Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Year Of Teh Tranz

    2015, if you believe the Chattering Classes, has been the Year of Transgender.
    By which they mean, there are some famous and very gender-conforming people they can safely talk about without straying too far from of their comfort zone. From Caitlyn Jenner through a host of TV shows sporting token one-dimensional transgender characters to Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl, the transgender narrative has been packaged up in Cellophane like a Barbie doll, something for daytime telly and newspaper colour supplements.
    The trouble is, it's a very synthetic transgender narrative. Transition is instantaneous and successful, and transgender people are achingly cisnormative. Nobody ever has problems accessing healthcare, and nobody faces discrimination in their employment or personal life. The transgender drinking game has never been played so often.
    It's not been all bad this year though. It's taken about four decades, but the world has finally realised that the ravings of radical feminism on the subject of transgender people are hate speech. Germaine Greer and her ilk have finally become persona non grata, and in particular her resorting to ever more hate speech upon receiving that news has propelled those views more firmly into the cold.
    Meanwhile though the reality of life for the unseen majority of transgender people who don't have their own reality TV show or write for the Guardian remains pretty bleak. Poverty, violence, employment discrimination, awful access to appropriate healthcare, the list goes on. If you happen to be a transgender person who isn't white-skinned it gets about ten times worse, the list of casualties read out on Transgender Day of Remembrance drives this point home.
    So while it's great that we are less often the target of Richard Littlejohn style tabloid hate speech or the butt of Little Britain style offencive comedy, don't make the mistake of thinking we've made it because we've moved to being daytime television sensations. There is still plenty of work to be done, and progress is not being aided by publicity-seeking starlets, celebrity transitioners or attention-grabbing journalists.

Friday, 25 December 2015

And ti-i-dings of comfort and joy

    A small English parish church in a wet late December is not the most comfortable of places. Our distant ancestors cared more for Godliness than they did for comfort, those pews are hard.
    So there I was earlier today, joining my sister and her brood this morning for the Christmas service. Still here, seemingly never having moved anywhere or done anything.
    I can't honestly say this last year has been the best of my life. The culmination of 18 months of bad stuff in my professional life, still missing Mrs. J, and finding myself blackballed by random parts of my previous social group. That's a lot of aftermath to deal with, people are shit sometimes.
    But then again, from another angle things might be said to be coming together. Through my local maker community I've found a peer group, I've built a small start-up that's starting to look as though it might succeed, and HRT has turned out to be something of a blessing. Finally I might be able to cease needing antidepressants, which can only be a good thing.
    It was something that was a worry, what might happen after HRT. What if it didn't work, what if it made things worse? When you have a lifetime of society telling you you're wrong about all this stuff you can't shake off a thought that it might not fix everything. This is irrational and as it turned out wrong, but when you've staked so much on it that's a big deal.
    Early next year I go to see the endocrinologist, at which point I'll be given a heftier antiandrogen and a revised oestrogen dose. When I see my doctor to collect the resulting prescription I might just feel happier about asking him to refer me to the gender clinic again. This is working, and I want it to continue.