First blog post

Oh, i am supposed to write something here?

well ok then… er…

Hello? anyone in here? it’s very quiet… i think i’ll leave and go find something to write about, best shut the door on the way out i guess… cappuccino please, extra sprinkles… thanks xx

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#TDOV

TDOV – Transgender Day of Visibility.

31st March is international TDOV day, an annual day where trans identifying folks publically make themselves visible, it’s not out of any kind of flaunting ourselves, outing ourselves in mass numbers ( although some folks do choose the day to come out to friends and family) but rather it’s a day that those of us who choose to  are open about our gender identity and what it means to us, show folks we exist, we will not hide ourselves away and quietly and openly be seen.

It’s a day that has grown over the years, this year saw sports people be open about their gender to those who previously were not aware, saw folks of all ages use a Facebook filter on their profile pictures to let folks know they are trans and proud as well as Allies and friends and family show they stand with us.

I have seen the usual back lash of comments, posts and bigotry from the general public but also more and more support, understanding, love, friendships and folk attempting to educate themselves and others. All in all from the trans community i have seen only polite replies and attempts at explaining to the bigots why we need this day and why we are being visible to the wider world. Police have posted support of their officers on their county policing pages, flags flown in support for colleagues and co workers in businesses and many companies hosting meet and greet sessions, baking cakes with the trans colours of blue pink and white to hand out to their staff.

For me it has been my first TDOV, i put up a new photo on my Facebook profile and lifted the privacy and restrictions on who can see it for the day. It’s normally locked down pretty tight as a lot of folks are still unaware and don’t know about me yet.

So why TDOV? Well it’s to be visible, show we are normal everyday folks who want to exist and go about our lives as well, everyday folks. We are not the scary person the media want you to think we are who hang around changing rooms and women’s toilets, or men’s for that matter, we are just normal folks. We are proud of our journies, our self honesty, our choice to change what is not working for us inside and correct things to the way we need them to be happy, normal people. This planet and world belongs to everyone and everything in it, no one should have to feel ashamed to be out in the open enjoying the amazing spaces we live in, no one should feel someone else had a privilege over them for being in the majority, no one should feel threatened and scared to be themselves, no one should be beaten up and threatened, bullied and harassed, prevented from going about their everyday business or doing wearing what pieces of clothing or make up or hear in what ever way they want, just because the majority either don’t understand or are made to believe by the mass media that it’s wrong to do so.

 

imagine a world where it was ok to be accepting of others no matter who or what they are, how the present or how they feel, wouldn’t that place be incredible? Maybe there would be no war, everyone would accept everyone else’s beliefs, religions, sexuality, political views, clothing choices, disabilities, physical looks and heck i dunno even gender?

TDOV is maybe in some teeny tiny way the start of that or rather part of the start of that as there are lots of other movements, days, acts etc that are starting to do the same for their communities, Pride for example or days of visibility for mental health, cancer survivors, armed forces veterans with PTSD etc etc.

Maybe if we just learned to accept others, strangers, like we do our friends and family members, our neighbours and colleagues, maybe, if we just learned to be a little more understanding and compassionate then the world would be a happier place for all folks.

i know this blog is a little late being April already, but i have been trying to finish it between work and busy family events for the past few weeks so apologies. Hope you all had a great Easter, Happy belated TDOV and catch you all soon.

 

stay beautiful, Soph xx

???

Two of those moments today

The first reaching for a dress in a charity shop when you notice someone else going for the same hanger, turn and see another trans women, you smile, let the other have it saying ‘ it’s ok i’ll go for the other one’, smile, acknowledge each other with a knowing look and without further ado, take the other dress and head to pay. I like both anyway and i am sure she will look stunning in the other.

Moment number two, i am walking down through town, my fav bobble hat on, wisps of my blonde hair sticking out from underneath next my cheeks, jeans, cosy fleece on, boots, brown light scarf, i turn to smile and say hello at the big issue seller, a plump Armenian looking lady i have said hello to before in guy mode and she says gives me the biggest smile and adds ‘good morning, how are you? do you know you are such a beautiful girl, so beautiful…’ a huge beam came across my face and i say thank you and continue on my way, i didn’t have any change to give her sadly.

Ok, so something has changed with in me, almost unperceivable, slight, subconscious  maybe.

Two weeks ago i was so confused, a million thoughts in my head going around and around, what do i want, can i do this? do i need to do this? i want this…i think. this is going to be tough, it’s fine don’t worry just be…. All of them about my path and my gender identity, after a hard couple weeks i slowly came out of my funk and came back to me again, worked through some stuff and reached some kind of self acceptance. I am back on track again post dysphoria attack and trying to be as positive as possible about the whole thing. I do wonder if it is almost a monthly thing… jeez who knows lol.

Many trans girlfriends of mine have said you reach a time of acceptance, when suddenly you start to accept yourself in as yourself, ( yeah i know sounds kind obvious but when you have been hiding the real you for so many years) and move forwards. You present how you wish and ignore what others think when they see you. I am starting to think that that time has arrived possibly.  Maybe it’s my self confidence coming through, i have always been confident in myself, not at all cocky, far from it, but happy go lucky to all intensive purposes to the outside world. Is that what has changed too?

I find i am walking more confidently, head up, gentle smile on my face. so I set my self a challenge to wear make up everyday at work, home and out and about for a month, so far 2 months in, i am good. Ok it’s just a little light BB cream and a flick of brown mascara but it’s a start and builds my confidence and is becoming my morning routine. My hair is growing out now too, which i love apart from the thin bit on top, laser is working and my shadow is a lot lot less than it was. I upped the anti this week and have been wearing a bra everyday also, just to see how it feels to wear one everyday in day to day situations, ok so i have been careful on what’s on top so it doesn’t show too much shape, a few women i think have noticed it but not said anything and one friend gave me a big hug the other day when she came into the shop and said how good i am looking and how much slimmer i seem and said ‘wow, great figure! i’am jealous!’. I am not out to her but she must guess , surely.

With the guys and my guy friends, they haven’t noticed or if they have they haven’t said anything, i am working on the ‘if you are not looking for something you don’t notice it’ principle, but i hope that sub consciously they are getting clues so when i go full time out then they wont be too surprised or at least something will click and make sense about me.

Something has defiantly changed inside and i feel a lot more relaxed, more, well feminine and content, softer on the inside, more forgiving, gentle, happy less testeroney (i’am so claiming that as a word)  and i am sure even though i have lost a bit more weight, i haven’t off my chest and my boobs, they seem to have grown, which i am sure just ins’t possible without HRT.

Who knows???

I got asked the other day by a friend, a Cis Ally who has known about me being me for a  months now. We were chatting and discussing meeting up and maybe going to a gig together. He asked, so, would you come as ‘you’ or old you? in a light hearted way.

