In the Lion’s Mouth (I)

The good thing about being a writer is that it comes with privilege attached. Not that I have yet – thank God! – descended to a pathetic Winneresque bellow of “do you know who I am?”, followed by some diatribe in whatever tame magazine I can command.

Although I did once do a piece on banking security that was at least partly inspired by some pretty poor experiences with Lloyds bank. But I didn’t name names. At least not until this blog.

Still, though, being a writer means i get to meet and talk to some very interesting people: last year’s candidate for the most interesting title was probably Film Director John Waters. It also means i have access.

Want to write about coming out? Yep: i’d guess almost everyone who ever has transitioned has a story to tell – many far more interesting than my own.

But i know editors and, at last count, i had four offers to “reveal all”. Hmmm. Where to start?

In the end, we – andrea and i – did either the stupidest or possibly most useful thing we could. We went and talked to the Mail. They are writing a feature about transgender, starring the two of us.

Presumptuous on our part? Probably. But the feeling, at the end of the interview, is that we aren’t going to get torn to bits and, if we’re not, that’s going to be a real positive: a major piece in a major newspaper about trans that ISN’T focussed on regrets or speculation about some celebrity having gender wobbles.

Lady Gaga, anyone?

Both interview and interviewer were lovely. Not that that tells much: as i was answering questions yesterday, a part of me was admiring the real skill that Helen Weathers, the Mail journalist doing the piece, brought to her work.

She re-assured. She was knowledgeable. She asked insightful questions. I was seriously impressed – and not a little envious. Strange how the grass is always greener as, in between the questions, she expressed her own wistfulness at not being directed towards the heavier issues sometimes. Whilst i would love to shift my own work back towards the insightful interpersonal stuff she does.

Anyway, the die is cast. Interview done. We have quote approval – which basically means we won’t be misquoted. It doesn’t prevent a total stitch-up – though maybe it helps avoid a bloodbath.

We will be seeing advance copy soon. Fingers very much crossed.


3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Julian said,

    I have all my fingers crossed for a positive article. It would be nice to see something positive in the Mail for a change!

  2. 2

    Janet Ford said,

    Dear Jane Fae,

    I just wanted to thank you and your partner for your article in The Mail this morning. I am the mother of a 26 year old transexual. It can only help the public’s perception of her when people like you write openly about your experience.
    We wish you well in your transition and best wishes to your family.

    Kind regards,

  3. 3

    Kate said,

    I too read The Mail piece – I’ll confess to having a begrudging admiration for some of what it does (the professionalism of their manufactured outrage) but otherwise detest their particular, ahem, brand of celebrities and cynicism.

    Credit to Helen for a well written, genuinely nuanced article but enormous credit to you and your partner for sharing your story. I think it has been the positive piece that you’d hoped for and that you’re incredibly brave to have done this. I guess it might not feel that way in many ways but it’s a leap of faith, the landing is softer than you think and you get to breathe again. To live even.

    Sincere best wishes for your transition and to the people around you.


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