Apparently today was International Women’s Day. Fine, and thanks for the acknowledgement, but in truth (as one friend beautifully pointed out earlier today), isnt it a shame that we need to have such days? Wouldnt it be nice if the need to hold such a day just wasnt needed? And yes, I feel the same way about Pride Days, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and so many other things too. Yes, it would be good if they could just be another day, because the need to highlight these matters didnt exist? Oh fine, the chances of that happening are about as slim as John Lennon’s in Imagine, about the whole world living as one, lets face it!
Thats not to say that its bad that we do hold all these events, though I’ve never been to a Pride event yet, I just leave that to all the youngsters, in truth. And yes, if I didnt want to improve things for LGBT people within the Civil Service, the country, the world, or whatever, I wouldnt be doing the committee work I’m doing now, let me say.
But fine, every time I see a ‘sensationalism’ article on the news, or in the papers, about someone coming out, being outed, or whatever, it tends to make me sad. Because if the world was better, it wouldnt be a sensational item, it would be a ‘so what?’ item instead. Hopefully, one day in the future, that will be the case. Will it be in my lifetime, who knows? Depends how long my life gets to be, I guess? But yes, with luck, one day, there will be no need for International Women’s Day, and the like to ever happen, because there will be no need. But given how things need to change, especially in some parts of the world, I wont hold my breath.
Oh, and a couple of quick pieces of news, for those who care. Firstly, my hair now looks ideal for a 1920’s flapper after today, and I dont regret it. My hair had got far too long, and its so much nicer short. Bit shorter, and less curled than my normal 30’s thing, but anyway… Now, if I can only find that time travel portal, I could really see if I could pass as a 20’s flapper. Lets face it, they were going for a boyish look, so…? 😉
Secondly, and perhaps more worrying for some, is the arrival of my Senior Railcard (starts on my 60th birthday), where I have been titled as a Mrs, instead of a Miss! Fine, technically I’d need to marry someone named Carpenter, though equally, some women do keep their name when married, so…? Any offers, both genders, just let me know lol, though I dont expect to die in the crush!
Video time. I did think of using the BBC multiple artist version, but in truth, its more fun to hear how the original artist performs it. Its live, which was never Lou’s strong point, especially a few decades after the original recording. But anyway…
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!
Some of you may already know this, to others it might be news, but this is seemingly Transgender Awareness Week. Yes, I’m aware, shock surprise! 😛 I know, there are too many of these days, or weeks nowadays, seems to be at least a day for almost everything now, doesnt there? Sadly, it needs to culminate, next Monday, with the Transgender Day of Remembrance, for those less fortunate than others, who have met their death, for one reason or another.
In truth the main thing that amused me yesterday, was the hypocrisy of a small number of so called Christians, after an announcement yesterday by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England. Clearly for some at least, and I suspect maybe a few more, they only accept his views when they coincide with their own. Yes, what happened yesterday was that he didnt support their ‘perfect’ view of events when he stated that he believed that children should be allowed to dress as they wish to, not necessarily to match their physical gender. To quote:
The CofE advised: “Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity (sometimes quite literally with the dressing up box).
“A child may choose the tutu, princess’s tiara and heels and/or the fireman’s helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment.
“Children should be afforded freedom from the expectation of permanence. They are in a ‘trying on’ stage of life, and not yet adult and so no labels need to be fixed.
“It may be best to avoid labels and assumptions which deem children’s behaviour irregular, abnormal or problematic just because it does not conform to gender stereotypes or today’s play preferences.”
So if a young boy wants to dress up as a princess, or if a young girl wants to dress up as a fireman, then let them do so. They need to be able to experiment, and see what is right, or wrong for them. Lets be fair, at that age, it might just be a ‘dress up’ thing, and nothing more than that. 98% or more of those children will discover that it was fun, but they do have the right physical body to match their needs, and it will go no further. Perfect, you might think? Oh, I wish!
I know, its the ones with the loudest voices that you hear, and they tend to be the more militant ones, and as so often, this is the case with his statement. I’ve seen every comment verging from
‘He should resign his position immediately, for suggesting this abomination’ through to ‘So is he going to do service on Sunday in a dress?’, and other crazy comments. The frightening thing is, these people really believe what they’re saying is right! And then people wonder why so many, of all LGBT groups are nervous about coming out!
