Tuesday, 30 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 29

Day 29 - Write out something positive about yourself using the letters of your name. Ex. Your name is Bob so B-Beautiful O-Outstanding B-Boy
Tuesday 30th April

I started doing this basing it on my old name and as I got to the end of it realised that it didn't say that it had to be that so now I've done it for both old and new.

Depending on which variation of my old name, or even which of my two old names that I used then there are longer or shorter things that I could come up with. So I've decided to use both variations of my one name and my middle name and do the lot. For those that like puzzles I've put the letters in alphabetical order rather than spell out my old name.

A – Athletic
B - Brave
H - Happy
I - Intelligent
I - Incredible
I - Incredible
J - Joyful
L - Loving
L -Lady-like
L - Loyal
L – Level-headed
M – Maternal
N - Nice
O - Outstanding
W - Woman

Doing the same for my name now I came up with.
J - Joyful
E - Easygoing
N – Natural
N - Nurturing
A – Accommodating

Lots of positiveness there.

Monday, 29 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 28

Day 28 - What is something you have to do everyday or else you feel like your whole day is off if you don't do it
Monday 29th April

I'm not sure that I have anything that I have to do everyday or my day is off. There is one thing that I like to do, I don't have to do it but I usually manage it and that is to get up before everybody else, usually a good hour before them so that I can have a coffee, check my emails and browse the web, watch a bit of television if there's anything on that interests me and simply ease myself into the day.

Ever since I graduated and started work I've been getting up at about 6am. My Dad used to do the same when he was working, in fact both Dad and Mum are still up between 6 and 7 in the morning and they have been retired for years now.

When my son was born he used to wake up for a feed at about 7am. I used to get up at 6, have that first coffee, sort myself out and then get ready for when he woke up so that I could give him his feed.

Sometimes I find it frustrating when I get up and someone else then gets up during that first hour, especially if they start talking to me and want to have a conversation. That can get my day off to a bad start but generally it doesn't.

Still its nice to have an hour to yourself at the start of the day before everyone and everything demands your attention.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Not changed as much as I thought

Ok, this is me after I'd been out getting some bits and pieces from one of our local DIY stores. I'm posting it just so you can see how I was dressed and looked.



As we reached the checkouts I noticed a guy going through in the other queue and realised it was the ex-husband of someone my wife used to work with. I pointed him out to her as he'd not noticed either of us.

We finished paying at the same time and as he was passing us she called out to him. He turned and recognised her. The two of them started chatting as I stood there wondering if he'd recognise me. The last time we'd bumped into someone we knew that wouldn't have known about what was going on with me he'd thought I was my sister and not me, so I wondered if the guy yesterday would realise.

Well he did. In fact he turned to me and said "How are you B***?" using my old male name. "You've grown you hair and look a bit different". Different!!!!! I look like I do in the photo!!!

I guess this guy is certainly no Sherlock Holmes. I'm wearing my breastforms and have on full make-up. Doh!

As we walked towards the exit I turned to him and said "Oh, by the way, its Jenna now". His startled reaction was great to see.

After we'd left him and were walking towards our car my  wife and I couldn't help but giggle at his reaction but it did leave me wondering just how much I had changed and just how much people still see the old me when they look at me.


30 Days of Trans - Days 26 and 27 - Answering questions and goals

Day 26 - Do you feel comfortable answering questions about being trans if say your teacher/friend/stranger asked you
Saturday 27th April

I'm totally at ease with answering questions about being trans. I said this in the letter that was read to my colleagues when they found out. When I've met up with friends and they've asked me questions I've answered them as honestly as I can. It does depend on the particular question and who is asking it though. I'd feel uncomfortable discussing anything related to my sexuality unless it was with a close friend. Other than that there's not really anything I'd feel awkward discussing.

In fact in a couple of weeks I've agreed to do a 10 minute talk as part of a “Out at Work” event being organised by the LGBT society at one of the local universities. I know that quite a few people have a horrendous time when it comes to being trans at work. I haven't had that experience so I thought it would be good to have that put across.

