Firstly, a quick reminder for the newer folk around here, and numbers do seem to have exploded viewing this, so…I’m on holiday now, in Seattle. What this means for those lucky people who know to read both blogs, there’s no point, they just get copy and paste treatment, as most would want to know the same things, and besides, I dont have the time to write 2! So… Yes, I know, its been a while, but more on that in a moment!
Strictly, the holiday made an early start on Thursday, as I went into Am Dram mode again in Cookridge, with a couple of work friends. I would spend time praising the performance to the hilt, and telling you to go see it, but there were only 3 shows, its finished by now, but…It was really good, I must say, as was the meal before that, both the food, and the company.
I was going to post something on Friday re the reduction of stakes on the ghastly machines in betting shops nowadays, from £100, to £2, but firstly I ran out of time, having my hair done (shock horror, I’m not a natural blonde!), and then packing to come here. So it never happened. Mind, as the reduction wont kick in until 2020, I shall probably be rude about the betting industry before then!
Yesterday was just a typical US Travel day in so many ways, that I’ll only pass on the interesting details. Yes, Manchester Airport redeemed themselves this time, though they get one more chance to mess up yet. As does Seattle, where a lovely young lady not only helped me through, and got my baggage for me, she actually ran me over to where the hotel courtesy shuttles pick up, and I’m sure thats not in their job description. But the middle one… No, it wasnt bad, just the opposite in fact, really good service, but…
Every other airport I’ve seen in the US (even before I needed this ‘old crock’ service) has either had a separate line for wheelchair passengers, or mingled them into the crew column, or a mix of both. Ah, but this is Vegas, so…Its not the biggest International sector, I suspect it doesnt need it. So there is a crew column, but access passengers…no! Seems we, regardless of nationality go into the US there, in the US citizen queue. So yes, lol, dont tell Trump, but I’m a US citizen, of sorts! Not really, but yes, it was amusing.
Today has been relatively quiet, as I gave the body chance to recover in advance with planning. In truth, with the warmth here, less needed, but anyway… Just to say, for those who care, I now have an active US cell phone again, until next Sunday, so if you wish to talk, for any reason, just ask for number. If I dont know you of sorts, tell me why you want to talk to me, OK? Not saying I wont give it, but just curious, thats all. Only works for 8 days anyway!
OK, there has to be a down point, doesnt there? Yes, there is one, though hopefully the Mariners will sort it out, they have been emailed already. The game was great, the only snag being that the seat was up more than a few stairs, which didnt help, but I got there eventually, with only minimal soreness. No reason they should have known, I’m not obviously disabled (brace is under top/skirt, and fact not mentioned), so how would the poor guy picking my seat know? I did come down after 7.5 innings, I needed to go ‘somewhere’, and never went back up. Actually found a more comfortable seat for the other 3.5 innings, as it went to overtime. Then, after Seattle had won…
Given I was sore, and given there was a sign for a disabled elevator nearby, I decided to use that to get downstairs, rather than struggling down a large number of stairs, in a large crowd of people. Unfortunately, the lady in the elevator had either failed her disability training, had never been given any, or just didnt think it applied to anyone in less than a wheelchair! So when I, and another lady who said she had walking difficulties got into the lift, she bluntly told us that the lift wasnt meant for ‘people like you’, and pointing at a couple of mothers, with buggies behind us, said, “Its meant for them!”. I have no objection to them using it, but it does say its a disability elevator, so… Complaint email has been sent to the Mariners accordingly! Do I expect anything more than platitudes from them? Probably not! But put it this way, not that they will care, but I had planned a second game at some point Friday, or Saturday, but certainly wont be bothering now! I know, whats 1 customer to them, but all the same…
Fine, video time. I couldnt think of a song that really fitted in with all this, so just made a random choice of an under rated Soft Cell song.
So, lets get to the last 4 months of the year now, when a few things might have happened!
To do it in strictly in chronological order, the first new experience in September, was being wheeled through an airport in a wheelchair! In truth, I possibly could have survived the security experience at Manchester Airport (especially as I would have got Fast Track routing as a premium economy customer), but there was absolutely no way I was ever going to stand in the Immigration queue at Boston, I went with the ‘full in’ option. So fine, at Manchester it didnt quite work as planned (twice, but more on that later), as I got wheeled through security, and to the gate, but no one ever appeared to take me to the gate! So in the end, I managed to get myself down, and aboard the plane, but ironically that meant I was last on, not first! Boston end, it worked perfectly, and I can safely say I have never got through Immigration so quickly in my life, even if you allow for the time I waited on the plane before I got off!
The first few days on Cape Cod was a delight (Saturday night in Boston, went down there on Sunday) with Kate, just relaxing, and giving my back a wonderful break. Then, on the Thursday, we both headed back to Boston, Kate to head off somewhere with her partner, and me to head to Mahopac, NY, via Stamford (c/o Amtrak) to go to a friend’s wedding. Initially I’d assumed I would be going as a guest, then told I was a bridesmaid, only to find out I was Maid of Honor! Thankfully for all the others there, I didnt catch the wedding bouquet lol! It was an amazing experience, thanks go to Stacie, and Eric for the honor of doing that for me. Also thankfully, I was relaxed enough over those last few days that I managed to lay off the painkillers for just long enough to be able to drink at the wedding reception. Fine, I made up for it that night, but anyway…
Flying back afterwards was entertaining. Firstly, for some reason best known to themselves, the airline staff at JFK started boarding people, before boarding me in a wheelchair. It seemed they realized pretty quickly, and sent me through, but it was an interesting journey through all these people who had no interest in giving way to a passenger in a wheelchair!
