Now, normally when you do a review of the year, and you’re splitting it in two, you’d do two spells of 6 months, right? But when I looked back on my year, it took me about 30 seconds (if that long) to work out that apart from one event in May, not much happened for the first 8 months, then a hell of a lot happened in the last 4! So to avoid a 500 word blog tonight, and a 3000 word one tomorrow, I’m doing this on an 8/4 basis this year.
In truth, the highlights of the first 2 months were getting the news I’d passed probation period at work, and getting my first passport in my new name, and gender. I know, I’d lived about 7 years as a woman before then, but all the same, that was a special moment when it was made official. Oh, and around the same time, my first moments of DWP fame, in a transgender sense, with an interview from work, about life as a Transgender woman in the Department. Which of course led to something that will be mentioned in Part 2, but for now…
No, diplomacy means I’m not mentioning a certain event that happened in the US, in January, but you all know what I think of him, and his actions, so lets leave it there.
Of course, my first flight as a woman, was in May, going back to Hollywood, or more strictly, Los Angeles. Lets just say the whole apartment thing this time around wasnt the success of the previous trip, both in the sense of initially booking an apartment, and then the landlord deciding he wanted to decline the booking, because he hadnt put in his price rise for the New Year. Fine, I thought, until he told me it was done, and suddenly the price had risen by over 20%, nearly 25% in fact! So I started again, thought I’d found somewhere decent as a replacement, but it didnt live up to all its claims. Dont get me wrong, it was nice enough, just didnt have all the facilities it claimed it had.
The funniest moment was a delightful Thai takeaway I had found 18 months earlier, and the lady still remembered me the moment I walked in, despite that. Its sad to think that by the next time I visit, she will almost certainly be gone, as it will be a few years before I get there again (unless I get a role offer), and I doubt she was that young this year, so…but she was amazing!
The other big highlights that will stick with me, would be 2 Louise Brooks silent films, viewed at the historic Egyptian Theater, a guided Hollywood walk given by a wonderful lady that I like to see as a friend, a ‘better than I would buy’ seat at a Dodgers game, thanks to another friend, with the added bonus of it being a game that Kershaw pitched at! Lastly, there was a wonderful Harlow display at the Hollywood Museum, which was a delight to see. Oh, and thanks to the Metro, getting to Santa Monica far easier than ever before!
In truth, I have no idea when I’ll be back, unless I get an offer, which I would have to say is pretty unlikely. But never say never… Certainly, due to something that will be mentioned shortly, walking up the hill to where Harlow rests at Forest Lawn would probably be beyond me now, but anyway…
In July, 2 things happened, one good, one bad. The good one was, that knowing that Clara Johnson’s middle initial was E, and finding a few images of a chorus line dancer/Goldwyn Girl, and putting two and two together, when you find a dancing match, named Elaine Johnson, who has a career that seems to tie in to Clara’s, well I jumped on the issue, and joy, actually found 3 pictures of her from a credited movie promotion shoot. Of course I cant be 100% sure its one and the same, but enough coincidences for me to say it is. In fact, as you’ll find out tomorrow, this isnt the end of that story! Yes, a few new pictures, wow! I’d still love to find her married name, so I’d have a chance of paying my respects if, and when I get back to LA.
The bad thing, my back, after giving me support for about 59 years, decided it had had enough, and snapped. Quite literally, though not in too severe a way, fingers crossed. Yes, osteoporosis had taken its toll on me! Painkillers, and other meds (been tweaked a couple of times) keep it bearable, but yes, its fair to say old age is beginning to catch up with me. It eventually led to me cutting back to 4 days a week at work, with which I can just about get by financially, but holidays will need to be cut back on now, for sure.
August marked 1 year in the new job, and in truth, apart from a dream acting offer, I cant see me leaving before I get to retire in just over 6 years time. Yes, I really am that old lol! The rest of the year, and a few landmarks, tomorrow!
Right, the video. One of the few modern groups I have much time for, are The Killers. I now love them even more now I know that each Christmas, they record a song, and give all royalties to charity! This is the 2013 song, which is apt given where I was in May, and even more so when you see something I post tomorrow!
Oh fine, I’m lying, I only wish I had known I was a woman all along, but anyway…Yes, the clues were there from an early age, but how was I to know?
But yes, one thing I’ve known for 18 months at least, is that at some point, I’d complete the full circle, and fly somewhere on a passport that said I was a woman, and tomorrow is that day. I know, no one at the airport is even going to realize how special that moment is to me, because to them, I’ll just be another woman checking in, going through passport control, and other stuff.
