Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

May 2014 bring you everything you desire in life.

I'd say may you live in interesting times, but being who we are we already do that.

xx

Monday, 30 December 2013

2014 Goals

Well its that time of the year to set myself some goals for next year. I don't expect to achieve most of what I want. If I achieve the main one then a lot of the others simply aren't going to happen because I'll be spending a fair bit of time recovering from surgery and wont feel like doing things.




Complete Grizzly in under 4 hours 30 minutes
I managed to secure myself a place in this year's Grizzly. 20 miles of cross country running on what is the hilliest, muddiest, pebble beach strewn route that I've ever come across. It will be fabulous!! The last time that I took part in it I finished in about 4 hours 50 minutes. I want to do better this time so I'm aiming to finish in under four and a half hours.

Burlesque
I've a number of routines that I've been fleshing out. By the end of 2014 I want to have developed them into full blown routines and if possible to have performed each of them. There are 3 routines that I want to have finished working on. A small hand fan dance, a silk fan dance with a striptease or belly dance section in the middle, and another routine that makes use of silk fans and either cloak. This one is likely to take the longest to develop as its going to require saving up for a new corset. Think Adam and the Ants jacket in the video for Stand and Deliver.

Belly Dance
I want to learn enough steps to put together a short belly dance routine.

Work
I need to expand on my skills at work so I plan to work on my programming skills and brush up on what I learned when I did a C# programming course a couple of years ago.

Home
There are two projects that I'd like to complete this year. The first is to clear out all the things in our attic that we either don't use and don't want. The second is to fence in our front garden, remove the lavetera and brambles that has taken over one part of it, remove the grass from that part of the garden and replace it with pebbles.

Health
I've been trying to lose weight for a while but it doesn't seem to be working. The other day I did a BMI check via the NHS website. It suggested that if I lost 14 kg then I'd be the ideal weight for my height. So over the next year I plan to lose about a kilogram a month. At the very least it will get my BMI and weight down to a level that shouldn't delay me having surgery.

Transition
This is the big one for next year and the thing that I want to have done more than anything.
There are two parts to this.
When I was a teenager I had gynaecomastia and as a result had the tissue removed from my left breast. This has meant that since I've been on hormones, although my right breast has developed my left has not changed. If I'm lucky then I hope that by the end of the year I'll have had chest reconstruction surgery, breast augmentation if you must, and that both sides of my chest will match.
The second goal for next year is to have had my GRS. I've requested that I be sent for my second opinion so hopefully things will move along at a reasonable pace so that come the autumn I'll be looking at a trip to Brighton in order to put myself into the skilled hands of Dr Thomas and his team.


So with my goals set for next year, here's a song by Emeli Sande that I heard on the car radio Christmas Day while driving to my father-in-laws.



Thursday, 26 December 2013

Season's Greetings


A belated Merry Christmas to everyone
May 2014 bring you everything you wish for in life.


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

2013 Review

As its nearly the end of the year I thought I'd do a bit of a review of the things I'd hoped to do.
My goals for the year fell into 5 areas, sport, burlesque, work home and transition.

Sport
Complete Outlaw Triathlon:
Sadly this didn't happen. Working at our Malvern office for several months at the beginning of the year didn't help my training. By the time I'd found where the local swimming pool was and then worked out a cycle route that I could use if I took my bike with me I'd already committed to returning to Yeovil. 
Managing to fall off my bike and hurt my wrist during the Outlaw Half and breaking my little toe during training simply compounded things. I might not have managed to achieve this aim this year but its still there and I will do it at some point.

Complete Outlaw Half:
Completed this and managed to improve on my personal best for the distance. I was quite happy with that as I had felt so bad the morning of the race that I'd seriously contemplated pulling out and just going home.
Complete DIY Olympic Triathlon:
I managed to complete my own little Olympic distance triathlon, even if I did break my little toe while changing to go out on my bike. 

Burlesque 
Perform True Love routine:  
I managed to get my large fan dance routine developed and performed it at the start of the year at the Pink Kitten showcase. I loved performing it as it was such a brilliant routine. Now I just need to work on refining it for the future.
Other burlesque aims:
Well I failed spectacularly with every other aim that I had. I had a number of routines that I wanted to develop and performed but I've not managed to do any of them. I had planned to train to teach burlesque but again that did not come to fruition. Its a bit frustrating but I'll hang in there and work on routines in the New Year.

Work
Pass ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst exam:
I popped up to London at the start of the year and sat my ISTQB exam and managed to pass it. It was a lot less stressful than the last exam I took, no headaches at the end of it thankfully. The whole trip to London was an interesting one as it was the first time that I'd been there since I transitioned.

Develop C# programming ability:
I've had a few attempts at achieving this goal but something seems to come up. I don't have the time to do anything at work and at home I have even less time. I really do need to brush up on my programming skills so that I can do other things at work. 

Home 
Finish decorating small bedroom:
There is only a few bits and pieces that need to be done to the small bedroom and it will be decorated. It needs a carpet, a bed, wardrobe and some drawers. The area over the stairs that has been boxed in needs to be finished (minor work) and then covered over to leave it looking neat and tidy.

The room has had all of the holes filled in, the woodwork has been repainted, the ceiling repainted and the walls papered. It looks quite nice. At the moment it makes the perfect practice and exercise space. How long that continues to be the case I do not know.

Tidy garden:
The back garden was tidied up and rubbish taken to the dump several times during the year. There is still work to be done and there is yet another load of rubbish to take to the dump. That needs to be done before the end of the year.

The front garden is a work in progress. Part of the hedge has been removed. The remainder needs to be cut down and taken to the dump when the weather is good enough to get the chainsaw out. There is still work to be done but that will be part of next years aims.

Empty attic of things we don't need:

We've not really started to sort through the attic. That is also going to be something that I'll start doing next year.


Transition
Get referred back to Laurels in December:
In the end I never actually stopped going to the Laurels. I did start going less frequently. My sessions have been very useful and things are in progress at the moment so that hopefully I'll be able to have my surgery next year.
Complete speech therapy:
I think my speech therapy sessions are going to carry on for a while, although not as frequently as previously. At the moment I go every 2 or 3 months to for an hour session. They are good opportunities to go over what has been happening.

Start laser hair removal:
I managed to start having laser hair removal at the Nuffied in Exeter. Its helped a bit but hasn't cleared all of the hair. Some of it simply isn't the right colour for the laser to work on. Still it does mean that the electrolysis that I'm having can focus on getting rid of the dark hairs that have resisted the laser. The remaining hair is light coloured so I don't have a noticeable beard shadow.

Electrolysis on breasts and chest area:
I started to have electrolysis on my breasts and chest area. After several sessions I've now moved to having electrolysis on my beard area. The laser sessions reduced the dark hairs which means that the electrolysis can focus on the lighter hairs.


