Things that make you go Wow!

Today was a very very good day. Or at least, a very good morning.

I nipped briefly, cheekily into my friendly local Tesco. Cheekily, because I just happened to be wearing, for the first time ever, the T-shirt I picked up at last year’s Pride march.

I can’t find any pics of the shirt on their own: but its very like the one being worn in the various pic’s on last autumn’s outattesco newsletter (pdf). Because yes: Tesco does support LGBT causes – and the t-shirt is visible evidence of that support

But I’ve been a little bit shy about wearing it because I had this worry that even though the staff at my local Tesco have been nothing but supportive of myself, someone might have thought I was taking the piss. Not to worry! They got it at once: I explained to a couple of managers that this was actually an official Tesco sponsored initiative – and at least one member of staff was quite interested…may even, I suspect, be writing off for her own in the not too distant.

Yay! LGBT Pride comes to deepest Lincolnshire…

So that was first good thing. Second was the lady who accosted me as I walked round: perhaps a few years older than I, grey-haired, but obviously sprightly, and, I’d guess, the 50’s side of 60 still.

“I just wanted to talk to you”, she began, momentarily putting me on my guard. Amazing how self-protective one can become after a year or so of being out and learning to be always on one’s guard against the lone nutter.

But I needn’t have worried. “I’ve seen you around loads of times”, she went on, “and I’ve always wanted to say how wonderful you look: how well you look”.

Oh, wow!

I know: it’s the flip side of being public property. Its probably awfully incorrect for her to be acknowledging my “difference” in this way. But to hell with that.

She was being supportive – and being supportive in the best way she knows how: by breaking a taboo around talking to strangers, walking up to me, and saying something nice.

So it was absolutely appreciated and as I walked off down the aisle about half a minute later, I resisted the urge to punch the air and go “Yay!”.

On the other hand, I think I did manage a very slight skip, much to the surprise of a couple of passing shoppers.


P.S> If you want to know more about Outattesco, they can be contacted via


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Lucy Melford said,

    It WAS nice of that lady to say such a pleasant thing to you. I’d say you’re getting to be something of a local personality! In which case, you seem to be flying the trans flag well.

    Bear in mind, though, that post-op you may feel subtly different. You may not feel ‘trans’ in the sense you do now. I suppose one’s point of view changes. Instead of wearing T shirts, you may want to become the local MP, or at least something quite serious. Or else leave it all alone entirely, and concentrate on living a woman’s ordinary life – whatever that actually is. It may not be possible after your TV appearance!


    • 2

      janefae said,

      Thanks for that – because I know its well-meant in an ever-so-slightly mother hennish sort of way. 🙂

      You are right, of course: what I do now will impact room to manoeuvre further on down the road. Though less, I think, than some of the doom-laden scenarios that others have sprung on me. I’ve pretty much always been in the public eye to some extent: inevitable, really, if you start your political life as a precocious and naïve activist aged 14 – and then seven years later turn up as the UK’s youngest parliamentary candidate (for the Liberals, in the deposit-losing East London seat of Newham South).

      In that sense, I suspect I understand the media far better than many who suddenly find themselves under its microscope when they transition – and am far better able to cope.

      Its funny what you say about becoming an MP. I had that ambition once and made one of the greatest mistakes of my life – had that been the be-all and end-all of it – when I turned down an invite to put myself forward for a particular seat in 1992. My view: the seat was unwinnable. The result: the Lib Dem cantered home. Oh dear.

      But I don’t really regret: in fact, I’m quite glad. Someone asked me again, last year, if I would put up for a certain (winnable) seat. I declined. Not, then, being quite as secure in my out-ness as I am now, I felt it would be unfair of me: because – and I think I am still right in my assessment – the moment I became candidate, the election would have ceased to be about that party’s policies and become all about my identity.

      I am pretty sure that, if ever I do feel like retiring from the public eye, it will be less hard than some believe. People tend to be famous for 15 minutes and I’m not really all that famous: a minor media phenomenon, no more. On a par with a particularly active parish councillor.

      There’s little I can do to stop folks coming up to me and paying compliments, any more than I can stop them threatening to kick my head in. Just that the former is infinitely preferable.

      It does leave me wondering, though, whether we aren’t become the chimney sweeps of the 21st century. You know: see a sweep, shake his hand, you’ll have good luck for the day! At least according to Dick Van Dyke!

      And the t-shirt wasn’t stunt – was equally applicable to gay or lesbian – and perfectly good Sunday morning attire. (I trust you’re not suggesting that when I’m transitioned and grown up I mustn’t wear t-shirts any more. Horrid thought! 😦 )

      I don’t pass. For all I tease about that idea, though: I’d like to. At the same time, I think passing and prominence are quite different things. I don’t have many skeletons in my closet, but if I did, I’d be very aware that pretty much anything I’ve ever said or done would be fair game for media comment. There’s speeches I’ve made, actions I’ve taken that can be used against me. But I don’t mind. I’m not ashamed of my past: but I live in the present.

      And maybe, a little, the future, too.


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