that the mother was pushing the child to live as female rather than the child leading the role. This seems pretty messed up but there are messed up folk out there. 
So yes, investigate. 
Being trans is not an easy life to live and no one should be forced into it. It will attract hate and negativity. It has so many problems associated with it. When I came out as trans my mother feared for my safety. My only concern is that I cannot naturally have children. But it is a difficult life to live. 

If that is being forced on a child that is abuse of a high level.

But, if that child is indeed transgender then the same rules apply. Forcing this child to live as a male if they are female is torture. It was bad enough for me that I lived as a male. Had I lived as female for a while and then been forced back to male, I would not have stayed alive. The truth is, the mental trauma and depression caused by gender dysphoria is real. It has a lasting impact and makes life worthless. This is why so many trans folk kill themselves. The article below pulls all the information together in one place and seems pretty thorough, with scientific papers pulled out as reference.

The highlights are summed up here:
The oft-cited study by Grant and colleagues suggests that 41% of transgender people attempt suicide at least once in their lives. Other studies put this proportion closer to one-third, which is still dramatically higher than the suicide attempt rate of the general population (~5%). A less-cited study found that transgender veterans were 20 times more likely to attempt or complete suicide than non-transgender veterans. Additionally, transgender people have high rates of chronic suicidality. In one study, nearly 40% of transgender people who had attempted suicide had made three or more attempts in their lifetime.

Let me throw in some more sources, just to show that the numbers above are not just  a one off, the second has some nice easy numbers to read:

Let me put it another way, from personal experience: Since I transitioned, my depression has abated a huge amount and my suicidal thoughts have gone. A reasonable conclusion, my assumed gender had a harmful impact on my mental health. This was confirmed by over a years worth of therapy and my recent psychological evaluation (for we have to jump through these hoops to get our meds) confirmed that I do, indeed, suffer from transgenderism.

So yes, those suffering from transgenderism are at higher risk of serious depression and this is because we are forced to live in a certain gender, act a certain way and be someone we are not. It is not that transgenderism itself is a mental disease.

So if we let a child live as their assigned gender, you remove the risk of developing mental health issues. Easy. You prevent that it or you can instead snatch that away, and the risk increases. 

You are risking the lives of your children.

So back to the case. The concerning statements that are released in this and other articles (these snagged from the Independent link, above).

The judge added: “I have noted from reports that (the boy) has become interested in Power Rangers, SpongeBob, Superheroes and is constantly finding new interests…
“It is striking that most of (the boy’s) interests are male-oriented.
“I am entirely satisfied, both on the basis of the reports and (the father’s) evidence at this hearing, that he has brought no pressure on (the boy) to pursue masculine interests.

Ah, right. Because only boys can like Power Rangers and Spongebob. 

Except, I don’t agree with this. Does this not undo what femminism is trying to do. That we are free to wear what we like, look how we choose and do whatever (legal) activities we want. 

Do I now have to wear makeup and skirts when I leave the house? 

Am I no longer allowed to ride motorbikes? 

News flash, I am female and I loved Transformers and He-Man as a kid. I also loved My Little Pony and She-Ra. I couldn’t care less for Josie and the Pussycats. 

I hate Marmite — does that mean I dislike all food? 

These are outdated ideas.

Lets think about it:

If you only let a kid watch ‘boy’ cartoons, they will watch them and may like them. 
But if you put on ‘girls’ cartoons, they may like them too. 
If you don’t let a kid watch ‘girl’ cartoons, you get NO INFORMATION on whether they like them or not.

“I have been told that (the father) and his partner were shocked when they first saw (the boy) by the extent to which he appeared to be a girl, both in appearance and in mannerism,” said the judge.

Ok, once again this is concerning. Two things, one is that mannerism are not imposed. If the child acts this way, it is because they are that way. A child does not put that on. Secondly, once again we are defining how a male and female child should act. In this case I think it makes the point that the child is female, but still such ideas are archaic and do not belong in a court room. Sorry, no. Far too objective.

I am petrified, because I know of single parents who let their children express their true gender identities despite the child's other parent hating it. If this sets president, does this suggest that a child will be put with a parent who prefers the child's assigned gender? Because that scares the absolute hell out of me. Comments by parents of trans children on the Mermaids Facebook page echo this. (See below to hear more about who Mermaids are and what they think and read such comments.)

