Trans transience

One side-effect of transition, that in traditional English fashion, tends to be ignored until it really can’t, is the fact that there sometimes are public ramifications well beyond your local neighbourhood. Suddenly, you are “famous”.

Although, as Shakespeare put it, that “bubble fame” may vanish as quickly as it arrived: inflating, in an instant, from nothing, to light as air pearlescent rainbow globe and then.. . one prick (if that is not inopportune reference in the context) and it is gone.

Nice if you can handle it: possibly quite damaging if you can’t.

The price – and value – of fame

The problem, I guess, is the way that fame suddenly descends on individuals for nothing other than who they are. Press and media might claim otherwise, in the silky way that they do, that they really, REALLY are interested in YOU. For the most part, though, this is spectacle stuff: Ripley’s “Believe it or not!” for the middle brow.

Take it for what it is – and you’ll emerge relatively undamaged. Believe that suddenly, somehow, this makes you special, and in many – most – cases you are setting yourself up for a fall.

This isn’t all negative: there is a degree of value to be had out of being in the news…providing you manage that value sensibly. Your average “national trans” story can, with clever negotiation, net an individual somewhere between £2,000 and £5,000. That presumes your story is taken up by one of the nationals (and they pay for the interview), with one or two respectable magazines following in their wake.

Expect nothing – or next to – from broadcast media: the Beeb will mostly pay travel expenses to their studio – and that’s that. Radio? Nada!

You need to lift to a status well beyond “this week’s news” before you’ll get serious money out of broadcasting.

As for writing a book – forget it! Unless you have something amazing to say, and find writing a doddle, its one of the worst paid forms of literary creation out there.

First – or nowhere

Besides, the bar to hitting news status is raising all the time. For all that people complain about press obsession with trans stories, in fact, that interest is most intense, always, at the cutting edge: the first transition; the first grs; the first murder; the first employment tribunal.. . Are you beginning to spot a pattern? It’s a little like gay a few years back: loads of interest in the firsts, the ground-breakers.

And now? Unless you are caught in flagrante sodomising a) the pope or b) Prince Charles, (or happen to be an established soap star) the news value is pretty low.

Come out and, briefly, you will be news in your local press: a footnote, if that, in the nationals – and then they move on.

Being trans, if you wish to “use” that fact in some way – and some folk do – is at best a temporary leg up. Those who have talent – particularly in the creative and entertainment areas – can use their status to pull ahead of the pack, briefly and, if that talent is genuine, then they may stay out front when the spotlight moves on.

Not on wikipedia? I don’t exist!

I’ve not been shy about being “out” – but then, much of my life has been “out” in one way or another.

Not all of it easily trackable: early days writing for Liberal News, freelancing pics for the nationals or, once upon a time, the country’s youngest parliamentary candidate (for the Liberal Party) – and occasionally recipient of press disapproval for being a tad radical: all that never really happened. At least not as far as Wikipedia is concerned, cause that was before the internet and much now lies mouldering in unindexed and non-digitised hard copy archives.

Yes: there’s a downside, in terms of things I’ve said that no doubt some clever types may try and nail me with at a later date. Whatever: people change; and I certainly don’t regard lifelong consistency as any form of virtue.

I’ve found myself in the way of personal nastiness. And going “stealth”, which I once never believed possible (and now begins to seem to be), would always be that much harder.

But I knew that, never expected otherwise. It’s a blip. No more.

Dream: just don’t make dreams your master

People handle fame – and notoriety – in different ways. Some skate across its surface, blithely untouched by bouquets and brickbats alike. Some use it – and move on. Others, suddenly headlined for any reason – not just the fact of being trans – are bewitched.

For them I fear. Always. Because in the morning, the circus moves on. And if you think you’re going with them, you might just be bitterly disappointed.

jane xx


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Ariel said,

    Thankfully, I’m not even famous in my neighbourhood. Of course I came out to neighbours and a few other locals whom I know personally, but the interest value of that faded quickly. No way my local newspapers would have given a hoot unless I had tried to make a big deal of out of, and even then I probably would not have been deemed newsworthy. If I’d been a city councillor or something, sure, but not as a private citizen. And for that I am glad!

  2. 2

    k said,

    “As for writing a book – forget it! Unless you have something amazing to say, and find writing a doddle, its one of the worst paid forms of literary creation out there”…

    Interesting. What, then, are the better paid forms of literary creation in the internet age?

    Juliet Jacques has an interesting piece on “texts for free” on her blog in which she writes about her intention to write a book:

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