‘well, would you be up for meeting the female me yet? I asked?

he paused and said ‘yes, to be honest I am quite interested to meet the real you!’ and laughed, we know each other very well and it is curious that my friends have known one side of me and will eventually get to meet the other, when they and I am ready, which brings some more questions to mind for later.

‘so, I mean, how, er why, um, how come, er… oh what I mean is so what is it that makes you feel the need to do this matey?’

I tried to explain, taking the word feel from his question. We both surf so i though i would try and use that as an analogy to help him understand.

‘Well I guess its always been there, its just this feeling you kind of just have inside of you. It’s not like the passion you have for your surfing, it’s not a passion type thing or like an interest in something is it’s more of an innate feeling inside you just can’t shift. There is kind of that still ‘need’ type feeling where it gnores away at the inside of you that says, i need to do this, i am this, I need to be the person i feel inside. It’s there every second of the day 24/7/365 but is different if that makes sense’.

I tell him it is kinda like being a surfer, when even away from the ocean you’ need’ to check the surf report & wonder what it is doing at the beach, morn the waves that you are missing, get depressed at being stuck inland or at work and unable to hit the beach. That feeling is always there, it’s present all the time and the only way to make it go away is to get in the water. I think it’s the same with me, i need to be me, the real me, she is always there, controlling what i do, my thoughts and feelings and the only way i will be at peace with her, with myself is to jump in the water and follow those feelings and become that person.

ok so not the best analogy but its the best i can think of at the moment.

Well, my coffee break is finished, so back to work i guess, boo hiss! will write more soon i promise!

Stay beautiful one and all..

Sophie xx

 

p.s. the title ??? yeah ok so i was stuck for one but then as the post went on i thought, actually it fits lol xx

 

Snow White

hi all

finally I have a new laptop, very nice it is too in a nice snow white colour! I feel it will be the perfect thing to fit in my bag and up date my blog with.

on the subject of snow, we are due some more I hear, I love snow, playing in it, skiing, sledding and just having some beautiful white scenery to look at, everything looks so clean when it snows…apart from sheep… who look dirty in it all of a sudden!

Not much news at the mo, working on my voice, which I have neglected over Christmas time and need to get back to working on, I use the EVA F voice app on I phone, a great app created by Kathe Perez a voice specialist who works with trans people as a professional speech therapist. I can strongly recommend it!

Paying lesson by lesson as you download each step as and when you feel ready to move on means it’s an affordable way to change your voice in to a more feminine sound without having to leave the comfort of your home, car seat, office chair etc. Any trans girls looking for a voice app, then this is the one!

Ok so confession time too, I think I made a fashion faux- pa! Faux being the optimal word as for years I have been coveting a faux fur jacket, short cut in white, not too fluffy, kind of a scruffy polar bear look… I have been looking for one for years but have never found the right one until now.

Seeing a friend in her’s this Christmas ‘THATS THE ONE!’ I thought, that’s the perfect look! I complimented her on it and asked where it was from, New Look. Google… come hither I need you to search for something for me…out of stock, maybe an older style? ‘hey Siri, ask Ebay if they can help’.

1 week later Siri and Ebay came back and for a mere £5.67 ( I know right!) I was the proud owner of a white scruffy polar bear looking faux fur short jacket, get in girl!

Only trouble is New Look’s size 14 is more like everyone else’s 12 and no, that’s not just my Christmas belly talking ( I only put on 2.5 kg’s ). So… it is a perfect fit… ok so maaaaybe a little too perfect, ahem…small, but only just and nothing a week of salad won’t fix! I hope. I’ll just wear it open.

I now need to find out A. what I goes with, I am thinking maybe some slim jeans, tan high heel boots and a cut top… but what top? my friend had on a chiffon blouse in red and gold, being Christmas, but I am not sure what will suit me.

And B. if it might be a little young look? My friend is a few years younger than me I think but it looked great on her, we are a similar size, build ( ok, ok so my shoulders might be a little broader, but being a surfer, her’s are too I guess ) so I am hoping it will look ok when I try it on with an outfit to suit and my long boots. I have supper and movies at another friends this Friday night so I wanted to wear it out, maybe i’ll get her opinion I think, I know my wifey will think it not my style but, but. but I have wanted one for so long and it is perfect!

Ok, humpf, If it doesn’t suit… then it’s back on  the bay and my dream is shattered haha. or maybe if I just hunted down a 16….. google, Ebay… go hunt!

so, all for now, just a short one, if anyone has any questions or things they want to know, idea for my blogs or blogs they can recommend, please pop a comment in the box below.

 

Soon….

Again…

Laters…

Stay Gorgeous!

Sophie xx

The LBD.

I am driving along to work on a very cold frosty morning & the lanes are white.

The scenery is stunning. Remnants of last weekends heavy snow still lingers along the villages in the hedgerows and halfway across fields where the sun hasn’t quite reached from one side to the other.

In front of me the road glistens, I’am driving across a carpet of diamonds as the light catches the faces of a million tiny ice crystals.

The sun is just coming up behind me and in places snow has turned from blue white to a burnt amber colour. Pheasants slide as they try to cross the icy lane in front of my car and I have to chuckle as one lands unceremoniously on its bum, squawking with its tail feathers high in the air, it makes a funny little bounce and carries on it’s way towards the hedgerow following it’s friend.

In the Hawthorne hedge, berries are bright red, the Holly seems to be covered again this year too. It really is my favourite time of year!

I pass a little cottage with Christmas lights in the window, a small wreath hanging from the door knocker while the rest of the cottage is in darkness. It reminds me of my favourite film ‘the holiday’ with Cameron Diaz, the lovely Kate Winslet and the handsome Jude Law.

Nearly Christmas and a time when people are starting to enjoy their parties at work with friends and colleagues getting all dolled up for a festive night out.

For many trans folk this is also quite a hard time of year, some of us have lost touch with family as transition is not what they agreed with or signed up for and relationships at home can be strained. Also there is the constant dysphoria in the back of your mind, it plays tricks and ask questions constantly from many of us in the trans community. This time of year can be quite hard if you are not fully out yet, as we see work colleagues and friends looking glamorous and gorgeous on a night out, how we would wish to look, yet we can’t just yet maybe or we are not out to anyone but ourselves and we must remain in the appearance of our assigned at birth gender rather than the gender we feel inside.

Tonight we have a friends party. I asked my wife what she was wearing and she mentioned the new dress she wore previously to a works do a week or two back. It’s a cute Little Black Dress, matching black leggings and black boots with heels. She looked amazing in it!

How about you? She replied, ‘me? Um dunno really.’

I suppose i wanted her to say, wear this top and jeans, or that dress i bought you. Instead i just said ‘I don’t know I can wear, what should I wear?’, I know what i want to wear, i just can’t do so just yet.

With the friends 50th birthday, it’s difficult, they know about Sophie but have yet to meet her but as it’s a big birthday it would be wrong of me to go as Sophie, no matter how much I want to unless they asked her to come, i wonder if the half expect that i might? But we feel that it will take the limelight away from him on his special day, which is true…so what do I wear?