So after that, I’ll have had the full set, a male passport while ‘living’ as a man, a male passport when I’d transitioned in every way except the passport, and now, finally, the full female self. And a different name for each too!
I know, its silly, because everything in life is equally important, but for a traveller like me, this passport, and the chance to use it, is just so special, all the same. But yes, that moment when I will do the last thing I did as a man, but never as a woman according to the legal niceties, has only a few hours to go now, cant wait.
So, if you’re flying through Terminal 1 at Manchester Airport tomorrow, and see a very happy old lady, there’s a fair chance it will be me!
I will be amazed if anyone has heard tonights video before, unless like me, you’re a big Rocky Sharpe fan. But yes, the clue is in the blog title
I know, strictly I’ve been booking in to flights, and hotel rooms for about 6 years as a woman, but all the same, tomorrow will still be a little different. Yes, it will be the first time ever I’ve booked in, handing over a female passport! Well, assuming the hotel even bothers to check my ID, which seems to be a bit hit and miss over here, unlike the US, where it is always done.
Regardless of whether they do, or dont, it still wont be as special as May, when I board a flight, and pass through Immigration, and Security for the first time with a passport showing me as a woman. Funnily enough, that wont make Los Angeles Immigration the first place I’ve entered the US with a passport of both genders, as I’ve never flown directly to Los Angeles before. Both times, its been through Atlanta, and a change of plane.
That honor will actually go to Boston, exactly 30 years after my previous time doing that there, as a man, in September. I’ve actually been through Boston since then, under my interim name, but didnt clear Immigration there, as I had already done it in Ireland. Indeed, its quite possible that the same will happen again in September, funnily enough. In fact, due to the nature of transiting airports, with your first entry point to the US being the only place you do Immigration (unless you go through Dublin, or Shannon), the only places that I could do the ‘hat trick’ are Philadelphia, and Chicago!
But yes, tomorrow evening, when I book in at that hotel, and if requested, hand over my ID, it will be the first time that said ID has actually said female! Not that I think they look, but…its going to feel good! Oh, if someone wants to offer to wine and dine me there, its somewhere near Thatcham!
Of course, job interview wise, I’ve done 3 with a female passport, so its not unique, but its still going to be special. Not as special as Manchester Airport, in May, but its the first step. And then, entering the US on a female passport, for the first time, oh wow!
Right, video. I gather there have been a few versions of this since this one, but hey, this is the one that this teenage ‘girl’ grew up knowing, so…
Well I decided it was probably a shrewd move to get my visa waiver sorted out before Trump, Pence and co take over on Friday, and try to start asking questions about whether potential visitors are LGBT or whatever, so I did it earlier today. Fine, before anyone jumps on me, I’m sure it would be illegal for them to do that, but I’m sure Pence would love to know which tourists he needs to offer conversion to, lol. Fine, I’d be interested to get that offer, but…
I realized just how long it had been since I did this (would have been Spring 2014), by all the extra questions now asked. Parents, employers, the works! I can see the logic of it all, but it all meant it took a bit longer than I’d thought. But yes, fine, I got authorized very quickly. All very much easier than getting an actual visa, believe me! Yes, I’ve been there, done that, first time was 1987! Yes, that old!
Mind, getting a visa waiver to visit, or indeed a tourist visa as it was that first time is a lot easier than getting a work visa would be! Still, maybe one day…?
The thing that caught my eye this time around, and maybe it was there before, and just didnt notice it, was that in addition to using the visa waiver for short term (under 90 days) tourist travel, you can use it for short term business trips. Anyone know exactly what that covers? I’m sure I can go visit an agency (or maybe 2) while over there, and discuss things, or equally, if a studio lost their minds, and decided they wanted to turn one of my books into a TV program, or movie, that would be fine. But beyond that?
Pretty sure that no theater, studio, or model agency would want to do an audition/test session while I was there, but could I do so without papers, if not paid? Gets even more complex as I have an American tax number, because of the ebooks, but clearly I’m registered as a non native for that. Dont get me wrong, I know that if they wanted to take it further, I’d have to go through the whole process of applying for a work visa, but can I make a case, and show it, without one? I cant see it coming to that, but you never know, I guess?
Maybe I should ask Mrs Trump lol, seeing she was earning money as a model in the US before she had any qualifying papers, oops! If Donald wants to provide me with work papers, just to keep me quiet…lol? You know, keep my lips sealed?
I’ve chosen the original version of this song, because I love the cheerier version, and besides, its more fun to introduce people to groups they’ve never got to know. So yes, Fun Boy Three did the famous version over here, but I prefer this!