As soon as I've done it I'll post about it.


Day 27 - What goals do you have
Sunday 28th April

My goals for this year are mainly sport, domestic and burlesque based. There are a couple that are trans related. The colour scheme is black for things I've not started, pink for those that are in progress and green for the ones that I've completed. Hopefully by the end of the year they'll all be green or pink.

Sport

Complete Outlaw Triathlon
Complete Outlaw Half
Complete DIY Olympic Triathlon

Burlesque

Perform True Love routine
Develop Moon River routine
Develop Messin' with Fire routine
Perform Messin' with Fire routine
Develop Knock 1 2 3 routine
Get corset from Mags
Make-up lesson with Inma
Train to teach burlesque
Develop Diamond Heist routine
Perform Diamond Heist routine

Work

Pass ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst exam
Develop C# programming ability

Home

Finish decorating small bedroom
Tidy garden
Empty attic of things we don't need

Transition

Get referred back to Laurels in December
Complete speech therapy
Start laser hair removal
Electrolysis on breasts and chest area

My longer term goals are mainly burlesque related which are mainly to have performed the routines that I've been working on because I doubt that I'll perform all of the routines this year. Beyond that I'm looking at sport related ones which are:

2014 – Complete John O' Groats to Land's End bike ride.
2015 – Complete a 10km open water swim, thinking about doing the Dark 10K.
2017 – Complete the Marathon De Sables.

As you can see I'm hell bent on doing ridiculously stupid length endurance events. My body isn't designed for short, sprint type events but plodding on over longer distances is something that it manages to do without too much physical difficulties.

The only real trans linked goal I have other than the ones that I've listed is to have my GRS at the end of 2014, or at least to be in the process of obtaining it.

Friday, 26 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Days 24 and 25 (music thanks to Benny Hill)

Day 24 - Who is your favorite LGBT actor/musician/director/artist etc and why
Thursday 25th April

I'm not sure that I have a favourite LGBT actor, musician or artist. In fact I've had to spend some time on Google looking up people that are LGBT.

As a result I've narrowed it down to a number of people.

John Barrowman – has to be in the list because of his appearances on shows such as Doctor Who and Torchwood of which I'm a big fan. I've seen him on other shows as well and he's a very talented entertainer.

Adele Anderson – I came across Fascinating Aida years ago and loved their work because although its musical it has a comedy aspect to it. I've always enjoyed music that has that aspect to it, probably ever since I first heard Ernie the Fastest Milkman in the West by Benny Hill.

Clive Barker – I read some of his books when I was younger. One of my favourite films is Nightbreed based on one of his books. Stories about characters that normally would be the villains and making them the heroes always appeals to me. I suppose its the idea that appearances can be deceptive and that we should always take the time to get to know someone rather than going on first appearances.

Fay Presto – I remember seeing her on TV in the past and as I enjoy magic and have dabbled briefly with it then she would have to be in any list I make.

Finally I have to include Caroline Cossey. I remember seeing her in For Your Eyes Only and then finding out that she was transsexual afterwards. Anyone that can undergo gender reassignment and then go and do something that they love even though it is so visible to other people while running the risk that they will be discovered for who they once was is very brave in my book.

A bit of a musical interlude from Mr Hill, apologies for the lack of an image but Blogger couldn't find the actual video on YouTube that I liked for some reason and the embed code didn't have an thumnail associated with it. Ooh, look at me getting almost technical.





Day 25 - Doctor visits
Friday 26th April

Since transitioning I spend more time with medical professionals than before, whether they are doctors, nurses or others.

At the gender identity clinic I see a counsellor every 6 weeks, my next one is due next week, and my doctor every 3 months. The counselling sessions last for about an hour, the appointment with the doctor lasts up to 30 minutes.