I guess it’s jeans and a shirt and some brown boots, i am wondering if I can hide my fur top brown boots under my jeans? I decided i can and pop them on. I have a turquoise green and blue check shirt that I have worn with some skinnish jeans and boots recently and it’s come across quite feminine, androgynous at least in my mind, so I think that maybe okay I guess.

I would rather be going in something a lot more feminine though lol. My wife bought two dresses online, the cute little black dress that she wore to her works do and again this evening and another black Christmas dress.

My wifey being the amazing girl she is, passed it to me and said, ‘i bought you a present! I got two and prefer this one’ and hands me the other.

It’s a kind of a T-shirt dress that will look great with skinny blue jeans and tan high heel boots. I love it! It has a moto that says ‘naughty girls get all the presents! in silver sparkly writing. This is the dress I would rather wear tonight. I have an idea for some make up to go with it and how I could do my hair.

But I guess for this year cinderella will have to stay home and won’t make it to the ball…

Last Saturday our party routes differed, I attended our Trans support groups Christmas party and went how I wished. I wore a nice new Poncho style rap around waterfall cardigan in dusky grey which I had bought a bargain price online that week specially for the occasion, skinny shaper jeans, tan high heel boots and a nice surfy t shirt top. My wife headed to her works do by taxi to meet friends for a drink and i drove myself.

The plan was for her to head to her works party, me to my groups and on the way back I was to pick up her up from her do. We arrange that I would park in the carpark behind her hotel and wait for her around 11:30 to give her a lift home.

I did so and sat in the car in darkness listening to the radio and waiting bang on 11.30pm. I can hear her laughing and chatting with friends and work colleagues, I messaged her to let a know I was there and take a time as I was in no hurry and I knew she will be enjoying herself. Half an hour later the text came and ‘meet you in the car park xxx’ and I saw her walking across the car park with two friends. The lights are off in my car and I hesitated on flashing them to let her know where I was because I didn’t know if her friends knew about me. Her bosses at work do but that is all, so were her colleagues with her her bosses or just co-workers? I didn’t know and didn’t want to give them a surprise and her some explaining to do, so i sat and waited.

Eventually she stood close to the car talking to them and I sat slightly worried inside as she had told them her husband was picking her up & would see Sophie instead and asked questions. Now I know in time if I am to transition fully this will happen anyway and so I better get used to it.

Eventually they broke off the conversation wishes each other good night and with a quick flash of the headlights my wife comes over to the car, opens the door and jumps in the seat next to me, slightly drunk and with a big smile on her face.

She thanked me for waiting for her and for not making her rush to finish a glass of wine.

She then said she nearly messaged.

I nearly text you to say come inside and meet the gang” this this was a bit of a shock at first as of course only her bosses know about Sophie and none of her work colleagues. If she had, what would i have done? Would i have got out the car and gone in to find her as Sophie?

I guess it would’ve been a bit of a surprise and a talking point at the Christmas party at least, that one of the staff members other halves is transgender or as my wife called me that night, her husbandy-wife, came into the party to pick her up and nobody knew.

Over the last week I thought a lot about what would I have done if she had text me?

Would I have made some excuse about staying in the car and waiting for her ‘ it’s okay darling’ or would i have straightened my hair, checked my mascara, grabbed my handbag stepped out of the car and walked openly across the car park quietly shitting myself with nervousness? I would like to think i would have.

These things I guess in time will have to happen… ‘...maybe it’s too soon this year, maybe next year?’ She replied with a cheeky smile. “next year” I replied, will have to see I guess.

I guess that’s the thing about transitioning there’s going to be milestones to meet and boundaries to be pushed and times when maybe you’re not ready but you have to be brave and take another big step forward along this journey. Timing is everything from when do you tell someone you’re trans? when do you meet them for the first time as your true self and when is it best to wait a little longer before taking that next step.

I had initially planned a few months ago to go to my surf club Christmas dinner as Sophie but one of the guys had invited some special guests and it would have been a bit of a shock to some of the members who don’t know and maybe take the focus off the very special guests, i decided to go as old me, as it was it was the best option as our guests were from the older generation and i felt i needed a bit more time to meet some of my close friends as Sophie first outside of the club get together.

There are so many questions that constantly go around your head, whats right and wrong, when do progress another step and let things that you want to happen, happen, sometime sooner than maybe they should, sometimes they happen when they do and you have to grasp them.

I guess there is no right and wrong, We all have to do this at our own pace and in our own way and take the journey far as we need it to go. Somehow, because most of us are the kind of people we are, we always seem to put others peoples feelings before our own and want to make sure they’re alright first, when maybe we should be be a little bit more selfish and put ourselves at the front of our minds rather than others. We can only do what’s best for us and our other halves i guess.

I sometimes wonder if it would be easier transitioning when you’re single, i know from friends it definitely is not and is very lonely to do so, many have no option when they come out and their partner leaves, ok so you can go your own pace but a lot more painful I think as my friends in the community who have lost wives and husbands when they’ve come out as trans-have found out or those with partners who don’t understand or accept them.

Yes they can do things at their own pace without having to check on others feelings but at the same time they don’t have that loving hand of support of a spouse willing to take this journey with them.

I am just thankful every day I have my wifey on my side, sometimes she pushes me into new situations when she knows that maybe it’s time, or when I haven’t the courage to have taken the initiative myself out of that paralysing fear and nervousness of being judged by others, sometimes she is angry at the situation but always tells me she loves the person inside.

She is one incredible person and maybe next year she will send a text and I will pick her up from her Christmas party say hi to her friends then whisk her away and Cinders will get to go to the ball.

So will see what happens this evening with our friends at the 50th, I am a little bit worried how they will respond this evening as I haven’t seen them or spoken to them since my wife came out to them four months ago that I am trans.

After all they are her oldest friends, most trusted and have her best interests at heart. I am sure it will be totally fine as always!

In case I don’t post again before the holidays may I wish you all a very Merry Christmas thanks for reading my blog and I hope where ever you are in the world you have a fantastic time with your family and friends and for those in my community that may be spending it alone or away from family and love ones, see you take care all stay gorgeous.

Sophie xxx

footnote:

All went fine, no one mentioned anything and were their normal welcoming selves.

The Drunk Diaries

I have to write this and share something. It’s going to be a long one i think.

My favourite book ever is ‘The Five People You Meet In Heaven’ by Mitch Albom, it’s the most powerful book i have ever read and think it should be on everyone’s must read list. It’s taught me much and i try and live by some of it’s lessons.

This morning I dropped my van off to have some work done on it before we drive to Poland for the World Champs next month. After leaving it with the garage i popped into McDonalds for a coffee and breakfast, yeah i know, but there was no other option close by and i am so glad i did.

I ordered, say down and with in seconds a random stranger came over, sat down and just started talking at me.