What else. Well, a friend passed me the court ‘released’ transcript or whatever it’s called. I have it here. It is long, dry and a court case. I am not a lawyer but I do have thoughts on it.

I actually believe this to be a serious case of misjustice. I base this on the statement put out by the youth trans charity Mermaids on Facebook, who had been working with both parent and child for years. They state that the child has been interviewed by two gender expert psychologists and they find the child to be transgender and not influenced by the mothers views. Two gender experts. Where are the gender experts in the court case? None are mentioned.

Mermaids can be thought of as knowledgeable when it comes to knowing about transgender children. I am not the expert, but these guys are. They also know the child and mother.

Further, the whole case has opinions about the mother. The case discusses how the mother is on edge, defensive. Now imagine that this was your child. If you were a parent and had child services called upon you all the time, wouldn’t you start to become defensive? Why are they called? Well, in at least one case because of the child dressing 'femminine'. 
I do not believe that it is unreasonable themother would be on edge. I would be a state. Hell, I am and it isn’t my daughter here. The local services didn’t seem to feel that they needed to intervene and the mother has not actually been arrested for possession, etc, of drugs – so the inclusion of this in the case is all here-say. Sure, there is no evidence that I am wrong or that the mother is not unbalanced – but there is none except circumstantial evidence to say that she is.

This bloody kid is really sounds trans and her mother is doing the VERY BEST THING she can do for her. Her father and this judge have taken that away. This mother is a hero.

The case discusses how the father is ‘very willing to work with the child and let them be whatever gender they wish’. Well, has the father been in touch with Mermaids? Have they been with the child to see the trans experts and see what they think? The ones who have worked with the child for a few years? If the boy is playing with 'male' (ugh) toys - does he have both to choose from? And privacy to choose what they want. Because...

I also have a serious issue with some other statements – that the child is just doing whatever they can to placate the mother. So the child is ‘acting’ like a girl to please their mother – well, does that not work both ways? Could it not be that the child is acting like a boy to please the father? 

It says that at first the child acted like a boy when placed with the father with the hope that they would be allowed to return to the mother. 

Erm, well… this says a lot too. The child is behaving as they think they are supposed to in order to have a quiet life and be left alone. To be allowed to carry on with their mother initially. This really sits poorly with me.

From this I really believe that this case should be looked at by a judge who does not live in a world of gender binaries and preconceived, archaic opinions. The judges statements show that he made his decision on his opinions – and these opinions are widely disproved in the medical and psychiatric fields. Gender identity is real, whether he likes it or not. What I read from the court I have so many concerns.

Yes, sure, you can find argument both to support and disprove gender identity. But again, I use my experience. I am a transgender woman, assigned male at birth. I do not suffer from hallucination, psychotic episodes, delusions. I am a scientist, currently managing a group at the University of Oxford. I have a PhD and a decent enough reputation in my field. I am told I am thoughtful. I try to look at both sides of the argument and make informed decisions based on the evidence around me – even if that challenges standard opinion.

So yes, gender identity is real and can be different to sex. I discuss that elsewhere on this blog. 

There is a petition circulating at the time of writing, I would appreciate you take a few moments to sign it and spread the word. It was formed by Fox Fisher, a well respected and thoughtful trans-activist. I signed it based on their name – even before I looked into the case. 

There is a strong case to have this re-looked at by a non-biased judge.

I put the full statement from Mermaids below for you to read and make up your own mind. Then do what you think is right.

Today as CEO of Mermaids I spent my morning supporting a Mother whose child was removed earlier this year, when the judge overseeing a contact case decided that the child was being emotionally abused as the Mum was forcing the child to live as female. Mermaids has known and supported this family for a number of years. This case is hugely upsetting as well as completely prejudicial. It is difficult to imagine the suffering this removal has caused both the Mum and the child, with no actual basis in truth.
The Judge has now issued the judgement which not only brands the Mum as abusive, but will also have a huge impact on all families supporting a younger child to live as the gender they identify as. During the 3 years that Mermaids have supported this family there has been no evidence AT ALL to support this judges views.

Mum has listened to her child and supported her unconditionally. There have been 2 independent gender specialists who have reviewed the family and agreed that Mum is not responsible for her child’s gender expression.

