79 hours to go (still) and running to catch up on this blog.
On Wednesday evening I exposed myself to my local community. Ooer, Missus! But it was OK. There was a PCSO present.
And it was mostly fun, so that was good.
This was a speaking engagement set up a couple of months back for reasons that were far less good then than eventually was the case. Following my upset at the local Leisure Centre ( a guy threatened to hit me for going into the women’s changing area…the Leisure Centre and local police were wonderful and told me I was fine to do so) I decided it would be helpful all round if I did a talk on the subject of my transition.
Not a defensive “I’m no threat to kids” sort of talk: but a simple canter through my journey, answering questions like what (the medical stuff), why (how it feels) and the overall experience (from the joy it brings, thru to the rather more vicarious “pleasures” of not feeling safe at night any more).
Leisure Centre were fine with it and so we set up an evening: the local council provided some Equalities bods to turn up and speak about what the Council does on the diversity front; the Police sent Chris, a slightly gauche but otherwise lovely young pcso, and we were set to go.
It all went pretty much as above. A couple of local councillors said they’d come – and then didn’t. About a dozen or so members of the public did come: plus various official types: we also got someone pretty senior from the Leisure Centre management and I’d say that when it comes to trans issues, Lincolnshire may, for that particular sports chain, now be something of a bright spot. They get it: they get it very well and, more to the point, they know exactly who to chat to for advice in future.
Also invited, were the local swim club. Oh, dear! It seems that it was one of those members who was the root of this prob in the first place. In setting the meet up, they were given ample warning and.. . their committee harumphed mightily.
It would appear that most were unaware that a tranny (!) – shock! horror! – was using the local baths, so far from being quietened down by the news that I was happy to come, speak, discuss any issues, a few of those previously unaware were now worried. So I think I got discussed by them in absentia as a sort of abstract problem – but the invite was left on the table and they were kept fully in the loop about the meeting.
And guess what? No-one turned up from there at all! Which, at risk of sounding very petty (but I’m stressed, so for once I will) puts a measure on this sort of stuff. Some individuals feel strongly enough about me to want me excluded from places because I “worry the women and children” (the individuals expressing this worry are, natch, blokes).
A whole committee of people can discuss me as a possible issue.
And let’s get this right…the bottom line for this issue is going to be child protection and protecting women. I mean, they can’t, surely, be objecting to my visiting a space on aesthetic grounds, can they? Yet, despite such big issues being in their sights, the only response is either gung-ho mavericks having a go at the door of a changing room – or committee woffle. What? Come and actually talk to the woman? Discuss matters politely with community police and diversity reps present? You must be mad.
Which therefore gives a measure to concerns. If people genuinely thought I was a threat to kids and the like, they’d be there. But they don’t. It’s a useful stick to beat trans folk with when it suits. But the absence of belief in it as a real threat is amply demonstrated by the lack of any willingness to follow thru.
Grrrr! Still: it will get a local press write-up and, inch by inch, we chip away at local prejudices.