I also go to my GP every couple of months to have blood tests done by one of the nurses in order to check my hormone levels. Other than that I still only go to see my GP when I find that I'm feeling unwell and its not something that a couple of paracetamol or some cold and flu remedy will deal with. I did notice that last year I was far less ill with colds than I have been in previous years, I put it down to having less stress post-transition.

Other than that I see a speech therapist and I'm also having laser hair removal so I have to go and pay them visits every so often.
Work have been fine about me having time off. I try to arrange it in order to minimise things and usually work up the hours I'm having off for appointments or I take the time off as leave.

My other experiences with doctors and hospitals have varied.
When I took my son into hospital for one of his follow-up appointments it all went smoothly as most people were already aware of my status.
When my Mum was in hospital recently again everything went without a hitch.
When I had to take my Dad into A&E most of the people I came into contact with it was fine, even at stupid o'clock in the morning. There was only one doctor that I had an issue with and that was when he referred to me as “your son” when talking to my Dad.

I know that people's experience of the medical profession varies, especially when it comes to gender reassignment. So far mine has been quite positive and hopefully will do for some time to come.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 23


Day 23 - What stereotypes are put on trans people
Wednesday 24th April

I think that people see us in ways that fit with their prejudices.
They see us as gay men or women that can't accept that we fancy people of the same gender as us and so transform ourselves into the opposite gender to satisfy our own sexual needs.
They see us as men or women that have a thing about the clothing of the opposite sex and who go to extreme lengths to satisfy that desire.
They see us as drag queens.

After my partner's sister had seen me for the first time after I'd transitioned I found out that her response was “it wasn't as bad I'd expected.” What she'd been expecting was some over made up, badly or tartily dressed person. What she got was someone wearing no more make-up than some women I know and wearing jeans, tee-shirt and sweater, which was similar to what she herself was wearing. That was her impression of what I would look like and was influenced by people she'd seen on TV or in the street. The reality was completely different.

Most people think that they know how we will appear, how we will behave. Most people walk by us in the street without even realising it.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 22

Day 22 - Do you feel being trans holds you back from your career choice
Tuesday 23rd April

I work as a software engineer. More specifically as a test engineer. Pre-transition being trans never held me back as the industry is still a male dominated one and I was seen by everyone that knew me as a male.
When I decided to transition and that I would do it while continuing to work at my current company I didn't see that it would be an issue. I was working on a project that I liked, doing work I enjoyed and was privileged to work with one of, if not the, best teams I've been part of since I graduated. Throughout my career I have been lucky to work with some amazing people.
As soon as I made the decision to transition though and had agreed a timetable with the HR team at the office I'm based then some interesting career opportunities presented themselves.
I became aware of two jobs that would have been high profile as they would have required dealing with a lot of customers. I considered applying for at least one of the jobs as we were going through a redundancy process at the time. As I thought about it I decided that applying for a new position and then transitioning wasn't going to be a good thing. Fifteen months on from that and I've finished on the project I was on and have spent several months working in another of our offices and have had to come out as trans to someone that I used to work closely with. Today I even spoke to someone that I've known for years but I don't think that they realised who it was they were talking to and didn't actually ask (I'd answered someone else's phone while they were away from their desk).
As far as the company I work for I don't see being trans holding back my career.