This judgement is a disaster. In current times with laws protecting gender non-conforming children and young people, this judgement is deeply and profoundly shocking.

Mermaids will continue to support the Mum and try to help to reverse this decision through appeal and any other avenue available. This cannot be allowed to stand.

When people ask me how can a child this young decide, it makes me so angry. No child decides this. Most children are happy with their birth gender. But sometimes they are not. Sometimes this feeling will change in time. Sometimes it won’t. But listening and supporting your child so they know whatever the outcome they are loved for who they are is vital.

If you are known to the press you may be asked for an opinion. If you are affected by this issue and need some support let us know. It is a very sad day.

Below are some of the comments and posts I have received from parents who could potentially find themselves in a similar situation. Mermaids has supported thousands of people over the years. From a parent dealing with their child’s gender variance, to the teen whose parents refuse to acknowledge their identity. This is not a choice. (COMMENTS ARE AT THE BOTTOM, THIS POST WAS FROM 22.10.16)
Further clarification is added here from Mermaids in response to press reports.

I have just posted this into the Daily Mirror story that was shared recently. I thought it might help others understand some of the things that did not make the judgement.
The judge in this case has effectively gagged the Mum which has stopped her from being able to defend herself. I personally (Susie Green CEO) and other members of Mermaids have known this family for 3 years. There have been 2 independent assessments done by psychologists who work with gender variant children, both concluded that the child was very clear about who she was and was not being coerced in any way. Mum was supportive but not directing or causing the behaviour. The independent psychiatrist that the judge quotes also stated there is no evidence that the mum caused the gender identity issues. But that didn't get into the judgement. Why weren't the only NHS centre supporting children with gender identity issues not consulted on this case? The Tavistock are clear that allowing a child to express their gender identity is not a child protection issue. Why did an anonymous allegation of smoking pot that has never been proven or substantiated and is clearly malicious make it into a court judgement? The Mum was subjected to multiple malicious anonymous referrals to social services. Schools are often unable or unwilling to accept gender issues in children and yet the Mum was criticised for removing the child due to bullying. She has been painted as a controlling and abusive character by events being depicted in such a way that makes her entirely understandable protectiveness seem extreme.
It wasn't. I was party to meetings that were called without the Mums knowledge or participation, the clear disbelief from the school and GP that a child can express themselves and their assertion that it was the Mum. It wasn't. The child knows who they are. I can only imagine the bewilderment and distress she must be feeling now having being removed in the middle of the night and placed with a father she had not seen in 3 years, who the last time she saw him he was involved in an altercation with her Mum through the car window, the car that she was in.
Let's be clear here. Cross gender play and expression does not constitute gender dysphoria. Kids should be allowed to play with whatever they want without any conclusions being drawn. I love sponge bob, but that doesn't make me a boy. Most children are perfectly happy with their birth gender. But some are not. This child consistently and repeatedly asserted that she was a girl. This Mum was undermined by professionals that had no experience or understanding of gender identity issues in children, so Mum protected her child and fought for recognition of her gender expression.
The judge said the mum did not follow the Tavistock recommendations. This was because she decided that her 5 year old, who was happy, outgoing and confident, should not be subjected to appointments with a mental health professional who undoubtedly would know nothing about gender issues for no reason. The judgement states in one sentence that the child was isolated and not even registered with a GP, then in another line says she was registered as a girl. Which is it? This child was home schooled, but was part of a local network of parents and children who met regularly and socialised well. Social services stated in a report that the home schooling Mum was providing was of a high standard.
Do not believe everything you read in the papers. I personally know this family and it is heartbreaking to see the Mum made out to be some kind of controlling abusive parent when the truth is so very different.
And I really do love spongebob (THESE COMMENTS WERE MADE 23.10.16)

The parents comments follow:

