Now compared to the then

Hi,

Given the travel situation seems to be quite on again, off again, the Jones Massive are staying put this summer. Plus, both kids are off an age where I think they want to be at home with their friends, online, or gaming. I seem to recall when I was their ages – around the time the glaciers retreated from Europe 😉 – that I was happier with my own company, with friends, my trusty old 8 bit computer, than visiting country house gardens with my folks.

Funny, while we’re not doing the country house thing – or (rolls eyes) a ‘fun’ visit to a museum, the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I are quite happy to wander along lanes, footpaths, fields, and parks with the hounds. For a time the kids would come, usually with their headphones on 🙂. As we’ve been giving them a choice over the last year or so, it’s mostly the two of us. As much as I miss the kids not being with us, if they are getting more out of their weekend or summer holiday by doing their thing, I think that’s time well spent. Plus, isn’t it a parent’s job to raise their children to be independent?

My folks had bought a small caravan from their folks and as a young kid, playing in the woods, riding around the country lanes on an old bike, and the novelty of a tent plus sleeping bag where pretty cool. At least, it was until I reached my mid teens and my folks trusted me to stay home in longer and longer periods.

Of course, being a teen and somewhere on the Trans spectrum, it meant I had the quiet freedom to explore trying makeup bought from the nearby town or trying on Mum’s heels etc. I was lucky to have my own room, whereas my sisters shared, although I had to find some good hiding places for any purchases. My sister would often go in and ‘borrow’ a white t-shirt without asking and…. well she did find a pair of tights I’d bought and was quite rude to me about them. Siblings eh?

Still, let’s look passed the less than pleasant and instead think of evenings watching a film while dressed, knowing the doors were all locked, and my folks wouldn’t be back for a few days. Despite struggling with what it meant to be…. nonstandard…? in terms of gender, there were good memories too.

Rewatching the BBC documentary Move Over, Darling, where a male actor spent the day as a woman and the programme discussed his experiences. I remember thinking how lucky he was to have that experience and I wondered if I’d ever get outside as ‘the other me’.

There was also a Hodson Confidential programme that did a full episode about TV and TS folk. Seeing that there were other people like me meant so much. I felt less alone and less, well, freakish. This was the 80s and the government message through Section 28 was very hostile towards gay, lesbian, and bi people. Ignoring the bad, the programme featured a visit to the London based social & support group TV/TS. Here are a group of grown ups who seemed to have become okay with who they are. As a teen from the sticks – this is pre Internet – seeing people like you in validating and that helps. I think we’re social creatures at heart, we humans, and learning that you’re not far out of a limb, alone, well that’s a really good thing.

So yeah, summer holidays could mean time away from the straightjacket of one identity, a chance to learn, and also explore different ways to be.

If I look back to those worries of would I meet someone who loved me as I loved them, who’d accept me, and that I’d have friends like me as well; maybe it’s cheesy to play it out like a fairytale, but I guess good things can happen. You just need to step out as best you can, try when you’re able, and if you fall? Accept the help, get back up, and give it another go.

So if there’s anything struggling at the mo, hang on in there ♥️ Things do get better.

A Thursday night out

L x

10 Comments

  1. Society has moved on since the 80s

    But at the time, section 28 was a government panic/overeaction to some of the more overly hostility and aggressive gay culture of the period, with the world seeming plunge into the maelstrom of Aid plague, some of the older dinosaurs came up with a way “dealing” with the issue i.e. section 28.

    It should also be remembered it was the ‘section 28’ party that passed the gay marriage act, its trying to find a way of rewriting the law in respect of a gender certificate in positive way

    1. In some ways, yes, society has moved on. However, of you were to ask a number of folk who are black, Asian, of a visible religious background (Muslim, Jewish, etc), or indeed LGBTQ+; there are both areas of the country and the media who it’s okay to openly discriminate against them. We have a long way to go. Equality helps all of us and consideration for the needs of a person through kindness and curiosity is something that should be encouraged.

      Regarding Section 28… I do not think it was okay to ban the discussion of sexuality in schools. There were no books or programmes that encouraged me to be trans – in fact, there’s plenty of films and TV shows that feature someone crossdressing – or ‘in drag’ – as the villain, freak, or butt of the joke. If exposure to such content did influence, why am I not a murderer? 😛 Frankly, to be told by those ‘in charge’ that you’re wrong, perverted, or deviant, hurts. It can be psychologically damaging and is it any wonder that there’s a higher rate of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions in the LGBTQ+ community?

      I watched the Netflix documentary Hating, Peter Tatchell, which I would thoroughly recommend. Peter’s tactics of forced outings were and probably after still contentious today. On listening to the background of hate that gay, lesbian, and bisexual people had to put up with, and a government that was active against their rights, I think there’s no surprise in the activism carried out by the community. To use the words of JFK: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

      A person and indeed an organisation can change its culture when those thinking within in it change. It can be for good or ill. Yes, Cameron’s government did bring in marriage equality and t some of the old guard grumbled about it. Interestingly there’s interviews in the Tatchell documentary where people talk about their views changing.

