Friday, April 29, 2016

All Jack and no Jill

Hi,

It's another long weekend and that's put an extra spring in my step. A very welcome addition to the happiness after last night's visit to Chameleons. It had been a little too long. I had felt that all too familiar 'drop' - more on that later, and unreasonable bouts of occasional snappiness. The latter isn't acceptable and I felt bad afterwards. All Jack and no Jill, does not a happy camper make.

No, 'The Drop' as I've started to call it, starts with the ticking of the proverbial clock. The realisation that it's been too long, since you got to express all of you.

There is, the feeling of a pull, or a catch. Like a string or thread, picked at, in an old carpet, or a jumper. Things unravel, if you're not careful and you can find yourself filling the void with much Internet based window shopping, or an occasional and then more regular retail therapy. Alternatively, and if you have the energy, they can be kept at bay with distractions: TV, books, writing, exercise.... but the clock doesn't stop.

Tick tock.... Tick tock...

What is harder to displace, is the feeling of... well, loss. A woman walks by and a little part of you, regrets. That's The Drop. Regret that you are as you are currently. To be only one form, when every now and again, there's a need to be the other side of the coin. Again, to not be just one half of yourself, but having the freedom to express.

It is not easy, but you don't react. You breath. You move on. Time will pass and time will be yours once again.

____________________

50s fancy
But, moving on to happier news, a night out with the girls, was just what I needed. Plus, the Ever Lovely Mrs J was kind enough to let me borrow one of her very fancy new frocks. Given such glamour, I decided to go for it, in terms of false lashes and a dab of posh lippy. All in, I felt rather special. To top that off, Val provided me with a name badge, which was kind. I think these started off as a tongue-in-cheek joke, because a) some of struggle with names [waves hand] and b) new folk do need to find a greeter, and we've a few regulars who help out doing that.

Talking of new folk, I had a good long chat with a new lady, and her partner, plus Nicole, around the perils of self tan. Clearly, I got off lightly back when I could be bothered :-) Instead, I'll stick to being pale and mildly interesting.

The old forum has truly given up the ghost and I've got a temporary one sorted out. It's fancier than the last one and I'm beginning to wonder, that once we get the group's funds fully sorted, if now is the time to think about a hosted solution. That way, we'd have a web site, domain name and forum all of our own. That, and backups, which, as any IT wiz will tell you, are only important, if your data is. :-)

Next time, TrendCo, our local friendly wig vendor, are visiting with some new syrups and, because they're nice to us, we get a reduction. The time after that, M & Co, are visiting, thanks to Pat sorting the booking out, so May could be a little expensive, if I'm not careful. Now, who said, I can resist anything except temptation? ;-)

In other news, there's been a few emails from students wanting to talk to us, around 'what it is to be trans' and that type of thing. Sue's post is well worth a read and echoes some of my sentiments. On a related note, a professional care service and a company have been in touch, asking for Q&A chats about how to support trans employees. Perhaps, things are looking up, regardless of the idiocy around bathroom use across the pond. :-P

Take care and, if you're in the UK, I hope have a lovely long weekend,
Lynn
x


Friday, April 22, 2016

Wanting

Hi,

The first week back after the holiday wasn't so bad. At least I didn't have back to back meetings, which makes a different. It's funny, meetings. When I first started work, I wanted to be involved and found it frustrating that meetings would come and go, without any involvement. Now, I seem to be struggling to find gaps, in which to do the work I'm being asked about.

Okay, I jest, but not by much. :-) I don't mind meeting up, although I do like a purpose for it. Ideally, there should be a short gap between the last one - hello, comfort break and the all important cup of tea? :-) Equally, having some agreed actions at the end, isn't a bad idea.