Before we get started tonight, I’ll issue a warning. If you are squeamish about people’s ‘bits’, then you may not want to watch the video in the link. It is only animated, not the real thing, but… Reading the article should be fine, but just in case, consider yourself warned.
Sadly, this might also be the closest I actually get to it happening to me, unless someone comes into my life, and wants me to go through with it, because I know just how painful it would be. And yes, fine, if I was 28, instead of 58, and feeling strong, I’d probably go ahead with it regardless. But now, just for me, I think I’ll pass!
Lets face it, nowadays all my paperwork says I’m female, though there are a few places in the US at present that would object to me using a ladies toilet, technically. Strictly, if they looked at my ID (Passport), it says I’m female! If they actually insist on looking at my bits, then fine, I fail their crazy tests, but anyway…
Mind, they wouldnt work in a sex sense anyway, as would be the case for most trans females, in all honesty. Mind, it seems its more the case that being in a public toilet with a GOP politician is far more dangerous than being with a Trans Woman! Maybe we should bar all of them from public toilets?
Yes, for those of you brave enough to look at the video, it is painful, and not quick surgery either. As I say, if the need arises, and I have my doubts it will, I’ll get it done, but until then, I’ll give it a pass. I know, that will make me even older when I get it done, should I have the need, but my call of preference! The funny thing is, when I was getting answers from men on the dating site, they seemed to want a girl with additional parts, not the anatomically correct ones! Yes, I know I’m going to hate dying, with the wrong parts, but what can I say, apart from the fact I’m getting on in years, and not that endeared of pain!
But yes, if someone wants to make it worth my while to get it done, or wants to get all dominant with me, and make me have it done, then fine, though in the case of the latter, you’re paying for it!
Right, video time. To be honest, all this time, I assumed this was a Rod Stewart song. Well, it was, but that was a cover! Yes, Cat Stevens wrote, and sung the song first! And I’ve found a very rare 1960’s live version of him singing it. Yes, its blurry, but its history! Fine, if you want to find Rod’s version, or even the Sheryl Crow one, then OK, but…
It will officially be as a woman! Yes, I now have my new passport, at long last, new name, new gender, such a wonderful moment.
Fine, I guessed it was on its way, when the confirming paperwork, and old passport arrived back yesterday, by post, but this afternoon, the new passport actually arrived here, finally, its all sorted! Yes, all my paperwork now says I’m a woman, wow!
Yes, its been a long journey, about 15 years in all, but now, unless I take that last step, and get my ‘bits’ altered, thats the end of the transgender road for me. No, I think that unless someone special comes into my life, and wants me to change them, that at my age, its not likely to happen. Lets face it, my general health is not exactly great, so why undergo major surgery, that will now change nothing non sexual, why bother? I mean, its not like I bother with sex stuff anyway!
I wonder, if you’d told me 15 years or so ago, when I discovered this, that one day, this would happen, well I might have laughed at you, but now…I’m just so thrilled.
And no, I’m not planning on any more name changes either, unless I get married, something I’m pretty certain wont happen. Now, even if I do, I might take the daring step of not changing my name again, I love it far too much for that!
Alright, fine, now there’s one thing I want to do, but cant afford. Yes, thats right, I want to take a flight somewhere, as a woman! Hey, I’d even fly domestically, in truth, though further afield would be wonderful. But I just want to check in, with a passport that says I’m a woman, now. Actually, to fly to the US, which I would love, I actually now need to get a new ESTA, in my new name, and gender, and I think thats 72 hours warning, so…fine, I’ll fly closer to home, for now! Yes, in truth, its US immigration I want to pass through as a woman (not that I’ve ever had any issues with them) that will be so special. I love the country, and to enter, as a genuine woman, heaven!
But if anyone reading this, or knows someone with either with money to spare, or a wealthy benefactor, that wants to make this old ladies day, then yes, please do!
But yes, today is a very special day for me, that last piece of paperwork, that didnt say female, is no more!
Right, the video. Guess what, there’s a clue in the blog title. I know, so shocking lol!
Fine, the video isnt quite strictly true, it would need to be called Beautiful Friday for that to be the case, but anyway… And yes, this is why the gap between blogs has been longer than normal, and may happen again, after this.
Yes, you know that job where I said that the wages were too good to be true? Well, I dutifully dealt with my phone call on Thursday afternoon, and did a test that they wanted me to do, and then, on Friday morning, got an email saying that I’ve got the job. Fine, I still cant understand why the wages are so good, but anyway? Starts next Monday, over in Halifax, and fingers crossed it all works out. Even more so, as I’ve had to pay out for a Fraud Security Check, with money I really cant spare, but I’m told I’ll get that back, so all well and good.
