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Category Archives: UK Trans Stuff

Flop Gear

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The following is an email I sent to Amazon recently following their decision to continue working with Jeremy Clarkson.

Hi, I wanted to leave feedback about the reason I’m leaving Amazon Prime.

It’s been good. I subscribed by accident when I was buying cookie cutters while drunk. I enjoyed watching various family films, and really enjoyed Transparent.

I’m transgender myself, and even though it didn’t reflect my own experience (everyone’s unique!), it was really nice seeing a trans person’s story treated in such a sensitive way. Usually we’re a punchline. Or a punching bag.

Which is why I wasn’t happy to see Jeremy Clarkson segwaying his way around a mansion on an Amazon Prime ad. Clarkson’s faced some flak for being arguably (/definitely) racist and homophobic, and is given to punching people like a fucking toddler when he doesn’t get his way. And while we’re pretty okay with him punching Piers Morgan, he apparently didn’t even hit him very well.

But recently, he made comments about trans children. I know. A bit selfish, of me, isn’t it, only caring when trans people are in the firing line. But hey, I look after number one. I’m trans- I’ve had to, because nobody else would. He accused parents of trans children of *forcing* them to transition. Let me assure you, that has never once happened. I came out to my mother after eight miserable years of waiting. I got acceptance. Some of my friends waited just as long, and have waited another eight years on top of that for their parents to use their correct name.

Children commit suicide over this. Remember Leelah Alcorn? All she wanted was to be the last trans kid to be bullied into suicide by her parents. She wasn’t, incidentally.

I know I’m a minority. So I don’t count. What do Amazon care if I don’t put money in their delicious tax-free account? But making a series like Transparent was disingenuous. Don’t pretend to care when you quite clearly don’t.

Now, the person that reads this email didn’t make any of those decisions. They probably don’t even have the power to send it to someone that does. But I can’t stay quiet. Thanks for reading. Hopefully Clarkson etc. keep their hands off you. Have a lovely day.

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Father’s Day

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This father’s day, I celebrated by buying myself a pot of shaving cream. This then set off a bout of dysphoria, but that’s not the point. I am a good dad to me, and I deserve a suitably dadsy present.

Sometimes, I think I paint my dad too black. He spent much of my childhood driving me around the country to various chess competitions, buying me chess books and encouraging me.

He took me swimming. He let me drink beer and watch European football midweek, eating spaghetti and sausages from a tin- stuff mum wouldn’t ever have allowed. He took me to the pub, bought me McDonalds.

But he did all these things because they suited him. He pushed me to do chess, but karate (which I now have a student national silver medal in, dad, not that you’d know) fell by the wayside. He was late home from work every time and didn’t get me there on time. If you’ve ever done martial arts, you know that being late is a serious offence- and I was punished for it.

My dad texted me recently to let me know that he’d just been to a philosophy festival. He’s not a man I recognise. My dad drank Stella Artois from the can and read Tom Clancy novels, was clean-shaven for 50 years of his life. He had a passion for electronics and made really good roast potatoes. He made snide comments in Mass. He didn’t care for philosophy or spirituality.

I know the cause- he’s showing off for his new girlfriend, who does wiccan funerals. She likes Sade and is, by many accounts, a complete bitch.But this is not about her.

This is about my dad and how he came to visit me twice in the four and a half years I lived away from home (before I cut ties). How he pushed me to do things I didn’t want to do because he was ashamed of himself for leaving school at 16. How he emotionally manipulated me to try and stop my mother from divorcing him.

How he failed me so utterly that I never want to speak to him again.

But this post is also about me, and how I may never get the chance to be a father.

As I have posted before, according to UK law, if a baby comes out of your uterus, you’re its mother. Regardless of whether you’re legally a man or not. On your child’s birth certificate, it reads “mother”.

I could never be anyone’s mother. Or girlfriend. Or wife. Or daughter. I’m just not that. It would be so very painful to suffer this on what should really be one of the best days of my life.