While the redundancy process was going on I had two interviews. I can't say for definite but there is a possibility that the first interview that I went for being trans had some effect. The position I thought I was being interviewed for I could do the job in my sleep. After answering a number of questions related to the job I was being interviewed for they started asking questions about a role that hadn't been mentioned to me. I wasn't prepared for that and so probably didn't give my best impression. In the end I got turned down for the job which surprised both me and a colleague that had been offered a job by the same company.
The second interview went better, I actually knew one of the interviewers as I'd worked with her previously. At the end of the interview I was told that the managing director liked to interview potential job candidates before they were offered a position. He wasn't around that day so I was asked to go back for a second interview.
The return visit was a lot more relaxed and I was able to give a much better impression as I was more prepared. Still at the end of the interview I was left feeling as if I had provided free consultancy to them. Again I was turned down for the position but this time the reasons given were that they didn't think I was suitable for that role but if a more appropriate one came up then they would consider me.
Several months later I was contacted by the recruitment agency as a job had come up at the same firm and they wanted to know if I was interested, in fact they said my name had been specifically mentioned. Unfortunately I wasn't in the position to take up the role and so turned down the interview. In the case of this company I definitely don't thing being trans held me back. Demonstrating that I was capable and knew my subject was a better indication of my potential as far as the company was concerned.
At the moment I don't see myself moving companies. There are a lot of opportunities if I want to find them. Developing my career is something that I can do. The company also has a diversity and inclusion programme which makes it a good place to work, especially as policies with regard to trans staff develop.
If anything I think my career is actually better than it used to be, partly because I'm picking up new skills and partly because since transitioning I can be myself and don't have to divert some of my energy to being what other people expected me to be and developing my career in accordance with that. Now I can develop my career in the way that I want to develop it.

Monday, 22 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 21

Day 21 - Your views on the cis-gendered community
Monday 22nd April

Gosh, this is a very open question.
It all depends on the particular part of the cis-gendered community we're talking about.
If its ordinary people who simply want to get on with their lives and are prepared to let me get on with mine then I think they are just fine.
However, if its the idiots who pass their driving licenses and then forget how to drive or who seriously need to get their eyes tested because they can't see a cyclist wearing a bright red jacket and cut them up and stop their vehicles literally yards in front of the cyclist and who then proceed to reverse backwards almost flattening the cyclist at the second attempt, then I have only complete and utter disdain for them.
If its the people that comment on trans stories in newspapers and on websites who patently don't know what they are talking about and don't really know anything about what we go through then I simply wish that they could experience what we have to put up to and see how long it takes for them to start complaining about the way that they are treated.
For the most part hough I don't have any issues with the cis-gendered community, if they have an issue with me then as long as they are prepared to discuss it in a calm, rational way then I'm happy to listen to what they have to say and try to educate them.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Days 18 to 20

I've let a couple of days slip by. Friday was a bit hectic as I had to travel to Exeter for a laser session and then go to Ken's funeral in the afternoon.
Saturday morning I was out running and then in the afternoon we had a family trip to Ham Hill for ice cream and to fly my son's remote control helicopters, sadly it was too windy for us to be able to control them enough to get them to fly where we wanted them to.
Sunday morning was a long bike ride, managed 41 miles in just under 3 and a half hours. That included being cut up at one point by an idiot in a car who wanted to do a U-turn and decided to pull over to the side of the road about 5 yards in front of me. They then proceeded to reverse back towards me because they'd overshot the place where they could do the turn. Fortunately the rest of the ride was less eventful.

Anyway, here's three days worth of question responses.

Day 18 - How do you feel about the trans laws where you live
Friday 19th April

I'm OK with the laws in the UK. We have laws that protect people from what comes under the term hate crime, employment regulations protect people from discrimination on various grounds including gender.
Other than that I don't really know what laws there are that are related to being trans.


Day 19 - If your religious how do your views effect being trans if your not religious what about your family religions
Saturday 20th April

Well I'm definitely religious. I'm a Christian and part of the congregation at a Church of England church.
My religious views don't effect y being trans. For as long as I've been attending church I've been dealing with being trans. When I decided to transition I did go through a period where I struggled with my relationship with God but I've worked through that.
I don't see being trans as being in conflict with my religion. The Bible doesn't specifically say that being trans is wrong. God made each and every person and made them the way he did for a reason. He made me trans for a reason. I'm not sure what that reason is but I know that one day I'll find out. Perhaps transitioning is not what God intended for me, perhaps he wanted me to struggle with it all my life. Its not happened that way.
Perhaps God wanted me to transition at the right time because being trans and having transitioned to being female full time has a purpose to it. I'm not sure what that purpose is but since about a year before I transitioned my confidence levels have been growing. At one point I wouldn't have contemplated taking on a role at work where I would be visible to the wider world. Now I don't see that as being a problem. Perhaps being trans and a Christian is something that I've got to be because its something that the wider Christian church needs to be more aware of and more accepting of.
Heck, between being trans and also a burlesque performer I'm certainly not your standard Christian. Perhaps people need to learn is that Christians are not what you might think and that they can be kind, loving, caring and compassionate, believe deeply in God and also be what you might not expect.
I posted about a friend who passed away recently, he was a remarkable man. His funeral was last Friday. As I sat there listening to another friend from church telling everybody at church about his life and the things that he had gotten up to I found myself thinking that if he could do the things that he'd did to help people, then I can do things to help others within the trans community and within the wider community.