Today I feel afraid. As a parent of a young transgender child, this fear is not new. It rises and falls, but never goes away. How can I protect my sweet child from so much ignorance, prejudice and hate. I’ve never felt so isolated and alone. Through many challenges, rejections, abuse – being called a terrible parent, my young daughter being called it, he-she, told she doesn’t even have a right to exist – the one life jacket I have clung to, that has stopped us from sinking as a family, is our clear legal protection under the Equalities act. Now, through the prejudice of one high court judge, this legal protection is being threatened. Yet those of us who are devastated, terrified, distraught, are too powerless and vulnerable to speak out openly against this hate. We are weak and feeling alone. We need allies. We need friends. We need you. This is a defining civil rights battle for the 21st century. If you do care, don’t stand silent and allow an already vulnerable and persecuted group of children to lose their right to exist. Our children and families face hostility, criticism, abuse, isolation every day. No loving parent would choose this for their child. I love my daughter to the moon and back. And I will not allow hard won rights and protections to be taken away by ignorance and hate. We need your help. Please share this post. Please sign the petition. Please be visible. We can’t do this on our own

I am a community leader within the Transgender community, vice-chair of Sparkle – National Transgender Charity, Secretary of TMSA-UK (the largest trans Masculine peer support group in the country and Vice-Chair of the newly established Tempyouth service which is a transgender employment mentoring support service for people who are NEET aged 16-25. 
The judges decision is not made on the basis of good fact, it is deplorable that the mother here has been punished and in turn the child punished for being who they are, as a transgender person; it is a disgrace that anyone would prevent a child from being happy and themselves regardless of their gender presentation. THIS IS NOT ABUSE, it is a selfless act of love for their child.
This must not be allowed to continue.
With Concern;
Jay Crawford

Shocked and terrified by this ruling. The damage being done to this child and her mother is appalling. Our acceptance of our own child’s gender dysphoria has allowed her suicidal ideation and depression to weaken and we have seen her become happier. I cannot bear to imagine what would have happened if she had been ignored, taken from us and forced back into living as a boy. The judge in this case must have ignored all expert advice which would have made it clear that we must listen to the voice of the child in these situations.

I have just found out about the case and the judgment. I am a mother to a wonderful little girl who is only 2 years older than this child. My child hasn’t been forced or encouraged in anyway shape or form to identify as female. The fact is I couldn’t of made my daughter do this even if I had wanted this all by for myself. We as parents struggle daily to ensure we are supporting our children through this, the best way possible. Don’t we all have a right too explore our own individuality and the free will to decide how we want to live, even children have the right to happiness and security and to not be abused by the people who are there to protect them. This child was being loved and supported by her mother and instead of helping mum to continue to do this they have placed this child with a person who isn’t going to support this child the way the child needs.
Is the child being allowed to play with anything other than the toys her father wants her to play with??? Is the child allowed to dress as she feels??? Is this child being protected from other people’s ideology?? I already know the answers because it’s obvious who is forcing this child. This is unjust and upsetting and my heart breaks for the child and for the mother.

How can the child be made to live as male if, as the judge expresses, they are too young to know their gender. This decision shows no logical grounds and gives concern to the thousands of families living with young transgender children, that they will be spilt apart because of their child’s identity, which is purely transphobic and highly prejudice.

When studies show that 48% of transgender youth in the uk have admitted to attempting suicide, I simply could not believe what I read in today’s newspaper. It is totally wrong to remove a trans child from an environment where this child can fully be themselves. To place them in an environment where they are forced to live as their birth gender is simply abuse! As a parent of a trans child myself I am completely horrified and disgusted that this is allowed to happen “legally” in 2016. Shame on you.
I hope that this gets challenged, this is a total breach of human rights.

When I read this ruling, I was sickened. As the mother of a 6 year old, I cannot even imagine this mother’s agony, nor that of the child who was ripped away from her. All she did was listen to her child and respect her baby. That is not child abuse. It is ignorant to think parents FORCE children to dress, live and act as the opposite gender. This judge needs to be taken away with his outdated assumptions of gender, and his insane assessment of what true emotional turmoil is for gender non-conforming children. Please reunite this mother with her child. This is sickening to rip a family apart.

