This blog is about Life: everything that interests me, which is everything. And- as I am a trans woman, it is about my Trans experience. What is transition like? Why do we transition? Click the links.
Expressing myself female is so much better. Here is what I have lost- and gained. I have felt such shame, and I overcome it. Though arguably mine is a male experience, and we are feminine men. What does the word “feminine” even mean? For me, it means this. This is how feminine I am. I have been terribly femme-phobic. I have fought my femininity, gloried in it, and let go of it. Women affirm my sexuality. But do others “see us as women”– and if not, does it matter? Do they try? I keep coming back to this: this is my April 2020 line on what a woman is, and why trans women are women. How many trans people are there?
Am I nonbinary? Is nonbinary a distinct way of being, or a cultural choice?
Autogynephilia is the theory that we transition because we are perverts. While all the scientific evidence refutes it completely, the hypothesis retains destructive power over trans people. I tell my own experience of it, share James Cantor‘s theory that it is life-long and incorrigible, then give resources showing why it is wrong. Though even if it were true, it would be right to transition if you wished. In Fetishes, I assess a similar theory about why we might want to be women. The Gender Diamond is a more useful theory. “Trans is not a sexual orientation,” we insist- but it is all about sex. Doctors are the gate-keepers on treatment, but cultural understandings of the condition itself are far more useful than the medical model. This is what DSM V has to say, and ICD 11.
What if, after transition, you realise it was a mistake? Here are four women who reverted, and why. Being a sissy is a way of being a man, so perhaps you should present male. Being a sissy is shame filled, but is beautiful and valuable. A sissy can “Man up” if necessary. I have decided I will not revert. Some transition, revert, and transition again.
Appearance matters, and you need to know how to tuck your penis so that you can wear short skirts, even a swimming costume. But taking your wig off is okay. And it was completely wonderful to get my first well-fitting bra. It is important to have breast screening. How would you explain to others: are you a “Woman trapped in a man’s body,” or “born that way”? Could you achieve Stealth, and would you want to? How should you respond to abuse in the street? How should you respond to abuse from trans excluders: do we have male privilege, or is there any such thing as trans privilege?
If you consider altering your natural hormone balance, you may be interested in my experiences: being taken off HRT, how I was six months after going back on, and having my hormones reassessed later. Norethisterone, synthetic progesterone, apart from causing bleeds so lessening the risk of uterine cancer, has interesting effects.
I write about Choosing Transition– making the decision, and the work involved in coming to living female- and the Road map, on how constrained the “acceptable” way of transitioning is. Making your own decision, you may be pleased to learn of resemblances between trans and cis women’s brains.
I have written on surgery for gender reassignment: Orchiectomy and A Tranny paradox on why I had the operation. You need to know about dilation of the neovagina after the operation, though you can have labiaplasty without a neo-vagina. Your vagina may be created from part of your bowel, a colo-vaginoplasty. Don’t have it unless you are certain you want it. I keep coming back to this. You get the appearance, not the reality, of female sexual organs. Now, I advise against genital surgery.
Even though I transitioned in 2002, and felt more myself than ever before, I have gone through a series of self-acceptance experiences far more recently. We deny ourselves to make ourselves men, and it scars us. Though light is a wave and a particle: I could see myself as a man, a woman, both, or neither, or as a trans woman.
In January 2016, the Parliamentary Committee on Women and Equalities reported on Transgender Equality. The British government responded, then consulted on reforming rules on gender recognition, in Scotland (here are the responses from the public) and in England and Wales. These are my responses. This is what the Equality Act says about our rights now. This is the 2019 parliamentary report. This is the draft Bill from Scotland, put out for more consultation, and the consultation response.
This is what the Equality Act says about our rights now. The hate campaign has produced a false interpretation of British law, distorted to exclude trans women from women’s spaces, and increase resentment against us. This is what those paragraphs really mean. Like Donald Trump, the hate campaign raises baseless legal action to raise funds and increase belief in their falsehoods. They also lie with distorted statistics.
If trans folk could be reliably diagnosed as children, it would make life easier for us. Parents get bad and good advice. A mother may have forced a cis boy to present as trans. But the idea that trans children “desist” is a myth.
