Friday, November 10, 2017

The other T word: Transgression

Hi,

I've deliberated about posting this today, but I think I'm just going to have to dive in, and give it a spin. Without any fanfare or fuss, the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I had a bit of an argument last night. Now, I'm not going to go into the who's right and who's wrong. Firstly, as I'm writing this, it's going to be biased. Secondly, it would be somewhat tedious.... Possibly more so than a regular post :-) But hey, moving on.

So, yes, I made a mess of things before I went out, and yes, I did upset the Ever Lovely Mrs J. Yes, I did feel bloody awful about it, and yes, I did apologise profusely. Not because it's the British thing to do, but because I was wrong. Maybe if I'd listened or asked before popping upstairs for a shave, things wouldn't have headed south. But, hey, 20/20 hindsight eh? It's a wonderful thing.

Now, I don't like quarrelling with Mrs J because it points out something's gone wrong. Usually, by me I should add, but let's not go too far into my blunders and transgressions (hint: that's not a trans word :-) ). But, they, arguments, are, as we said to the children, necessary. If you don't clear the air when needs be, well, then things can either build up or drive a person to seething resentment. The classic joke that we see in ourselves: 'No, it's fine. Really." Obviously, it's about as far from Fine as someone on a rocket headed out as they're late for their tea. :-)

There's a phrase I've used on YATGB a few times: It's all fine, until it isn't. It seems that life has pointed out that this isn't just true of being trans, it's also true for our partners, and/or family.

So, without a blow by blow he said/she said script, the crux of it is this. I get caught up in my Leave Early routine on two days of the month: second and fourth Thursday. I do want to be out by 630 so I can swing by a collect Wee Man from his weekly visit to a mate's house. I'm usually dropping Wee Man by 645 to 7 subject to traffic.

I appreciate I'm probably talking to a trans audience, so you may already get the requirement to be out. Not a case of popping to the pub, visiting a mate, or off to some hobby. No, it's out, so I can be dressed. This is the catch: for two days a month, there are rare times when the Ever Lovely Mrs J turns down a social invitation because it clashes with one of my Thursday nights out. I get that that can be annoying.

Then, looking at it from the other side; there are only two nights out to Chameleons a month. Two times in which I can be all of me. There are times when it's not enough, but I bottle it up, and engage in some coping mechanism (YouTube make-over videos, gaming, baking, etc) until there's time when I can. I know that when I miss a meeting, it upsets me and I get cranky. I try to not let it get to me when we're on holiday, because holidays are fun right? But switching off the trans-ness? Well, there isn't an off button, and I've yet to find a blue pill that hauls me up and out of the rabbit hole. :-)

So, what's to do? Not much but put it behind me and not mess things up. I think I am over the guilt of being what I am, but I don't dismiss the guilt I have over sometimes having to put myself first. Yes, I know I've written about 'put your own oxygen mask on first', but that doesn't make it any easier. Perhaps I'd do well to listen to the advice I sometimes give others when asked, but clearly, I ain't that clever. :-)

Chams itself was reasonably busy, and we had some great discussions about labels or the differences Jacob has spotted in changing into a man. Yeah, sexism is alive and well, just in case you've not seen any of the headlines for the last ten years. :-) I did talk about how the argument had made me feel bad, and some of the others were kind enough to share their experiences. That helped. Not from a vindication point of view, but more to know that it's something others have experienced and that sometimes, the juggling act between family life / trans expression is really tough on both parties.

Ann, one of our new members asked why the group wasn't better advertised. We - Val, Diane, Jacob, me, and Diane, all chipped into this. The quick answer is that it's tricky. Tricky in that while we want trans folk to know about Chameleons, we don't want any trouble from yobs or protestors. For that reason, Chameleons is in the self-help guides, registered with a few charities, support organisations, or what-have-you. We've had two invitations to talk about our good work (their words, not mine) from the local paper and radio station. But... each time we've kindly refused. It's down to risk and privacy. The risk from dodgy folk turning up (no, the wrong type of dodgy, not us trans types :-) ). That or the danger of being too high profile and members being accidentally outed. So yeah, we're a relatively well-kept secret.

Ann asked how can we expect to become more accepted if we stay hidden. A fair question, and again, there's that double-edged sword. On the one hand, by staying hidden, we don't risk being outed, or trouble (verbal, social, violence, etc), but by being hidden, we don't exactly advance the cause - if you can call it that - in helping (non-trans) people understand that we're not weird. Well, okay, a bit weird, but the right type of weird. Maybe if we were minted we could be classed as eccentric. But, for a lot of us, it's not just us who's deciding. If we decide to be out, we're out and our family and friends are drawn into it. Like I said, it's tricky. :-)

Ah, deep sigh and let it go. :-) From a positive point of view, T-Central were kind enough to feature another post of mine (thanks Calie!). That put a spring in my step.

Nails on. Nails off.
Thinking about Chams, I was happy with my outfit choice, and doubly so with my eye make-up too. I tried using an eyeshadow kit I'd not used for a while, so it was a look I'd not seen for a while. Perhaps it's better to mix things up a little more? 

I also tried some pre-glued nails, and they were both easy on/easy off. Certainly a lot less of a faff on keeping my own nails long (I broke one picking up the shopping), and there was no tell-tale residue that needed to be cleaned off. Maybe it's time to invest :-)

At the end of the night, there was time for a few snaps to capture the moment. The trans-guys asked again about sorting out photos for the group, so that's something on my do list for later in the year. Talking about the year, I've now sorted out next year's meeting dates, so the action log shrinks a bit each time.

