Friday, March 30, 2012

"I'm the kinda girl that likes to dream a lot, dream a lot,
Lose myself, staring into my coffee cup, coffee cup."

Hi,

I'm a little all over the place as I write this. Not in a bad way, more from a completely disorganised perspective. :-) This week has gone quickly. I seemed to have blinked and now it's Friday night. Still, better that than Monday morning. Hmm, vibes of an old Dire Straights lyric in my head now. Odd, considering I'm listening to Leaving Hope by Nine Inch Nails which is delightfully mellow. But enough of the stream of consciousness, I did have a few things to say.

History, Art and Trans Folk

I have a thing about history and the passing of time. I guess it comes down to looking at what has gone before and how what is considered cutting edge now, soon drifts into old hat, to old school to olden days. Funny, maybe it's an age thing, because at school, I couldn't connect - (Ed: or didn't want to?) with the history we were taught. Strange then as I get a little bit older, I find the history a lot more interesting. Why did so-and-so castle get knocked down during the war? Why did we all think Betamax wasn't a good idea? Why didn't sci-fi authors see the Internet coming? ;-)

So the other day, I stumbled across an art project concerning trans people: T Town: Transgender Neighbours. Each page, if you like, was a small photo of the person in question and then a short interview. Each interview question was repeated to the next subject and it gave a short, potted history.

Now, while I'm a vain egocentric blogger, when I read / viewed said piece, my thoughts were not: ooo, I could write about me. Instead, I had a light bulb moment. Okay, 6W, but none-the-less, a thought occurred to me: there are a number of trans people who walk through the door of Chameleons, Invasion, etc and I don't see them again. They all have history attached to them and I wondered if some type of private art / book / site sort of thing would be a go-er. Anyways, I floated the idea on Facebook and both Alex and Maddy got back to me about it. Alex is rather handy with photography (besides other things), while Maddy is a dab hand with artistic / design (that's who draws all the Invasion banners).

Having read though the original site's questions, I boiled them down to something like this:
  • Awareness 
    When did you first feel trans? How did it make you feel? Did you embrace or run from it?
  • Adolescent coping
    How did you cope with growing up? What about puberty? How was school, or teenage life?
  • Early Life / University / College
    Having 'grown up' - at least physically, how was life? Did you fit in or fall out? Did you stay home, work away or go to Uni?
  • Career
    A short burst on what you do and how you think it has shaped you (for better or worse). Is there something you long to do?
  • Relationships
    Single, married, long term relationship, divorced, happy to be single?
  • Coming Out
    Have you? Would you? If so, how was it? If not, why not?
  • The Way Forward
    What's next for you? What are your hopes - trans, or otherwise?
  • Words of Wisdom
    Anything you'd like to pass on to someone trans?

My plan is to throw it open to you guys out there in the trannisphere and see who bites. I'll be straight with you and say I'm after interesting shots - and I don't mean interesting as in X rated. Do you have to show your face? Well, that was something we ummed and ahhed over. If you can make a shot that's clever, then no, you don't have to. Alex did mention she has access to a photo studio, so if this little idea takes off, there are other options open to us, but I'm not going to volunteer her services either ;-)

Maybe it'll come to something, maybe it won't. I guess we'll see. Maybe I should also drop the other web site a line and see if they mind. ;-)

First Thoughts

On a slightly related note, The Huffington Post are running a video project called The Moment I Knew...
That then lead me on to BornThisWay which is a blog for people to share their stories on when they realised just who they were.

In terms of little old me, I can't say I had a 'moment of clarity' as famous movie character once said. I think it was more a series of little steps until the truth was too obvious to ignore. Small things like not like rough play that the other boys did; wondering why my sister got to have long hair and boys didn't; why was it funny to see a man dressed up as a women, when to me is seemed okay? That and curiosity about tights, girls shoes and skirts - things that didn't belong in my gender's wardrobe.

I remember trying on a pair of my mum's tights and looking down at my legs. I guess I must have been about eight or so. It didn't feel wrong or weird, it felt, well, a little inappropriate given that girls my age didn't wear them. One thing I did know, it was something boys didn't do.

As I got older, so the chances to experiment got a little easier and more frequent too. Trying on lipstick, how to put a skirt on, walking in heels, etc. Puberty wasn't exactly pleasant, but then does any teenager enjoy that time? :-) I probably looked a right state, but your first steps are the hardest and there's so much to learn. Even now, I'm still learning new things. Maybe one day I'll get the hang of it. Maybe that's why fashion folk keep changing the rules: to keep us on our collective toes. :-) (Ed: that or to keep us buying the same items with a slightly different tweak from last season? :-P)

The one thing I learned, or perhaps found after those thirty odd years, is that it's okay to be this way. That gem of truth took a long time to arrive, but it was worth it.

But what about you, dear reader? Was there a sudden epiphany or a slow realisation of the truth? Did you run from it or embrace it?

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Yo Yo by Nicola Roberts ]

21 comments:

  1. The biogs on the t-town site are very moving in some cases. They've done a really good job with it.

    So are you suggesting a physical book being held at Chams or a virtual version on a website?