I write challenging trans-exclusion: Trans-Including radical feminists; Are you a TERF?; I am a “Real woman”; Trans “Chauvinism”; An address to the radical feminists; Peak Trans, a “man in a dress”, refuting TERF attacks. Part of the problem is that Empowerment for them is completely different than for us, though I believe complementary.
I am a Quaker, and I write for Quakers: explaining why they should not allow anti-trans campaigners to rent their rooms, responding to the Quaker Life paper on trans, and considering how Quakers might address trans issues. I record and link to Quaker minutes and statements on trans people.
There have always been trans people and stories of trans people. Trans is forbidden in Deuteronomy. Ancient Romans the emperor Elagabalus and Nero’s consort Sabina were trans and Sardanapalus was portrayed as trans. Great authors write of men expressing themselves as women: Charlotte Bronte, Walter Scott, James Joyce. And there is trans in Game of Thrones.
More and more as the hate campaign against trans women in the UK hots up, I write about transphobia and transphobes- in The Guardian the New York Times the Morning Star and The Times, among Quakers, Quakers, Quakers and Quakers, in the Labour Party, the SNP, the House of Lords and the House of Commons, the BBC, and more or less ridiculous, debunked or disgraced individual transphobes- Joanna Cherry, Julie Bindel, Graham Linehan, Maya Forstater, Jennifer James, Heather Brunskell-Evans, Melanie Phillips, Harry Miller, Elizabeth Berridge, Suzanne Moore, Jean Hatchet, Jo Stevens, J. K. Rowling, Catherine Bennett, Jenni Murray, Robert Withers, Selina Todd– as well as anti-trans groups like LGB All Liars, “Fair Play for Women”, “Trans widows”, Ovarit, and W P U K. I write about notorious trans women whose bad acts are used to incite fear of the rest of us: Karen White, Tara Wolf, Marie Dean, Jessica Yaniv.
I also write about the Trans Resistance, such as the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights signed by twelve Labour MPs, trans people like April Ashley, Caitlyn Jenner, Georgina Beyer, Morgane Oger, Robin Dembroff, Aimee Stephens, Christine Goodwin, Naomi Hersi, Emma Sherdley, Ky Schevers, Stephanie Hayden, Laurel Hubbard, and Dora Richter, and trans allies such as Jess Phillips MP, Hannah Bardell MP, Jennifer Saul, and Sara Ahmed.
Leave a comment! Tell of your experience, or just say Hello.
Stopping by for a look as requested! Given this is only my third visit to your blog, I’d say this certainly achieves the aim of giving me a quick overview of this part of your life – the main issues dealt with as you went through this transition and thoughts/issues/theories/background on the trans experience. I certainly clicked a few times, so it worked to pull me in when I wanted to know more.
Overall, I have to say I really love the look your blog and your use of pictures – you seem to do it with a consistent theme and beauty. I’m not sure what I think of the red script – but I’m more “Plain Jane” naturally in these things so I think that in part comes down to personal preference – and, again, I’d say it works with your theme.
Looking forward to reading more regularly!
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Thank you, Louise. Welcome. I am very glad to have you here.
The normal font of this WordPress theme is tiny, so I picked this way of making it bigger. I like Brush Script MT, I find it pretty.
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This is a very interesting ang give us a few motivation to think about transition! Good Work!
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Welcome. Thank you for commenting.
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Clare, you have some beautiful images on your blog. I can’t live without art. It is so important to appreciate and love, and writing, and overcoming. Keep it up.
Thank you. The images are an integral part of this blog and I have the World and the ages to choose from.
Welcome, Jane, and thank you for commenting. I liked your alternative fairy tales. I liked Hardy too, once, though the suffering got wearing.
You have a lovely blog. It is wonderful that these venues exist for self-exploration and expression. I am (or have been; pretty much over any relationships now) gay and I have a lifelong friend who underwent female to male surgery some 35 years ago. He is doing great and the first time I saw him after the surgery I thought, “That’s It!” There was always an elusive quality about ‘her’ that dissolved into congruity in “him”. But I like your ambi-gender presentation. A good film to share is Two Spirits, about a young Navajo man who was murdered for being him/herself. I believe we are all both male and female to varying degrees in various situations. And I truly get the idea of a core gender identity. My spirituality (Eckankar) makes no distinction; Soul = Soul and Love = Love.