I heard recently on Around The Horn (US sports panel show) that with the recent retirement of a football/soccer player in the US, that there is now not a single out, gay sportsman in any major sport in the US. Yes, we all know thats unlikely to be the case, especially in some of the less macho sports, like golf, for example. But, in the light of peoples attitudes, no one wants to come out as such. Yes, there are a number of lesbians in sport over there, but no men. Not that I suspect its any better over here, I believe there is one gay cricketer, is that seriously it?
I hope that in a decades time, anyone famous ‘coming out’ as LGBT will be about as sensational news as the weather forecast, but sadly I doubt that will be the case. But yes, the hope is there.
The video, sadly, what too many transgender people just have to focus on doing, and not just being able to live life as they should be able too. No, not the Bee Gees lol!
Confused? Oh, I hope so. Yes, I do, every day, I know. But as I’m sure all readers know (or should know), that hasnt always been the case. Indeed, technically, my current job is my first one where my passport states that I am female, but in at least 2 jobs before that, to some degree or another, I had already come out as a woman.
The first of those jobs, it was known by some, but apart from one day, I never dressed literally in a female style, but pretty much everyone that needed to know, knew.
The next job was the one where I officially started to transition, including the first name change, and acknowledgement of being a female worker, though reaction was mixed at best, and from some, not as good as that. A few insisted on using my old name, even though they knew it annoyed me, but it was a ‘mans world’, so maybe they just thought they were being all macho by doing so, instead of just coming over as jerks!
So yes, part of my choice to take redundancy from there was definitely related to that, though the new conditions of work werent really to suit, and the redundancy offer was good, so…
Now we come to my current job, and surrounding events, primarily tomorrow, and the tale of working as a Transgender person in the Civil Service. Some know which department, for others, does it really matter? I’ll be honest with you, the main line I will use tomorrow, is the comment that its the same as any other woman working in that department! Yes, honest it is. Oh, and do you know what, thats the best way for it to be. And before you ask, no, its no secret, and doesnt need to be, perfection! I suspect there might be 1 or 2 around the building who keep out of my way, just discreetly, but no, I’ve never had any negative reaction come back to me, from anyone!
So yes, for me at least, the talk tomorrow will give a very positive view of working as a transgender woman in the Civil Service. Officially, the dress code is smart casual, so I could get away with a nice top, and slacks. But yes, you’ve guessed it, its going to be a dress for me! I know, I’ve only worn a dress in the office a few times since starting there, for later events, but it has been done, so lets do it again!
Its going to be interesting doing the speech. I’ve performed to far bigger audiences in my time, but not in a while, but I’m sure I havent lost the knack. Fine, I havent got a script this time, but I’m sure I’ll survive. But yes, at this moment at least, I’m looking forward to doing this, I must say. Whether I might feel slightly differently at 11.00 tomorrow, who knows?
But yes, I am officially, just a woman, working in the Civil Service, who just also happens to be transgender, end of story.
The video, I’m told, is the original Helen Reddy version of this song. If you know different, then fine, but its what someone says, and 44 years on, I have to go by what they tell me lol!
No, dont get excited, I havent got a movie, or theater offer just yet. But next month I’ll be doing a Diversity & Inclusion presentation for a large group of people (about 110, I’ve been told) in Leeds, about life in my Civil Service Department, ooh! No script, well, not unless I write my own, anyway. To be honest, I might do a few notes, but generally I’m pretty sure I’ll just go with the flow, so often its the easiest way with things like this. A fortnight on Wednesday, for those interested, though I’m pretty sure there will be no tickets for the general public lol. Yes, it is a piece on Transgender life, so yes, I do know the subject matter pretty well, I guess?