Saturday, 7 December 2013

A little bit of training goes a long way

I completed my 4th Parkrun today and was really pleased with it.
Over the last few weeks I've been managing to get some training done for the Grizzly next March. Last Monday I managed an interval run with decreasing distances of 1200m, 1000m, 800m, 600m, 400m and 200m with 200m rest intervals between each. It was hard and I didn't hit my target times for the longer distances but I finished it which is a good start.
On Wednesday evening I completed a tempo session with a mile warm up and then 5 miles at marathon pace. Again it was a hard session but I completed it and even managed to run the entire 5 miles averaging my marathon pace.

Today was Parkrun and although it didn't feel easy I was able to keep up a reasonable pace and when I finished had smashed my personal best for the course by over a minute with a time of 27 minutes 25 seconds for the 5k distance.

Its going to be hard to better that time but I'll keep plugging away at it. With luck the combination of interval and tempo sessions in the week will help to improve my running enough that I can go even quicker.

It probably also helping that I've been doing a couple of 30 day abs challenges. One is based around performing a plank and the other is doing crunches. Today I managed to complete a two and a half minute plank and 90 crunches. Twelve more days to go and I'll reach 5 minutes of plank and 135 crunches. I might not have abs of steel but they'll certainly be a lot stronger which will translate into better control of my tummy muscles for dancing and also for running.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Timey Wimey for some news

Yes, we did see the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special. In fact my son and I went to see it in 3D at our local cinema. We also have it recorded so will be watching it again in due course.

But.

That's not the news I have.

I've had my latest appointment at the Laurels. I had a 9am appointment with my counsellor and a 12 noon appointment with my doctor.
The first appointment went well even though when I raised a few things S said I'd have to ask the doctor.
So with two hours to kill between appointments I went into Exeter and had a wander around the cathedral for an hour then slowly made my way back to the clinic.

When I saw the doctor we went over how I'd been and then got down to business and discussed what I wanted to know. The upshot of my questions was that we had to pop into the examination room so that I could disrobe, with the medical secretary there so she would be aware of what was discussed.

The first thing I asked was about breast augmentation. When I was about 18 I had gynaecomastia and underwent surgery to remove the excess tissue from the enlarged breast. After 18 months on hormones I have asymmetrical growth, one breast has developed to at least an A cup, the other pretty much flat. My doctor is therefore going to recommend me for reconstructive surgery to get things balanced. Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later.

The second thing I asked was about electrolysis down below. Again he examined me and confirmed that I would indeed need electrolysis to get everything in a suitable state to allow surgery to go ahead.

Which leads to the final thing we discussed.
Having seen so many of the other girls getting their second opinions and having dates for their surgeries I decided that now might be a good time to at least look at the second opinion. It seems that there is a 2 to 3 month wait for an appointment. That will take me to about February or March.
There is then a wait to get to meet the surgical team and get a date for surgery. As I'm still aiming for surgery after my son has completed his GCSEs that would take me to the summer so if I keep with my plan and agree a later date with them then by next September or October I could be in Brighton having my operation. Which is about the time that I wanted it. If I'd waited until April as planned to ask for my referral then I'd have probably been looking at 2015 for my surgery if not longer.

So now I just have to wait for my second opinion appointment and after that has happened and I've been referred onwards to Brighton then I'll need to tell my family. Something I haven't done yet and will be leaving until after Christmas and I've been to my appointment for my second opinion.

So things are moving and I'm a really happy bunny.

Roll on 2014, its going to be one fabulous year.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Hot Guy

Ten pin bowling. A great game, which my family and I enjoy doing occasionally. Apart from my son who loves it and up until his bone marrow transplant used to play at our town's Saturday morning youth bowling club. After his transplant he eventually went back to playing for a while before deciding that he didn't have the strength and control and stopped going.

About 2 months ago he decided that he wanted to give it another try. We were in town on a Saturday morning and so popped into the bowling centre so he could say hi to everyone. At the same time his mum explained to one of the coaches that we'd always gotten on with about my transition.

For the last 2 months my son has been going along on a Saturday morning, when we've been home, and enjoying a morning of bowling, he's still getting back into things but he's having fun.

Each year our club gets together with some of the clubs from other local towns and has a series of tournaments. There's are a singles, doubles and team competition. Last Saturday was the singles tournament.

My son was told that as it was the singles tournament he could go along and play if he wanted as there wouldn't be any pressure on him to play well like there would be if he was part of team in the other tournaments.

So early on a frosty, Saturday morning we set of on the 30 minute drive to the bowling centre hosting the event. We were early so sat in the car waiting for other people to arrive and for it to open.

Eventually my son and his mum disappeared inside where she dropped him off before we headed off to do a bit of shopping.

An hour or so later we returned and she popped in to see how they'd done and collect him.

As I sat in the car I got a phone call to tell me that they were waiting for the presentation and that my son might have some news for me.

About 10 minutes later the pair of them appeared and got in the car. Yes, my son did have some news for me. Holding out his hands he showed me the medal he'd won. Not for taking part, not for coming third or even second. No, he'd only gone and won the tournament.

It seemed that he'd had an amazing game. In his first two games he'd scored over 148 and 153 respectively. In his final game he'd score 111.

At the end of his first game his score had been passed by his club mates from lane to lane. They had been that impressed.

When it came time for the presentations they had announced the winners in reverse order. Third place had achieved a total of over 400 points. Now they operate a handicap system and so third places score had their handicap applied. This meant that my son's score was going to be higher than that.

By now people were thinking that maybe he'd have gotten second place but when that was announced it wasn't him.

Finally, first place was announced and with a score of over 600 points he'd won, in fact he was the clear winner by over 50 pins. Well you can imagine the ribbing he got from his club-mates and the coaches. They were all proud of him and so were we. The rest of the day when we got back home was spent ringing various family members so that he could tell them about it.

After the tournament we took him to a Harvester restaurant to have lunch. I'd promised that I would take him and his mum there for ages so it seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Lunch was wonderful. The waiter referred to me and my other half as ladies throughout the meal and we felt really well looked after.
And this is where the title for this post comes in. Not my son's bowling achievement but our waiter.
Oh boy, was he hot looking. Absolutely drop dead gorgeous. Tall, dark and most decidedly handsome. As I said to my other half as we were walking back to the car. I'd not have kicked him out of my bed if I'd found him there on Christmas morning (or any morning or evening for that matter). Now I just need to figure out a reason to go back there again for a meal and maybe try a smoking hot dish this time ;-)

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Last Wednesday (20th November 2013) was the Transgender Day of Remembrance. This is a day where we can remember those that are no longer with us. Those transgender individuals from around the world that it has been possible to identify from media reports that have been murdered for simply being who they are.
On Wednesday I did what I've wanted to do since I heard about TDOR and went to the memorial service that was being held at Bristol City Hall.
The City Council have provided a room to be used free of charge for the memorial for several years. This year there were over 20 people attending.
Cheryl who organised the event spoke to us briefly beforehand and then read through a list of those that have died, there were over 230 people that have been shot, stabbed, stoned, drowned, thrown off bridges, run over by vehicles , strangled and beheaded. Over 230 people that have been identified from media reports around the world.
This doesn't include all those transgender people that have been murdered in countries where it isn't possible to learn about their deaths.
It also doesn't include those that have died at their own hands because the pressures of trying to be themselves, or trying to live as the person that they aren't really, or pressure that arises from being outed in the media, is too much to bare and the only way out is to take their own life.
I'm lucky that I live in a country where, although its possible to get taunted, physically beaten and outed in the media, we don't have the levels of violence against transgender individuals that other countries have.