Her black and blue hair bouncing all over the place, stunning red nails with sparkling silver feature nail on each hand and perfect make up.

But she seemed drunk! It’s 9am Friday morning.

Her name is Bonnie she tells me, her arms covered in scars from years and years of self harming, she had amazing make-up on and is obviously quite talented at it, but she is all over the place fidgeting, can’t sit still and talking 1,000,000 miles an hour. I can’t work out whether she is drunk, drugged up or what.

I try not to judge folks and just smile, introduce my name back and start on my bagels.

Most people wouldn’t give her a second look and would think her just a local nutjob, but there is something about her, her accent is very well spoken and she’s obviously quite an intelligent girl but is deeply troubled and looks like she has been crying.

To most people in McDonald’s I guess they think that she is a weirdo drunk or druggy and try to avoid her, but she see’s my notebook and immediately says ‘you’re a writer!!!’ and sits down opposite me, Me too she add’s ‘Can I have a pen and a piece of paper?’ and starts writing stuff down.

Bonnie says, that she likes writing and is writing a book all about her growing up with Cerebral Palsy and people thinking she is drunk and avoid her. She tells me she is something people think she is not and She has kept a journey all her life about it and her difficulties.

I know how that can feel and can help talking so ask her about it.

She tells me that due to it (Cerebral Palsy) people thinks she is crazy and at school people told her she couldn’t write, but she didn’t let that stop her when she was younger and she proved them wrong. Same with her walking, she looks drunk but she just has a hard time balancing.

She explains her writing might not be the neatest but at least she can write and it’s not like she is dumb or anything.

My breakfast arrives and I sit and talk to her, she talks about her father who had a coal mining accident and is in a wheelchair with a broken back and that today she has a really hard decision to make.

She’s been up all night, she can’t sleep and she’s been on her own trying to decided what to do and is contemplating suicide as her father has a big life insurance policy on her and that maybe if she died then he could claim the insurance on her life and use the money to help himself out of a tight spot, she is fighting back the tears. She looks shocked she told me and apologises for doing so and she shouldn’t have said anything.

So we sit two complete random strangers whilst the restaurant gets busy with parents and kids, business mem and other folks.

I tell her that I’m sure her father would rather have her than the money, after all money can’t give you a hug like a daughter can, she tells me about her problems.

Last year sectioned under mental health and being diagnosed as bi polar and borderline personality disorder, but she is ok, she is out of hospital and is not on medication. She is not self harming any more but she finds that sometimes she spends time alone drinking which makes things worse and she flits between coping mechanisms and she had been seriously thinking about suicide to help her Dad.

I tell her today is different, that when you hit rock bottom there is only one way and that is back up. She looks at me and a hint of a smile comes across her lips, she takes my hand and says “thank you!” I start to tell her about Mitch Alboms book and she stops me, ‘your not religious are you, cause if you are your not going to like this very much, i’ll have to leave and you’ll have to eat your breakfast alone like a sad person!’ I laugh and tell her i am not, “that’s ok then” and she sinks back into the seat. I tell her you meet people in the most unexpected way when you least expect it and they change your life often with out you knowing it but for a reason.

The sun is shining and she comments that thats a good thing, ‘see first you choose to sit and talk to a random person who doesn’t tell you to fuck off, next the sun comes out and already life is looking up’.

Bonnie gets up and goes to the counter and buys herself a coffee, on the way back she ducks under someone stood looking at the menu board and picks something up.

‘Found 5p on the floor!’ She announces ‘fuck i’m rich!’ She laughs and sits back down. We drink our coffee and we talk, well she talks, I listen.

She’s very funny, she comes out with some incredible one-liners that make me laugh, some stuff that tries to shock me like ‘well i must go my pimp will be wondering where i am!’ …

‘Your joking right, he is not waiting up for you is he? ‘ I ask, but when she see’s i am not falling for it, she laughs that she is not quite that desperate for money she just found 5p, but her palsy makes her crap at ‘hand jobs’ anyway so she has to give refunds! then laughs and says ‘joke!’ She has sarcasm down pat and I tell her she should be on the stage as she’s got talent.

Her mood switches to telling me she thinks she is ugly due to her scars and thats she wishes she was pretty, taking her phone and showing me photos of herself, I feel so sorry for her, she can’t see how pretty she does look or how skilled she is at her hair and make up.

Some of her make up’s are works of art, i tell her that and as I comment on how good a frown appears and then her head sinks into her hands and i think she will cry.

She opens her scarred hands and looks at me and tells me no one has ever believed in her before and i am such a ‘cool guy’ (i am not in myself but in male mode) and can she give me her email address, before i can answer no, she writes it out and then puts the paper in my hand. I fold it and put it to the side of my coffee cup.

On her Facebook she shows me some halloween make up that she’s done, wow! she is very very talented in special effects.

I tell her that’s a career she could have.

It really is that amazing and she is so so talented, again Bonnie frowns and changes the subject and then gets up to talk to another random stranger about something that has come to mind, comments on their beautiful scarf and then turns back to me and sits back down. She fumbles with her coat and struggles to put it on.

She looks longingly out the window and then turns and says ‘I was going to do it today, but you have changed my mind, i am not going to, I ‘ve decided’ pauses and offers me a fist pump, which I reciprocate and she nods. ‘I am glad i chose to talk to you this morning, sorry i interrupted your breakfast not knowing you like, but thanks’. She smiles, puts her hair up in a bun and takes out a bottle of banana milkshake from her coat pocket and cancels a call from her phone, it’s a hospital she tells me, trying to find out where she is, she doesn’t want to talk to them, she ‘doesn’t give a fuck, i am ok now’ and puts the phone down.

‘So, how old are you?’ she asks, ‘45, you?’ ‘23, you dont look twice my age you look younger, you have good skin for a bloke’ she says looking hard at my face, I don’t tell her i moisturise twice daily but i am sure she could give me some tips on make up.

‘I used to believe in fairies and stuff like that when i was a kid, i didn’t have a bad childhood or anything growing up and my parents sent me to private school in Shrewsbury to make sure i was ok like, but when my dad got hurt in the mine we moved from Staffordshire to here’

‘Gloucester?’ I ask?

‘Yeah but then things got out of control and i started getting bad and thats when i got sectioned’ she said she has never done drugs but people think she is off her head.

She stands, takes some cigarettes from her pocket and says ‘well, this is the part of the film where i get up and go outside and either i come back and your gone or i never return… thanks for the chat, it can only get better right? And when i get my book published i’ll send you a copy.’

‘Yup, it can only get better! Todays the first day upwards, buy that book and please call your Dad’ She nodes and walks out lighting the cigarette, i sit and finish my coffee, i keep looking out the window to see if she is standing outside but she has gone.

My phone rings and the garage call to tell my the van is ready, i walk outside and look around for her to say good bye but she’s gone, I walk to pick up the van and drive to work.