Seemingly the approach was made on Thursday, though I didnt pick it up until Friday, as I’ve cut back on my working week of course. A quick check for approval from bosses (its on a working day), and I replied positively. One moment of amusement was when she rang up later that day to confirm details, she mentioned the numbers involved, and asked if I would be OK with that, and then after she’d said it, remembered I’d said about being an actress, so…all fine! In truth, it will be interesting to see how I react, given its been a while, other than the wedding, where I have been ‘on show’ to this number of people, but I’m sure its just like riding a bike, anyway.
I have no great idea what the dress code is for a presentation like this, but I’m going to assume, unless told otherwise, its going to be business smart wear. So yes, I will wear a nice dress, and get my hair curled 30’s style, either on the day, or the day before, depending what time I need to be there. No, I wont wear anything as clingy as Harlow would, or as revealing as a chorus line dancer (Miss Johnson) would have to for such an event, principally because I have an obvious issue with too revealing (unless a surgeon is offering to remedy that quickly), and besides, its not fit for a moment like this. I think my ‘publicity manager'(Yes, Madi, I mean you) would love it if I went all flapper, and agreed it might be fun, but apart from the fact those dresses are quite short, they arent winter wear over here, and November might be cold lol! So I’m pretty sure that it will be 30’s look, to some degree. More classy look anyway lol. There is also the factor that I need something that I can hide the brace corset underneath, lets face it, only way I’m going to stand for about 15 minutes or so!
No, sadly I’m not expecting any Hollywood, or Broadway agent representation at the event, a girl can only wish! Nor do I expect them to be able to grab it on You Tube either, ah well…
But who knows, getting back on a stage might just get infectious, and I’ll see where it goes from there. In truth, my long term standing issues might make things complex, but…its a comeback at least!
The video, well, its one word different to the blog title lol! 😛
Yes, fine, to keep people updated on matters…
Initially, as reported in the last blog, the view from the Doctor’s surgery, post X-Rays, was to wait a few weeks, see how things settled down, and then decide what the next step from there would be. I’m assuming that was based on what the hospital told them, and that a couple of days later, they saw the X-Rays for themselves, because when I came home from work on Thursday (Yes, now its kicked in, the medication is fine to allow me to go back), I got a message that the surgery had been trying to contact me, and I needed to ring them the next morning. No, it wasnt hard to work out what it was about, lets face it. Anyway, a few minutes before I was going to ring them, they rang me, and told me that having discussed the matter (and I assume, seeing the results for themselves), they had already decided to refer me for a bone scan.
I know, doesnt sound good, does it? Not surprised, but anyway…
Of course, one of the more fascinating options, if it does show as osteoporosis (and this referral is rushed, if they dont think it is), would be to put me on estrogen supplements, to try and build bone density, as they do with post menopausal women, which lets face it, I pretty much am! Yes, I would, given the opportunity, no surprise there.
The thing is, having got all my papers nowadays as female, but being very single, and being unlikely to find myself in a relationship, and not being a lover of unnecessary pain, or surgery, I had sort of decided that I wasnt going to ‘bob the bits’, or more technically correctly, go in for the sex reassignment surgery, which strictly would be the final step. Even more so, given the body is clearly in even worse condition than I thought it was lol! No, I dont think they’d do the knees/back/genitalia combo all as one!
But all the same, it did start me thinking, that if, and at this point, it is only an if, pre bone scan results, I did start loading up with estrogen supplements, should I take all this as a hint that I really ought to get my body changed, so that everything is fully female? Let me say at this point, I will only even consider this, if I do get to take estrogen tablets for osteoporosis, as otherwise, I’m pretty fine as am. But yes, I do wonder if this is a hint from ‘higher authorities’ that I should be doing the full transition, hmm?
Not saying yes, not saying no, but I suspect I would take less convincing if the seemingly inevitable happened, to take that big last step. But yes, at my age, and state of health, that surgery might still put me off! 😛
Right, video time. There are some great songs, that no matter how I try, an I going to be able to directly link into a blog, and tonight I’ve decided to provide one of those, as I cant think of anything that obviously fits, that I havent used before. So, a little classic Roxy Music, live…
So yes, its official now, I’m on an extended break, that just happens to include 10 days in an apartment in Hollywood. So yes, planning, and plotting is very much under way. I now at least have 1 definite booking, a walking tour of Hollywood, on my last full day in town. Yes, I know, not the best timing, but its only happening once a month, and yes, its got to be done, as I know the lady acting as the guide, not only through Twitter, which is where I first met her, but also in real life, given we toured the Hollywood Museum together, on my first trip across, just over 2 years ago. Since then she’s got married, become a mother, and yes, I’m proud of her for that.