On Friday I spoke with my contact in HR as the article I'd written about what TDOR and being transgender meant to me had been published on our company diversity and inclusion site. I was interested in finding out what she thought about it. L had not read the piece as she'd wanted to be able to devote time to reading it and digesting it, something that she'd not been able to do up until that point, although she had read the first part.
As I we spoke I told her about Wednesday evening and the numbers involved. I also told her that I'd decided that next year I wanted to do something local. Bristol is a long way to travel and it would be nice to have something for people in the area I live, that might not be able to travel so easily, to attend. I have an idea for a venue already, I just need to start organising something.
As L and I spoke she said that with everything that she thinks its amazing that with everything that I have to deal with that I want to help others. I told her that I'd been lucky that I'd had it so easy with my transition. L's reply was that she didn't think I'd had it that easy. I think we'll have to agree to differ on that one.

For a while now I've been watching others transitioning and seen the difficulties that they've faced. I know I have it easier. I've got a wonderful support network in my family and friends. This would have been a lot harder without them. I know that with a bit of effort I could probably go stealth and maybe one day I will but until then I'm going to look at what I can do to help those transgender men and women that I know that are having a harder time. How I do that is still a work in progress but organising something for next year's Day of Remembrance will be a start.

In the meantime here is a list of those individuals that are no longer with us, who's voices have been stilled. Whether permanently or temporarily, depending on your own spiritual or religious beliefs.


———————————————————————————-
Natália Sotero (age:20)
Cause of death: gunshots
Location of death: Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
Date of death: July 17th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Rafael da Silva Tavares (age:21)
Cause of death:  six gunshots
Location of death: Baixada Fluminense, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date of death: July 19th, 2013
source

———————————————————————————-
Valeria (age:30)
Cause of death:  Beaten to death with sticks
Location of death: Conceição do Lago-Açu, Maranhão, Brazil
Date of death: August 1st, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Unknown woman
Cause of death: Stoning, skull crushed.
Location of death: Téofilo Otoni, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Date of death: August 11th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-

Joales dos Santos (age:22)
Cause of death: gunshot at close range to left breast.
Location of death: Parnaíba, Piauí, Brazil
Date of death: August 18, 2013
source

———————————————————————————-
Wagner Paula Rodrigues (age:42)
Cause of death: Stoning
Location of death: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Date of death: August 24th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Unidentified woman
Cause of death: Severe head injuries, body thrown under a truck
Location: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Date of death: August 28, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Unidentified woman
Cause of death: Gunshot wound to the head
Location: Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Date of death:
June 25th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Otávio Nascimento Valadares (age: 20)
Cause of death: Gunshot wound to the head
Location: Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Date of death: June 12th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Unidentified child (age: 13)
Cause of death: hanging
Location: Macaíba, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
Date of death: June 8th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Ronald Feitosa Souza (age:26)
Cause of death: beaten to death, severe head injuries
Location: Colniza, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Date of death: May 23rd, 2013
source

———————————————————————————-
Fábio da Conceição Machado (age: 26)
Cause of death: stoning.
Location: Mumbuca, Mateiros, Tocantins, Brazil
Date of death: May 15th, 2013
source

———————————————————————————-
Jorge Luciano Soares De Oliveira (age: 38)
Cause of death: blow to the head.
Location: Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Date of death: May 12th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
unidentified woman 
Cause of death: bullet to head and leg
Location: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Date of death: May 11th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Rosa Fernando Domingues (age:36)
Cause of death: stabbed to death. Knive wounds to left eye, neck, and shoulder.
Location: São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo, Brazil.
Date of death: May 11th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
unidentified woman
Cause of death: multiple gunshot wounds
Location: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Date of death: February 24th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
unidentified woman
Cause of death: seven stab wounds
Location: Gravataí, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Date of death: February 24th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Joelma
Cause of death: gunshot
Location: Altos, Piauí, Brazil
Date of death: February 9th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Mônica Lewinski (age:38)
Cause of death:
 gunshot wound to the head
Location: 
Curitiba, Paraná , Brazil
Date of death: 
February 8th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
unknown woman
Cause of death: stoned, stabbed in the neck with a broken bottle.
Location:
 Jaboatão Guararapes, Pernambuco, Brazil
Date of death:
January 24th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Nicole Galisteu (age:20)
Cause of death:
 Gunshot
Location:
 Santa Cândida, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
Date of death: 
January 8th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Stephanie (age:33)
Cause of death: Beaten and strangled to death.
Location:
  Embu das Artes, São Paulo, Brazil
Date of death: 
March 3rd, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Dalvalei José Alves Pereira (age:37)
Cause of death: beheaded and burned with trans partner in their home.
Location:
  Novo Gama, Goiás, Brazil
Date of death:  
December 24th, 2012
source
———————————————————————————-
Camila
Cause of death: beheaded and burned with partner in their home
Location:
  Novo Gama, Goiás, Brazil
Date of death: 
December 24th, 2012
source
———————————————————————————-
Fernanda Queiroz
Cause of death: beaten to death, (multiple blows to the head), body burned. 
Location:
  Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Date of death: 
November 21st, 2012
source
———————————————————————————-
Angel Francisco Martinez Gonzalez
Cause of death: beaten and shot in the head.
Location:  Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Date of death:
April 11th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Ashley Sinclair
Cause of death: beaten and shot in the head.
Location:  Orlando, Florida, USA
Date of death: 
April 11th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Kelly Young
Cause of death: Gunshot
Location:  Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Date of death: 
April 3rd, 2013
source

———————————————————————————-
Palmira Garcia (age:37)
Cause of death: partially scalped, signs of torture, laceration to face.
Location:  Las Marvales, Venezuela 
Date of death: 
Feburary 5th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Gaye
Cause of death: strangulation
Location:  Istanbul, Turkey
Date of death: 
July 29th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Naomi Estrada (age:19)
Cause of death: two gunshots to the head and chest
Location:  Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Date of death: 
Feburary 1st, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Karen
Cause of death: multiple stab wounds, beheaded.
Location:  Zimatlán de Alvarez, Oaxaca, Mexico.  
Date of death: 
January 28th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
“Tiffany” Wesley Holder (age 19)
Cause of death: multiple stab wounds.
Location:  Georgetown, Guyana
Date of death: 
January 11th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Adán Amilcar Iglesias (age 20)
Cause of death: four gunshot wounds to the head
Location: El Carmen, Honduras
Date of death: 
March 4, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Daniel Mendoza Ricardo Macias (age:23)
Cause of death: multiple stab wounds.
Location:  Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico
Date of death: 
January 9th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————
Domonique Newburn (age:31)
Cause of death: multiple stab wounds.
Location:  Fontana, California, USA
Date of death: 
August 20th, 2013
source

