Posts tagged teenage

Battle joined…

Enough is enough and therefore, following this weekend’s latest bullying from girls who i think are members of the local swimming club, i put a shot across the bows of that club’s chairman.

I spoke to the leisure centre management – and followed up with a note directly to the chair. At base, what i am getting is just downright rude – though it also has the effect of intimidating and upsetting me.

A colleague, with whom i discussed this yesterday mentioned that girls of the age in question are likely feeling insecure in their own gender identity. Agreed. Hence why, to date, i’ve tended to be fairly gentle, viewing this as being as much about their fears as their aggression towards me.

Still, though, there comes a limit and this – the point at which i start to feel acutely nervous every time i have to enter a particular changing room – has to be it.

Yes: i agree they may be nervous. However, while we might concede that nervouseness or insecurity explains sexist behaviour by boys or even racist behaviour by teenagers, we wouldn’t allow it to continue: we’d politely but firmly require them to stop. And if they still carried on, then we’d escalate.

In this case, the girls appear to belong to a club with whom, of all the bodies that exist locally, i have had most grief in the past. The club itself has had multiple chances to engage with me – and taken none of them.

It would not in the least surprise me if the girls weren’t echoing sentiments expressed sotto voce (or possibly not so sotto) in the home.

Adults have a responsibility too.

So…the club chair is engaged: and if he will do nothing, then next stop is the council and their diversity unit.

jane
xx

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Bullied by kids?

In a week when newspapers were awash with fears that a ten-year old starting to transition might be bullied by her fellow pupils, it is oddly ironic that i should find myself on the receiving end of stick from a bunch of mouthy pre-pubescent girls.

“This is for girls only”

Its the Leisure Centre again, naturally. At a time when, touch wood, rudery about me and my appearance is receding ever further and being “Sir”‘d is increasingly a thing of the past i’ve just had an earful from the girls in the local Swim Club.

As usual, i took the boy in to swim at 9: took him into the Women’s changing area; and as usual got a load of hmmphed shoulders and “Really!” from three or four girls by the door. However, today it seems to be spreading since, going past the shower area, i also got a chorus of “this is the girls’ changing room” from a foursome in the showers.

Contempt breeds ignorance

That is, possibly, an attitude changer. Hitherto, i’ve been tolerant, calculating that in a world where children are warned in ever more lurid tones of stranger danger, i should at least make allowances for girls possibly feeling wary or intimidated by my presence. But actually, they aren’t. This is not worry, so much as pack hunting…and its unpleasant.

Intersting, too, that it happens at 9 – when the Swim Club is in (mostly consisting of girls unaccompanied in the changing area) – and not at 9.30, when i share the area with a load of Mum’s who mostly interact very pleasantly with me.

So what’s up? And what to do?

The local Swim Club

The Swim Club thing is appallingly unfinished business. Months back, my last major bit of transphobic threat came from an “adult” member of that organisation, who threatened to hit me if i returned to the changing area. After words with the Centre Management and with the police, that went away and no more was heard on that front.

Still, i felt it would be helpful to offer an olive branch. I offered to do a talk for the community and, along the way, the Swim Club were invited. Possibly a mistake, since their committee instantly started to act as though they “owned” my talk, expressed shock and horror that a tranny was using the Women’s Area, and started laying down thoughts about how the talk should happen.

Huh? Control freaks, too!

In the end i said “no”: i put on the talk, about a week pre-op, invited the local community and, with the full support of the Leisure Centre management, a very good night appears to have been had by all.

Except.

The swim club didn’t turn up. Not a single member. Not a sausage. Like…they are collectively so concerned by the “threat” this lone trans woman poses to their kids that not one of them could find time on a weekday evening to come and find out more.

I wouldn’t, at this stage, describe them as a bunch of loud-mouthed bigots: but the temptation is growing.

Desperately seeking resolution

And that brings me back to the 9 am catcalling. It is hurtful. Also, difficult. If they were adlts, i’d take them on. Kids, in today’s culture? Nah.

I’m not saying its the FAULT of the parents. But i am beginning to think it is. It cannot be that all these girls go home, having been traumatised by my presence, and not one of them mentions it to their mum or dad.

At which point, what? Do their parents go: ah yes, but some boys grow up to be girsl, and vice-versa. Or do they, like the closet bigots quoted in this week’s tabloids, weasel their way round this by saying that they don’t have any problem with trans folk, but it stands to reason that there is going to be concern.

For that, loud and clear, is the message that many parents in Worcester were putting out this week. We’re not encouraging bullying or violence. But we understand it…

Much as in the States, when teachers and pupils effectively condoned the murder of student Scott King by sugesting that they could see “tensions on campus rising after King began coming to school dressed in makeup and girl’s boots”.

Hmmm. I am starting to recognise the whiff of bigotry at long distance. Most will never express it directly: they’ll just “worry” about how other folk (never them!) will react. And in the process, they will tacitly condone it.

What then to do? I won’t take the girls on directly. I will speak (again) to the Centre management. And i’ll chat to the local cpso: there has to be a resolution to this short of confrontation and nastiness.

Except, sadly, by their actions, it begins to look as though this is the only language the swim club understands…

jane
xx

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Only skin deep?

This could have been another of those posts i have gotten into the bad habit of making: all about new experience, and how wonderful it all feels.

My first real hair-do, in case you’re wondering. Glorious!

You can take it for read that i am just basking in the many and varied new experiences i am having now, and move on to something a bit more puzzling.

Jealousy. After the joy of getting my hair done, and fiddling around with ear rings and nails and the 101 things i manage to obsess about nowadays, i found myself watching some ads on TV.

Not just watching, but – i caught myself doing this – measuring myself against the women in the ads. Going green with envy at the beautiful luxuriant hair that two models had.

Then i realised i have started to do this a lot lately: eyeing up fashions, clothes, hair-styles and growng resentful of things that will never be for me. In part because i am coming to this process late. In part because i will always look awkward, out of place.

There’s at least two things going on here. Its age, and the inevitable coming to terms with the fact that i am no longer young and never will be again. Yet – living as a male – that never bothered me.

Now, it hurts. It hurts like anything.

Because there is something else as well: this comparing of myself to how others look. This focus on the physical. What’s that about?

Is that “just me”? Or is it “gendered”: another of those things i hadn’t quite realised that women have to live with? Its a genuine question. Not that long in – and already i am defining myself in ways i would never have contemplated doing, a few short weeks ago.

I can see the why to it. I can also see the effect it has, making me that much more vulnerable to comments about how i look: loving the compliment; wilting before any sort of put-down.

It adds a new dimension to the demand, from medical professionals, that us trans women should learn about “passing”. Ye-es. If i understand what i am feelng now, its sort of like they have worked out what it is that makes ordianry women vulnerable – and us trannies don’t get to pass their test unless and until we learn to be just as vulnerable too.

Ironic, how ordinary everyday women are trying to teach their daughters not to fall into this trap – yet the experts insist that trans women should walk head first into it.

jane
xx

P.S. Since i am feeling particularly teenage and vunerable right now, this track seems about right:

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