So fine, I ducked the logistical challenge of getting to that place in Bradford yesterday, under the circumstances, just hope it doesnt come back to bite me. I have actually (at present) still got a few I could do this week, including a Skype interview (absolute first!) tomorrow for the Greek job, but fine, if this one is for real, I’m taking it!
OK, lets move on to the next old chestnut, the passport issue. Sorted! Though yes, it took one more phone call, but… I got another letter on Friday, asking me to send in the letter from the Doctor, confirming that I was living in my new gender, and that they needed my old passport. Thing is, they had both already! Fine, a new member of staff hadnt spotted these things, but quickly sorted, and authorisation confirmed, I will finally get it the middle of this week! So then, everything will say I’m female, so…peace of mind! Snag is, now I just want to go somewhere, as a woman, but I guess it will have to wait a while?
Lastly, we’ve had a bit of a rearrangement of rooms here, at home, and for want of a better term, I now have a one room apartment, with separate kitchen, and bathroom facilities. Snag is, I had way too much stuff, much of which I havent used in years, some of which I’m never likely to wear, so moving it all was a challenge. It has all arrived, though having lost temporarily a lot of storage space, I’m fighting to get everything sorted. I’m going to have to get another chest of drawers, to fit everything in, and possibly a second wardrobe too, as I was using coat hangars on the door, and hooks for stuff, which I havent got in here. But I will get it all sorted, though my current aim is no more than to have it done before I start work!
Lastly, a couple of Facebook moments. Firstly, last night, I got a message from someone who I dont know, and will probably never speak to again, saying how much she admired me, for what I’m doing. Just one of those special moments that so make my day. Secondly, someone I do know as a Facebook friend, sent me a message at New Year, saying that he wanted to do a vintage shoot with me, if I was keen. Anyway, Friday, he followed up with sending it again, along with a mass liking of my vintage look pictures, and this time, Facebook let me know about it, if not in the perfect way.
So as it stands, 3 weeks time, its going to happen. Not yet sure if it will be here, or in Hull as yet. He’s happy to come here, but I havent travelled that rail line beyond Leeds, in years, so its an open option at present. So yes, all in all, its been quite a good weekend, and all for the right reasons, a rare event of late.
The video, well, its Sunday I’m writing this, so…
Mind, if anyone comes here because of the tag, expecting someone else…lol
Silly title, but events today have driven me to the point of stupidity, or is it concern? Yes, more less than memorable moments in the battle to get this passport in my new name!
As you may remember from Wednesday’s blog, I had a letter from the passport office, requesting details that I’d registered my name change with the driving licence people, and I told them that I didnt have a driving licence, issued solved, I hoped? Wrong!
Today, I got another letter from the passport office, telling me that I was actually issued with a driving licence in 1983. Well, I know I certainly didnt do that, as that was the year I moved to Somerset, and I certainly didnt apply for one then! And no, I certainly didnt order one either in the 2 and a half months I lived in Kent, before moving down there. I did in fact hold a provisional licence, somewhere in the late 1970’s, but that was it. Mainly because my driving talents matched those of Frank Spencer (of Some Mothers Do Have Them fame), so I quickly gave up on the idea.
As far as I remember, since then, I have never held a driving licence, nor have I ever driven a road vehicle at any time. So yes, this news concerned me, a lot, even if its long before identity stealing became popular! So I rang the passport office up, informed them of this, and they told me an examiner would be requested to get back to me quickly. That was 11.00 this morning, still no call. I’ll leave it until Monday afternoon before I chase them, but anyway… The thing is, why didnt all this come up when I changed my name in 2010? Thats right, I heard nothing then, when only changing name, but not gender. Suspicious, maybe? Hopefully not?
Or did I really learn to drive, pass my test, apply for a licence, and was then brainwashed to forget it ever happened? Much though I’d love that to be discovered to be the truth, its not going to be the case, is it? And lets face it, if I was brainwashed by a sinister government department, surely another government department wouldnt now be telling me about it?
I suspect the more likely story is far more dull. When I applied for a joint mortgage in 1987, we had an issue, because of a man with the same name as me. He lived in Derbyshire, I had to prove I’d never lived there, and all was solved. And yes, my intuition is that this driving licence was issued to him, not me.