    Rhi x

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    1. I think the T-Town folk (townsfolk? :-) ) did a great job and yes, some of the stories are very moving. It did - as the blog suggests - move me to do something along those lines.

      Part of me would like to do a book, but the issues with that include print runs, costs, copyright, personal freedom and distribution. That said, I'd be happy to do something book-esq on the t'interwebs. It would be interactive per say - so very web 1.0 ;-) The advantages being anyone who had a change of mind could be removed and secondly, there'd be no 'blogging' space within it. It's meant to be a finished product.

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    2. Well, if you need any help in this endeavour, I would happily join you. It would be fun and also really interesting too...

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    3. Careful what you volunteer for, Rhi. ;-) There's a chat thread running on this within Facebook if you'd like to chip in.

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    4. Don't have a Rhiannon Facebook page. Should sort one out really. Always was worried about making a mistake on the wrong page - particular if under the influence!

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    5. Perhaps it's best not to blog and booze? :-)

      Have you tried those USB stick based applications? You can run Chrome or Firefox from a USB pen drive and that keeps all the data away from your main computer.

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  2. A lot of interesting questions :) . I'll have a think about them and get back to you.

    In general, I like the idea of having a lot of different answers from different people on a blog somewhere (if that's what you're intending?), showing the multifarious variety of our identities and lives. In which case I'd suggest two things:

    (1) making pictures optional;
    (2) having a very rigorous comments policy.

    Both of these in order to keep from putting people off. For (1), pictures may of course be problematic for some. And (2), if someone is going to speak honestly and openly about themselves, they don't want their own truths attacked by commenters who don't like what they say (because, for example, a commenter's own identity is based on telling everyone else about theirs). Perhaps this could be the philosophy:

    The best we can do is speak our own truth, make it safe for others to speak theirs, and respect our differences. – Patrick Califia

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    1. Nice quote and I'll be interested on reading your answers too.

      As I put with Rhi's comment, I wasn't planning on making it blog powered. My initial thought is some type of flip page magazine style site. I still think an image would be a good idea, although I'm as cautious as the next person over sharing my photo. Yes, I'm aware of the hypocrisy given the snaps I've got visible on this blog. :-)

      To return to your quote from Mr Califia, dare I say that I think that would be a really good opening gambit for such a project. After all, we can speak from experience, but can we speak for all? I know I wouldn't want to. What's said on this little blog comes with a very big disclaimer of 'your mileage may vary'. Which reminds me, I must put that up on here someplace ;-)

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  3. Count me in Lynn, give me a couple of days to ponder over the wordingnof my answers and i'll try to get an interesting photo sorted to.

    X

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    1. Coolbeans ;-) Glad to have you aboard. The technical bits are being worked out and once they're sorted, there'll be a general invitation (probably via FB). Fingers crossed it all stays on track.

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  4. Hi Lynn i just found your blog while i was searching for 'A moment of clarity' which is a great song from'Death'...
    That's interesting topic,i had such a moment in my life...
    i was depressed and i was searching for the meaning of life,
    i removed any beliefs or Religion from my mind,I really did that...then the only thing left was ME,i found my self,then i start to build my beliefs again,but this time i was aware about how can they limits me.

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  5. Hi Anon.

    Thanks for taking the time to add in a comment. Ooo, a grindcore reference - a nice change from the usual pop, indie and yesteryear songs. :-) Oh, and Pulp Fiction, obviously :-D

    I think depression is a tricky beast. Funny how many of us allude to it as a 'thing' rather than just a condition, but that's by the by. Anywho - and judging by the tone of your comments, you are on the mend.

    Some folk find help in their faith, others quite the opposite. I guess it all comes down to what works for the individual.

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  6. Interesting set of questions, hope the project is continuing well. :-)

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    1. Hey Lucy,

      I think we're getting there. The technical elements are being sorted out and I think after that, the design and content will follow. I hope we can stay on course with it - not because folk have put their time in for nothing more than karma, but because I think it would be interesting to hear what folk have to say.

      Lynn
      x

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  7. How many people are working on the questions, do you know? I've nearly finished now and was thinking about posting my answers on my blog. Is that okay, or do you want them to be exclusive to you? :)

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    1. I've had a PM from Jenny, a nod from you and notes of interest from Sam & Rhiannon. Oh, plus muggins here and possibly Emma & Kate too.

      Umm... good question. I would sort of like them to go on the site first, although if you'd rather put them on your own site because we're some way away, that's fine. I'm just happy to read that people are interested in sharing and putting their time to it.

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    2. Hi Lynn.

      I think I'll put it up then. If you want, you can view it as a dry run, see whether it's the sort of thing you had in mind, whether it's too long, too short, too flabby, too whatever. Feel free to criticize it on that basis. I'm happy to amend it.

      I'll post a link to it when it's done.

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    3. Hi,

      Cool! Sounds good. It might be that as you trial the questions, some better ones come to mind.

      Lynn
      x

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  8. Okay, here it is:
    http://malefemme.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/eight-questions.html
    Let me know what you think.

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  9. Replies
    1. The web host has been done. We're working on the layout of the pages now. With everyone having full time jobs, it's proving to be a bit tricky, but I think we'll get there.

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