I don’t know what I’m getting at here, except that I feel sad, and inferior. I want, above all things, a hug. And then I want to be a father, no ifs or buts. I want to get a shitty homemade card on Father’s Day, and put it up on the mantlepiece like it’s a work of art.

I want to be the dad mine never was, loving unconditionally. Bringing my kids up to be proud of who they are, and not ashamed (as I have been made) to not have done better. To love and be loved without question.

I want to be a father.

Rebel, Rebel

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So, thanks to electoral reforms, I have been struck off the electoral register. I am no longer allowed to participate in democracy. And if democracy is the will of the people, that means I am no longer considered a person.

The letter went something like this.

“Dear Deadname. We have been informed that you are no longer resident at the above address1. As a result we have struck your name from the register of electors. You have two weeks to respond to this letter.”

Despite me receiving the letter in the last few days, it was in fact dated a month ago. Go figure.

I did not provide sufficient proof of my identity. Like many trans people, my identity documents are patchy because I either can’t afford them, or I am not entitled to them.

Currently, I am prevented from changing my details at all by the fact that all copies of my deed poll are in the possession of my ex partner, who although not malicious, does not see the importance of me having them and therefore is in no hurry to get them to me.

I know that the reforms were not drawn up to specifically exclude trans people. But this is what will have happened. Trans people, divorcees, victims of domestic violence… basically there are a huge range of reasons why people change their names and none of them are because it’ll be a fucking jolly.

I’m not out to defraud the system. If I was, I might have changed my surname as well as my first. But no. I kind of just want to… live? Without a daily reminder of the unhappy circumstances of my birth? Outrageous.

Anyway. Decided that, as I’m now an outlaw, I get to do all kinds of outlaw stuff. I’m going to be the dead man in Yossarian’s tent. They won’t be able to touch me. Because I don’t exist.

…Right?

1Yes, the address they’re writing to me at.

The Gender Recognition Lie

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In 2004, the UK passed some pretty exciting and world-leading legislation that allowed transgender people living in this country the right to live legally in their chosen gender without being coercively sterilised.

It requires that the individual live for two years in the gender (male or female) that they wish to go by from now on, that they wish to live as that gender until death, that they have received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and that they present a body of evidence to a panel of strangers, all for the low price of £140.

For all that, you might, if you’re lucky, get something that looks a bit like a birth certificate.

I have friends who were refused on grounds such as not yet having had top surgery. Which, considering the legislation supposedly covers those of us who don’t want to be forcibly escorted out of the gene pool, seems a little… backwards.

The whole process is riddled with flaws. In fact, our close neighbours Ireland recently implemented a self-determination process. If you say you’re male, you are. Which makes sense if you think about it- being trans isn’t exactly a walk in the park. It’s the medical stuff (that we’re being bottlenecked into) that has serious and irreversible consequences, not the legal bit.

In any case, it turns out that “gender recognition” is a lie.

If a man gives birth to a child, he will be listed as the mother of that child, despite the fact that he is a man.

See, for a piece of legislation that supposedly granted us the rights to be ourselves without suffering sterilisation, it seems to really suggest that they’d rather we didn’t reproduce. Because, if we do, suddenly that legal status we thought we had is suddenly revoked.

I didn’t think this could be true. But I asked, and there are trans men who supposedly had gender recognition for years… until they made the mistake of using their uterus.

The Gender Recognition Act, 2004

In the civilised world they practice eugenics
-quietly!-
Make you run the gender identity gauntlet
Three years on the list at Leeds to be told
“We don’t do that here anymore
(but we used to
if that’s any consolation)”
-which it’s not

Ask you why you don’t want to be a real man
With scars on your chest
Injections at regular intervals
Over and over
-until heart disease gets you?
They’ll freeze your eggs
-at a fee, of course-
let you have your recommendation, then,
if it means so bloody much to you-
two years living in role
playing the part
football, beer, casual misogyny.

1970s stereotype
(so as not to confuse the panel)
and then find out it was all a lie
you’re not the man you thought you were
complete strangers know otherwise
better luck next time (if you can stand it)
next time, leave your womb at home-
the Act demands it.