changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

No man is an island…. March 22, 2013

Filed under: politics,trans stuff — eclectic chicken @ 10:31 am
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I wonder how Richard Littlejohn feels.

I wouldn’t like – in fact I refuse to see him bloated and happy in a leather office chair, whisky in hand, chortling at the fact that another tranny just hit the dust.

I hate even to think he’d be hardened enough, by a life of journalism and the faux security of only ever spouting ‘opinion’ (which as any fule knos doesn’t count towards negative effect on people), to be lying in bed reading todays stories about Lucy Meadows’ death thinking ‘hey ho’ and moving on to the sports pages.

When our lives touch another persons even briefly it ties us to them… whatever your job and whoever you are but some careers have more effect on other people.

This is the case for teachers most definitely… every child who passes through a teachers class takes a piece of that teacher with them and a little piece of the child stays in that class. Even as an ex classroom assistant I’ve had children get back in touch after a decade or so to remind me of something we did, something they learnt, sometimes to say thankyou…. for a teacher over the years that feeling, year on year, must be amazing…. that you’ve sent children onwards into life better people for being in your class.

That feeling has been taken away from primary school teacher Lucy Meadows.

The same applies to journalists… every person whose life story you touch is linked to you. I doubt there is a paid journalist in the country who can say they ‘only’ ever write good positive things about people… good positive things tend not to be newsworthy…. merely ‘worthy’ – and papers avoid worthy as a rule.

I guess over the years, if you write negatively about people, you have to cut off from those you write about, cease to see them as people in the real world with feelings and emotions. You have to disassociate your words from reality in case you have to admit they have an effect.

Maybe thats why so many seasoned journos turn to drink… its not just the long paid lunches… but the need to forget.

Thats why I wonder today how Richard Littlejohn feels, has the death of Lucy Meadows punctured his veneer?

I know in our house her death has upset us… not only for the sheer waste of a life tragedy of it, not just becuase as she was a transwoman we have common experience and empathy for her story but also when the original monstering of her took place late last year Jane connected with the story and counteracted and corrected the damage of the mainstream press as best she could  and then wrote a thoughtful piece that moved the story on in the New Statesman.

But to wake up and know that the way you touched someones life was so negative that their life was made a misery, that they had to take time out from a job they loved, that they… well… the coronor report isn’t back yet… but chances are that Lucy took her own life.

It’s not just Littlejohn, though his voice and therefore impact are the largest. Its the badly written articles (even now surrounding Lucy’s death), misgendering, sniping, insulting, demeaning. Its the person who took the story of their childs teacher to the press… its every parent who reveled in their ignorance in the playground about a teachers ‘otherness’.

It’s everyone who turns and points and laughs in the street at someone for being different.

It’s everyone who reads the papers for ‘this’ sort of story.

So no it’s not just Littlejohn…. but this story… this one story… lets let him own it. Let him have the death certificate of Lucy Meadows in a frame on his office desk.

I’m sure, underneath the justification of ‘getting paid’ ‘only having opinions’ and needing to support his family he must feel awful… he MUST, he’d be inhuman not to, and he needs to hold on to that feeling with all his might.

 

trans choices January 9, 2013

Filed under: trans stuff — eclectic chicken @ 6:03 pm
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Oh go on… we’ve not had a trans blog, and certainly not a political trans blog in a while.

The ‘community is up in arms at present (well they were last night but today most have probably gone back to concentrating on nail varnish and hating all the other trans factions) over the witch hunt of a certain Dr Curtis.

Now… there arent many gender specialists in the country and as far as I know Dr Curtis is the only privately operating gender specialist….. so if you can afford to… if you are disillusioned with the NHS grinding painfully towards your transition… you can go and see Dr Curtis (just off Harley Street).

He will treat you according to internationally approved guidelines… that is… he will treat you as an individual and your transitional path will meet your personal needs – more than can be said for the one size fits all route littered with gatekeepers in the NHS.

Unfortunately…. some complaints have been made. One a ‘child’ of 17 who attended an appointment sans parents -though I can think of no other medical situation where parents MUST be present at that age (Gillick principle and all that).

Another on prescribing.

And a third… an unfortunate regretter…. though given just how many forms you have to fill in to have a double masectomy and how many times you are asked ‘are you sure?’ -it takes a certain sort of mentality to become a real regretter…. but it happens and it’s unfortunate.

For this Dr Curtis is being investigated by the General Medical Council.

Compare his position (which is basically equivalent in someones transition to a GP) to many many other GPs around the country…. the stories of GPs refusing to treat, denying money is available for, laughing at, blocking trans individuals (bear in mind how much courage it often takes to just get into a GPs to talk about it)…. those GPs very rarely get hauled up before the GMC.