Day 20 - Do you want to be a parent why or why not
Sunday 21st April
I'm happy to say that I am parent to one of the most caring, brave young men that I've ever known. My son has been through so much in his 15 years. He's had to be extremely brave and has dealt with things due to his leukaemia that most adults will never ever deal with during their entire lives. I am so proud of him. Being a parent is one of the things that I am so glad that I did. If I never ever achieve anything else in my life then I can at least say that I raised him.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 17

Day 17 - What's your binding choice and why
Thursday 18th April

Woo hoo, an easy question to answer. I don't use any binding.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 16

Day 16 - What's your rock anthem and why
Wednesday 17th April

One of the first songs I remember listening to and finding that it actually spoke to me was Cyndi Laupers “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. It was such a fun, upbeat track with great lyrics. The video was amazing.
Over the years some of my fun loving has been buried beneath responsibilities and being a source of strength for other people.
Now that I have transitioned and am more free to be myself Cyndi's song is once more my anthem.

And here is the girl herself.


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 15

Day 15 - How have you embraced your trans identity
Tuesday 16th April

I've embraced my trans identity by transitioning and accepting the fact that for the time being I'm not going to be able to go “stealth”. Too many people where I work know about my old self. Accepting that I'm transsexual and dealing with has also given me the freedom to be myself for the first time in my life.

Monday, 15 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 14

Day 14 - What are some of your passing tips or things you do to pass
Monday 15th April

Passing tips or things I do to pass? Hmm.
I think the main thing that I do in order to pass is something that I was told when I went for my voice therapy consultation initially.
S, who was my speech therapist at the time, was really happy when I met her as I was pre-transition then. Usually she told me she only gets to see people after they after started their Real Life Experience. As I hadn't reached that point she gave me some useful tips.
The first tip was that when choosing a name don't choose something that is simply a feminine version of your male name. Choose something that is clearly female. When you have to tell someone your name if it is clearly a women's name then if they have any doubts about you it will reinforce their image of you as female.
The second tip was to ensure through the way that you dress, your hairstyle, make-up, the way you walk and hold yourself that it says to anyone that sees you that you are a woman.
The more clues, that you can give to anyone meeting or seeing you, that you are female the better. If they have any doubts about that fact then giving them lots of signs that you are female will push them into that conclusion.

The only other things that I do in order to pass are to look at what other women my age are wearing that fit into the style that I have developed for myself. If it fits my style and figure and women my age are wearing it then it should help me to blend in and be less noticeable.

Also when I'm going anywhere then I think about where it is I'm going and then dress accordingly. If I'm going to the supermarket then I'll wear everyday clothes. I wont wear anything dressy, unless of course I happen to be going to the supermarket on my way to some fancy party. Dress to the situation and again it helps you to blend in and pass.

Work on getting your voice to sound feminine. I've taken speech therapy lessons to give me an idea of what I need to do to my voice to make it sound more feminine. It seems to have worked. I do have to concentrate on it a lot as its not second nature yet, one day it will though.

