Just about caught up with Thursday. And no: I wasn’t planning to make this a week when everything happened. It just panned out that way. And if I’d had my grs when it was originally mooted for (5 July) I’d now be four days post-op, as opposed to tremblingly just short of three days pre. Ah, well.
Down to London: what to wear?
Thursday was down to London again to prove that a tranny can do other stuff than perform tricks for the national media and “be a professional tranny”. Actually feeling quite strongly about this at present, which may be another sign of moving on. Moving into a new way of life.
It was the ISPA Awards. Who they? The Trade Body for the UK’s Internet Service Providers. The great and the good – and a body for who I might at some point do some work. Stranger things have happened. And for the third year in a row, I was down to hand out one of the main awards – that for “Internet Villain of the Year”.
OK. They may see it differently, with deathly serious awards being handed out to best B2B this and best telephony that. But for those on the floor, the Internet Hero and Internet Villain are the two most eagerly anticipated
Posh bash. The invite said “black tie”, which instantly threw me into panic mode. I don’t have anything that passes for evening wear…though I do have some quite posh long skirts. OK, Andrea has…but they fit me. And topped out with a beautiful, grey Windsmoor jacket I felt at least fashionable, if not quite top drawer.
Comfortable in my skin
What a difference a year makes. Last year, I think I did surprise people a bit, as I was not long into transition: when I mounted the stage to do the award thingy, probably looked decidedly strange, and was nervous as hell. Not least because it took forever to do make-up: I was still into the slightly off blue eye shadow, and screwed up my nails on arrival (by trying to put on a necklace whilst nails were still just touch dry).
And yeah: its not about the clothes or make-up, but…it is about the ease with which one slips into them and on Thursday, I was a deal more confident about dress. Walked in proudly, as opposed to slinking in. Had the make-up done and dusted in about ten minutes flat and felt…well, I just felt so much righter.
Greeted by not a few people from the industry, including far too many who know me from my writing and whose faces I can only vaguely recollect. “Hi, Jane, good to see you…” was pretty standard and whilst I enjoyed chatting, those to whom I chatted will have to guess which I remembered and which I got right (and its ok, Peter…I remembered you, having mangled your company’s business a year ago).
Also lovely that from the off, the entire hotel staff (this was the Lancaster London) got it right, addressing me as “Madam”, with not a single slip-up. Either very well trained, or that passing thing again. At table, I found out something new about being a “lady”. There was me and there were six blokes and…I got served first for everything… especially the after dinner choccie! Yay!
I guess you don’t notice as a bloke, cause there are so many other blokes dipping their hands into the bread basket. It’s a tough one. As a modern feminist woman, I should be against it. Still, though, its nice.
A nice dinner. Reasonably nice company: on one side a former biology teacher turned entrepreneur who ended up picking up an award on behalf of his company – Rutland Telecom. On t’other, MP Eric Joyce.
Oh, the joys of my new internet phone! I had heard of him…but wasn’t overly sure of what he did, portfolio, etc. and… a surreptitious google (he’d better not be reading this!) and I discovered he was MP for Falkirk and a former Major.
Now: how to put this tactfully. Not fancied. Nope. But I could see exactly how some women would find him very dishy. A beautiful soft voice and gentle Scottish accent, designer stubble, and all round charm.
Anyway, swapped e-mails, cause I now need friends on the Labour benches and I still write about techy stuff, and he’s a techy MP.
No: I’m not re-orienteering, but over the last few weeks, I have started to re-evaluate blokes a bit.
Most of them are just boys, playful, lost sometimes, pushy, in need of someone else to keep the social wheel oiled. Its not a fancy thing: just that now that I have first of all stopped trying to be one, and second stopped being afraid of them, they are both diminished and…whisper it low…sometimes OK!
Apart from on the dance floor, which is how the evening ended. I’ll have to get back to this but, in UK culture (and sorry Fiona: I know you are on side for men dancing) the male dancer is more like a rooster, literally strutting his stuff with very little sense of dance aesthetic. They dominate the floor, rather than contribute to it.
Fencing with a comedian
But I’ve jumped forward. First there was the comedian – Adam Bloom – who wasn’t bad, but got better when he was ad libbing than in his prepared stuff. And his ad libs were decidedly risky. I listened in horror as one of the award givers (or winners) walked on to the stage and Adam id’d him as German, made a fairly sharp crack about his nationality… then put one arm around him and (Adam had already outed himself as Jewish) made a further crack about “you’re German, I’m Jewish: I have to get my own back somehow”.
I approached the stage warily for my bit. He’d had a go at every other minority in his sights so… I got on, grabbed the mike, glanced over and said: “OK. What you going to make of me then?”
He smiled. “I’m working on it”, was the comeback…which felt like honour satisfied without my ending up the butt of some anti-trans joke. Good.
Also, very good that I’m up there dishing out an award in front of about 300 of the UK’s most senior internet figures. I’m there because I’m a good writer who gets beneath the skin of some of the topics dear to their heart. Also because i, along with one of the other regulars – senior civil servant Nigel Hickson – provide a certain panache that, to put it politely, the slightly greyer business blokes don’t. 🙂
Not because I’m trans.
I’m very proud to be trans. But I am Jane first and always: I am a professional with a track record and a future which should go forward on its merits – not on my trans-ness.