On Saturday, it was too hot to dance with my wig on. Even before we started dancing, the school was too warm- so I took my wig off, and tied a scarf round my head- and it was too hot for that. People I had never met before got to see the male pattern baldness. It is one thing to be read as trans, but that- is as if I am not really trying to appear female. Which I am. I do not want to look like a man half dressed up.
Lots of women want to “look their best” and the sense that they do not is cruel to them- and it is particularly cruel to me. I have seen the fear on the faces of women who have not got their foundation on.
And lots of people feel they “do not fit in”, and I really, really don’t. I wanted more to fit in with my mother’s expectations, her conservative ideas, than my peers at school. Usually a child picks up his accent from his classmates, but I got mine from my mother. (Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, raised in England, is another example.) My sister spoke a different accent at home from at school, and when I visited her in Edinburgh and she met me at the bus station a nursing student friend said, “S, you’ve got your English accent on,” the one she used to phone her parents.
“Why is my life so hard?” sang Paul Simon. Yes, yes, I know. And- “Who will be my rôle model?” Always difficult, but the obvious ones for me were men, and they did not fit at all. I hated many people, for they were wrong too. It still feels a bit weird picking a female role model. I was aware of other transvestites in my twenties, and they were furtive and persecuted, and rightly so for they were disgusting. Chief Constable James Anderton had them arrested, when they went out in public. Watching telly together, in our teens, I said, “Oh look, a man in a dress. What do you think of that?” And my sister said, “I can’t imagine anything more disgusting. That turns me right off.”
I am neither. I am terrified.
There is a negotiated path, of transition. It takes determination and courage, and two years or so after taking the plunge one is awarded with a Gender Recognition Certificate, which says “The above named person is, from the date of issue, of the gender shown”. So if I “marry” it has to be a man, I could make a “civil partnership” with a woman, and those M-Fs old enough to have a different retirement age get the woman’s. And if people object to me in the women’s loos, the law is on my side. And- being a “woman” does not entirely fit me either, though it is a great deal more comfortable than being a “man”. I am neither.