The Brooks movies mentioned earlier in the week are almost settled, but technically not definite, due to my regular issue with US websites, of that unless you, and more importantly, your credit card have a zip code, they’re impossible to use on their site. So now I cant do anything until after I’ve got there, so just having to hope its not a sell out, as I will be annoyed if it is. Fingers crossed, it is the Egyptian Theater, it is quite large, but… Of course I have no idea if UK websites are equally bad for users outside of the UK, so forgive my grumbles if they are.
I’ve also been trying to work out when Clayton Kershaw will be pitching for the Dodgers while there, based on the 5 pitcher rota teams use. Having pitched last night (a win), and counting forward, it looks like I’m going on the 23rd. But yes, I’ll wait nearer the time, and will probably be an ‘on the day’ purchase at the stadium, though at what I can afford to pay, I’ll be so far from Kershaw that I would see him better on TV lol! Oh, and if anyone could arrange a meet with Vin Scully, I would be thrilled, schoolgirl like!
Talking of which… On my 2 previous trips to LA, I’ve tried both times to get tickets to see Jimmy Kimmel recording his show, with no success. It might be that the people controlling the tickets see a UK address, and dont let me have them accordingly, or I might just have been unlucky? Well, this time, I’ve changed my profile to fit the zip code of my apartment, and applied several times over for both him, and James Corden, so fingers crossed I get to see one of them at least.
Of course, in an ideal world, I’d be the one being interviewed about transgender diversity issues, and trying to get an acting break, but fine, I’ll settle for being part of the audience, I guess? Yes, you never know, but I suspect pigs flying are more likely!
Oh, and finally, I’ve got a lot of the packing done. Probably more dresses than I will possibly need unless something amazing happens, but better safe than sorry. Still got room in the case for more, but mustnt go too mad, as I really shouldnt need more, for 10 days, and I’m sure I will bring more stuff back with me anyway. Green Card, or working visa would be handy lol, but cant see it!
Right, video. This time of year, its pretty fair to say the sun shines most days in LA. Thankfully, the winter was very wet, solved a lot of drought issues, if not all of them. Oh, and I might shine in a TV audience at least. Oh, and how does this guy still look so good?
So fine, you might have had a long wait for a blog, but then, assuming I can come up with an idea for tomorrow, 3 come along together at once! Yes, bank holiday weekend bonus for my readers. By the way, if anyone has any requests for tomorrow night, feel free to suggest away. I do have one amusing idea, but I would need to get permission off someone to post it, so possibly not?
One thing I knew I wanted when I started to transition was a decent cleavage. Not anything ridiculous, just enough to make it clear I was woman, but something more than the little natural bumps that I have. For many women, this choice involves lots of money, some invasive surgery, and a bit of a health risk issue. Yes, breast enhancement, or as it is better known, a boob job!
Well, given that I’m not a fan of health risks, and more surgery than I really need, and the fact I didnt have the money, I looked for alternative ideas, for ways to have a nice cleavage, without the pain, or the money. What I found, and have used are a similar breast form to the ones they offer to women who have had to have mastectomies, though given the price I pay, I’m sure mine arent as good as those ones. But given they’re made of silicon, they mould to the body nicely, they have a suitable weight to them, and in truth, in a bra, under an item of clothing where you cant see them, they give you a nice shape. Fine, they wouldnt work in a cleavage revealing dress, but as I hardly ever would need to wear something like that, not an issue. Alright, it might be fun if I could, but I get by without that, all the same.
As you might guess, especially given that I wear mine full time, other than when in bed (I have a foam pair for that time), they have a limited life span, of about 2 years, or so. For about 6-8 weeks or so, its fair to say that the left breast has needed replacing, because the skin surrounding the silicon has started to split, and though leakage is pretty much non existent, and therefore its usable, its not at its best. And then, in the last week or so, the right one has started to do the same, so I’ve ordered a new pair. Probably not bad timing before LA, in truth. So yes, I jokingly posted on Facebook that I’d put myself in for a boob job, but this is as good as it gets.