Thing is, in the gap of someone to drive these, I often find myself asking what the actions are and then emailing everyone. Otherwise, we just drift through the working week and get very little done. Thing is, this isn't specific to where I work, it seems to be the new way of, well, not working ;-)

Technical Issues

For whatever reason, I suspect either the hamster is tired of running in it's wheel, the Nottingham Chameleons forum is currently offline. I've had nothing back from the hosting company, but as it's free, it would be a bit rude to get all huffy about it. :-)

So, I've set up a new temporary home as a stopgap measure. Maybe it's time to spend some of the group's funds on a hosted web site? Part of me would like the challenge, but it's a) money and b) more to faff with. Still, it might look more professional.

Edit

A few months ago T Central asked about some guest posts, so, I put paws to plastic and hammered out a few articles to help. The post about Chams has already gone up, and there's one more in the pipeline for publishing. When that'll arrive, I'm not sure, but hopefully it'll be useful.

I've also been in touch with an author, a lady who wrote A Love Less Ordinary, if you remember that. If not, do check out Amazon, it's certainly worth a read. I've got a few notes to polish up on that, and then that can go into the publishing queue, as well. Larks, I should have been a journo ;-)

Shopping & Wanting

It's been a little too long between 'Lynn mode' occasions for my liking. I wouldn't say it's getting me down, indeed, my mood seems unaffected. What has seemed to happen is I've spent more time looking at things to buy, which I probably don't need.

In fact, I've bought some new wedges and some summer trousers. The latter are going to have to go back, as they not so much 'graze my ankles' as shoot up my calves when I sit down. Flattering, no, not really. But, on the upside, I found my old white cotton, wide legged trousers still fit, which is good news. Pennies saved eh?

I am beginning to feel.... not so much the pressure, but a want to be out and about. It's funny because to use the word urge or need, suggests, at least to me, some type of desire... and that word has connotations all of its own. ;-) No, it's not that far removed from wanting some chocolate, when you're on a diet, or wanting to go out, when you've been stuck in because of the weather. So, yeah, there's an itch, so to speak, but how best to scratch it? Therein, lies the rub.

Still, a week or so to go until the next meeting and maybe TrendCo will bring a surprise, in the wig department. Fingers crossed eh?

Lynn
x



Friday, April 15, 2016

The disappeared

Hi,

I'm back from holiday, and a good time was had by all. A good mix of walking, visiting the old (no, not me, you cheeky so-and-so ;-) ), some good food and lots of happy memories.

The funny thing about modern holidays, at least for me, is the impact of technology. Most cottages, and certainly hotels, have WiFi nowadays. If not, it can be surprising, at just how many places have decent mobile broadband. Usually, it's on tap 24/7, until you're lost or really need to look something up ;-)

Anyhoo, with connectivity being so abundant, I can still check in with T friends, while on holiday. In a small way, it's a bit like taking your support network with you. I mean, sure, I was in Dad mode for all of the holiday, and realistically, I wouldn't want it any other way. I can, however, email friends, or see what folk are up to on social media. So it's not like I have to leave being trans behind 100%

It also means there's a more than a few moments peace to read, because Little Miss, or Wee Man, will be using their tablets, to watch YouTube (probably Minecraft!) or catch up with their friends. It's a very different world, to when I was little. Not that we spend all evening glued to the glowing screens. I asked if anyone fancied a game of dominoes and those expensive electronic gadgets, were quickly put down. Kids eh? I'm not sure I'll ever understand them :-)

As the evening drew on, and the kids were tucked into bed, I was clicking through Facebook and I took a look at my friends list. I try to stick to the rule, that if I've not met you, or we've not chatted through email, I won't accept any requests. In some ways, the blog list (see right), is a bit like that.

Not always back to Narnia
Going back to the topic of friends, or at least, Facebook's definition of them, I noticed a few people who don't post. Not that there's any shame In that. After all, there's more to life than a busy social media feed. But, other than the 'no posters', as it were, there are those who've disappeared. Not just social media, but from blogs, to social events (Chams or Invasion).

