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Happy Birthday!

Have a great day, hon!

Love and hugs xxxxxxxx

The power of dreams

Well they do say that dreams can come true, and last year I was blessed beyond what I could, well, dream of!

Firstly I’m well on my way to becoming the woman I have always dreamed of being! But best of all, to me, in the small Northern English market town where I live, and a little beyond, I’ve ‘come-out’ as trans to well over 4,000 people yet at the most have had five negative reactions. 4,000 may sound a lot, but I was born and brought up in the town, and became quite well known locally for doing community and voluntary work, I was for example the president of the local Lions International Club and much more. (For instance, campaigning for and getting, £44 million of flood defenses after 750 homes and businesses were deluged in sewage filled water 2000; I was also once described as a ‘key player’ in Calderdale, the Local Authority area I live in, being the voluntary and community sector representative on the Local Strategic Partnership [LSP] an executive decision making board for the whole area)

But I'm certainly 'out and proud' in the town I live in, as rather than hiding myself away at home, each market day, if I’m in town, I go to ‘Gina’s Kabin’ right in the heart of the market and the town for my lunch! (A fried-egg and cheese sandwich with red-sauce and a black-coffee if you wondered – it tastes better than it sounds!) At the ‘Kabin’ people stand at the counter outside to eat and drink, (Or in my case now, sit on my ‘Stroller’/Zimmer Frame on wheels) which means people can see me, so any possible new trans girls ‘coming out’ can see someone who is transitioning. It would have made my transitioning easier and maybe have given me the courage to do it decades sooner if I had known there was another in the town with similar dreams to my own! It also amazes me how many people positively comment on how happy I now appear having allowed the real me out into the world!

Another dream that came true for me in 2009 was in December I was awarded my BA honors degree from Bradford University in Community Development and Regeneration. It was wonderful to cross the stage in the Great Hall in a mortarboard and gown to be presented with the degree! I was presented with the degree as Catherine, but some ‘bloke’ called David did a lot of the work! (lol)

The degree was unclassified, but still a degree, as the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) prevented me finishing all the work, but I was so close to doing it all and had special circumstances that that they awarded me the degree! It was the realisation of a dream I’d had for decades! At the age of 11 with the way the education system was in England I was sent to a Secondary Modern School to get a job in industry, largely because my handwriting looked bad on the page! (They discovered at University this is due to a recognised educational problem called ‘Dyspraxia’) Even back then the Headmaster at my Primary School said I should really have gone to Grammar School from where many went on to university to gain degrees.

Having had two dreams come true or well on the way to becoming real, I’m now working on the next one! At the age of about 14 my English Teacher at school said he wanted 10% of the first novel I wrote! I’ve long lost touch with him but for many years made a good living writing as an Advertising Copywriter, writing TV, radio, press ads and posters etc; I even won awards at it and got to work with famous people recording my words. The MS means I probably won’t ever again be able to hold down a full-time job, thankfully I can live/exist due to a benefit called Disability Living Allowance (DLA). I feel I must work to achieve my next dream while I can! Because dreams really can, and DO come true!

Here she ever comes now!!

I just realized it’s ages since I last blogged on here, though I’ve typed up a few entries off-line, which I will post shortly! But since I became Catherine my life has changed beyond all recognition! And to me, most amazingly of all, the date for my surgery is only weeks away, which after waiting and hiding things away for almost forty years is nothing but the blink of a eye!

I’ve not blogged, as simply living my life is no longer as easy as it once was due largely to the Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I do, however, still put a great deal of time into helping others but can no longer do as much with my time! For me some very good news was that several weeks ago, after 12 years on anti-depressants and getting help from psychiatric counseling, due to my marital break-up, I was signed off as well by the area’s psychiatrist!

I was worried that the MS might mean that I would have to settle for ‘just’ a cosmetic operation as it could have made dilation impossible. However, a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to go to the Nuffield Hospital in Brighton to see the anesthetist and the surgeon’s secretary, Liz. She gave me a little test to see if I could manage the stents to dilate myself as my hands are no longer as dexterous as they used to be! Thankfully I passed the test and will have the operation I’ve always wanted!