In fact most people daren’t complain about the treatment they get on the NHS becuase they fear their treatment will be jeopordised or stopped.

It makes me realise how lucky Jane has been with our GPs who have been brilliant, theyve been patient centred and led in all the contact they have with us and had that carried on to specialist level Jane would have had very little need to go private and see Dr Curtis at all.

If Dr Curtis loses his license then that leaves a gaping hole in the treatment of trans people in this country and certainly not one that can be filled by the lowest common denominator system about to be embarked on when funding disappears with PCTs.

You’d think the likes of the Daily Mail (any excuse to bash da trans) and Charing Cross (self appointed centre of da trans universe) would be happy some people taking their money and shopping around outside the NHS purse.

But no…. obviously not… as god forbid ALL trans individuals would want to be treated as erm…individuals if some of them are.

 

Hair today…. December 11, 2012

Filed under: cancer,home stuff,trans stuff — eclectic chicken @ 11:34 am
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yay….highly original [not] title for the long awaited hair loss blog.

The chemo I’m on is R CHOP and hair loss is pretty much definite…. its something I’ve been quite excited about as I spent chunks of my youth with a number 1 or number 2…. sometimes bequiffed…most oftener not. I like not having hair… I like the way it makes you have to face the world full square on and have nowhere to hide.

I think everyone should have their hair lopped off drastically at least once in their lives just to feel the freedom of it. Hair is something surrounded by a huge amount of emotion and identitiy

Last time I cut off all my hair was about twelve years ago… for charity. (I didn’t let on it was no great burden for me and raised a fair old chunk of dosh as my hair was very long at the time) But I decided then I was getting too full faced to get away with it really.

So now…. thinner of face (and most other parts) than I’ve been since my early twenties, the whole hair loss thing just hasn’t worried me.

Its one of those things that people go into sympathy mode about and the wigs v scarves debate kicks in early.

So.. yesterday it started.

In the shower in hospital, trying to get the tangles  with my fingers rinsing the shampoo out and I came away with almost a handful….

wow… it’s just strange.

This morning at home the boy and I took turns in seeing who could get the most in one go and then i made an appointment at the hairdressers to go and have it all taken back to a number 2…. just to save on the hoovering, or me getting hair balls or something.

I suspect total baldness feels very different from even a number 1.

But for the record… if I get a wig its just to please the boy…. I’m going hats and scarves or naked when its warm enough.

Interestingly Jane and I were talking about it briefly this morning and she seemed quite pro-wig… but when she transitioned in the early days she was totally anti-wig for herself… not so adamant later on when she could see them as a fun accessory.

She tells me thats different… but I don’t think it is at all.

Its about self identity… I don’t need a wig to make me who I am… same as Jane didn’t need a wig or fillets to make her Jane.

If I get a wig, like I said, it will be to make someone else happy (something that wasn’t an option in Janes identity struggle) or for sheer entertainment if I can find something totally Dolly Partonesque… and who wouldn’t say yes to that!

Oh…and also for the record I’m not in the market for a merkin either… but yes it is.

Hmmm… maybe I should be weaving my headhair into merkins and selling them on Etsy… damn…another money making plan considered just too late.

 

mental bimblings on a trans theme. May 31, 2012

Filed under: trans stuff — eclectic chicken @ 9:07 pm
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Now first off a disclaimer…. this is me having a mental bimble and writing it down. Thas’all….

I was thinking today about how many trans people claim that having the wrong gender brain is a ‘sign’ of their transsexuality… on its own it can’t be… many people must not be at one end of the male/female brain spectrum… we just don’t all get dysphoric about it.

Dysphoric… thats key isn’t it?…. like many things that make it into the big book of mental disorders… its ok to be something as long as it doesn’t interfere with your life… whether thats non-normative gender…non-normative sexualities… none normative ways of thinking…blahdy blahdy blah.

Soooo…is it possible to be transsexual but not dysphoric?

But you need to be dysphoric to be treated as a transsexual?

These are just questions…  I’m not giving answers…I’m thinking out loud (tippety tappety tippety…etc).

There must be transsexuals who transition who therefore are body/gender dysphoric but have the ‘right’ brain gender for which they were declared at birth.

There seem to be a lot of MtoF transsexual people who seem very male brained…. this links nicely with the theory that a lot of people on the transsexual end of the trans spectrum are also on the autistic spectrum.

Autism is said, by some, to be extreme male brainedness. (the opposite of which of course is extreme female brainedness which would be er…. hmmm… neurotic – but we don’t tend to talk about that any more… not since they stopped doctors giving women orgasms to cure it) [what was wrong with that anyway? sounds like fun]…

I digress… but in a mental bimble thats okay.

So we have mental dysphoria…we have body dysphoria… some people no doubt have just all round dysphoria.