———————————————————————————-
Islan Nettles (age:21)
Cause of death: blunt force trauma
Location:  Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Date of death:
August 17th, 2013
source

———————————————————————————-
Dwayne Jones  (age 16)
Cause of death: beaten, stabbed, shot & run over by a car.
Location: Montego Bay, Jamaica
Date of death: 
July 22nd, 2013
source

———————————————————————————-
Cemia “CeCe” Dove (age:23)
Cause of death: multiple stab wounds, tied with a rope to a block of concrete and thrown in pond.
Location:  Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Date of death: 
March 27th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Renato Espinosa Reyes (age:23)
Cause of death: multiple gunshot wounds
Location:  Toluca, Mexico
Date of death: 
December 5, 2012
source
———————————————————————————-
Yeison Ramirez Acosta (age:22)
Cause of death: multiple stab wounds to the face, chest, and abdomen
Location:  Avenida Lequerica Velez Magangue, Bolivar, Colombia
Date of death: 
December 2012
source
———————————————————————————-
Eyricka Morgan  (age:26)
Cause of death: stabbing
Location:  New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
Date of death:
September 24th, 2013
source

———————————————————————————-

Mylene (age:42)
Cause of death: blugeoned to death with a hammer
Location of death: Limoges, France
Date of death: July 24th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Evon Young (age:22)
Cause of death: tied up, beaten with fists and other objects, choked with a chain, had a bag taped over his head, shot, set on fire, and discarded into a dumpster.
Location of death: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Date of death: January 1st, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Artegus Konyale Madden (age:37)
Cause of death: Gunshot wound to the neck
Location: Savannah, Texas, USA
Date of death: September 1st, 2013
source

———————————————————————————-
Dora Oezer (age:24)
Cause of death: stabbed to death
Location: Kuşadası, Turkey
Date of death: July 9th, 2013
source

———————————————————————————-
Unknown woman
Cause of death: Gunshot wound to head and chest.
Location: Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil
Date of death: October 25th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Natascha (age:27)
Cause of death: Gun shot wound
Location:  Várzea Grande, Mato Grosso, Brazil 
Date of death: 
October 10th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Brunete Nascimento Chagas (age:22)
Cause of death:head trauma, beaten to death with sticks
Location: Marituba, Pará, Brazil
Date of death: 
October 06th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Unknown woman
Cause of death: Gunshot wound
Location: Parnamirim, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
Date of death: 
October 23rd, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Unknown woman
Cause of death: Found floating in a gully
Location: Houston, Texas, USA
Date of death:
July 07th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Unknown woman
Cause of death: strangled, body dumped in a pasture
Location: Sertanópolis, Paraná, Brazil
Date of death: 
October 14th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Unknown woman
Cause of death: stabbed in the neck
Location: Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
Date of death: 
October 18th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Hilary Molina Mendiola
Cause of death: thrown naked from a bridge
Location: 
Mexico City, Mexico
Date of death:
 September 22nd, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
S. Athiswaran (age:31)
Cause of death: Multiple stab wounds, hands and legs were tied with a string, face was also covered with plastic
Location:  
Bagan Ajam, Penang, Malaysia
Date of death: October 13, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Gunce Hatun
Cause of death: stabbed in the chest
Location: 
Beylikdüzü, Istanbul,Turkey
Date of death: December 12, 2012
source
———————————————————————————-
Unidentified woman
Cause of death:  4 gunshot wounds
Location: 
Santa Rita, Paraíba, Brazil
Date of death: September 24th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Diamond Williams (age:31)
Cause of death: dismembered, and body parts thrown in a field.
Location:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of death: July 14th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Terry Golston
Cause of death: Gunshot
Location: Shreveport,Louisiana, USA
Date of death: September 6, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Jock Maurice McKinney (aka Valarie)
Cause of death: a single gunshot wound to the lower body.
Location: Shreveport,Louisiana, USA
Date of death: July 12th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Dicky Othman
Cause of death: hands and legs bound, and her mouth stuffed with a piece of cloth
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date of death: December 4th, 2012
source

———————————————————————————-
Fatima Woods (age:53)
Cause of death: stabbed twice in the torso
Location: Rochester, New York, USA
Date of death: May 30th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Melony Smith (age:28)
Cause of death: beaten to death
Location: Baldwin Park, California, USA
Date of death: September 9th, 2013
source

———————————————————————————-
unknown woman (age:18)
Cause of death: gunshot
Location:  Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil
Date of death: September 11th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
“Maiara” Castro Da Silva (age:23)
Cause of death: unknown, body dumped, in advanced state of decomposition
Location:  Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil
Date of death: September 9th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Unidentified woman (age:21)
Cause of death: stoned, shot, and beaten to death.
Location of death: Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil
Date of death: September 5th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Unidentified woman
Cause of death: multiple gunshot wounds
Location of death: Nova Serrana, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Date of death: September 10th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Unidentified woman
Cause of death: gunshot
Location of death: Maringá, Paraná, Brazil
Date of death: September 6th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Unidentified woman
Cause of death: stabbed, found dumped in a stream in an advanced state of decompisition
Location of death: Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil
Date of death: September 9th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Unidentified woman
Cause of death: unknown, body dumped in trash can.
Location of death: Detroit, Michigan, USA
Date of death: November 8th, 2013
source
———————————————————————————-
Amari White (age:22)
Cause of death: multiple gunshot wounds
Location of death: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Date of death: November 9th, 2013
source

The above list was obtained from http://www.transgenderdor.org/memorializing-2013

Friday, 15 November 2013

Shimmy shimmy


My burlesque has taken a bit of a backseat over the last few months due to a number of things, not least the fact that I've not been able to get to Bristol. I'm hoping that from next month I can remedy that.

In the meantime I've decided to expand my dance repertoire and as of yesterday evening I started to do just that.

Yes, as I mentioned after my tarot reading, I went along to my first belly dance class last night.

I managed to rustle up some things to wear, including a bit of shopping to buy a new top and a pair of non-slippery ballet pump style shoes. Hey a girl can never have too many shoes!! And I seem to be starting to build up quite a selection.

The class was in the skittle alley of a local pub so I turned up at the appointed time and found C, the teacher and the lady who runs the pub waiting.

I quickly swapped my jeans for the skirt and tied a lovely, jingly coin scarf around my waist.

One other lady joined us with the remainder of the class having apologized for being unable to make it.

It was hard work.

Although some of the movements were very similar to some of the ones I use in burlesque. Waist circles are similar to bump and grind movements. Shoulder shimmys are similar to their burlesque equivalent, except that I have to learn to not move my arms and hands as much.

Trying to piece some of the movements together with the music was challenging and a couple of times I had to stop and simply watch what the others were doing in order to try and figure it out, and for the most part I managed to do that.