I hope i changed her mind, i hope she doesn’t do anything silly and ruin her and her loved ones lives, they sounded like nice people who worry about her.

I understand where she is coming from struggling with demons, being misunderstood and fighting thoughts of suicide. It’s rife in the trans community.

As my gender questioning grew to epic proportions last year before coming out i thought about what if disappeared? I could never do that to my wife and family and having found two suicides, know the heart break it brings on families.

It’s the month of remembrance next month and trans remembrance day is also coming up, where we remember those in the community we have lost so it’s fresh in our minds.

How I don’t know as i never gave her any details on me, but i hope she does finish her book, i’ll keep an eye out for it, The Drunk Diaries, her name is Bonnie G.

Post Script:

As i get up and pick up the piece of paper she had written on and put next to my coffee cup and put it in my bag, on writing this i open it up and read what she has written…the last 3 lines hit home.

‘I didn’t know how to act

Post Script

Thank you’

The Spirit of confusion

Damn! Just wrote a long blog and then deleted the whole thing, think it was probably quite good too, so back to the drawing board and trying to remember what i wrote about.

It’s been a few weeks since my last blog post, sorry folks, my bad. But life’s been busy you see, new season at work, a family wedding in Cornwall and just trying to get on with being me, which is hard, have you ever tried it? If not give it a go sometime, you might like it.

So it’s Friday, T has just completed another laser session on my face and i think i am starting to see some change, might be just me but I definitely think there is a little less on my cheeks, my lip is taking a little less to cover successfully, unless i am just getting better at that anyway.

T recons on 4 – 6 sessions before results start to show then 10 – 12 before they are pretty much as gone as they will be, so this time next summer…

I am starting to think about when electrolysis might need to kick in.

So, yeah, life, how is it going?

Well, somethings have settled down into a new normal, home life is steady away, as always my wife is being her usual incredible self, my family? Hmm… well…

Sisters in law, brilliant

Brothers, supportive as much as they can be whilst trying to understand

Parents… less said the better. Dad is just carrying on as normal and is internalising stuff as guys do, Mum… lets say we are civil but not really talking and if i am being brutally honest, i am trying to avoid her. She has asked to speak to my wife this weekend, i think to either see if this is ‘real’, as she puts it or to try and get her onside to change my mind. Either way it isn’t brilliant. I know many trans folks loose family and have unsuppotive parents but at any age it’s hard.

Which with my cousins wedding last week was difficult. Family being together and staying in the same house threw up some difficult feelings, some know, some don’t, some i know will be cool with it, others i don’t know, it’s a while off them all knowing i think but i had lots of those ‘You ok you seem quiet?’ conversations where you reply with ‘yeah all good’ then change the subject.

Being trans at a wedding is hard when you are not full time or ‘out’, but you know whats what and who you want to be.

For me i found being trans female is difficult on such occasions as you see the girls all dressed up to the nines, hair carefully tussled, make up on point yet you can’t join in. This to be the second wedding this year when i was proud to be there sharing the special day with family or friends but in side the confusion and sadness rein strong and catching a glimpse in a mirror shows a shirt and slacks clad guy who you don’t want to see. There are mirrors everywhere at wedding venues!

I did manage a turquoise toes and toe ring on inside my shoes, clear polished nails, subtle bit of bling under my shirt sleeve, that kept the demons of dysphoria from a full on attack! It was close though. It was close, i could sense it near, lurking behind the flowers carefully arranged in copper milk churns waiting to pounce.

I have never felt comfortable at family do’s never felt like i wanted to join in and would escape and get the hell outta dodge asap if i could, it’s not the small talk about businesses and work and what we have been up to with our sport, or the usual ‘only at weddings and funerals’ thing about must meet up more often, or enduring speaking to a relative you don’t like (luckily i have great family who i love) but it’s the feeling of not fitting in that has always got me.

My immediate family are all rugby fans, i mean BIG rugby fans, me, i detest all those ball sports, always have, always will. I like nature and adventure sports. They are all mainstream sports type folks, normal everyday stuff with their work, 2.4 kids and dog, we have 9… yes i know, crazy dog lady. Which i guess is why this has hit hard to them, i am the black sheep.

I wonder if one day in the future when they have all met and accepted the real me i will feel better about being at these gatherings? Will have to wait and see.

So, whilst thinking about all this i spoke to our councillor at our monthly support group.

JP, how do you know, i mean really know what path is right? How far to go, need to go, what is the right path to take?

Follow whats in here’ he said thumping his heart ‘it will tell you if you listen’.

I suppose i was expecting more of a you’ll know when this happens rather than a Yoda sansei type answer, being short but not green, clad in a cloak or holding a gnarled wooden staff, i digged deeper.

I wanted a ‘if you think or act like this then… you know’ answer, a kind of road map, the dumbies guide to transition, a Haynes manual for a 1972 Trans. I decided to look for one but all i could fine when i went looking was one for a 1965 – 78 Transit van (Maybe there is a money spinner of an idea there for someone?).

We talked and he explained that inside we really know when we quieten our mind and listen to our heart. It will always tell us the truth and cut through the confusion if we just listen to our instincts. He showed me some meditation techniques to help.

I decided to ask my friend Emma the same thing during a make up lesson mid week.

She is further along the road than i, 6 months of HRT low dose and referral to Charing Cross (CX) GIC, but she didn’t know either. Emma is not full time yet or out to her kids, but the time is coming and we discussed when that might be, when is it right to do so. For her with work it will be when she can no longer hid the effects of HRT on her chest, with the kids it’s when they ask the question of who’s dresses are those in the wardrobe she thinks.

We discussed when the time for SRS becomes important, if at all. Did she want to have it? She wasn’t sure, neither of us have crushing dysphoria about our ‘in between bits’ but at the same time we both feel, i think, that they don’t quite fit where they are and maybe the time will come when they meed to be utilised for other purposes and reconfigured.

It’s a long way off for me i guess and a difficult one for my better half to come to terms with.

So there you go, clear as mud lol.

The spirit of confusion reins still at the mo, but i know that over time if i quieten my mind and listen to my heart it will show me the way. All i can tell is at the moment there is what feels like a magnet slowly dragging me onwards to the inevitable with a power I can’t stop, no matter the feelings of family, the internalised transphobia and how scary this path might be.

until till next time, my toffee latte has arrived in the Toro Lounge and i must remember see if Waterstones has a better manual section than Halfords do…

Post Script: i did find a book! Dara Hoffman-Fox’s http://discoveryourgenderidentity.com/

Star Wars Day 2 and coming out at work.

I wonder if coffee shops survive on folks coming in and enjoying a coffee whilst they write their blogs? I certainly enjoy relaxing with a coffee whilst i write mine, today a Pain Au Chocolate joins me.

I love this place, the Toro Lounge in Cirencester. Outfitted with a mix of eclectic paintings, sofas, stripped pine tables and some amazing old light fittings, lamps and some really great coffee.

