On the radio

To Lincoln, where I have agreed to be interviewed on BBC Radio Lincoln about the Rachel Millington case. In the end, it turns out to be an interview about me. Ambush? Probably not.

Trans stuff is in the local news, and they can hardly be blamed for surfing the news wave. So I chat amiably enough with Melvyn Prior, the show’s host.

Most of it is pretty easy stuff…until we get to what is probably a fair question, but actually hurts rather more than I expected. He asks me about reactions I get on the street, seeing as my look is still very much on the “manly” side. I am minded to kick him, but there is a large desk in the way.

It’s a fair question, going, as it does, to the heart of the disparity between the world as we would wish it to be, and the world as it is. I might wish to be taken as female, to pass effortlessly in public, and to do so after two days of hormones and a dash of make-up. But I don’t.

It echoes the good doctor’s suggestion, the previous week, that I should investigate facial feminisation surgery before I go for the full gender surgery. Blithely, I brush it aside. I know all the stuff about gender being social construct: how its far more than the way you are perceived by others.

Besides, my hair is a mess…hair appointment scheduled for this evening: roots to be redone; highlights touched up. I’ve left my eyeliner behind, and a rush make-up job in the cab just can’t compare to my usual more measured morning routine

But, but, but…it hurts.

The rest of the day is spent pondering which particular bits of cosmetic surgery might be worth considering: which likely to collapse as I reach my dotage. In the evening, at the hairdresser, I glare at a reflection that glares back at me. My features remain stubbornly, intractably manly. Damn.

Not a happy bunny.


P.S. If you want to catch up on the interview, it is likely to be here for the next week or so, from about 30 minutes in…

P.P.S There is something about Lincoln. I am used, now, to Peterborough and the muted level of background transphobia I encounter on the streets there. Either I was unlucky today, or Lincoln is just that bit more transphobic…which might explain something about Rachel’s case.


3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    kathz said,

    I don’t know if it helps but I’ve occasionally been addressed as a man, just because I’ve been wearing T-shirt and jeans – and perhaps walking down the street with more confidence than is expected of a woman. As I’m not trans, this isn’t an issue for me but it might help to know that lots of women are occasionally taken for men on occasion – lots of people seem to want to see exaggerations of gender roles and stereotypes rather than the range of ways in which people actually demonstrate their gender. (I find I can’t say exactly what I mean there, which may be a result of wine in the evening but may suggest that language also works against common sense perceptions and allowing people to be who they are.)

    From my limited observations of a friend, I think you’ll find that some of this is simply a matter of time and continuing treatment, etc. But, for the time being, I’m going to make the kind of suggestion I’ve never managed to act on myself – although I know I should. Next time you look in the mirror (I hate looking in mirrors myself, by the way – not unusual for women) why not try to focus on the things you like about your appearance and the aspects that you and others perceive as most feminine? Women are supposed to learn to emphasise their best points – I’ve read it in magazine articles so it must be good advice! You have really good eyes, mouth and cheeks, I would suggest, judging from recent photos. (Your lips are much better than mine.) And think about your height as an asset, because it is and many women want to be tall.

    I don’t know if any of this helps at all but I hope it does. And I do wish the transphobes would grow up – they are so stupid.

  2. 2

    Big Kate said,

    it hurts, it hurts because its you, not some facsimile you present to the world. Your body will change in time, but yes FFS can have significant effects. i just think ironic that you need psychiatrists to get srs, but FFS a far more radical and life changing surgery (10 hours) vs (about 3-5) for SRS is turn up and go. I know people whose life has utterly changed by it, but the singularly biggest change you can make is your voice and that’s entirely within your control. A quick mea culpa, I’m crap about changing my voice.

    I can say in time as you become more secure in who you are the hurt from others can become less, but it’s a long hard road. FFS can also make being a journalist that much easier by presenting a commonly gendered face to people. If you decide to go stealth it will also make that much easier. I recognise that their are significant issues about going stealth. If your active politically it can often seem as a very regressive step, but recognise that almost every trans activist i know has been through a period of stealth. Some go into stealth and remain so, others shed it as the next process in their transitional path.

    BTW I cam here to thank you for your report on BiCon – did you attend? If so what workshops did you goto

    I was in the naked lunch & naked wake, censorship and on the out of the box campaign that happened after the censorship workshop

    • 3

      janefae said,

      darn…yes…i went to BiCon, but only a couple of workshops, including thewomen’s one on saturday. anted to do the censorship one…sowould be interested in yor take on same…off-board, if you want to e-mail me.



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