Welcome, LK, and thank you for commenting. Seeing any particular characteristic as male or female, or even masculine or feminine, is invidious. I am female in my own way. A friend told me “You are acting when you are Steven, you are just you when you are Clare”.
Mmmm. Better Endings is a dynamic, interactive blog site where you can practice “flexible envisioning” or creative revision in your life by applying Life Mapping tools. After reviewing and reflecting on patterns in your life related to Life Themes and/or “Archemes” (situational archetypal character traits which this method will allow you to discover), you can envision your Life Dream and include your Archetypal Ally Srengths to manifest and Live Your Dream, Now!…. To learn more about this approach, check out my website, http://www.lifepathmaps.com. My upcoming book, LIFE PATHS (with The Life Maps Process Handbook) will offer all the benefits of Life Mapping to the public as an informative book and self-help Handbook manual. Looks interesting.
By the way, I had to make a change because of someone from Chelmsford who “had a 6-year old daughter” so he wasn’t sure about me anymore after reading Mr. X’s diatribes. So, I figured … now or never.
Hi…I love your blog …lot of information which I didnt know ..I watched the show of Caitlyn Jenner (Bruce Jenner) and I know its not easy…did you watch the show?
Welcome, Pawful. It is lovely to have you here. Your doggie photos are really sweet.
I didn’t see it. We have widely different experiences. I loved “The Matrix” when it came out and am proud of the Wachowskis- does that make sense? People like me high achieving?
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Hahaha yes it does make sense!!😁
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HI CLARE LOVELY
BLOG REALLY.. )
im transgirl with
Welcome, Anita. Thank you.
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My name is Glenda Elkins and please answer and comment me back.
Hi there. I put my phone down for a moment. I was eating or something- I do other stuff beyond phondling occasionally, but when I rejoin the real world of the screen I don’t always remember it.
Anyway. How are you?
Hello Clare, I found your website by accident and am glad I did. I evolved into Victoria at 56, 4 years ago, the best 4 years of my life. I have had my share of issues, misguided employer, labor court case that lasted three years, ended well enough. At 6′ 5″ in bare feet I stand out, especially in heels which is most of the time. I love to stand out, it gives me a chance to connect with people on many levels, 98% positive, lucky me. My closest friend summed me up this way, “You were the most masculine of men and now you are the girliest girl I know” I have made a great life for myself, great career and the respect of everyone I know and many that I meet. If I had to give advice, it would be simple, Be yourself, expect to get what you give, if you want to feel like a women be a woman, be your best and love yourself. Mine is a wonderful story where the caterpillar became the butterfly, born a princess, live as a princess, I need to win the lottery to have the palace. I hope this little story can help and inspire. The whole story will be written one day. Victoria
Welcome, Victoria. Thank you for commenting, and for sharing your story. Yes people make a go of transition, and it helps us be ourselves- which is the difference between living and merely existing. Congratulations. You show your courage and determination.
Hi Clare. I have a transgender sister in law, used to be my brother in law, who has lived downstairs in our home for I think 3 years or it may be 4 now. My husband just passed and we are going through a lot. The shutdown has been hard on both of us. She was terrified of telling her brother as they were both retired military, although I assured her he would accept her. We encouraged her, to break away from her unhappy life, and move in with us to live as she desired. .She knows we accept her, but she worries about understanding. I admire my sister-in-law for her courage, and I am going through my own personal change , emotional, not physical and she actually motivated me. What is your thought on acceptance and understanding. She and I have talked about past experiences, and I feel I understand. I know people that don’t understand her, but they accept her, and she laughs about it but I think it really weighs on her and makes her uncomfortable.
Welcome, Mary. Thank you for commenting.
I don’t understand myself. I judge myself severely. It is hard to see qualities as positive, when I have seen them as weak. We suffer from internalised transphobia, the idea that being trans is somehow bad. Given that, and the desperation with which I resisted transition, and the fear I had of it, I can’t understand. I accept myself less than others do.
All I can say about understanding is that trans women exist, they have done for millennia and in all cultures, and if I were not one I would not have transitioned. Acceptance comes in time.