Mind, if someone wants to pay for me to go under the knife, and get a ‘natural’ pair of boobs, feel free to make an offer lol! I have to say, that in public life, my current system works nicely, there has been a few occasions when mens eyes have failed to raise higher than my cleavage, it has to be said. But fine, in the unlikely event I had to ‘lose a few layers’, it might come as a disappointment to some! So, as I say, if someone else wants to pay, I might brave it lol, would be more fun for September, and the wedding I’m a bridesmaid at, for sure. So…? 😉
Right, video time. As so often, a clue in the blog title, though I did tweak it a bit!
Unlike some Trans women, I’ve never missed the fact that I didnt have the chance to give birth to children. I know, lived all my life as a woman, I might feel differently about the whole matter, but I doubt it! I might even be up on some of those women, given that I actually have a womb, that never developed, probably for the obvious reason, but yes, as I found out about a dozen years ago, I do have one! Too old to be a mum to my own child now, but anyway…
Do I think that at some point it will be possible? Yes, would be the answer, especially given that the initial development of an artificial womb is in the process of being tried out, admittedly not yet on human children, but give it a few years…
Also, at the moment, Trans women wouldnt be able to produce an egg, let alone conceive a baby from one, but I’m sure that in time, yes, that will happen, with genetic engineering, and all that, in the future. Even more so for those with a womb, undeveloped, or otherwise. Me, I’ll probably be forgotten by the time its possible, but it will happen, I’m sure.
Equally, I’m sure that Trans men will be able to father a baby too, probably using the same genetic tricks. Again, its going to be a few years, but equally sure it will happen. What I’m also wondering, especially for Trans women, currently without a womb, will these external wombs be able to be fitted internally one day? Again probably, but again, probably not in my time. But for future generations…?
Me, happy to pass on all this baby love stuff, but I know others feel differently, so…
Yes, that last line gives a big clue to the video. Shows how old I am, I had the single of this, so many years ago!
Well, I’m assuming it will be at least? As far as I can see, Transgender Day of Visibility, which was on Friday, was about the last landmark in LGBT history for a while, so I’m assuming I will now be able to drop back into quiet anonymity, much to the disappointment seemingly, of a number of my work colleagues. For those interested, the last article, which actually made the blog on the main Civil Service page, can be found here
Yes, I’m proud to be the spokeswoman for Transgender people in the Civil Service, dont get me wrong, and the ride has been amazing, but fine, the boring old biddy that I am would say that I go to work to do my daily job to the best of my ability, and thats the main thing. Fine, I have enjoyed the whole ride, but fine, getting back to ‘normality’ in Bradford will be a good thing to do.
I know someone will tell me otherwise, but I’m assuming that until the same landmarks come around next year, I can go back to being a dutiful Administrative Officer, and leave it at that? I have to say the reaction to everything at work has been amazing, and fine, I’ve quite enjoyed the teasing about my 15 minutes of fame at work too. Fine, it will go on until at least Wednesday, because someone is going to mention the article to the whole team at the staff meeting then, but after that, and probably before that, for people outside Bradford…
I know one thing, if I get this much publicity, and interviews during my stay in LA, I will be thrilled. If so, who knows where it might lead, but no, I’m not expecting that to happen. Except, well, maybe…? Helped someone with some research this morning, and it may lead to a filming opportunity when I’m in California, so I’m told, but I really will believe that when it happens! No, not Jimmy Fallon, yet! Nothing to do with transgender issues, but thats all I’m saying unless its likely to happen! 😛 Lets just say its something I would love to get involved in.
But now, as far as I know, life can go back to the reality of day to day work, with no interviews, no publicity, or nothing. Oh fine, a part of me is really going to miss that, but equally, getting back to just being another worker in the department, without all the other stuff, is probably better for my future prospects. Or maybe not? 😉
Video time. If you havent worked out the song, long before now, be ashamed! Thanks to Sarah for reminding me of this one.