It’s fairly busy, couple of mums post school run chatting, a lady working away busily on her laptop sat cross legged on the big leather sofa, i have gone for my usual latte. They have a La Spaziale machine, we have one in our coffee shop, it’s a great machine and coupled with good beans makes a lovely espresso!

The sun is shining, i can’t linger today as things to do but have just had my second laser session with T at Envisage salon, today it stung!!! I think i was not as close with the old shaving routine this am and a few ‘longer than the others’ hairs remained and i really felt the zap and burn! Ouch! Teeth clenched and it stung as the zap hit, just a small area on the point of my jaw bone on my right side, it’s still sore now, but another week ticked off and another towards a hair free face!

I seem to have got back on track a little since my last post, time is moving along almost imperceptibly but when Facebook sent me a ‘here is your summer’ collection of photos to post I realised that its slipping quickly in to Autumn. I have been out in the big wide world now for 114 days!

My wifey told her work yesterday. We were having a conversation last night whilst cooking dinner together, joking and enjoying each others company. E is planning a trip to New Zealand to see her best friend next spring for 3 weeks and has been trying to sort holidays at work and i had just got home after loosing my only car key on my evening run in the forest and having to go around again to find it, which luckily i did right at the end, before driving home and E was ribbing me about being useless and a muppet,.

‘what are you? Say it! I. Am. A. Muppet.. go on.’ I admit, i was and i did. ‘ ok, i am a muppet… happy?’

So while we were laughing with each other i said ‘hey maybe when i start hrt that will change and my male muppetness will go once i am changing gender?’, ‘ I doubt it!’ giggles E. We hugged each other as we laughed and then she said ‘i told work today…’

‘what, about me?, ohhh you mean about the NZ trip, i thought for a minite you had told work about me, us’.

‘I did’ said E,

‘Oh, Ok… how did it go, i mean er, you did, oh? ‘ I wasn’t sure how i felt but rolled with it.

E had asked for 3 weeks and they normally only allow 2 at a time so she had to ask for a bending of the rules and give an explanation. So she said she although she didn’t agree with bringing home to work, she needed to tell them something in confidence why she needed to get over to New Zealand to see her best friend and spend some ‘me’ time with her, relax a little after the past few months…and that i had come out to her as transgender earlier in the summer. That was why she had been feeling down at work and needed some her time face to face with her best friend, who also happens to be a Dr over in New Zealand.

I agree, she misses her friend and with things progressing next year she could do with the time away for herself.

I wasn’t sure how i felt at first about her telling someone I didn’t know, work, her managers. She assured me they were going to keep her confidence and it would stay with them and they understood that breach of data protection and confidential info was a legal thing, but they understand and were shocked but reassuring and said they would make an exception over the situation and see if they can give her the time she needs for her trip plus any days off she needs to come with me to appointments etc when things start to happen.

Being an openly LGBT supportive employer they had never had anyone trans or spouse of trans at work come out to them, and I suppose that is the correct term for E as well, we are in this together so we both have comings out to deal with.

It wont be the first or the last time over the years we will have to tell an employer, luckily i own my own business so i only have my staff and customers to come out to… only lol!

Of course they had questions, when did she know? Would i have ‘the op!’ (Why always that question first?) E responded that it was early days still and we were staying together and yes i might have ‘the op’ in time but thats for us and me to decide. She was awesome! She handled their questions and although she admit that she had a few tears towards the end, she felt ok about it and feels she has moved forward a little with me. I think she is owning her own truth as well as i am mine and she is an amazing person to take this journey with me when many spouses leave.

We made dinner, chatted and shared some thoughts and asked each other how we were feeling and made some plans too.

It felt ok, better and more normal and accepting than before. I guess we are finding a new normal for now.

So, coffee is finished, the Toro lounge is prepping for lunch and i need to head off, swing by the Dr’s for a script for E, load some boards and head south for a weekends surfing and chatting old surfboards with friends. I am staying with some good friends tonight, C collects boards like me his wife J collects make up and has a amazing collection… I might ask for a peep….

Stay Wonderful all, its a blue sky day!

Xxx Sophie

Let go of that pressure, relax into you.

“Let go of that pressure, relax into you”.

These words have helped me today. A friend said them to me this morning on messenger as we discussed me, my gender and the increasing confusion i am currently going through around which way next, how far and when and where to go with this.

Things have been tough these last few weeks since i came out to my family, the first night went better than planned, i thought, then reality hit home and things went squiffy. My family weren’t OK and as supportive as i first thought, they lashed out, i guess shocked , confused and angry. After a talk with them last weekend they went in hard, really hard and sent me into an almighty tailspin. I haven’t been the same since.

Slowly i am coming back into myself, i am starting to internalise things, which as we know isn’t good for us, i am questioning everything, reflecting on what was said by my folks, was it real, is it real, am i trans is transition the right path, if so, how far. I thought i knew and had a plan, I’ve just had it ripped up and thrown on the floor, stomped on and i am trying to find the pieces, some are missing.

I was given an ultimatum of sorts, i think, well no i hope that this is just anger and grief, shock and awe and all that stuff when something comes out the blue unexpectedly and hits you in the face and turns life in a different way. My folks had no clue or signals over the last 45 years i am trans. I hid it all so well, so completely they are doubting it is real, couple this with the fact my mum is very, traditional, shall we say in thinking, she watches a lot of BBC and reads the Daily Mail newspaper, is religious and likes everything in boxes, labelled where it should be and should not be changed. Dad is more liberal and open minded but it’s hit him hard. One of his 3 boys, is er…maybe not? I can see how that would be a huge huge life changing thing.

My folks are close, we all are as a family, we lost my sister too early in life which they still haven’t begun to get over i don’t think which makes this even more hard as they thought they might have only had one daughter and maybe they had two. This makes my head spin let along the rest of the families.

And so, it understandably was a shock when they said transition and we will disown you from the family. To hear that as a child of any age from your parents is tough. Really tough. I would like to think that maybe they will come around to some kind of acceptance eventually. I am hoping.

SO, as you can guess, my brain has been feeling a bit battered, i can’t work things out like normal, i have lost my way and what i thought i wanted has been sent in to confusion, i am questioning myself, my path, my feelings and inside is turmoil. I had heard people can be like this but thought it would be different. The rollercoaster ride of coming out as trans hasn’t just taken a dip, someone has pinched the rails and i am in free fall.

Chatting to my friend she said, your putting too much pressure on yourself, reading too much, listening to others stories and journeys, they won’t fit yours. “Let go of that pressure, relax into you”.

That is a hard thing to do for me, it’s in my nature to research, read a lot and make sense of stuff through others stories. But if i am to find the answers then i have to try and make my own way,  my own story, my own pathway and my own ending to the journey. I accepted a long time ago that i am trans, lost that,  have i found that self acceptance again? l i think i have.