On arrival at Manchester, chaos ensued. As had shown at JFK, I was the only person who had booked a wheelchair. Therefore, on arrival at Manchester, one wheelchair arrived, for me. Thing is, 5 people suddenly decided they needed a wheelchair, and one woman (who had the physical strength to push me out of the way!) decided she was taking it! Anyway, in the end, after a bit of a delay, a few more wheelchairs arrived, though only 1 extra pusher, and we eventually got through, but after quite a delay, obviously. Not helped by the fact that one person clearly didnt have the right paperwork (not sure if she was from my plane, or a holdback from a previous flight?). In the end, I sort of got up, collected my case, and struggled through on foot (someone pushed my case, thank goodness) to where I was being met! I only hope Manchester Airport does better next May, we will see!
After that, its fair to say that the year settled into LGBT mode at work. A presentation to just over 100 people on working as a Transgender person in my Civil Service Department, and gaining a position on a committee dealing with LGBT issues within said Department are 2 of the delights that followed. Oh, and on top of that performance, was of course, the performance as an Elf very recently!
Lastly, on Christmas Day, on Facebook of all places, someone posted a picture in one of the groups, of a young lady, in Christmas mode, of an event that happened nearly 90 years ago (1929). Yes, an unknown lady, at a pre-Christmas event in Los Angeles, way back when. Except…she looked familiar to me. Comparison to a few pictures taken about 5 years later, and agreement from a couple of other people on the matter, that lady is no longer unknown, to a few of us at least. Yes, 99.9% certain its a certain Clara Johnson! Talk about dream Christmas present, especially as in total, there were 3 pictures! Oh fine, here’s one of them, of her, at 24!
And thats about it! Two more working days in 2017, Friday all day, and a half day on Saturday! Not expecting anything major to happen, but we will see?
The video, big clue in the title. A live version of the song, from 2012, which means no Kirsty MacColl, but the woman gives a decent, if clearly rather starstruck performance
Tomorrow, a look forward to 2018, and what might, or will happen
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…
When I was in LA last October, and still looking at more interesting job options, I made initial contact with an agency called Transgender Talent, to see if there was any possible openings for a more mature woman like me, or if they were principally only interested in younger Trans people, of talent. As irony would have it, despite applying a few days after I arrived there, I didnt get a reply until after I got back, about 4 weeks later, asking if I was still there, as she’d love to meet me. Of course, I couldnt, but she took my details, said she’d keep my photos on their records, and see what happened. Primarily I was thinking mainly of photo shoot type things, though I did mention that in the past, I’d dabbled with a little acting, but thought no more about that.
About a month ago, I got a notice from her, that there was an industry workshop today, in LA, where people interested in working with diversity actors, and actresses would be networking, and holding workshops. Given the chances of me making LA today, at present, were pretty much zero, about a week ago, I sent off some more recent pictures of me to her, in case she wanted some fresh stuff, in the hope of getting someone interested in me, for modelling purposes, at least.
What I wasnt seriously expecting to get back, a few days later, was an email asking me if I had a Green Card, or current visa, to work as an actress in the US! It seems that an acting gig was available in the North East corner of the US, seeking someone who was a UK transgender actress, and if I had the paperwork, did I want to do it? I gather they had selected someone for the role, but she was struggling to get her paperwork in time, so…? Sadly, no, I havent. Currently, I dont even have an ESTA in my new name, let alone anything more! Strictly, I’m in the time limit on my old one, but because of the name change, and the new passport, that doesnt count! And fine, practically, if she couldnt get the paperwork in time, I’m not going to, either! I couldnt strictly afford it at present, anyway, but thats a mere sideline to the time involved to get it!
No, I dont know all the details of the role, I did ask for them to be sent to me, but I guess she thought there was no point, seeing I lacked the work credentials. I suspect it wasnt a major part, in major theaters, or she wouldnt be asking me, with my limited recent experience, but who knows? But yes, I only wish I could, would have been the experience of a lifetime!
Lastly, no, I never heard a thing back about the advert shoot. I’m suspecting the fact that strictly I was too old, and I’m not in North America would have counted against me, for sure. Might have been nice to have heard it was that, but such is life with job applications nowadays lol!
OK, the video. Now I’m not saying this acting turn would have made me a star anywhere, but who knows? And besides, to my surprise, I havent used this song before on here! But me, a star in New York, or LA, now wouldnt that be something?
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!
No, its nothing to do with them being the best airline, or anything like that, even if they are pretty decent, it has to be said. No, the beauty of flying Aer Lingus to the US through Dublin, or Shannon (my preferred option) has nothing to do with that.
That beauty, that makes it all such a dream, is something called US pre clearance while still in Ireland, where the queues for immigration, and customs, well, they are a bit quieter than Boston, or Chicago, to put it mildly! Its not quite as dramatic as in this video,
but its not that far from the truth either lol. Sadly its not an option I can use often, which is why Chicago immigration, and American Airlines know me so well, and indeed I’m an advantage card holder with them too. But on trips like this time, to Boston, guess who I’m flying with? 😉 Its interesting, you get to take a back route at Boston, avoiding Immigration and Customs, because though you come into the international terminal, on an international flight, you are strictly a domestic passenger.
Oh, and hopefully this year, unlike last year, the baggage carousel wont break down after 30 seconds, and the third case. Took someone 10 minutes to decide to reset things, but after that…
But no, this isnt an advert for Aer Lingus, just pointing out some information that might be useful to some.
Oh, and as you might have worked out, this will be the last post from the UK for a while. If you’re good, and lucky, you might get posts from the US, though unless I get good internet speed, you might have to live without the videos.
Bye for now, from the UK at least.