There were some interesting moves which I'd not tried before. The head slide was a particular good one as you have to hold the body still and move the head from side to side while keeping it upright. C was impressed when I managed to do that first time, so was I.

Its going to be challenging but I'm going to stick with it. The good thing about it is that I can practice at home, without really needing any additional equipment, any time I want (even when cooking dinner).

I have to admit that in some ways it might have been nice to have done the same as I did with burlesque and have a number of one-to-one lessons to get me up to speed but I'm going to stick with going to the weekly classes as they look like they are going to be fun.

I'm not sure that I'll be up to performing as part of a troupe but I certainly want to get to the point where I can perform and already have some ideas about combining burlesque and belly dance in the same routines but then I've got a stack of ideas for burlesque routines that I need to work on. Who would have thought that the person with two left feet, who rarely ventured onto the dance floor and would never have considered going on stage, could find themselves enjoying dancing and performing so much.

Between now and next Thursday I'm going to find as much time as I can to practice what I remember of what we were taught and hopefully I'll be able to do the moves without having to stop to watch what others are doing.

One thing that did make me smile was at the end of the class. As I was changing back into my jeans the lady that runs the pub asked if I wanted to use the ladies to get changed. I didn't need to as it was easy to slip my jeans on under the skirt and then take off the skirt but it did show that once again I must be doing something right.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Waiting

In January it will be two years since I transitioned. Two years of RLE completed :-)
Earlier this year the rules that the NHS  use for gender reassignment surgery changed so that you only need a single year of RLE before you are eligible for surgery. So as of April I was eligible to get my second opinion and then surgery.
I've always said that I'm looking at surgery at the end of next year. Mostly because it wasn't fair to distract my son with something like that during the year that he will be taking his GCSE examinations but also because my father-in-law has terminal cancer and I need to be there for my wife when he passes and she doesn't need the addition stress of me undergoing major surgery.

Father-in-law is still alive, which is something that even the doctors didn't think would be the case two years ago when he had surgery and I'm grateful for that because it gave me the chance to tell him that I can't think of anyone else that I'd rather have had as a father-in-law.

Still as I watch some of the other women from the Laurels GIC preparing for their own GRS I feel frustrated that I have another 6 months to go before I will be asking to have my own second opinion so that I can set the date for my own surgery.

6 months more of waiting patiently. Deep breath and sigh. Soon babycakes, not much longer until your complete.

:-)

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Community

Having read Cass's recent post that touched on community I had to share what happened today when I decided to participate in one of the communities that I'm part of.
Which one? Church. For the first time since I transitioned I went to a Sunday morning service without my family. Just me. On my own.

I've been to church on my own but its only been to evening services and not morning ones.

I'd not planned on going on my own today because its one of those services that we have at a local community centre and not the normal church building. We should have gone as a family but today my lovely family decided that they weren't going to get up in time to get ready to go, in fact it was 9 before my son emerged from the depths of his bed and shortly after that my other half emerged to bury herself in a mug of tea.

So with the rest of the family still half asleep I decided I'd get ready to go out but had decided I'd go and do some shopping. Even up until the last minute I wasn't going to go to church. Then as I was putting my boots on I decided that I would go.

Now the last time I went to the community centre service I found myself feeling very uncomfortable as pretty much everybody was ignoring me after the service. Before I'd transitioned I'd have had chats with lots of people. So with how I'd felt last time I decided I'd go along on my own and see what happened. If nobody spoke to me after the service then I'd leave my family to go on their own in future.

I arrived with a few minutes to spare and found a seat. One of the other families came and sat next to me saying hello and I chatted to the father briefly. The service was good, the choice of songs was good and I happily sang along to them, even going so far as to sway to a couple of them. Miss Von Risque, my burlesque alter-ego, has a lot to answer for at times.

At the end of the service I put my chair away and then made my way towards the exit. The vicar's wife said hello as we passed each other but I didn't speak to anyone else. Just before I reached the exit I got held up as everyone had to squeeze through a narrow gap between some chairs and a table. Coming the other way was K, an old friend of mine. I stopped and when it was clear waved her through. I'd seen her when I'd arrived as she was handing out service sheets and had said hello to each other.

As she was passing she stopped to say hello and then asked if I was going to get a coffee. Well I couldn't say no as we've so rarely talked since I've transitioned. The last time we saw each other we were stood in the queue waiting to get tickets at the local cinema.

Having grabbed a coffee we stood and chatted for a good 10 to 15 minutes catching up on what each other had been doing. We talked about my work, my son, my other half's new job, and about what's happening in her life. It was fabulous to be able to catch up with her.

The one piece of news that she had for me made me so happy to hear as its something that I think she deserves because she's been through such a hard time over the years.

Thanks to K I still feel as if I'm part of the church community which is something that I was beginning to think wasn't true so thanks to her I might just carry on going to the community centre services for a while longer.


Sunday, 20 October 2013

What the future holds

On Saturday I did something I've not done for quite some time. I went for a tarot reading.

Over the last couple of months I've been tempted to get a reading done. I was told that someone I know does them but I could never get up the nerve to discuss it with them, so I was looking to see if there was someone in the area that did them. As luck would have it The Emporium in the town centre has someone that uses one of their rooms to do readings and other therapies.

About two months ago I was contemplating contacting them but in the end changed my mind. Last weekend I decided I'd make an appointment with the result that yesterday afternoon I turned up and met C who was a really lovely lady.

In addition to tarot reading C does a number of other complimentary therapies and also teaches belly dancing (more about that later).

As mentioned above I have had tarot readings before, in fact at one point I did a tarot reading course myself.

Now as a Christian tarot reading and similar things are frowned upon so I was always going to be having to listen to what was being said and filtering it through my faith afterwards. I've also had dealings with spiritualists in the past where they were completely wide of the mark. One commented on a picture that I'd provided to say that my son was a wonderful child. At that point I'd not had my son and the child in question was my nephew, if someone can't get that fact right then I'm not going to give any credence to what they have to say.

Anyway, back to yesterday and C greeted me near the cafe in the Emporium. We went up to her room and sat down at a table next to the window. She explained what was going to happen and gave me the pack of tarot cards to shuffle. While I was doing that I said to her "as you've probably realised I'm transsexual." I'd seen on her website that she has worked with transsexuals so I was happy that it wouldn't be a problem but I didn't want any confusion with the reading. C responded by telling me that she'd not realised. Doh! I'd outed myself without needing to. Still it was helpful as being transgender came up as we talked during the reading.

Over the next hour I had C did two spreads. The first being a general one and the second being a bit more specific and of the "where do I go from here " variety.

Without going into detail the first reading highlighted that I've got things I need to resolve and that there is an emotional element to it. None of it is going to happen quick but things will occur in their own time. When they do it will be because I'm ready for them to happen.

Now there are a few things that have been on my mind which fall into those categories. How am I going to progress my burlesque? What do I do with regards to my position and work? Do I do more to support people like myself? Writing the two articles for our work's intranet, seeing how people I know are struggling and also how we get discriminated against as well as physically, verbally and emotionally abused has made me wonder if there are things that I can do to improve things for us.