I questioned A LOT last week and i mean a lot. All those past thoughts, what led me to come out this year to my wife, friends and now family, I wondered if it was right, if that is what i was feeling, if that was real and if that was what i was and what i wanted after all?

I think in the last 24 hrs i have accepted again that i was right, that it probably is what i needed and wanted to do and where i am, but it’s shifted a little. I wondered about the whole non binary spectrum, maybe i am gender fluid, but it doesn’t feel quite right, i defiantly associate with a much more female bias and lean than anything else and looking back over my life, i have always felt and wanted to be female.

Maybe the things my folks said have regressed me back a little, made me feel like i need to step back in to line with their views that they brought us up with, i don’t know. It’s that whole conform to the norm thing that we fight so hard to break away from but is always trying to drag us back towards with that pressure.  I am fighting that again at the moment and trying to be myself as an individual again, its hard.

The first few days i felt scolded like a naughty child, i stood my ground with my parents, was honest, very honest about my feelings, past experiences and life choices, promised nothing but i didn’t  compromise either. Slowly the past couple of days i have been getting out running again,  it’s my head space time and through the miles i have started to look back at all the things related to this in my life and answered some questions inside. I also asked some friends some questions, they all came back with similar answers. How many of my guy friends dress as female? how many wear make up? had and want back my feminine hair do? Happily buy female clothing in shops? Go to Tesco’s shopping as female? Go out for an evening meal to a local pub in their female self? Go to their GP to request a referral to a GIC…er…none… well none of the non trans ones anyway.

So that answers that question. The next is where do i go from here. I am still knocked for six on that one and trying to find out again. I suppose that is part of the journey, self doubt, knock backs, swerve balls and hard times. It was never going to be a bunch of roses now was it?

Well, tonight i am out with my wife to a friends for dinner in me (girl) mode. I am wearing my new green knitted top, skinny girl jeans and brown suede boots with 4 inch heels, nice blue chiffon scarf and the gorgeous silver and jade bracelet my wife bought me for our wedding anniversary last week… So i guess the Sophie part of me is back at least where she should be.

 

Are you who you say you want to be?

Please bare with me on this one folks.

I belong to a writers group, newly formed and in its early days. We were set a challenge, a question to answer however we liked, just to write, be creative and a explore as we see fit no boundaries, just write.

I thought i’d have a go and decided to write what ever came out in my mind first, not really sure what i was going to write, but here it is anyway, good bad or indifferent. hey its a start!

the question posed was,

Are you who you say you want to be?

A good question, this is a tough one. Here we go!

Daily it can change, sometimes by the hour, or by the day, month or year. I think i know, i have a name, a name for me and a name others call me that was given at birth. But the feelings surrounding my identity can shift and change.

It feels like it accelerates and decelerates at will, like a car with its own mind and which we have only partial control over. We look forward out the windscreen but often, too often the rear view mirror, scared of what is following but also what is around the next bend, going too fast, going too slow. A never ending journey, well they call it a journey, who knows what it is.

We question and question ourselves, ask others, try to find ourselves. We double guess, double bluff and have double vision sometimes which clouds our thoughts beliefs and what we thought was right yesterday is often not today.

We seek answers like a wraith in the night looking for lost souls. We council, speak with others of our kind that we find in the dark. There are many of us, seekers, we own the misplaces souls. But we are not evil, bad or strange beings, we are not novelties, freaks or media fodder, in fact some hold us in reverence.

We care, we support and we take our turn to come crashing down and wait for others to catch the fall or to try and rebuild, fill the cracks and prop us back up again. We are always seeking the truth through the confusion and fear, are we this? are we that? or are we neither. Do we switch or float between the two, are we some kind of other being that is in limbo between two worlds? Which vision is right?

Then comes the paths, which path is the right one?

This one is dark, pitch black and scares us, it traps those with nothing but despair and swallows them whole. Sirens call us in during times of pain and when nothing is left. Return is for the few.

This one is seems easy, we know it and we travel it, may have come from it, most of us have lived on it for a long time till we come across a fork. But it has gatekeepers. Directed by others, who beckon and call us, pull at us frantically to stay, which we try and try to resist leaving even though it is the easy path, the fork tempts us, we think we recognise it, see others along it in the mist, it feels like we should explore, go down it, take a step, see who we could be.

For them, the others who live on the path, they know no difference, they never see the fork for them everything is normal, everything here is clear. But for us seekers it can be lethal to stray off the path. It can be dangerous, it can set a time bomb ticking, it could lead to misery, confusion and fear for us, we can get beaten, trodden on and lectured at, destroyed and diminished but at the same time its home. It is uncomfortable for us seekers to live here, we can leave or we can stay,  either choice can lead to ultimate happiness or it could lead to destruction. We can find out but it can take a cost.

We could be happy but it could cost others dear, but is many persons happiness worth another’s unbearable pain? Would all who travel up and down this path come to realise that for some of us its a false path. One that us seekers find hard. To keep you here is their wish but they would they struggle to hold over you till the end of days? Sucking the happiness from you to fuel their own desires, thinking of themselves to keep you. But once they glimpse you for what you are they are often cursed. The nagging doubts grow like ivy slowly creeping unnoticed until it cuts out the light and crushes the living being inside its shroud.

So, what if we take that other one, its steep, it doesn’t look easy, it’s a climb, rocky filled with pot holes, rarely travelled but well sign posted. Often it appears hidden, one that reveals itself to us from time to time. We must admit it’s attractive. It often only reveals itself to us at the last moment, the time when we need it most and want it least, An answer?

But we might find that down it, truths that scare us, frighten us and reveal what we did not want to believe, or it might not, it might lead to growth, to help, out stretched hands that will comfort and heal, provide the answers, sooth busy minds, wash clean scarred bodies and patch up battered hearts. It might leave others behind to drag them with us. It feels safe, it has people who understand and know, knowledge and sanctity. It can become all consuming this path, not easy but right, until with a crescendo it spits us out into another world leaving us to feel new, but then what next, which new path with reveal itself to us then?

Without a crystal ball or the power of fore sight we will never know who we are, will be, could be unlike the others who walk with us unaware, happy go lucky and without the thoughts, pain and confusion that lives within us.

So we must tread carefully my friends, We must have courage walking these paths, testing this experience, one step forward, one step back. Its like a dance where we don’t know the steps. But when the music ends, we will find out who we are.

What colour coffee are you?

You know i love coffee right? i mean so far, out of 4 blog posts, its been in 4 of them, 100% success rate.

Making a Latte in a tall glass, watching the dark brown coffee mix with the hot white milk, swirling away in the glass, changing colours and then separating out into 3 distinct layers got me thinking.

This one has dark brown coffee at the bottom, the white milk turning to a pale tan colour further up the glass and then further still the soft white froth on the top. Now stand a black looking double espresso next to that in a shot glass, then a flat white, finally a cappuccino with its frothy top sprinkled with cinnamon and chocolate sprinkles and you have 4 or 5 different colours, different flavours, textures and tastes but they are all still essentially, coffee. Lets not get into instant!