But its all dragging out this event (its now 5 weeks, instead of the standard 4, and I still havent got it) that is causing me problems with job hunting, at a time I really dont need it! And of course, its Catch 22, to get identity papers anywhere, you need a passport. And they are doing their best to slow down this process, and I really dont need this! This will lead again to stress issues, which makes getting through interviews, getting a job, and some much needed money, even harder! And people wonder why I dont feel like going on with life, seriously! Yes, its getting that bad, about 6 weeks before I have major problems, and thats far too soon for my liking.
Right, rant over, though if anyone wants to issue me a passport (USA would be heaven), so I can travel, and job hunt legally, I’d love it. Before I decide to do something silly, anyway!
Right, video. Alright, the licence issue is going to be related to a guy, but I’m now a girl, so this great track will do nicely.
Yes, the title of the blog is a play on Adam Ant’s song, Goody Two Shoes, but thats not the video tonight, just saying…
As regular readers will know, shortly before Christmas, I took my chance, over the holidays, and sent off my old passport, along with the application form, for the new one, in my new name, and gender. And when, before Christmas, the money was taken off the card, I thought that was a good sign. And also given that the standard 4 week period for return came up last Thursday, I’d reached the point of expecting it to arrive sometime soon, even allowing for the holiday period, and all that. So, when I received an envelope back from the passport office on Monday, I assumed they were returning my deed poll, and stuff, as that tends to come separate to the passport, delivered by courier, for obvious security reasons.
No, it was a letter asking me to prove evidence that I’d changed my name on my driving licence too! Yes, I remember vaguely from before this happening, that they check for a licence in your new name, and if they cant find it…it gets queried! Of course there is a good reason why I havent told said authorities about my name change, I dont drive, and dont hold a licence! I wouldnt say her surprise at the other end of the phone that I dont drive matched those when told that I dont own a mobile phone, but it was pretty good, all the same!
Anyway, the good news, seemingly that was the last issue outstanding, and therefore, with luck, that new passport should arrive in the next few days, I sincerely hope! It will make things so much easier when I have it again. Not that I currently have the funds to use it for trips (however tempting the idea might be), but for ID purposes, please! Yes, at present, all charitable donations would be very much gratefully received!
But anyway, regardless of that, tomorrow, I get to do my first agency registration as Harlean. Yes, they know the situation, and I will have to show them my passport when it arrives, but they’re going ahead with it anyway. Thankfully, by now, I’m well used to the name, and dont even blink when called it, so all is fine on that front. Fine, in fact, I love it!
Right, the video. What I dont do, OK? 😉
Yes, me, before you ask.
I had a job interview this afternoon, and lets just say I dont expect to get any positive news from it. Why? Nothing to do with my talents, or skills, or the way I performed, I might add. No, its the fact that virtually every other line she used in the interview mentioned that it was ‘a young office’ I would be working in. And lets face it, I’m not young, and pretty sure thats what she was getting at. Fine, actually, she was right, I did take a look around the office as I was leaving, and I grant you, I dont think I saw a face above 30, to be honest.
For want of a better brief description, they are an online business (though they do a have a couple of small outlets) selling all sorts of electrical appliances, from laptops, to kitchen stuff, to new gimmicky toys, so I guess it would attract younger, more internet sales savvy folk than me! Fine, there was one section that amused me, for all the wrong reasons. Yes, Drones Direct. Sorry, as a writer of sci-fi, I tend to think of another kind of drone in that case, the mindless, obedient ones lol. Of course, those are those gadgets that fly around the skies, generally annoying folks, and occasionally doing other things. And fine, they arent the type of drones that more appeal to me, I must say.
Well, now to be honest, it looks like my old passport has just got one more journey out, before the change of name, and gender happens on that front. Yes, not heard anything more at this point about Wednesday, so beginning to assume thats not happening. So tomorrow, I head for screening at Covance, under my old name, then on Wednesday, the passport can be dispatched, the last moments as Stevie Lou Nicholls, in any sense of the words. Then in the New Year, Harlean Stephanie Carpenter will be free to frolic, and apply for jobs, and everything else, as a woman! Yes, passport and all! And when I get some money in, I can plan that first flight, legitimately as a woman, cant wait!
Oh, one fun moment on that, before I close. I tried to add money to my credit card, to pay for the passport fee. But because the funds came from Miss Carpenter, not Ms Nicholls, they sent it back. Thankfully by going into the Travel Agency, I was able to deposit funds, and problem solved! Funnily enough, I told them the reason I was doing it, and their reply? If I send them a scan of my passport, in my new name, they could change the details. Err, read the email, stupid…rolls eyes…!
Video for tonight. What this place really wanted for a job interview, not a middle aged lady like me. Well, maybe you dont have to be single, but…
Oh, I love the blonde’s dress!