Reading through some of the material that my son is being taught at school, the other day, about discrimination which mentioned racism, homophobia, religious discrimination and sexism left me with slightly disappointed. Under the sexism heading they were basically being taught what to me was almost outdated. Yes, there is discrimination based on whether you are male or female still exists but what was written in no way hinted at what transgender individuals go through. I suppose that's because the people that write this material have no understanding of what we go through. I was sorely tempted to contact the school and point out that their outlook is a bit narrow in that area. Maybe I will, I haven't decided yet.

Having completed the first reading C did the second one that asked where I go from this point. Again this highlighted the fact that things will happen but when the time is right and I'm prepared for them. When they do then things will take off at speed and it looks like I'm in for quite a ride! If what the cards were suggesting happens then whatever are they were addressing will mean that I leave a mark on things.

Thinking about the second reading I don't think that it relates to work and what I've been thinking about there. It could do because I've been thinking about moving into another role which would mean visiting other company sites, meeting new people and potentially visiting customer sites. Its not something that would happen quickly as its a brand new area for me and I'd have to learn lots of new skills. Still I'm not convinced that its what I want to do. I have ideas for what I want to do but this role wouldn't necessary be it.

It could related to my burlesque because I've been thinking about learning to teach as well as figuring out how to perform more than I have been. I know that I want to do more with it but I've been struggling with a number of things related to it. Am I good enough, would people want to see me perform, even my own pre-op situation and how it affects my performances.

Whatever the reading related to I'm sure it will reveal itself in due course and that whatever it is will happen at the right time and I'll be prepared for it.

Now as for the belly dancing that I mentioned earlier when we were chatting afterwards C mentioned that she did the classes at a venue near where she lives. It turns out that she literally lives around the corner from me and the classes are held in the skittle alley of the pub. The classes are held on a Thursday evening and are quite cheap, cheaper than what I was paying to go up to burlesque classes in Bristol, especially once you include the cost of petrol.

One of the things that has come from the burlesque classes I've been to, working with the girls and especially working with Poppy is that we don't restrict ourselves to what people might think of as traditional burlesque. We're more than happy to borrow from other art forms to help us make our performances entertaining and also different. So with that in mind, in November when I've finished with what I'm doing on a Thursday night then I'll be contacting C and arranging to go to her belly dancing classes so that I can add another skill to my performance repetoir.






Wednesday, 16 October 2013

First time out in tights

I was reading Stana's post Hair Envy and came across the picture of Robert Vaughn in tights and a tunic. It immediately brought back memories of the first time that I ever wore tights in public.

I've always had a vivid imagination and was fairly creative when I was younger, something that I sort of buried as I got older and started work but which I've rediscovered over the last few years through blogging and burlesque. I remember I could sit and draw for hours, even using the same drawing to tell a story by erasing parts of it that had happened and adding in bits that were happening at a later time, when I was exploring my feminine side at home I used to work out stories to help me and would write out these stories and then act them out when everybody was out.

On one occasion when I was in junior school we had to do come up with a short sketch during an English class. My group decided on a Batman themed sketch (no tights were involved with this) and at one point I needed to answer the Bat Phone. With no ready props I grabbed hold of one of my classmates pigtails and used them as the phone. I'm fairly sure that she was OK with that. That was also the time that I learned how resilient the human body can be when I responded to a punch by throwing myself upwards into the air and landing on my back on the floor and then got back up and carried on.

When I moved on to secondary school we ended up in small groups on one occasion where we had to work on a short sketch and then present it to the rest of the class. Our sketch had a medieval theme. We were allowed to use whatever props and costumes we wanted. Being quite enthusiastic about the idea I persuaded my mum to make me a tunic to wear. Of course modern trousers wouldn't go with the costume and without doing any research on costumes for the era at the library I drew on all those Robin Hood films I watched while growing up and decided that a pair of tights would be sufficient.

The day we put on our sketch I found that I was the only one that had made the effort with a costume. Undeterred I carried on and got changed into the tunic and tights and did the sketch with the rest of the group. It was good fun and because it was drama you could get away with it.

So there you have it, my first time "out" in tights was when I was about 14 years old and at school.

A big thank you to Stana for the post as it brought back a memory that I'd not thought about in a long, long time and has given me something to explore as to why I let my creative side get suppressed for such a long time.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

A walk in the park

Or more accurately a 5 kilometer run in the park.
For a number of years I've heard about events called Parkruns but as far as I knew they were something that happened in London. Not the most convenient of places for me to get to on a Saturday morning as I live roughly a 3 hour drive away.

The runs are free to enter which makes them an ideal way to get out and do that short training run with a group of other people of all abilities. All I had to do was register and then take along a piece of paper with the barcode that is assigned to me. That gets scanned along with a position tag after you'd crossed the finish line. Reasonably low tech and simple.

As this was my first run I wanted to put in a good effort and get a reasonable time that I can improve on. In the end I managed 29 minutes and 2 seconds. The entire run is within the grounds of Montacute House and so is off road with a lovely undulating terrain. Its not hilly although there is one short climb towards the end which I did drop to a walk to get to the top of. My incentive for the future is to have enough energy to get to the top of that hill without stopping to walk.

As I'm doing the Grizzly next March which is going to require some serious training so I'm hoping to see my parkrun times improve as I get further into the training and closer to the race date. If I don't then I might get a little bit worried come race day.

The one thing that I did thing hard about was which gender to enter under. I contacted the parkrun organisation to get their take on it and was told I could enter under either gender. In the end I registered as a male simply because at 9am on a Saturday morning I am not going to be wearing make-up to run (and wearing make-up is something that I still have to do in order to give people that little extra helping hand to see me as female).
I'm glad that I took that decision because looking at the results I came 51st overall, 44th male. If I'd registered as female then I still would have come 51st but I'd have been 8th female. Now that last bit is worrying as with a bit of serious training I could actually get to the point of getting a reasonably good position which opens up the debate of what gender transsexuals should be allowed to enter races under, and as its Saturday lunchtime and I have gammon and chips to cook for the family I'll have to leave my thoughts on that for another time.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Transgender Day of Remembrance - Q&A

The other article I wrote for work is being published on our news hub as part of something being put together for November's Transgender Day of Remembrance. It took the form of some questions. Here's my responses. Feel free to add you're own in the comments or even use them for a post of your own.


What does TDOR mean to you?
To me Transgender Day of Remembrance is a time when I can remember all of those who aren’t as lucky as me. Those people that live in parts of the world where being transgendered means the possibility of being taunted, abused, raped, beaten and even killed.
It means being able to think about those people that live in the UK that suffer abuse or violence for simply trying to be themselves. It’s also a time for remembering those who have finally reached the point where they can’t go on any more, whether that be due to the pressure of trying to live as the person that they should have been from birth while struggling to make ends meet or having to deal with other forms of pressure. A time to reflect on the struggles we are all going through to finally be ourselves and to think about how we can help and support each other.

