Lauren Jeska

Lauren Jeska, British champion fell-runner in 2015, had gender reassignment surgery in 2000. She had not provided relevant samples to demonstrate her testosterone levels to the sport’s governing body, so her race results were declared void in September 2015. On 22 March 2016, she drove for two hours to the offices of UK Athletics, and asked to see Ralph Knibbs, head of human resources and welfare. She stabbed him repeatedly, causing a 2cm wound to his neck. Prompt first aid saved his life, but he has permanent partial sight loss.

Amid the unanswered questions- how could her testosterone exceed female levels without testicles? Was she dosing, or just upset at the demand to provide samples?- I fear how the haters will respond. This is trans violence. Jeska is a threat to women in prison and should be in a men’s prison.

She has been jailed for 18 years. Previously, she was in a secure mental hospital. She will be on Restricted status, with the most violent women- the only non-violent offences considered for that status are supply of class A drugs, or offences under the Official Secrets Act. She has been extremely physically fit, but so long after castration does not have the physical strength advantages of testosterone.

The heart of prejudice is judging people by a characteristic we happen to share with an offender. What she did is monstrous- and I am not dangerous, and no other trans woman should be judged for what Lauren Jeska did.

All that said-

I remember a trans woman I represented at the Employment Tribunal. She had had a hyper-manly job, then transitioned, and got a job in a cliché feminine role. She was sacked from that job, and convinced me that the wrong she was accused of could not have happened as the manager found it to happen. So she had not done it. I argued that were she cis, the manager would not have found something impossible to be true. The tribunal did not address that point, but found after three days’ oral evidence, my longest hearing, that a cis woman would have been sacked for the same offence, so there was no discrimination.

She had come in to my office, traumatised. She had prepared a very detailed statement of claim to the tribunal, and I took a long statement, but she would ask to see me then go over and over, with monotonously resentful affect, how badly she had been treated. Once I sat, not writing, not looking at her, as she ruminated in this way; I timed her on the phone, and she spoke without pause for ten minutes.

We suffer huge pressure pretending to be male, and we can suffer trauma after transition.

I am glad Lauren Jeska’s parents appear to be standing by their daughter. In a statement they said the stress and confusion of the dispute with UK Athletics had triggered a mental health crisis. I cannot excuse her, but I have sympathy for her.

Report in The Guardian.

Inching forward

The coach of the UK Cycling team said,

Focus on the process and the outcomes will take care of themselves

How wonderful to have such a scientifically designed and personally tailored training programme, that all one needed to do was follow it. How wonderful to have such a calling, that that was what one Wanted, to have the single minded determination to follow it. How wonderful to have that calling recognised.

Dave asked me how the jobhunting was going, and I started to cry. I don’t know. Hormones, something. My eyes are watering, my speech quavers, daily. Dave was sympathetic, and perplexed- he is a man I would go to for practical help with a practical problem, but not the first I would choose for a shoulder to cry on. And I- I was unhappy, but also a much wider, richer brew of emotion. I was quite clear that everything is alright, I was content; and fearful of the future; and rueful about getting visibly emotional; and possibly other things too.

Not in work, and not looking for work- how do I feel about that? How do I feel about others knowing it? Ashamed; and rueful. But then, it is like being transsexual. I care what other people think, I think other people disapprove, in so far as I feel shame myself. I project it onto them. Generalise from that. I feel others will disapprove, because I am ashamed myself. And- I think Dave was perplexed, but not disapproving. “You like to have a lot to do, don’t you?” he said, and that might be projecting too.

So then, am I ashamed? Yes I am ashamed. I am ashamed of my fear and anger. I am ashamed of being unemployed, of not doing anything about that. I am ashamed of being hurt, of not sorting that out and dealing with it. I should have dealt with all of this by now! Ashamed of my illusions, and frightened that I have not found them all, for how can I survive in this world with blind spots? I will just be hurt and humiliated again. I have an idea of what health might look like, so why am I not there?

Feel the shame, and let it go. Yes, I am ashamed. I have been doing my best.

As Fritzfreud says,

Emotional problems tend to come from avoiding emotional discomfort.   So discomfort is the price of recovery.   Accepting our limitations.  Taking risks.  Becoming honest.  That sort of thing.

Gregory House said, “It’s not easy, but it is simple”. Now, I devote myself to accepting my limitations, reducing the illusions and fantasies, accepting myself as I am. So rather than “inching forward”, I am moving forward at my own pace.

I like “I’m Christian, unless you’re gay” on Single Dad Laughing.