Liz also gave me the date for going into hospital of 7 February 2011! With Christmas ‘in the way’ the time should fly by!! So I think I can safely say that in my case, “Here she ever comes now!”

Has this girl 'got it'?

I think it must be the wonderful work Trans Fixed did on my wig! Well it can’t be me, can it? But there is something happening to this here lady. I seem to keep getting positive comments and they certainly do give we girls such a boost, well this one for certain!

For example the other night, Vanessa a TV girl I know, came right out and said how feminine I had become since I went full-time, how my mannerisms and body language had become female. How, without any training (yet) my voice had changed to a female pitch and style. I recently went to a health clinic for an appointment and the nurse was certain I was female till I opened my gob!! (That means mouth, if you need a translation) So there is still some work to do!

I’ve probably already said it, but Steph Booth, Tony Blair’s mother-in-law and prospective Member of Parliament recently commented on how feminine I was looking. She lives in my town and I’ve got to know her a little. I even discovered today that one of the people who I thought was negative about my transition thought I now looked stylish!

My own mother recently commented too on how feminine I sit, automatically, without thinking about it! And I think I mentioned before how Kate, one of the most stylish girls I know, keeps commenting on how good my feminine style is becoming! And to think when I first went full-time, without make up and before Trans Fixed did their magic on my wigs, I used to think I looked like Neil Oliver from the BBC-TV programme ‘Coast’! See what he looks like here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OrYBCZfcgA

And as if to prove this girl has ‘got it’, a male admirer recently presented me with a bottle of wine, chocolates and flowers! It reduced me to tears, but don’t worry I’ve made it abundantly clear I’m staying chaste and virginal until after the op, when I really will have ‘it’!! (lol)

A fitting send off???

(To introduce this blog I knew the perfect song, ‘The Jam’ playing their hit ‘Funeral Pyre’. I still remembered the video over twenty years later! Sadly I had to use them playing it on a 1980s TV programme, The video which I would have loved to have introduced this topic with cannot be embedded but click below to see it:

Sorry ladies, this girl has a confession to make!! I did actually use to be a man!!! Shocking I know, but for a short while longer close examination will show certain ‘signs’. Plans are underway to jettison my maleness once and for all, and already I’ve been living as Catherine full-time for over five months and have been almost universally accepted.

However, there is one secret I need to reveal so I can totally move on to becoming the real me and totally get rid of the past! In a box high on the top of a wardrobe in my bedroom I still have my male clothes!! Why?? I simply do not know! Shortly I plan to donate the best items to a charity shop to help others, as I spend a lot of my new life doing just that, But as for the ‘rags’/well-worn stuff??? should I have a ‘funeral pyre’ and give the last vestiges of ‘David’ (The male me) a good old Viking style sent-off?

I already have the perfect location in mind for the ‘pyre’! It’s a location I already used to send my wedding ring to a watery grave after my marriage collapsed and to ditch that failed attempt at keeping the real me firmly in ‘the closet’! High on a hill above the town where I live is a pond, 1000 feet above sea level; it enjoys stunning views over my home town. As a child we occasionally used to sail our inflatable rubber-dingys up there too. It seems an ideal location to give the old me a fitting sanded-off. A small part of me says I should simply donate everything to charity, but what do ‘my sisters’ think??

Hair today, gone tomorrow!

At least that title is what I half thought the band ‘Heaven 17’ were singing way back in 1983 on their hit ‘Come live with me'! Little did I realise how much I would come to rue the onset of ‘Male pattern baldness, which probably started about a similar time in the 1980s.

Thankfully I still have something of a reasonable covering, and my hairdresser, who has other transgender clients, thinks it may well grow back. The hormones may well help when I finally start on them in about a month’s time, but at least this week I’ve been able to start taking some steps to try and at least get some more ‘hair tomorrow’! My doctor/GP has proscribed ‘Fanasteride,’ and I’ve invested in a product called ‘Regaine’ which is supposed to ‘regrow hair’, sadly (for me) its seen as a cosmetic product by the National Health Service (NHS) so I’ve had to buy it at full price! (Still the pack I got was nearing its use by date so it was half price! That must be the ‘luck’ I blogged about earlier!)