What being Transgendered / Trans, means to you?
Being transgendered is a bit like a journey. Mine began when I first realised that I was different to the boys I grew up with and felt more of an affinity with the girls I knew in school.
As my journey progressed and I began to understand more about both myself and my trans state I moved through different ways of seeing myself until I reached the point where I accepted that I was transsexual and decided to do something about it.

I’ll continue to see myself as transgendered until physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually I’m finally the female I’ve always been deep down. On that day I feel I will be complete and I’ll no longer be transgendered but simply the woman I always have been deep down inside.
Being transgendered has opened up my world and inadvertently introduced me to others that are going through similar to me, which has in turn enabled me to share my experiences and offer support. Through blogs I follow I’ve become acquainted with others not only in this country but in the USA and Canada.


What experience with Trans / Transgender issues you have had?
My transition has been fairly uneventful. I’ve had a few issues with family but nothing serious.
I’m aware of the issues that transgender people face in society. Loss of friends, loss of income, having people see you as the gender you were born and not the one that you are, loss of home, feeling suicidal and acting on it.
Being transgender and doing something about it is, despite what a lot of uninformed people think, not something that we do lightly or on a whim. It’s something we do in order to be at peace with ourselves and in some cases the only way that we can go on living.
I have friends who are transgender that I’ve made through online forums, the GIC I attend, through other friends and blogs I follow. Each of us have our own issues that we are dealing with, each of us is at different places in our journey but we can draw on our experiences to help each other to get through the tough times and celebrate the good times.


What does it feels like to be Transgendered / Trans in the work place?
I work in a great office and I know a lot of brilliant people. When I returned to work after beginning my transition I was a bit nervous but within hours it was like nothing had changed.
I’ve experienced a couple of occasions when I’ve been mis-gendered and for the most part people have corrected themselves when they realise. On several occasions it’s occurred and the person involved had not realised. Such occasions are not done in an offensive way nor are they to frequent so I tend to ignore them.

Day to day, work is fine and I’ve not had any troubles. I’m more confident about myself than I was when I started my transition and I would happily act as front runner on a project or activity now. Admittedly I would probably feel a bit self-conscious about my voice but I’d manage. My voice is something I still have to work on, especially when I’m using the phone. I’ve had one occasion so far when someone rung me up about something non-work related and wanted to speak to the old me because that’s how I was down on their system. When they asked to speak to me I said “yes” at which point the phone went quiet and after a few seconds I realised that they were waiting to speak to someone that sounded a lot more masculine. Having someone hear you speak on the phone and not take you for a male, which is what they must have done, was a really good moment.
At the end of the day being transgendered in the workplace means that I don’t have to pretend to be someone I wasn’t any more and can be more honest and less distracted than I used to be.

Diversity and Inclusiveness

As promised this is the article that I put together for the diversity and inclusiveness website on our company intranet. I've changed it slightly to avoid using the company name, although if you dig back through enough posts I'm sure that you can figure out who I work for.

I started working for my current employer back in 1998 while it was part of a joint venture between two other defence companies.
Throughout my time with the company I’ve found it to be a friendly and supportive place. The work has always been interesting and even challenging at times. I’ve been lucky with the projects that I’ve worked on and have even got to travel a bit, spending time in Vermont, Orlando (only 24 hours but it counts), Madrid, Glasgow, Portsmouth and London. In the 10 years before I joined the company the furthest I’d been for work was Plymouth and Faslane.
Everyone that knows me is aware that running and more recently triathlons are something that I’m seriously into, having completed numerous running events from 5K up to marathon and sprint and middle distance triathlons, I’ve still to complete an Ironman distance triathlon but it’s on my list of things to do.
In 2000 my son was diagnosed with Leukaemia and I realised that life is so short that I couldn’t waste any more of it and needed to do something about issues I’d been dealing with since I was young.
From 2000 to 2008 we dealt with my son’s illness, two relapses and finally a bone marrow transplant followed the initial diagnosis. The support from both the company and colleagues when we had to attend appointments and had extended stays in hospital made a difficult time a lot easier.
With my son’s illness behind us, at the end of 2011 I finally dropped the bombshell on my colleagues that I was a male to female transsexual and that in January 2012 I would be returning to work as Jenna. Nobody saw this coming and I would have been surprised if they had. It was enough of a surprise to my family who hadn’t seen it coming.
After a break of several weeks over the festive period I was faced with doing something I had never thought would happen, I was going to walk back through the doors to the office, not as a male but as a female.
That day was nerve wracking. I had been informed how the people I worked with had reacted to the news but the reality of it could still be totally different. After an early start and carefully getting ready I drove into work. At reception I was met by one of my managers and we made our way up to my desk. I wasn’t sure how people would react, would there be stares, would there be comments, and would people have questions. I’d made it clear to the people that I worked with that if there was anything that they wanted to know they could ask me directly or talk to personnel.
Logging on and checking my emails I found a few from people offering support. A couple of people spoke to me to say hello. Other than that it was business as usual, in fact within an hour even I thought that it was like nothing had changed.
I know several people that have transitioned elsewhere and the reactions of the companies, staff and even customers have varied. Some have had good experiences, others the opposite. In the worst cases some people have even left their jobs as a result. I’ve never felt anything like that and honestly can’t think of any other company that I’d have wanted to work for while going through such a life-changing experience.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Mish Mash

I've recently written two short pieces that will, hopefully, be going up on our intranet at work.
The first is for a piece that is being put together for the Transgender Day Of Remembrance in November.
The second is for our Diversity and Inclusion pages and is about my experiences at the company I work for.
As much as it would be nice to simply disappear into the work force and just be another female too many people know me and so I'm always going to be known as a transsexual. Since that's the case I might as well make the use of that fact and try and do what I can to help promote a better attitude to transgender people within our company and maybe through that and other avenues outside the company.

I'm currently doing an Alpha course at church. I'd decided it was a good way to get to meet people that didn't know me or my past and who I could learn to trust and join a cell group with. Its going well at the moment but I am conscious that I keep wording things in such a way as to avoid giving away anything about my past.
This week I managed to pick up a leaflet called What is the Christian attitude towards homosexuality. I've read through it once and really need to read it again to fully understand what is being said. However, I'm tempted to contact the person that wrote it to ask them what their attitude to transgender people is. I'm sure that if I then threw sexual orientation into the mix I'd mess with their head big time.
:-) I'm a bad girl I am.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Ghost the Musical

Last Saturday we went up to Bristol to see Ghost the Musical at the Hippodrome. My other half had wanted to go and see it as part of her birthday present.
We set off at lunchtime and had a bit of a delay filling the car with petrol. The garage at the supermarket nearest to us, and on our way out of town, had closed down all but 3 pumps and the one we then had to go to had a big queue due to all the cars trying to get back out and having to contend with the traffic light system as well as McDonalds and supermarket traffic. Eventually though we were on our way.

The journey to Bristol was reasonably quiet and we reached my other half's Aunt and Uncle's house so that she could pop in and see them.

