It’s the start of half term. The last small break before the great length that is the summer holidays. I think both Little Miss and Wee Man will be glad of the break. One is working through exams, the other has finished her SATs. Testing, testing, one two three. Around we go and testing, there’s a word to conjure with.
Earlier this week I caught a video from a training event at work. The presenter – a trans person – was going through the terminology on their slide deck. We run through trans-woman, trans-man, and along the wordage. We get to the cloud of terms where I’d probably sit: gender variant, cross-dresser. I hear on the audio track “…these people aren’t really trans.” I hit the pause button and stop to consider things.
Funny, I have always taken the word transgender as an umbrella term. One of inclusivity and well, family. I may not be the same as full-time folk or those who ‘underdress’, but I think I can empathise. But the exclusion, that stuck in me and it’s a splinter that’s been difficult to dig out.
There’s a phrase – or more accurately, a taunt – that echoes in my head some days: am I trans enough? I am, what, dressing up two nights a month give or take rare forays? I am not out at work and for the most part, the world – the real world – does not see me. Am I advancing our journey or am I riding the wave?
Perhaps – and to be my own friend as the coaching and mental health first aid training suggests – I’m doing all I can. I am balancing family and work and me. It’s not always an easy act, but I get by. So, perhaps its when I feel the sting of less thoughtful words – and indeed from one of our own – that such things go deeper than they should.
It’s not a behaviour we’d see at Chameleons: I’d like to think we’re much more supportive. Maybe it’s because we know each other and we’re friends, not strangers. We understand there’s a difference, but not one that makes us better (or worse), just individual.
So, no, I don’t – and won’t – subscribe to not being transgender. I am always me, regardless of how I look. Maybe physically male – and I always will be – but upstairs? Ah, not quite so binary. I do what I can to try and help people on similar journeys. I may not be out and loud, but when I am visible, I would like to think I’m the regular, quiet, steady every day trans presence.
On to happier news! 🙂 Last night’s Chameleons was very active. We had a visit from the NHS who wanted to hear how they could make their services better for trans people. Usually, we set research folk up in the side room and others in the main hall. The main hall is generally busier and louder, and the side room gives quiet and space for discussions. Well, this time the main room emptied and the bar area was packed! I guess it goes to show you can’t call these things right? 🙂
I drifted by the room a few times, but I didn’t go in. Partly to give members a chance to talk, and partly to hang back so anyone staying in the hall wasn’t alone. Numbers did move around a little, but I was surprised to see how focused, polite, and interested everyone was. Good stuff and I hope we’ll be seeing the team back again. I also bumped into an old friend – Laura – who is very much full time and it’s great to see her doing well.
Oh, I also got some new shoes this week. Some wedges in the sale and they were so comfy! Don’t get me wrong, I love a heel or cute flats, but in the summer, I think a different type of shoe is in order. So, pairing them up with a dressed borrowed from the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I felt a lot more me by the end of the night…. even if it was very late.
Still, I had Nicole to chat to as Val was helping out Andrea by giving her a lift back. Ah, communities eh? 🙂