Friday, July 24, 2015

Mr.... Smith, I presume?

Hi,

Subject to Blogger's scheduling system, you should be reading this, while I and the Jones Massive are lording it up on summer holiday. Those of you of a certain age, may wish to hum Cliff's eponymous critique of the yearly trip. While, those of another age, may supplement The Young Ones as a backing group. ("Did you just call me a b*stard?!"). Lastly, those of you under 40, or not from the UK, may consider what on earth I'm prattling on about and skip to the next paragraph. :-)

The next paragraph is a bit further down....

T'other day, a news stories popped into my social media feed. Entitled I was Transgender and Didn't Know it... I'd suggest you have a read, if only to distract you from my gibbering.

Done yet? I'll assume you have, not that it matters if you've skipped it. :-) I'll state that I'm trans-something-or-other, in that I'm conscious that different people read different things into labels. Whatever badge you care to pin on me - perhaps like some politically sensitive Pin the Tail on the Minority  - there will be someone who doesn't agree with the definition, or even the labelling. But, moving on, one thing I can agree on: I'm not 100% bloke in my head. There's some influence in there, that makes me disinterested in 'being a lad', sport, cars and sexual conquests. Truth by told, it might be more that I'm a geek, and the trans stuff is just rather fabulous icing on an already tilted cup-cake....

Gah, I've lost my train of thought. [ drinks tea ] Ah. It was behind the saucer, under the chocolate biccie. Yeah, so I wouldn't say I'm trans as in need-to-transition-trans, but somewhere on the spectrum. After reading the above Didn't Know It article, I looked back at some of the stories the Chameleons folk have shared with me, and a little bit of my own.

I think the earliest I knew something was different, was the second or third year of primary school. I also knew that a small boy with a curious interest in pretty things, was something you kept quite about. The 70s was (sadly) rife with homophobia and even at a young age, you'd hear grown ups talk about "he's one of them' or "bats for the other side.". I didn't know what One of Them was, but from their tone, it didn't seem a good thing.

About this time, and in a city, somewhere far, far away. There was a house somewhere in inner city Nottingham. Gentlemen who were 'in the know' would occasionally frequent this venue. Men would arrive and would then, to use a well know phrase, slip into something for comfortable. Hours would be spent, socialising and mixing with other trans people. They'd be away from society, because the Good Old Days weren't good to everyone.

I only know of the above, from a chat from a self-described irregular regular at Chameleons. I very much doubt Miss R visited (too young) and we only have whispers and, possibly, legend to go on.

I wonder who lives in the property now. Are they aware of the history? Where they even part of it? Maybe we need a new additions to Blue Plaques that include this pre-Out history. So much was hidden, and to an extent, still is. We've still a long way to go. We're getting there.

Take care,
Lynn

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting the link Lynn - a very interesting (and familiar, whilst not the same) read. I'm thinking of printing it out for my mum - when I first started therapy I had to write a life CV and my mum was deeply upset that I would not, could not, let her read it. It was just too personal, and contained too many things that even today are just too embarrassing to say to anyone who has not gone through what I went through, or is not my therapist.

    But, this does give somewhat of an insight into what was going through my mind from when I was 4 or 5 years old until, well, even now a little.

    The differences, at least the main one: well I did know - but as you put here about even a 4 year old in 1980 knew that this was not something 'normal' or 'accepted' and so I did my very best to hide it...

    I hope that the Jones family have a great vacation (and that you have no way of reading this until you return!) and that you have better weather than we had today!

    Stace

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    1. Hi Stace. The Life CV sounds fascinating, but that may be just me being really nosey! :-) I guess my question about the sharing of the CV, why should you? We all have secrets (cue The Smiths! :-) ), and some things may well be left unsaid, or only spoken of during therapy. Not that I'm an expert, by a long stretch.

      The holiday was excellent, thanks. Changeable weather, but that's certain parts of the world for you (post to follow) and a great time was had by all.

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  2. The 70s was (sadly) rife with homophobia[...]

    In some ways this surprises me, as I always got the impression that that decade was quite progressive, in both trivial and more significant ways. For example, things like glam and punk rock were popular; men's fashions were often quite androgynous; attitudes to sex and drugs were becoming more permissive; Marxism was still fashionable; black, gay and women's liberation were becoming big things etc. That said, I do have a tendency to take an overly rosy view of the past. (For example, it took me a long time to accept that the '50s were as conservative as they were. "They can't be!" I'd think. "That was the decade that gave us rock n' roll, and made teen rebellion cool!")

    [...]the Good Old Days weren't good to everyone.

    Sadly, to a lot of bigots, I think that's one of the things that made them so "good".

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    1. I was a young kids in the 70s, so my memories may not be a really accurate representation of what really happened. We can only base what happened to us. Middle class, white kid in a dead end small town. :-)

      Sure, the 70s seemed to be the start of change and things have improved slowly from there on. In my little world, hat rights seemed to follow in the 80s and now, twenty years later, trans rights are catching up with everyone. There's no doubt a long way to go for equality, but I think we're moving in the right direction.

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  3. More a child of the 80's, but there was the lingering homophobia from comedies' and some red top tabloid's. I've come across a few who have similar tale's and I vaguely remember seeing some old footage of such a meet. Certainly an interesting period of lgbt history .

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    1. Yes, all of that, and very occasional late night television programmes, trying to document what went on. Sometimes from a dodgy shock-horror-probe, but more often a view into a world, most of us didn't see.

      A few years ago, one of our elderly number from Chams, brought along an old briefcase filled with various trans related documents and news clippings. Most was noise, but some items where about places I'd seen on television (like London's TV/TS), or venues long gone, in Birmingham.

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