Having made a fair attempt to slice a large part of my face while shaving, well more of a decent nick on my lip but there was lots and lots of blood, I'd gone with boy mode for the day so that there I'd be able to pop in and see my in-laws (which is something that wouldn't have happened if I'd gone as me).

The chances of me doing something like that again are very slim. The visit was OK but on the drive up I found myself feeling really, really sick. The sense that I was going out for the day and presenting as something that I'm not was incredible. I've had to spend time in boy mode (in fact most of the weekend has been spent that way because I have electrolysis on my face this evening and so have 2 days worth of facial fuzz) but the sense of being wrong has never been so bad. The sick feeling did pass eventually so I could enjoy the trip.

My other half's Aunt and Uncle were their usual selves and we chatted with them for a lot longer than we'd planned before heading into central Bristol for a wander around the shops.

We made a couple of stops in shops to look at clothes and for me to pick up so foundation make-up.
I use Estee Lauder foundation and the store I get it from has a branch in Bristol so we popped in there. The assistant that served me started taking my details down for a new online system they have that notes your purchases. After she'd finished entering my details the assistant told me that either I or the person that I'd given the details for (remember I was in boy mode but had given my name and address) could simply give the name and postcode at any of their stores and they'd be able to see what had been bought so that someone else could get the make-up that I use if they want. For some reason I had to put her straight and said "that is me". She wasn't bothered at all and continued with out missing a beat.

Dinner was at one of the Giraffe chain restaurants. My other half decided on a half rack of baby ribs, something that she really likes, while I had a stir fry.

After dinner we made our way to the Hippodrome to see the show.

On arrival we bought some drinks for the interval, as designated driver I was on soft drinks, my other half ordered a large white wine (well they don't come in a smaller size as far as she's concerned). We checked about buying merchandise as going home with either a mug or the CD with the soundtrack for a musical is something she always does. The chap that was serving us told us that they sold merchandise before and after the show but not during the interval. We opted to pick something up after the show rather than before.
This is the point that things went a bit wrong with the evening. During the interval we couldn't find our drinks and when one of the bar staff did find our drinks it turned out that a red wine had been ordered which would have been find for me but not my other half. Still they swapped the wine for the right one.
After the show as we were leaving we made our way to where they were selling the CDs only to find that everything had been packed away as it was the last night the show was on there. As a result they weren't selling anything and so we had to leave without the usual memento, a bit of a disappointment to her. Still its something I can remedy by getting the original cast recording as a Christmas present.

So what about the show itself. Well it was excellent. The cast were brilliant, the songs entertaining, there were some fabulous moments with the Oda Mae Brown character (very reminiscent of Whoopi Goldberg in the movie) and the nun's reaction when she gets handed a cheque by Oda Mae was priceless.
Both of the leading men managed to have scenes where they removed their shirts to reveal some nicely honed chests and muscles. I found myself studyng the muscle definition in the lead "bad guys" arms when he removed his shirt. Very impressive and must involve some serious gym work to maintain. As an athlete I can appreciate the effort that goes into developing a body like that :-)
The lead actress also managed to go topless, revealing a rather fetching black bra and a bosom that I was definitely jealous of. I do feel sorry for the men in the audience as they didn't get to appreciate that as much as us ladies got to appreciate the guys physiques.

All too soon the show came to a close and I found the geek in me raising her head.

When the cast as they came out for their final bows the audience applauded and I found myself noting the randomness of the clapping, however, after about 30 seconds something interesting had happened. As I was clapping I could hear a bit of a few other people clapping and adjusted the way I was clapping to be in time with them. Slowly everyone's clapping began to change until the entire audience was clapping in time. Quite amazing really and not something I'd noticed before at a show unless there was a definite beat to the music being played.

I'd not been sure about going to see the show to be honest but I'm glad I did as we both enjoyed it immensely. With our son away with our church for the weekend it was also the first time in ages that we've been out as a couple without having to worry about arranging for someone to look after him and keeping one eye on the time.

And just to give you an idea of what we saw here's the trailer for the show.



Sunday, 15 September 2013

Annabel

Last week a post popped up on my Facebook page which linked to a new video by Goldfrapp. I have to admit that I've not listened any of their music before. I was pleasantly surprised by this song and video.
It does take a couple of minutes to get to the music but stick with it and hopefully you'll enjoy it.




Saturday, 31 August 2013

Decorating, Electrolysis and poorly bikes

[16/11/2013 - Just realised I'd forgotten to give this a title so I've got back and done that]

The last couple of weeks have been a mix of quiet and busy. Quiet because my family have been mostly away and busy because I've been decorating our spare room and apart from putting down new carpet and getting new bedroom furniture in I've got one more thing to do before its finished enough to be usable for visitors again.
One weekend of carpentry and I'll have finished the decorating and remodeling of the room.

Things are going pretty well at the moment. I had a period where I felt down but I'm over that now. I even managed to hit the gym last Saturday morning for an hour which was good.

Earlier this week I had my latest speech therapy session. It's more of a catch up session for us as all we really do is chat which gives my therapist an idea of how my voice is going. All we're doing at the moment is monitoring how I am with my voice. At least that was the plan but I suggested at the end of the last session that I'd like to look at what I could do that would allow me to work on my singing voice.
I love singing, especially when we're at church. Before I transitioned it was great to be able to let myself go when it came to singing around other people. Since I've transitioned I get self conscious when I'm singing around others. So I want to do something about that.

I was supposed to have my latest electrolysis session this week and also my next laser session was planned for next Monday. I've postponed both sessions for a couple of weeks and will be having them both on the 16th September. The laser session will be in the morning and the electrolysis in the evening which should be an interesting experience because as my next laser session is my last that I've had funding for via the NHS any further ones I have to fund myself. Pretty much all of the dark hair that I had though has been killed off and its only the stubborn ones and the white and grey hairs that are left. So my electrolysis is going to move from my chest to my face. Unfortunately it means that I've got to leave the hair grow for two days before each session. Fortunately it looks like I'll be able to have sessions on a Monday but it might not be until the evenings, afternoon if I'm really lucky. That does mean that I'm going to have to go into work on a Monday morning with beard stubble covered up with some serious foundation. Not something that I'm looking forward to. This first session wont be too bad as I'm going to have to have the day off to get to the laser session. The one after that will be the more interesting one.

My new bike is still poorly. The wheel has been sent off to Pashley, who make the bikes, to be rebuilt. Hopefully it will be back soon but the store that I got it from are going to chase them up to see what is happening. I can't wait to get my baby back as I'm missing our morning rides into work.

There was an interesting twist in my relationship with my other half earlier this week. I'd been talking about what I needed to do in order to move into our spare room now that it is nearly finished. My other half piped up to say that there wasn't any reason for me to move in there just yet and that it would depend on how she copes with things once I've had my surgery. Well as I'm not planning my surgery for another 18 months that means that I get to stay put for at least the next 12 months if not longer. It will be interesting to see how things pan out next year on that basis.