So many trips to London!
On the crowded train home, I sit with two women staring at their phones, and a girl of five who sits quiet and composed, though a little bored. I smile at her, and soon get chatting to her mother. Amanda is always quiet like this, outside the house. At nursery school, she would say nothing at all, nodding or shaking her head. So Katherine, her mother, told them to ask open questions. They asked how old she is, and she held up four fingers.
Then one of the girls who work at the nursery babysat for her. The young woman was in the kitchen, and Amanda had not realised she was here. Amanda shouted out to her two teenage brothers, out in the garden, to Get Off That it’s My turn. She shouts at her brothers, no-one will believe how wild she can be, says the mother fondly- but when she is out, she is quiet.
They have just been to London to meet Katherine’s mother in law. Katherine does not like her mother in law, who wants Amanda to wear pink, and flouncy skirts. So Amanda wore a pencil skirt, to wind up her grandmother- knee length boots and a leather jacket. Amanda wears what she likes.
Amanda gets out “Mary Poppins”, a new hardback with a retro binding, and leafs through it.
I have been considering ways to tell my transsexual story, of self-acceptance. “It is a universal story”, says Katherine. I say TERFs are hostile, and she thinks feminists should be delighted with me, even if off the scale feminine. I say something of the TERF perspective, and she responds with common sense, saying I am not a threat. There are two views: patriarchy- women are oppressed; and kyriarchy, just about everyone is oppressed. She sees some sense in the former. Until the mid-eighties, a woman could not claim Invalid Care Allowance for looking after her husband, because it was just her job. A man could claim it for looking after his wife. She is indignant. She did some feminist study as part of her degree.
Her father was a chauvinist, thinking her only possible role was as a wife. She married as soon as she could, a man fifteen years older, who had been in prison twice. Only then she realised that she had married out of spite. She was divorced by twenty.
-You are as unfree if you rebel as if you conform, I say. She agrees: she gets all this stuff.
It is a universal story, self-acceptance, and Katherine, having done it, is bringing up Amanda to be self-accepting from the start. Amanda is queen at home, where she is comfortable, and prudently watches how the world works when outside, meanwhile cultivating an attractive air of mystery. She will be amazing.