For those who have 'moved on' and feel they don't need the T scene, as it were, that's great. I mean, if you are full time, do you need the faff of hanging around with trans friends, when you've a wider social circle? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.... :-)

But, the people I'm thinking of, are those who seem to just slip into invisibility. On-line one day, and very much gone the next. I am, somewhat nosey, and I guess, other than hoping these folk are okay, I also wonder, how do they cope? Have they given up, or is it now more the very occasional, rather than the regular foray into being transfabulous? Not that being 'out-ish' means you're okay, but if you drop off the radar, so to speak, have you given up completely?

I guess, I should count myself lucky, that I'm not forced into that particular route.

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, April 08, 2016

The right to bare arms

Hi,

The Jones Crew are on holiday, as it's the last week of the Easter break. A quiet cottage somewhere in North Yorkshire, as way of a change. Through bad planning on my part, I'm away the week Chams is on, but there will be other meetings. Or, at least, so I tell myself. I try to ignore the ticking of the proverbial clock. Distraction techniques may be required.

The weather is on the turn, being spring, and as opaques are banished, and shops rev up to sell us variants on previous trends, so to do sleeves shorten for men and women. To this end, I've stopped shaving my arms. I'm lucky in that, compared to some gents, and even some ladies, my seen hair is pretty thin and not too dark. But, however, it's still there and it's taking a while for me to get used to the idea.

Depending on where you sit in the gender scale, this may strike you as odd. One group may think it's strange I stopped, while those in the birth gender group, may be wondering why I started.

I started about six, maybe seven years ago, on holiday. We were abroad, as the Ever Lovely Mrs J's folks had chipped in to help with the family holiday. With the mediterranean heat and regular suntan lotion, it just became easier to keep my arms smooth. Not that anyone noticed. I remember looking down at my no longer pasty arm and thinking that this felt how things should be. I felt that what was outside, matched how I felt inside. Sure, sometimes I feel a little awkward and fearful even, that someone's going to call me out on it. But, thankfully, that's never happened. There's been a few close calls and I think that's tipped me towards doing what I am now.

So why the stop? Wee Man is growing up and as he asks about changes to his body, I'm thinking the inevitable questions will come about body hair, and comparisons to me, his old man. While I don't like the look, I try not to worry about it and oddly, it's less stressful maintaining zero arm stubble.

I know, I never said being trans made any sense! :-)

I guess ideally, I'd either not care, or be in a place - or more accurately, a society and a relationship - where how I looked was less of an issue. But, we're far away from the ideal world and compromises sometimes have to be made... even self imposed ones. Perhaps, and looking inward, it's not about what society thinks, but it says more about my confidence, or rather lack of, to plough my own furrow, by going against the typical.

Still, on the flip side, it could be worse. There could be an expectation from society that I remain trim, smooth, made-up and 'on trend', or so it seems as a guy looking in to the female world. "Ain't nobody got time for that." ;-)

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, April 01, 2016

The Inspectors

Hi,

This week saw the Thursday as Transgender Day of Visibility. I won't explain the event, given the clue is in the title. Older readers may wish to recount the well loved mantra: it does exactly what it says on the tin.  For the rest of you, your weekend homework can be to investigate the source of that well loved UK phrase. Or not. There's no prizes Oh, okay, you can have a gold star, but due to government cuts, you'll have to buy it yourself. Oh, and mark your own homework too. ;-)

Just what is it about Thursday and trans-ness? Is it because it's midway in the spectrum of days (Macho Monday vs Soft Sunday?) or because it starts with a T? Will we need to rename it to T-hursday, or will that confused us northerns who are liberal with t'apostrophe? It'll probably never happen as there's a 'hur' sound in there and that'll just upset folk who think it's political correctness gone mad!! (TM) :-)

Silliness aside, it is, IMHO, a worthy idea to help continue to drive trans issues into the mainstream. Sure, I think people are getting it, that we exist, but I think we - trans folk, allies and Jo(e) Public - can all help reduce the amount of, well, frankly, crap, some trans folk have to deal with. Maybe, as someone once said to me about International Woman's Day, we'll get to a point, when we won't need special days to tell everyone it's okay to be who you are.