The point i was getting to in my own mind is maybe transsexuality could be a syndrome… a syndrome as any fule nos is not a real medical thing at all… its a collection of symptoms. A bit like an ‘eye spy’ book… if you tick enough boxes the Big Chief sends you a certificate of syndrome.

People are very fond of syndromes nowadays… it fits in with out ‘everyone can be a victim’ mentality. I personally have ‘grumpy old cynic’ syndrome. The symptoms are many… sufferers legion.

This idea seems so obvious i can’t believe nobody thought of it…so I googled transsexual and syndrome and came up with  the ‘Harry Benjamin Syndrome’…. as expected this turns out to be contraversial… anything to do with transsexuality turns out to be contraversial…. there are so many ‘different’ ideas and thoughts of what it right and no concept that none of them or all of them maybe…right…or wrong.

…there are those who would throw the entire gender construct away to make themelves feel ‘better’… those who know surgery is the one true way…. those who say there is no true way – but usually those people have strong opinions on what is the wrong way.

I still like the idea of a syndrome… I usually score 50% ish on the how male are you quizzes and 50% ish on the how female are you quizzes..I’m never quite sure where that leaves me. I’m also left handed… a far more common occurance in males (or should that be those who are male brained)?  If you gave me a tick list of  trans ‘symptoms’ I tick lots of boxes, right back to being a kid.

In the months before Jane revealed all to me, a list of tick boxes would have been very helpful.

So if transsexuality hadn’t been nabbed and placed firmly under the skirts of psychiatry.. would it be a syndrome?

Ideally I guess we’d not need a syndrome either if we weren’t so hot on labelling and pigeon-holing people…. maybe it’d be simpler just to let people be what they want to be…. dress how they want… behave how they need….

I suppose that puts me in the throwing the binary out with the bathwater camp…

I guess the moral to this bimble is its easy to think about something too much… to concentrate too much on the ‘why’?

The more you think the more complicated something gets… not clearer…no…no… not clearer.

Acceptance… thats the key… big shiny key. If we all accepted difference would difference disappear up its own jacksie in a puff of smoke… thus negating dysphoria…

… you see?… dangerous ground again… I’m now tottering on the verges of rad fem gender theory and thats a BAD thing… not in the usual trans political us v the rad fems way…. but just i don’t like to be labelled as any sort of feminist. (tick another box for me).

My head hurts… I’ve probably managed to cause offence to all sorts of people who like to find offence wherever they can… blogs are such rich pickings for those whose offense taking is on a semi professional level… if they cross a line do they become officially ‘paranoid’?

I dunno…. its all just words and theory… time for tea and a nice biscuit I think.

 

was: ‘ladies, gentlemen and nonbinary persons’. Now: ‘gender spectrum dwellers all’ March 7, 2012

Filed under: politics,trans stuff,Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 5:43 pm
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…but mostly the nonbinary people….

i got used to the whole debate around trans and cis… how trans ‘others’ trans ladies, trans men and trans nonbinary people.

oh… i think my head just exploded already.

basically… ‘trans’ others those who are not ‘normal’ (or cis as the trans world has decided to call the gender stationary majority)

So why does nonbinary not ‘other’ those who are erm…not binary? If it does is this considered not a bad thing becuase as any fule knows nonbinary is actually the majority they just don’t accept it yet?

Come the gender identity revolution there will still be people who would prefer to stand at each end of the gender identity spectrum and use the lables ‘men’ and ‘women’…. so what will all the people elsewhere on the spectrum be? I guess just people… and those at either end ‘binary people’…except that would ‘other’ them.

Is this just like feminism where its not really about being equal but about changing ends and the oppressor becoming the oppressed?

is ‘othering’ really a bad thing…. in a world where difference is celebrated as opposed to villified it wouldn’t be… but i guess its a process -time spent wearing the victim hat becuase of difference… expecting and courting negative response.

That then changes to a point where difference becomes something to be proud of….becuase the difference is mostly accepted.

different good…. too different not good.

it’s all so complicated

i wish people would just get on with being people and stop dividing and subdividing minority groups to claim their own square inch of masochistic otherness…. it quite spoils my afternoon.

 

Teaching children about trans… December 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 3:54 pm
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Theres much kerfuffle about the latest trans action plan issued by our great and glorious leaders.

I’ve no idea whats actually in there but what the papers are reporting on are children as young as 5 being given lessons on trans…how to be one…. how to fill in your ‘eye spy book of trans’…how not to bully people becuase if it etc etc.

Margaret Morrissey, of the Parents Outloud campaign group, warned against “pouring in to the minds of children issues they may not be able to cope with”.

“We have got to stop overloading our young children with the sort of issues that may never come their way,” she said.

“If it does become an issue when they are older then address it then when they are better to deal with it.”

What planet does she live on?