The past week i have been writing an inclusion and equality policy for my sport, so far our GB federation doesn’t have one and we need one, to be frank, i need one.

So i emailed our international federation to request a copy of theirs for me to use as a template, to doctor as i see fit and so we can mirror their guidelines. Guess what, they don’t have one. Well that’s not strictly true, they do, its just not what i would call robust or detailed enough to protect me and other athletes from the trans community, from other diverse cultures, communities, beliefs in a way that i would like to see. It’s not their fault, although they have an all encompassing line that says they welcome all and will not discriminate against race, religion or political views, that’s as far as it goes. I suspect they thought that would cover it, just a simple one line statement.

An email later to our international athletes rep and she replied quickly saying that they, we, really do need one and it is now on the agenda for the forthcoming board meeting in early October in Kiruna Sweden. Result, Perfect! They have cleared the first hurdle and have recognised they need one. What they don’t yet know is that i might be the first to have to use it when its written, when i come out to my sport. So i have offered to pass over the one i have been writing to them to use if they see fit and will wait and see what happens next. The scary thing for me is that they might ask me to present on it, great a trip to Sweden, but also that might mean i then have to come out to them…maybe that’s the route to take, i don’t know yet. Coming out to your sport is a massive thing i think when you compete and work in that sport. After all, the media loves a good trans sportsperson story and i am not sure i want to be that story yet.

I have been involved in international sport for many years in several sports, was instrumental in setting up our federation here, i sit on committee’s internationally, manage our GB Team and work as a high level official at World and European Championships. I have been very lucky to travel the world for my sport and hope to continue to do so in the future and to work in it for our athletes for many years to come.

Talking to Tara Stone from Pride Sports to get some help with writing the policy and specifically the non-binary aspects of the policy, i asked how do we include non-binary folks into the sporting mix, with its classifications etc.

Trans people are fairly easy to place, depending on various hormone and testosterone levels, we can fit them into the various classes and boxes. We can use the binary aspects of the trans spectrum of trans male and trans female to place them along the line of classifications, with the gender they present as, to a certain extent. Currently a male to female athlete, pre hormone treatment ( HRT ), might be restricted to the open or male gender classifications until their hormone levels and testosterone levels have reached required levels to match that of a cis gender female athlete. It is obvious that they could have an advantage due to differences in strength and muscle mass over a female until such time as that reduces with HRT. Notice i say could as some cisgender females will naturally be more flexible, lighter than a cisgender male in their sport and at an advantage.

If they are post op or their levels are such that they fit within the WADA guidelines, that narrows it down and can be used to define which gender classification they compete in. (WADA – the World Anti Doping body will still require drug tests to prove the their Oestrogen levels are below a certain level to match that of a genetic female range) . Some sports insist on surgery others don’t. Most sports allow trans men to compete with the men, but for someone who identifies as a trans women like myself, we have more hoops to jump through. The Non Binary athletes at the moment don’t have such a clear pathway, but they will still require looking after and be recognised in sport, especially as more folks identify as NB.

I am pre HRT, pre SRS, pre coming out to my sport at present, early in my transition, so my box isn’t available to me yet. It clearly isn’t OK to put me in with the girls at the moment and i agree, (although many would still whip my ass in a race) even though i identify as female within myself and my gender identity, i am not far enough down my journey to be able to race with the gender i associate with.

I am lucky that i race currently in a gender non specific class but if i wanted to enter a class that is gender specific, then i would need to fit the requirement. That for me is a non start until i start HRT. At the moment not being out to my sport, i just keep racing where i am with the guys.

So what about the Non-Binary folks, that brought up some interesting conversations between us and we discussed ways to write the policy so that they are included. NB Athletes face a harder task as do their federations and sport in general in placing them in the right classification for sport at present, unless its a non gender specific class or sport.

This then got me thinking, what if sport did away with gender? what if WE did away with gender, or just labels all together, labels often confuse things. We get put in boxes and labelled this and that and some of those labels are getting either tenuous, put pressure on folks who don’t want to be labelled or can be discriminatory even.

A lot of talk these days is of spectrum’s, sexuality, gender, learning abilities etc, spectrum’s are made up of colours, the colour of the LGBT logo is one of a Rainbow. What if we did away with the labels that differentiated us too not just in sport? What if we used the colour spectrum instead?

You know i feeling i lean more towards the pink end of the spectrum,, Now that might be preconceived as i identify as female and we are taught from a young age to like blue as a boy, pink as a girl. If i am honest, i just like the bright colour and also the soft tones you can get in the pink colour range. It reminds me of sunsets and sunrises, a softer side and positive things. It just feels like me. Someone else might identify more with earthy brown tones, or greens, yellows, someone else firey red or orange with their identity, maybe they can’t associate and would choose grey, maybe even black or white. What if we replaced gender labels with colour? I guess we would change a small amount depending on our mood at that moment, but we all have our favourite colours don’t we? and most folks favourite colour has never changed, and if it does fine, that’s cool too, no one judges you on it like they do with other things, they just say, i prefer blue or red or orange and we accept it and each others choice. I wish it were that easy when it came to other things we choose in life.

I bet if you think of your favourite colour it wont change much though, my wife has always like turquoise, her whole life. Just out of interest have a think, choose your colour and put it in the comments box, just the colour you feel or like best. Radical concept huh!

So with sport, what if we did something similar and we all just competed in a class relative to say strength, size, weight, height, body mass, muscle, testosterone levels or oestrogen levels rather than gender? Motor racing does it with engine size already, what if we did the same with our human engine size.

What if you entered a race, then in the days before you declare your height, weight, body mass, strength test results. boxing and other combat sports do to some extent already. Then you have a finger prick test, similar to that a diabetic has, and you get put in this class or that class with others with similar levels and you all compete together, would that be fair?  Does it seems so? i think i might work. Male, Female, Trans, Cis, NB, it wouldn’t matter as we would all be on a level playing field and compete against someone of a similar body type to you, no matter their identity.

Only maybe it wouldn’t work, well not yet anyway. As Tara said when we discussed this idea, we are probably 2 – 3 generations away from a radical shift that means people don’t have gender splits in sport and we all race together, it will come, may come, but its way way off at the moment. But by thinking about it and putting policies in place in sports, its a start. A lot of things start with sport.

So for now, we need to keep the labels, people NEED labels, it puts us into communities, helps us identify with others similar to us, makes us feel safe, gives us an identity even though we are individuals, allows us to express ourselves by giving ourselves a label.

So, back to the policy writing and back to my coffee, this ones a long latte, with extra chocolate sprinkles, cinnamon with a shot of gingerbread syrup, it’s my own creation, i think i will label it the Hansel and Grettle.

have an amazing day, feel free to add your thoughts or drop in for coffee.

Sophie x

hansel