Finally, if you have a female friend that you trust and who can be honest with you about your appearance and behaviour then ask them what they think. Use their feedback to help you improve so that you pass more successfully.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 13

Day 13 - Bathrooms
Sunday 14th April

I suppose if you are going to discuss transgender issues then the topic of bathrooms has to come up at some point.
Since I transitioned the toilet issue has been one that I've been very aware of. If I'm out and about I either have to make sure that I don't need to go or if I do then look for facilities where I'm going to have the least possible bother.
So far I've been lucky and when I have needed to go have found single person unisex facilities. A while back while out with my son I even discovered that our town centre has some of these which was a real surprise, especially as I didn't realise that this set of public toilets were even there.
While out and about I have used dedicated female facilities on two occasions.
Once was while driving back from my parents and I needed to stop and use the facilities at a motorway services. On that occasion my other half came into the ladies with me, of course she finished her business before me and didn't wait for me so I had to wash hands, check my appearance and walk out on my own. Fortunately that trip to the bathroom passed uneventfully.
The only other time I've had to use the bathroom while out was during a trip to sort out hiring clothing for my son's ski trip at the beginning of the year. Caught short on the way back to the car I popped into the ladies in the car park while my family were outside. Nobody else was in there and I knew that my family were outside if there was any bother, or at least I thought they were but no they had wandered off back to the car.
The only other times that I've used toilets have been in a pub and I went at the same time as a friend who hung around. She did say to me before I went into the cubicle “remember to sit down and go like a woman”. As if I wouldn't do that.
Other than that when I've been at burlesque classes I've used the facilities and its been fine as it tends to be a private venue.
At work the situation has varied. At my normal place of work we have individual facilities as well as more communal women's facilities. I agreed with HR that I would use the individual facilities which is what I've pretty much done since I worked there anyway. On very rare occasions when I know that there aren't any other women around I've made use of the more communal ones.
Where I work at the moment HR told me that there were disabled toilets that I can use. Like anyone else, including some of the other women I've made use of these as sometimes they are the closest. After my first couple of days at the office though I started using the communal facilities as the office manager wasn't worried about which I used, she's female, and none of the other women have been fussed either.
When I get back to my normal place of work in May then I'll be back to using individual facilities, and that's fine. While I'm out and about though I'm going to have to get used to the idea that sometimes I'm going to have to use toilet facilities and accept the fact that just possibly I might get a negative reaction from another woman while in them. For someone that is transgendered that has to be part of becoming yourself and can't be escaped.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 12

Day 12 - What are you doing to stay healthy for transitioning mentally and physically
Saturday 13th April

The main things that I do to stay mentally and physically healthy while transitioning are keeping fit and doing things I enjoy doing.
I go swimming, running and cycling as I take part in triathlons. I also go to the gym with my son so that he gets the chance to keep fit and work on building up some muscles.
When I'm not doing sport then I work on my burlesque, that has helped with building up my confidence levels and also my awareness of body movement and posture. Working on routines and even performing them has taken me out of my shell. Doing drama improvisation work has helped me to overcome some of my natural shyness, especially when it involves slipping into my burlesque alter-ego who does the things that I find difficult to do.
Other than that I have my job which is mentally stimulating and is in a supportive environment so it helps me to deal with things because I can't allow myself to mope around and dwell on anything negative or unhealthy while earning a living.
The last thing I do is to get out and do the things I'd normally do. Every time I go out the door and manage to do ordinary things without getting an adverse reaction helps to keep me mentally strong for my transition.