Only time will tell if the drugs etc will give me a ‘hair-raising’ experience, but I can only try. But even if I don’t get my hair back at least now I’ve discovered a place to make the most of my wigs in nearby Manchester. (See http://www.transfixedonline.co.uk/) Indeed, I know Steph Booth (Tony Blair’s Mother-in-law) in the town I live in and when she saw how good and natural they’d made my wig look she congratulated me on how feminine I was looking! And others keep doing that too!!

I did think about using the ‘theme song’ of the British comedian, Ken Dodd, as the introduction to this blog, especially as I nicked some of the lyrics as the title! If you really want to hear it click the video below:

However, I infinitely prefer the video by Sting called ‘Spread a Little Happiness’, happiness is a gift that thankfully I’ve been given in abundance especially since I ‘came-out’ after all those years of hiding Catherine ‘in the closet’ (!!). But I’ve long discovered the infinite benefits of not keeping happiness to yourself, but spreading it around! Sometimes I joke that ‘My halo is so bright, it hurts my eyes!’ (lol)

For example in addition to getting involved in Trans issues where I live, I’m a very active member of the districts Disability Forum and use my experiences to hopefully help others. I’m also on the Equality Forum, which aims to make things fairer for all, regardless of race, creed, colour, disability, sexuality or indeed gender. And even in the depths of my depression which I fell into when my marriage collapsed (due to my wife’s infidelity, not my gender issues) I got involved in community issues and a whole lot more at up to strategic level, using my skills and experience to help (and hopefully bring happiness) to others. I won’t bore you with the details but I was actually quite successful at it. My biggest success being campaigning for flood defences for my town which ended up in £44 million being awarded to stop the flood disaster of 2000 where over 750 homes and businesses were affected happening again.

But I do maybe have a problem with attempting to bring happiness to others! One in which I think I need the advice of other girls. In a previous life (work not gender) I was an advertising copywriter, getting paid for playing with words and coming up with ideas for TV commercials etc. Again I was quite successful at it. However, I do still try to ‘spread a little happiness’ and say things that are evidently a joke, and to make sure people know I’m joking I stick my tongue out and laugh. But someone says joking is a bit of a ‘male’ thing to do! Should I try to stop? I do enjoy spreading a little happiness, but I infinitely more enjoy being seen as a woman and I don’t want to do anything to spoil the effect! And I’m now just so ‘goddamn’ happy, people keep commenting on it! It maybe a gift, but I don’t want to keep it to myself!

National press or national bigots?

Apparently, in Britain in the National Press mid-summer is known as the ‘Silly-season’, however recent reporting in certain of our National Newspapers has been far from silly, and to my mind bigoted and almost hate filled!

In my last blog I mentioned how great it was to know there is a National Trans Police Association when I visited ‘Sparkle’ in Manchester, yet in two of our National Newspapers it was an excuse for what I’d describe as ‘sheer bigotry. The two newspapers are The Daily Mail and The Daily Express, and amongst the headlines were: “And if you thought WPCs in burqas were ridiculous”, “Sex Swap Police Scandal”, “Pictured: The trans-gender police roadshow spreading the word at a gay festival,” Remember as I blogged earlier, Sparkle is a transgenderd festival, not gay festival! Thai probably says a heck of a lot about the standard of reporting in those newspapers, but I know that their readers believe what their newspapers say!

The reports can be read here:
There are some greats shots of the girls at sparkle however in one of the articles!

On the positive side details of the National Trans Police Association are at:
http://www.ntpa.org.uk/ . I think the ‘so called newspapers are stirring up Trans Hatred to ‘up’ their circulation figures, but shouldn’t the anti-hate crime laws be used against this bigotry!

Girls just wanna have fun!