There are various campaigns going on, and one initiative popped into the Chameleons inbox from TotalJobs. They were asking about trans peoples' experiences within work. You can read their report here and there's comments from a number of trans activists too.

My current employer seems fairly relaxed about the whole thing, from what I can glean. Sure, I've attended a workshop or two, on the subject, but being but a simple cross-dresser, it's best not to dig in, too visibly. Did someone say 'closet'? I didn't. ;-)

To an extent, and I'm sure this next line will keep the lawyers busy, those who transition are mostly protected by law. But, while discrimination around age, race and gender have been no-nos for sometime, that doesn't mean all abuse (verbal, or otherwise) has stopped. HR seems mostly there to stop the business being sued, or so I'm told. The actual effect for those who transition; well, you'd have to ask them, on how they feel they are being treated.

There seems, although I may be biased based on my social circle, that there's a growing drive of those who don't wish to transition. Some 'gender queer' or gender nonconforming, to 'bigender' people. The latter I've heard more of, and it seems, they are happy being either gender depending on a specific day. I can understand that, although HR/legal hasn't quite caught up with what people are planning. A bit Catch 22 in a way.

The Loo:  a Comedic Rant

I've been following the news around trans people and their right to use bathroom of their authentic gender. I've been a bit perplexed by this one. Before anyone tools up, allow me to elucidate. I mean, if we're really worried about a random stranger checking us out, while we're spending a penny, I think we might need to do this:

- male loos, but not for gay, bi, or curious folk
- female loos, but no lesbians, bi or curious people.
- loos for gay men
- loos for lesbians
- loos for bi people
- loos for asex people
- loos for the undecided
- loos for people who've transitioned
- loos for people who might transition
- loos for people who are bi-gendered
- loos for those who aren't one gender
- loos for the religious
- loos for the non-religious
- loos for people from different cultures
- versions of all the above loos for disabled people
- executive versions of all the above, just because.

I think the above just above covers it, although we are very definitely, going to need bigger office blocks. That, or the bushes near the car park, are going to be very well watered.... :-\

As to the idea of having to prove who you are before you can enter the hallowed bathroom, I reminded of the, now prophetic and dark Orwellian comic strip, by Viz: The Bottom Inspectors.

[ Overseas readers may wish to check Google for Viz's cultural impact on the UK. Just note, much is NSFW and you may some of it very funny ]


Clearly, an instruction manual and a call to arms, for the overly concerned that they might be at risk from a "subversive"*.

* Or, as I like to call them, a person. :-P

Do we really need to have The Genital Inspectors, where we flash our private parts to a machine, before we're allowed to go to the toilet? If that's so, I can't wait for the extinction event asteroid to hit. We're done here as a species. Time for the next lot to have a crack at it :-)

Chances are, someone who is trans and/or a different sexuality, has used a loo near you. Perhaps even as you ran your innocent little hands under the tap. What dark deeds were they plotting? Probably, wondering if it would be quicker to use the hot air dryer, or a paper towel, after washing. That, or thinking about the amount of time it took to queue up and why there are never enough loos in the ladies'. If it takes a lady twice as long to use the loo (yes, I've been there. Tights, dress, sit down, reverse repeat), put twice the number of loos in, building planners!

Are we really so scared of our fellow humans, that we need to have different toilets to protect ourselves?

If so, could I ask that we have trans/gay friendly loos for those of us who just don't care and separate loos for bigots? I mean, if I took my kids to the loo, and someone was mouthing off about Muslims, there's a risk my children could be exposed to casual bigotry. Who's going to protect them eh? Won't someone think of the children! :-)

Bah bumhug! I mean, humbug!! ;-)

I am hoping, that common sense will prevail and with the vast majority of us saying "we don't care, just let them use the bloody toilet!" will help.

Take care,
Lynn "I might have been in the ladies' loo when out once, but I think I got away with it" Jones