To Mr. Justice Hayden,
I have just heard of your verdict and comments on the case of the 7-yr old who identifies as a girl, and I am writing to express my utter incomprehension and dismay at the judgment.
It seems to me that the girl’s mother was doing exactly what most caring parents of gender-questioning children do, myself included. Quite simply, we listen to our child. We might not immediately like what we hear first time when our child ‘comes out’ to us, we might even be distraught by the news or shocked, but we put that to one side, we ignore our initial feelings because we love our child and we can witness their happiness and delight at assuming their true gender. So how is it possible to say that the mother was somehow imposing this on her child? Can we all in fact be doing this, we parents of transgender children, imposing this choice on our children? That makes no sense, because no-one would freely choose this difficult road for their child. And it is a difficult one, fraught with fear and anxiety for the future for both parents and child. Who would make that choice for their child? We tread this narrow and precarious path because we have to, for our children’s sake, and we do it over many years, with often a great deal of anguish, pain and sadness.
To take this child away from its clearly most caring mother is not only short-sighted and cruel, but quite irrational in view of modern medical thinking. I urge you to reconsider your verdict.
Is this judge living in the dark ages? How in this day and age can someone be so uninformed and cold hearted. This judgement is criminal itself. Please help this family and ultimately this poor child.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

My Trans-Agenda: what is MY message?

Yes. It is true. There is a transgender agenda. It is pretty darn devious and malevolent. Here it is in a nut shell…

"We want to be left alone and have the same rights as everyone else."

I know, what arsehole we are right? 

What do I mean "the same rights as everyone else"? Well, here it is: the evil manifesto:

·       We want to walk down the street without being harassed

·       We want to try on clothes and accessories for the gender we identify with without giggles, without judgment, without a second damn though

·       We would like to just be left alone to express ourselves how we want

·       If we need it, yes, we may need medical help and we would like to have that without fighting for it as it is not our fault we are trans

·       Also, if possible, we would like to not be killed on a regular basis just for being trans

·       Oh, and can we pee in peace please? In the bathroom we identify belonging in and where we are less likely to have the living heck beaten out of us

So yes. What a list outrageous demands. But guess what, we are not hiding any more…

See, we do want to just get on with our lives. True, many folk may not understand what it means to be trans but does that really matter? I say I am a woman - does that actually impact you? If a gender fluid assigned male wants to wear a dress is that really an issue? If someone wants to be referred to as ze, zem, zir and have the title Mx, does it need to be a major problem? 

That said, sometimes we just want to be understood.  This can be super hard because the message that is put out there can be super mixed and it is no wonder folks find it hard to understand who we are and what we want. Language is changing - our labels are changing. Changing fast. Right now there are so many pride flags and we have to remember that folk still don't know what the rainbow flag means, what LGBT refers to. We cannot make an assumption that what and who we are is pretty obvious. There needs to be some give and take on both sides. 

For this reason, I think it is important that we have role models out there being visible and sharing information. See, not every trans person wants to be noticed. So many want to slink away, be accepted for their gender and have that as end of story. For some there is a belief that people can get things right straight away but that is not always so. You may just not want to talk about it. Fair enough. I get that and I understand wanting to quietly get on with it. 

The problem is that there is a lack of understanding out there, so we do need some role models shouting out and explaining things:  being highly visible. This is not an easy thing and it can be dangerous. 

Also it is very easy to get wrong. Caitlyn Jenner does not seem to live on this planet. Douche as a male, douche as a female. Gigi Gorgeous is possibly just an idiot. There was the big scandal about her heading to Dubai and not getting let in because she is transgender. No shit Sherlock. 'Gender Deviance' is illegal out there. That is how that country operates and you should check things like this before you go. I don't agree that it is right but this is the real world and trans rights have a long way to go. When you go making a fuss about these things you just make us look stupid as a community. I wouldn't go flying to many, many countries. Just cause you are a c-list celebrity, doesn't mean that the real world doesn't apply. 

Luckily, there are folks out that that do spread the message and do so well. Here are a few of my current favs, who make use of different media. I write as that is my method for spreading the word. And talking. I talk a lot. Sometimes a have an audience and they cannot move from their seat cause it is rude. I like that J but others have different methods of communication. 

A month or so from the time of writing I will be attending a talk by Sophie Labelle.  Sophie is an artist using her talents to explain the issues facing the trans community. Her cartoons are sharp and to the point. Best of all, they are succinct and explain what I ramble on about in a thousand words in three short images. Want to understand pronouns, check this one out! 

want to know the wrong way to deal with accidentally misgendering someone, here ya go:

I wrote a massive blog on that - this explains it much better and way quicker. 

That said, she has come under fire for being visible, for being trans. If you stand up you will get pushed around. No wonder so many folk are so scared to come out as trans. Thank goodness for folk like Sophie. She maintains a good, strong and clear message without getting bitter. Exactly the sort of role model we need. 