Last month I was lucky enough to go to ‘Sparkle’ in Manchester for the first time It’s held in Manchester’s ‘Gay Village’ near Canal Street, which, to me is an ideal location to avoid any potential bigotry, and as we are supposed to be part of the ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans’ (LGBT) community it is great to get help and support from the entire community. Apparently a Police Chief Constable back in the 1980s, called James Anderson, decided it was best to put all we ‘perverts and weirdoes’ together in one place so he could ‘keep an eye’ on us, hence the ‘Gay Village’!!

Anyway it was brilliant to see hundreds, if not thousands of transgendered girls having fun and really ‘out and proud’! We honestly are NOT alone!!! Sparkle has been taking place for 5 years and to me is well worth a visit. Some pictures of this year and details of next years event arte on/will be on their website, see: http://www.sparkle.org.uk/ Sparkle 2010 will be on July 9th, 10th and 11th. It is billed as the National Transgender Festival and encompasses the entire spectrum of transgenderism, including (something I’m still trying to get my ‘head around’) middle-aged men dressing as little girls. There again Turner Prize winning artist, Grayson Perry, does all right doing that!

There were several meals organized in various locations, a trans film festival and Sackville Park was crammed with music acts and transgender stalls. It was great to see the Trans Police Association for serving trans police officers put in an appearance. I learnt such a lot about the importance of we girls reporting ‘Hate Incidents’ long before they become crimes! But above all it was such an action packed and fun-filled weekend, and yes, this girl really did have fun!

I'm lucky!

Well there has to be some explanation and, without getting too metaphysical and ethereal, luck is the easiest way to describe it! I’m talking now about my transition and, the way it had totally and utterly changed my life around! Sadly I’m now suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and needing two arm-crutches to walk around the luck may not stretch to all areas of my life. But then again in some ways I’m lucky there too! I don’t have to worry about walking as a woman, just walking! (lol)

There is of course another explanation as to why my Primary Care Trust (PTC)/Health Authority are paying for me to become a patient of probably the best transgender doctor in Britain, Richard Curtis, and it is part of our apparently much maligned - at least recently in the USA - National Health Service (NHS) it won’t cost me a penny!

The explanation is some have been campaigning for years to change the system for dealing with Gender Dysphoria and transgenderism in the area of Britain in which I live. That is really why ‘I’m lucky’! I was lucky (that word again!) enough to be able to travel to our parliament in London to campaign against the way we girls were being treated, by those supposed to care for us and also speak up for change to our district council, not to mention to human rights lawyers! And we were successful, with local MPs and the entire district council behind us, including the far from trans friendly far-right British National Party!

I consider myself so incredibly lucky (that word again!) to be almost acting as a ‘guinea-pig’ for the new system and way of working. I’ve just received my first appointment for speech therapy, which is great as I always think as soon as I open my mouth I’m so obviously male! (Thankfully others disagree, already) My first laser hair removal appointment will be within the next month, and I get Derma Color Camouflage Cream free from my doctor on prescription, as I’m on Incapacity Benefit as the MS makes me unable to do paid work. (I do, however, do a lot of voluntary work.)

I also feel so incredibly lucky, (that word yet again!) that in the town where I live, and was indeed born and brought up in, people have been so accepting of my life choice. I reckon I must now have ‘come-out’ to almost 900 people, yet I can count the negatives on the fingers of one hand! And everyone keeps commenting on how happy and positive I now sound and I am! I describe it as. “My lights are on and this time some one really is home!” I spent over ten years on anti-depressants when my marriage collapsed, due to my wife’s infidelity not my trans issues. However a few weeks ago I suddenly thought, “Why am I taking these? I’m happy!” and went ‘cold-turkey’ and stopped taking them. Indeed I’m the happiest now I ever have been in my life, and truly contented, and how many can really say that? That’s what luck can do for you!

However, lucky as I do feel, and yes as Joan Amatrading sang. “I can walk under ladders”, I’m not about to start doing the National Lottery, as with help from others I’m making my own luck and finally living my real life, and that is a prize that’s way beyond price!!!!


December 2011

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