Category Archives: Documentary

Tribute to a transgender pioneer

Irony moments here. It was only after I’d written the blogs last night, that I heard that Julia Grant had passed away (some places she’s called Julie, which explains the video). Still, I thought it gave me an option for a blog on Sunday, as it was something I wanted to comment on. And then, yesterday, and this morning, my back fell victim to a lack of physiotherapy, and some cold weather, and was pretty much totally locked up this morning. Thankfully, I’ve eased that issue, with my first experience of an infra red sauna (or indeed any sauna) today. Wouldnt say its cured it completely, but on a pain scale of 1 to 10, its gone from 10, to 2 or 3, lol.

Julia Grant wasnt the first person to change gender, I’m not even sure if she was the first in the UK to do so, but she’s probably seen as the pioneer over here in the UK, because back in 1979, her transition was part of a BBC Documentary. Whether she kick started Sex Reassignment Surgery availability in the NHS in the UK, who knows? Quite possibly she did, but regardless of that, she was the one who did it in the eyes of the public.

I’m not going to say it wouldnt now be available on the NHS without her, as times have changed, but then again, history makes it impossible to go down a different route, and find out. I’m not going to say much about her life since then, as all I know of it, is a few lines on the internet today, and if you want to read that, well, you can Google (or whichever search engine you prefer) for those details quite easily! Funny thing is, she was only 3 years older than me!

I know, I had said in the past that unless the need arose (a partner) for me, I wasnt going to do the surgery, supposedly far too much like pain for a wimp like me. Then I’ve discovered the ‘joys of pain’ through my disabilities, and during Transgender Awareness Week, a couple of months back, I did say I was going to get it done, but only once I’ve retired, as its quite a recovery period for all, and I should imagine even more so, at my age! When that retirement date might be, is the 64 million dollar question! The way its going, it could be any time from a few weeks from now, until March 2024 (retirement age), or anywhere in between? My money is not as late as the latter date, but hopefully I can get through a few more months, or even a couple of years before the pain in the body wins out! Well, a lottery win might jump up and change matters, but with my luck in life, pigs flying is just as likely!

So, RIP Julia Grant, for being the one brave enough to go through transition, under the lights of TV documentaries. I dont know if I shall ever bother with the sex thing, but being able, one day, to look down, and see the correct ‘bits’ will be a wonderful thing for me too. Without her, whether I would be able to get that done on the NHS, who knows?

OK, video time. As I say, in a couple of places, she’s referred to as Julie Grant, which is how I found this video. Just to add, this is an entirely different person, even if she was actually known as Julie Grant, not Julia. A few minor hits in the early 60’s, but found this live video, from 2010, for tonight

 

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If I was?

Firstly let me say that I didnt see this on TV last night, only finding out about it after it had all happened. Besides which, given I tend to avoid this sort of reality TV, I probably wouldnt have watched it, even if I had known, given what I’ve since read of her views beforehand. Yes, but for Twitterverse, I might never have known about it, though given the coverage it got this morning, that might have been hard to miss!
So my views are more my own, and as much as I could gather from comments from Twitter, and various media outlets, which may not be all that reliable.

Right, disclaimer over. Thats right, for those in the UK at least, who might know about it, the C4 program last night, A Week As A Muslim, is what I’m talking about tonight. For those elsewhere in the world, well, you’ve seen as much of it as I have!

It seems to be the classic TV take on something like this, take a self admitted non-fan of Muslim people, and get her to live as a Muslim for a week, and film events as they happen. I’m going to use that term, for now. She might have been worse than a non-fan, but as I wasnt witness to that, I’ll leave it there. Part of the reaction against her seems to have related to the fact that she was ‘made up’ to look like she was a Pakistani, which worked both ways, garnering complaints from those who wished to point out that there are white people who are Muslim, so she didnt need to be ‘colored’, and from those who said that it wasnt done in a flattering way to Pakistani Muslims, but as that is Twitter hearsay, I’m not sure how much credence to give to that. None would probably be close to the mark, there are some ghastly views on Twitter, on both sides of the fence!

Of course, as fate would happen, she went to live with a Muslim family in Manchester, and it coincided with the bombing at the Manchester Arena, which led to her realizing, even more, just what ordinary, innocent Muslim people have to put up with from some ‘idiots’! She only faced it for a few days, but for so many more, its a sad fact of life, at all times. So wrong, so sad that there are people like that, but anyway…

For me, I think it would be fascinating to spend a week as a woman in a Muslim family. But yes, I wouldnt make for ‘great TV’ because I’m pro ordinary Muslim people anyway. No, I dont support the terrorist branches, but neither do most Muslim people here anyway! And lets face it, there are some pretty awful right wing white supremacist types around too! Oh fine, she wore a Hijab, but I know that if I was in that role, I would have wanted to go out in a Niqab, or Burqa, just to find out the real truth. Mind, I suspect the reality in Bradford might be different to Manchester, but in truth, no idea.

I have some experience in these matters now, of course. Before September, I’d heard stories of people deliberately ignoring people in wheelchairs, trying to pretend they werent there, but I hoped it was being exaggerated. Sadly, the answer was no, it isnt. When sat in one, people just looked away, had to literally be shouted at, to stop them walking in front of the moving wheelchair, and so much more. All the same, I’m looking forward (hopefully, health permitting) to experiencing ‘Round 2’ in May, in 3 airports (I need to transit going out, direct flight back), I must say.

I guess it might be an actress thing, the challenge of a new role, either in a production, or in this case, a real life situation. So yes, a week as a Muslim would be a very different show with me, but I guess I’ll never know what its like. Unless…?

Equally, of course, if Channel 4 want to consider making a show, a week as a robot, hmm, lol? 😉

The video, massive clue in the title. Live version, a very good one, mind, as I’ve used the original before.