Friday, 12 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 11

Day 11 - How do you manage dysphoria
Friday 12th April

Since I transitioned last year and even more since I've started on hormones my sense of dysphoria is so much less than it was.
The worst that I remember it being was while driving to Bristol for a burlesque class. I looked at my arms and could see hair on them and it began to affect me. I was literally on the verge of turning around and driving back home but I managed to keep driving, I focussed on the fact that I was going to somewhere that I enjoyed, where I was accepted for who I was and where I was developing talents that I'd never have dreamed of previously.
I can still look at my body and think I hate it, I wish that I'd been born with the right one. When I get feelings like that I think about what is causing those feelings, hair on my body, the thing between my legs, lack of breast growth or something else. I think about whatever it is and then remember that I can deal with those things. I can remove the hair on my body with laser, electrolysis, epilation and shaving. I can tuck things securely between my legs and eventually will have surgery to correct what is down there. The hormones will eventually sort out other areas of my body and surgery can sort out anything that needs a bit of artificial help, in the meantime there are artificial ways to sort those out.
I may not be the way that I should have been and noticing that can be distressful at times but as long as I remember that I am finally sorting things out and that there are things I can do in the meantime then I can manage my dysphoria and get through the bad times.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 10

Day 10 - What are some of your fears in regards to being trans
Thursday 11th April

My main fears are what will happen if I lose my job, will I be able to find another one or will people find excuses to turn me down for a job so that they don't have to deal with someone who is trans.
My other fear is the threat of violence against myself but also against my family from people that don't understand what it really means to be trans and feel that because you are trans that you are fair game to assault or even worse.
My other main fear is that my son will suffer at school if his peers find out about me. With the exception of those of his peers whose parents and children we have known for a long time.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 9

Day 9 - What is something positive about being trans
Wednesday 10th April

The most positive thing I think about being trans is that it gives you the chance to learn about yourself and about gender more deeply than most people ever will. Being trans is not easy but as you learn about yourselves you begin to understand more about other people. This in turn can lead to you becoming more aware of what your fellow men and women have to deal with in their lives.

A sad day

I had some sad news yesterday.
A friend of mine from church passed away.

I've known Ken for a good few years. He is a remarkable man, and had led an interesting life. The stories he used to tell always had that element of is he telling me the truth. I'm sure that some of them were exaggerated but, whether they were or not, it was always fun listening to him tell them to you.

Before I transitioned Ken always used to wind me up if he could, with him around there was never ever the chance that I would get too full of myself. Although his face would be very serious you knew that he was enjoying seeing your reaction.

After I transitioned I didn't see him as much, between me not going to church for a while and him being unwell for a time we were never in the same place at the same time as often as we used to be.

Ken was also one of the first people to talk to me when I did go to church after I transitioned. Our chats weren't as playful as they used to be but there was always a sense that here was someone who cared about others and would go out of his way to help them and show them friendship.

In the last year I realised just how special a person and a Christian he was. If I am ever half the person that he was then I'll think myself lucky and be very happy.

I'm going to miss him and our chats. The world has lost an amazing, caring person and seems a little bit darker today.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 8

Day 8 - How do you deal with being read mis-genderd in the beginning of transitioning by people?
Tuesday 9th April

How I deal with being mis-gendered by people depends on who it is that is mis-gendering me.
If its someone in a shop or restaurant then I'll ignore it but unless there is a very good reason for me to use that shop or restaurant then I wont go there again.
If its family then I bite my tongue and ignore it as much as I can because I've had long enough to accept that I was born the wrong gender and that I'm now living as the gender I always should have been. Other family members haven't had as long to get used to the idea and so I cut them as much slack as I can because it is with their love and support that I am able to do what I'm doing.
Eventually though the time will come when I have to correct them and ask them to make a bit more of an effort to get it right.
For anyone else that I know then I give them a chance but will eventually correct them if they get it wrong. Fortunately to date I've not had to do that as most people get it right, where they get it wrong then it tends to be just a slip up and when they realise what they've said they usually apologise.

Monday, 8 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 7

Day 7 - Who do you look up to
Monday 8th April

There are several trans individuals that I've heard of but there aren't really any that I look up to. 

I'm not really sure that there are people that I actually look up to, other than my parents. 

There are people that I have a lot of respect for, and people that I admire, but none of these are trans. They are people that have skills and talents that I wish I had. Some are people that I work with, others are sports people that I admire and wish I had half the ability of. Some I count as friends.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

30 Days of Trans - Day 6

Day 6 - Who was the first person you told about being trans
Sunday 7th April
The first person that I actually told about being trans was an ex. I've posted about the experience before so I wont repeat it here, so much to stay it was a tough and very emotionally charged time.