So I was bloody horrified to hear that she was getting grief from the trans community too. The claim is that she is making money off 'the pain of others' who are transitioning. Shut up. Sit down. You stupid peoples. Sophie gets points across clearly and quickly, as I state above. Way better than I do. We are lucky to have her speaking up. I really look forward to meeting her next month. 

Another current favourite trans advocate is the YouTuber Claire Michelle .  

 I have been following Claire since she first appeared on YouTube and I have always enjoyed her videos. Of late though she has been doing a more informative type of video pretty much sharing ideas that share 'how to be a good trans person'. Explaining that we need to be patient with folk and we need to educate. That we need to be clearer and not mix our message. All with a massive grin on her face whilst she talks. I think that if I smiled that much my face may crack - but then I'm a grumpy punk. 

I really like her message and I think she is a fantastic role model for our trans community. Plus, she is a kick ass musician. I may have accidentally been a bit rude about folk music over at the music magazine I write for. I was actually trying to be complimentary. And then over compensated with a ramble apology. And there we go - I sometime miss the point I want to make. I think her message is clear and that is the trick to a good trans role model. Her music is also darn ace - I won't go on here, especially as I am saving it for a review. But check out her album here and give her some deserved love:

Fox Fisher has been putting out quality educational videos for ages. Fox is non binary and I have learnt a lot about what that means watching their videos, whether on their personal YouTube channel or through the My Genderation channel that had a whole bunch of different trans folks sharing their views and opinions on life. Indeed, the greatness of My Genderation is that there are trans-men, trans-women, gender fluid, non-binary etc folk featured. So important.  

As trans evangelicals it is important that we explain more than just our own personal state of transiness, but all others too when we can. I can only really talk about being a trans-female as that is my experience. Fox gathered a range of folks so that the channels can be as informative as possible.

That said, when you talk about things that folk don't understand, such as being non-binary in a non-binary relationship  you are gonna attract hate.  And wow, what a lot of hate. Sod it - keep going Fox. You are star for trans rights. This was a fantastic way to hit back!

"They live amongst us."

I'm not going to go on too much, but I will leave you with one more person to think about and that is the singer Fat Mike from the punk band NOFX. I have just listened and written a review of the new album First Ditch Effort. it will be out shortly on the (self-promo) AWESOME website. NOFX have always pushed the boundaries and I think it is fair to say that many things they say are pretty crass. 

Unhelpful? Maybe. But I have always been able to take it all with a pinch of salt. See, there is the song My Vagina, all about sex change. Crass as all hell and somewhat of a joke. Yet, there was always something about it that made me think that it was not meant in a nasty way. Plus, it actually had some informative lyrics in there. 

Don't ask me why - just a gut feeling. Sure, it would be easy to hate on it and be offended but I just wasn't. So many time NOFX go on about equality etc and it never sat right that they were such hypocrites. Many times they actually advocate, in their way, for equal LGBTI rights in their songs. When Against Me! needed a musician to stand in on the album for recording after Laura Jane Grace came out as trans, there was Fat Mike stepping in. Also notice the videos where he is in drag - he walks easily in heels. 

In the new album, Fat Mike comes out as a cross dresser on the song I'm a Transvest-lite. Again, in his way. In an interview with AltPress he says: 

“I used to live so much of my life in private but I’ve slowly started going to parties and out in public without being embarrassed of my true identity and that confidence just transferred over to my entire life,” he continues. “When you’re dressed in rubber and heels and corset and you’re waiting in line for an Omelette in Jamaica, well, after that there’s nowhere else to go.”

I actually think that this is a very important song. From a well know, famous punk rocker, coming out as a cross dresser is a pretty big thing. It just isn't done and is pretty groundbreaking. Binary transitioned figures are more and more visible. Non-binary figures are becoming visible. Having someone stand up for cross dressers is pretty cool. The lyrics are fantastic and the song is pretty good too. Check it out - track 7 on this playlist. (Sorry - I cannot skip to it here - it is playlist only. I will ask them to release it as a single!) 

So yes. We need good role models and these are some of the ones I think are good for the trans community.  Personally I am doing my best to become one myself. I am putting myself out there. I am opening up. I am expecting hate but I can't say I am too bothered about that. I am happy and I hope I am helping. 

Of course, there is a bunch more folks I could talk about. 

Another time!