As I got changed and said to Val, "I just feel so comfortable like this.". I've worn this outfit out & about, and it just feels, well, very me, I guess. Maybe it's those moments where it is okay, and you feel alright about yourself that make it worthwhile.

It may be tough every now and again, but I can't think of any other way I'd rather be.

Take care,
Lynn


9 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about your argument but it's certainly understandable why that twice a month is so important to you. It often occurs to me how restricted you are for Lynn-time and, when you get it, you put a great deal of effort into making yourself look good, only to have to lose it about two hours later.

    Interesting point about publicity for the group. Personally, I think it's something that you're getting right. It certainly was very important to me when I first turned up 3 years ago this month that the group was quite private and discreet. And I think that remains the case certainly for some newcomers who turn up now and also for some regulars. It's certainly easy enough to find out about the group on-line if you're trans and are looking to find a group to meet.

    And, as regards the question of - how can we be more accepted if we stay hidden. Well obviously some of us are not staying hidden. The reason I wasn't there this time was because I was out having dinner with a friend from Edinburgh who was working in the area this week. And got a very nice compliment from another guy who was staying at the same place. So work in progress going on there.

    Claire x

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    1. Thanks Claire. It's a tricky balancing act with family, work and trans stuff. Mostly it's okay, and something has to give from time to time.

      TBH I try not to think about the time when I'm at Chams. Instead I think about what happens: chat, laughter, photos, demos, sharing, sometimes dancing, etc.

      If I think about it from a numbers point of view, it's probably 7.30/7.45 start and then deprincess (LOL) by 11/11.15ish. So that's why I don't look at the clock, and any time I happen to find - talking with trans friends (like now), shopping/browsing, or giving a talk (that's rare) is a blessing.

      Thanks for sharing your views on the publicity. Hopefully we're getting the right balance. That of safety for those who need it, and support for those who are happy to be out. I would like to see numbers rise a bit, but equally I wouldn't want us to lose the closeness of the group either.

      Congrats on the compliment while out and about. It's always good to hear nice things.

      I've said before that each time I've of us is out in the world and we're just there and relaxed. I think that helps us become just part of the everyday. Keep up the good work :-)

      L x

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    2. Hey, Lynn,

      You've covered a lot of things that have been on my mind of late. My TransKentucky group meets just once a month, and that is my only time to fully express my alternate self. It does feel selfish to block out that time for myself, but I wonder how I would make it without that extravagance.

      My group has been getting some flak recently, as the "beginners" group. Not a fair description, but I get their point. My prime directive has always been to provide a safe place for newbies and questioners. We don't share the time and place of meetings until we have accepted you as a member. Maybe it's overly cautious, but I remember well how scared I was ten years ago at my first meeting. If I thought there would be anyone less than welcoming, I might never have come out. The more "advanced" transfolk will just have to make their own group.

      You are providing a great service for your community, Lynn. Don't ever forget that.

      Leslie

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    3. Hi Leslie,

      Thanks for the in-depth and honest reply. I guess it's a small world of we're both circling similar issues. I hope they're not affecting you too badly.

      How you manage at a month, well, I take my hat off to you. I think I can understand why you might think it's selfish, even if we come back to that comment about oxygen masks. Not that that makes it any easier when it's time for the Guilt Fairy to pay a visit :-/

      Sorry to hear about the group getting flak. It is a tough line to draw between protecting people and being welcoming. There have been one or two folk who we've had to turn away in the last decade, but they're very much in the minority. We do okay, all things considered, and I hope the same goes for your group too.

      Keep up the good work. Oh, and thanks for the kind words; I'll be sure to tell the other organisers. L x

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    4. Ya know, one thing I have done that kept the dysphoria at bay was to keep my legs bare all year round. It wasn't a popular move with the missus, but insanity seemed a less desirable option. It's been about five years now, and makes a huge difference day to day.

      Truly, though, after several years of feeling okay about my situation, a desire for more Leslie time is creeping back in and making itself known. I fear it may be time to enhance my schedule in some fashion. My counselor will be getting an earful, for sure.

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    5. Maybe your wife will be happier to know that some men, like my dad, have naturally hairless legs. (Or is there something I don't know... hmmm :)

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    6. @ Leslie Ann: Good to hear that the leg situation is working for you, if not, sadly, your wife. It's tricky isn't it. Tha balancing act between what you need and what you both need. Ah, choices, choices! :-)

      @ BroadBlogs: You Dad may well be a lucky fellow if he's been blessed genetically. Then again, he may not see it like that! Maybe he'd prefer to be a bit more Wookie :-) As I said to Leslie Ann, the leg hair thing is complicated for married trans folk. On the one hand, having pins as you'd like them helps keep your brain/heart on the right track. Yet, that may come at a price of upsetting those closest to you. I'm not judging anyone on their choices, I can only say what (mostly) works for me and the Ever Lovely Mrs J.

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  2. Too bad society makes it so difficult for many to simply be themselves.

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    1. We'll all part of society and I think we're back to that strange orbit. The one were many trans folk don't come out, and because we don't come out, we don't help drive acceptance. Things are improving - certainly we're a long way from what it was like in the 80s or 90s - but there's some way to go. Fingers crossed eh? :-)

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