You can read about it here.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

30th Days of Trans - Days 1 to 5

I came across 30 days of tran while reading another blog, it looked interesting so I thought I'd give it a go myself.
Depending on whether I have access to the internet while in Malvern I'll either post daily or save everything up and post when I get back home to Yeovil. So here's the first 5 days.

Day 1 - When did you realize the term transgender referred to you
Tuesday 2nd April
I suppose that realizing that the term transgender referred to me is something recent, no more than a couple of years. The reason for that is that its probably only in the last couple of years that I've come across the term transgender. Previously to that if you'd asked me to describe myself I'd have used transsexual or transvestite/crossdresser depending on whether or not I'd accepted that transsexual is what I am.
If you then go back to when I first realised, if not that I should have been but, that I wished I'd been born a girl then you'd have to go back to my mid-teens when I first started to think of myself as a girl. At that time I'd never heard of any trans terms so didn't understand that I wasn't alone in feeling the way that I did, and that I could get help to correct things.

Day 2 - How did you choose your name, and what names were you thinking about using and why
Wednesday 3rd April
When I started thinking about the name I wanted to use when I transitioned I considered keeping my initials and finding girls names that would fit the initials. The J was easy as it was always going to be Jennifer so that it could be shorted to Jenny or Jen. I'd been using Jennifer online for quite some time. The W was more problematic in that there weren't that many names that would fit with Jenny or some variation of Jennifer. In the end I decided Willow or Willa would be a good choice. Willa Jen seemed to fit and sounded a lot like my old name. Then things changed.

When I took up burlesque I had to chose a name for my alter-ego. I thought about it and also asked a friend what she thought. When she came back with a suggestion I liked it and my burlesque character was properly born. Over time though I began to like her first name more and more. Eventually it got to the point where I liked it so much that I decided that I'd use it as my name when I went full time. I dropped my first initial when I completed my Deed Poll and Jenna was born.

Day 3 - Have you ever been outed
Thursday 4th April
Simply put yes but under differing circumstances.
A friend outed me to some other friends before I'd reached the point of transitioning, or even getting to the gender identity clinic.
My parents have outed me to family and friends where I grew up because its people that knew me before and who would have found out at some point. They've also unintentionally outed me by using the wrong pronouns when talking to people. In one case the person that I'd just been outed to turned around and light-heartedly told my Mum to “get it right”.


Day 4 - How did your family take it when you came out/ if you are not out why aren't you
Friday 5th April
My family's reaction to my coming out varied.
My parents were good about it. Mum told me that she'd wished I'd told them when I was younger, if I'd fully understood myself well enough back then I would have.
My son was understandably upset as you can imagine, but not for the reason that I would have expected. He was upset over the fact that he would have to learn to call me she rather than he, her rather than him.
My other half actually took the news quite calmly, which was a complete surprise as I didn't expect that.
My sister took it badly, which in part was due to the fact that I told her over the phone. I'm great at dropping bombshells like that.
My in-laws reactions weren't good but have calmed down since they found out.
One of my other half's cousins took the news well from what I can tell as I'm welcome to pop in and see her when my son and other half are visiting her Aunt.
My sister's husband was a surprise as he took the news really well. Which was pretty good as I told him that I had something to tell him and he said your having a sex change, to which I replied “Oh Ok I wont bother to tell you then.” He was apologetic for being flippant but took it well when I said “No, really, that's what I'm doing”.

Day 5 - Are you active in the trans community or LGBT community
Saturday 6th April
I'm a member of a number of online websites to do with the trans community, with the gender identity clinic I attend and at the company I work for. Other than taking part in online forums and chatting with people I'm not active within either community.
I planned to attend Bristol Pride the year before last but that didn't happen in the end. I might make it to this years if I'm actually around that weekend.
Whether not being active in either community carries on in the future I don't know.