      However, the current administration have done very little on progressing the Gender Recognition Act. It’s been pretty much **** all but excuses since May left office. The Equalities Minister has another role, so equality is something you do on the side, yeah? Meanwhile sections of the press are voicing mistruths and opinions in a very similar campaign of fear that was used against LGB folk in the 80s. The old guard of Stonewall have stated this having been on the recieving end of that in the 70s and 80s. This is influencing ministers and preventing progress. Spain and Scotland are showing us the way forward and the sky has not fallen in. The 2010 Equality Act needs and update, and navy of the fears pushed forward have failed to materialise in the last decade since it was introduced.

      1. I assume your refering to https://www.netflix.com/se-en/title/81422831?

        As important as an update of the Gender Recognition Act maybe, Boris and his chumps have been a bit busy elsewhere.

        The ‘drag act’ in play does have a bit of a history, but I guess since Charles 2nd changed the law on allowing women to act, we could of done a lot better by now.

        The ‘Hollywood’ culture has a great deal of apologising, not only to everybody in the LGBT groups, but to every scientist, every time they have cast an Englishman to be the villain etc.

        But I some times think the actually issues is not people being obnoxious, but people being scared of something that they don’t understand or don’t want to know about.

        1. I’m not going to comment in detail on what Johnson & Co. have or haven’t been up to, other than they’ve had the time to resolve the GRA and it’s not been progressed. However, you can add the lack of banning conversion therapy to that list of missed opportunities.

          Re your last paragraph, if someone doesn’t know, that’s okay. Hell, there’s loads of stuff I’ve no idea about and depend on experts to be honest with me on the best course of action. 🙂 I do, however, need to consider my trust in their advice and behaviour to make sure I’m not being played or duped.

          That said, while no one thinks of themselves as evil, if the position they are advocating on ‘punches down’, discriminates, and/or targets a minority, I would say tread very careful, as those espousing such views rarely have our collective best interests at heart. I feel you can add disinterest to that as doing nothing to reduce harm does not help.

  2. Own company and friends rather than country houses … sisters finding my tights … making the most of dressing time when family are out … awareness through media of others like me … My whole youth just flashed before my eyes on reading your post, Lynn! All so familiar.

    One good thing about modern media like t’interwebs is the ability for young trans people now to find their way and their trans connections and relevant support much sooner in life. And, by and large, fewer social threats. One generation at a time, we’ll get there.

    Sue x

    1. Yes, the Internet – sorry, t’interwebs or even thinternet for north western readers 😉 – has really helped our community. As much as social media mobs and trolling can be the dark side of technology, I think the way it can help unite people in need of community, help, and/or support is amazing. Looking at the pre web era in terms of T stuff – not that I was connected to any of it, I guess (and therein lies the rub) – that we can share ideas and experiences mean our shared language is so much richer in the community. Genderfluid, Non-binary, bi-gender, etc.

      Apologies for inducing the teen year flashback – hopefully it resulted in happy memories. If there were any unhappy recollections, at least you are free to be you now ❤️

  3. As Sue said, a real flashback to my own teens (1970s in my case, your mileage may well differ) and when I was deemed trustworthy enough be left along (how little they knew) or asked to act as a babysitter either for younger siblings or the neighbours’ children. While other boys my age might have protested at being required to stay in all evening, I was seen as a bookish child, although on some of those occasions very little reading got done.

    1. So the 70s and 80s seemed quite the system experience in our small group, yes? I guess we just need someone from the 90s to join in and add their findings 🙂

      As to bookish, a friend and I spent an evening baby sitting while trying to understand first edition AD&D with only the Dungeon Master’s Guide to hand. Looking back, it seemed like trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle that had most of the pieces missing and the ones that remained were blank 😉

  4. Wow, Lynn, what a nice text to read. I particularly think that going back to your childhood and adolescence is very important to understand yourself in the present.
    Doing this can be a bit (or very) painful at times, but it is quite an exercise in knowing oneself.
    Most LGBTQIA+ people identify in some way with what you have described… I think this is what makes your text so familiar, like a conversation with a good friend.

    Jessa C.

    1. Thanks Jessica. It’s not always easy to go back into the past and perhaps in some ways, maybe the best we can draw from it is “well, I’m still here” 🙂

      I think the past can have a long shadow, but we don’t have to stand under that if we don’t want to. I think it may shape is, but I don’t think it gets to define us ❤️

      PS: I changed the name of you post to match your real name and removed your website address for advertising reasons. I hope that’s okay.

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