It’s like those statistic things that tell you how many hours of you life you spend on different activities like eating and sleeping and paying bills and sitting on the toilet and waiting for buses….. if you add up all the different elements you soon figure out you have exactly half an hour of none specific time usage in your life time. Use it well (I suggest a nice cup of tea and a piece of carrot cake) – or was that included in eating???

Or when you look at your expenditure in a week and times each item by 52 and realise you are living well beyond your means but somehow have never been in debt.

Educating young children…any children is like that … If you set aside a specific lesson for each thing the government deem ‘important’ …. like nutition… banking….LGBT issues… racial awareness… sex education… you pretty soon run out of school hours (maybe thats why the government thinks all children should remain in education until 18 now)!

These things aren’t specific.. and only need dealing directly with in extreme cases. You build these things into the culture of a school it takes very little additional time (maybe a policy to be written, some new resources)… but day to day…it just happens. As long as the adults involved are already in the right headspace about it.

Like good behaviour…. you reward the good and on the whole ignore the bad unless it gets REALLY bad and then you deal with it.

Inclusion happens on day one in the classroom when we say…. this is the way we behave in this school, we treat everyone with respect.

Beyond that if the ethos is positive and inclusive so will the children be… I remember when I worked as a TA in a school and the children used to tell me things like ‘boys don’t wear dresses’ or ‘men can’t love each other’…. I think my response was a straight forward ‘some of them do’.

At that age they are still working out their world view… and just being told that something isn’t a ‘definite’ is enough.

It allows for difference.

We are all different….

On a practical level every child in our son’s school has had the trans issue come their way. It may not carry with them into adult life that trans is normal…. but at least they’ll know it exists: and thats all it takes… that and knowing that different isn’t ‘bad’. I don’t ‘think’ its overloaded the poor little dears.. after all if we only taught children things on a need to know basis… most of the curriculum would be obsolete.

Interestingly our son doesn’t seem overly worried about the whole ‘trans’ thing but does worry about his parents being gay  (maybe the effects of clause 28 linger on in schools)… I find it hard to believe that children still see gay as an insult. Doesn’t EVERY family have a gay friend or family member?  Maybe not….  all the more reason to counter childrens assumptions about normality every sensible chance we get.

Children are incredibley broad minded if we allow them to be… its just about opening them to new ideas as opposed to shoving what we want in there.

 

Girls on film… April 4, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 11:41 pm
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Contrary to two things we are taking part in the making of a documentary about trans-women and their families. In our case this includes the run up (and very likely includes) Janes  ‘op’.

Two things?

The first is that I swore after the Mail piece to never ever ever ever….ever… get involved in any sort of media shebang ever…ever…. (did i mention ever)? again. Not becuase I think the Mail piece […and no you can’t have a link…just trawl back through the blog or google til you find a pig in a wig (thats me that is)] is/was intrinsically bad per se. But becuase of the aftermath.

No, silly…. not those terrible bigotted cis types wot said all the wrong things and displayed their ignorance. But those trans types….who should know better and indeed let everyone know, at every opportunity that they DO know better and said the most horrible things.

Secondly… when I say ‘we’ are taking part. Our son (age 6) tells me its actually a documentary all about him (and perhaps the chickens).

But anyway….contrary to both those things we’re in cahoots with the lovely ladies at Wild Pictures and the end result should be shown in the Autumn on some ITV channel.

I fought tooth and nail not to be in it at first through shyness mostly (and tv adding HOW many pounds to ones visual weight)… but last week was first visit to the hospital in Brighton. To refuse to have been filmed would have made filming a nightmare for everyone….so I caved in… signed my soul away and tried to remember not to swear too much.

I know the end result will do the job it intends to do…same as the Mail piece did. It will get a message out that gender dysphoria happens to normal people in normal families and that those families one way or another have to deal with it.

Having us in it (and I don’t know the circumstances or any of the other people involved) will show it can be coped with… that life goes on. It may even educate people a little. It’ll certainly draw in an audience who want to gawp… but even if it makes a small percentage of those people pause for thought even once  it’ll be doing its job.

I think I trust the girls at Wild pictures to do a good job… what I don’t expect is a result that will please everyone.

Especially the politicised trans community… the consensus amongst most (cis?)people making the effort to show trans to the wider population is that they are buggers to please and that is perhaps what holds back their cause the most.

This is the sort of documentary that can’t hope to use all the right language in all the right places at all the right times… if it did it would have a very small politicised audience who understood it. It would be preaching to the converted.

It (I hope) will maybe make some small steps educationally and a HUGE step in just getting the subject out there and ‘all in the best possible taste’. [hmmm…not the best reference point to make methinks].

…and by the way… we don’t get paid. (though we did get bought some chips on Brighton beach)

 

 
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