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New Year, same me.

I’ve been a bit remiss about posting lately, so thought it was about time for an update.

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Posted by on 2nd January 2019 in Diary, Photos

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What earrings and clothes say about you.

Do you know which ear a guy who wears an earring wears it in says about his sexuality?

  • If he wears an earring in his left ear, then it means he has an earring in his left ear.
  • If he wears an earring in his right ear, then it means he has an earring in his right ear.

Likewise, do you know what the clothes a transgender / gender-fluid person with XX chromosomes wears says about their gender?

  • When they wear guy clothes then it means they are a transgender person wearing guy clothes. 
  • When they wear female clothes then it means they are a transgender person wearing female clothes (and not ‘a transvestite’ or ‘a freak pretending to be a woman’).

I hope this clears up any confusion.

 

Posted by on 21st April 2015 in Opinion, Transgender

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Eurovision 2014 (cont’d)

Now that people have had a few days to think about Eurovision a bit more, and the implications of Conchita Wurst’s act, some interesting debates are coming out. And rather than update my previous post again, I thought I would create a new one.

There seems to be some confusion as to who or what Conchita Wurst is. As far as I can tell from research on the internet, she is a drag act character created by Thomas ‘Tom’ Neuwirth. This is not a new thing – there have been many famous drag acts, not least Paul O’Grady’s “Lily Savage” and (perhaps most famously) Barry Humphries’ “Dame Edna Everage”. And let’s not forget Kenny Everett’s extremely tongue-in-cheek character “Cupid Stunt”.
I’m not yet sure whether Conchita is ‘just’ a drag act, or somewhere on the gender spectrum, and to be honest I don’t think it entirely matters.

In the lead-up to Eurovision, petitions in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus unsuccessfully attempted to get Austria banned from their national broadcasts. And Conchita’s act has brought out a barrage of homophobic and transphobic diatribe. Some have referred to her as “it”, “that”, and “that thing” (as I mentioned in my previous post), and some have gone far further with some truly appalling things said and written. It makes me sick to my stomach.

So, why should Conchita be referred to with a feminine pronoun if she is played by a man? Even if you don’t accept transgenderism, Lily Savage and Dame Edna are always referred to as ‘she’. Very few people shout “but he’s a MAN because he’s played by a man!” when these characters come on stage or are mentioned in the media. So at the most superficial level, I would argue that the same applies for Conchita Wurst surely?

Many have expressed difficulty with the beard, pointing out that both Lily Savage and Dame Edna present as completely female, albeit with a larger than life personality. This is true. But, personally, I think the beard is deliberately provocative and is trying to force people to look beyond binary gender stereotypes and confront the idea of a gender spectrum. I’m 100% certain that many people aren’t able to cope with that concept yet, but at the very least it has provoked debate and I applaud that.
You only need to look at comments that she should “make her mind up”, and that she can’t be a woman unless she shaves off her beard and has gender reassignment surgery, to see how entrenched the idea of a gender binary is. If you are not one thing then you must be the other thing.
I feel like I’m flogging a dead horse here because I have said this many times, but society seems able to cope with the idea of being bisexual (ie. neither exclusively heterosexual nor exclusively homosexual) but can’t seem to cope with the idea of transgender.

But, transgender issues aside, there could also be the agenda of deliberately provoking homophobes. Clearly some men have struggled with looking at someone who looks like a rather slim and attractive woman, and yet has a lush beard, which makes it impossible for them to will suspension of disbelief (and a suspension of something else, to allude to BlackAdder) or kid themselves. What could be more confusing for someone not completely comfortable with their own sexuality than a ‘thing’ (sic) like that?

I think Sam Fraser on the Huffington Post summed it up perfectly for me:
Around the world there are people who prefer to exist outside the male/female binary. This is an affront to the bigots, homophobes and religious ideologues whose beliefs in ‘traditional’ gender relations ensure that institutional sexism and homophobia, to say nothing of the criminalisation and ‘legal’ murder of LGBT people, continue in parts of the world both far away and closer to home.

Conchita (and/or Tom) has won more than a song contest; she has got LGBT issues right out there, being discussed in public and in private, forcing some people to at least reassess their attitudes and address the subject, even if they ultimately don’t alter their opinion on the matter. Perhaps more has been achieved in a few days than years of lobbying and political debate ever could.

 


Links / Further reading

The Independent
Time
Huffington Post
Pink News
Sam Fraser
CBC News

 

Posted by on 12th May 2014 in In the News, Opinion, Social, Transgender

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(whispers) I’m Joanne

My work has taken me back down to Hedge End on a regular basis, and I was in Sainsbury’s Hedge End recently, which was where the Brides in the Aisles photo shoot was.

I saw the young Sainsbury’s employee who was roped into the photo shoot, but I was in guy mode so obviously she would never have recognised me. But I had really liked her during the shoot, and I felt I just had to say hello. So very bravely I waited until she was on her own and asked “Um, excuse me, but were you in the Brides in the Aisles photo shoot?”

When she said that she was, I said “I thought so. Um… I’m Joanne”

I’m not sure what I expected, or feared (certainly my heart was pounding in my chest), but she could not have been more natural, accepting, or friendly. Without missing a beat she just started chatting with me like it was the most natural thing in the world. We reminisced about the shoot, whether we had attended the actual event, I asked whether she had got into trouble for being seconded by us for most of a morning, etc. And when I mentioned I had been worried about saying hello in guy mode, she looked at me in momentary incomprehension and then was completely dismissive of it (in a good way).

Truly we are raising a generation way more tolerant than the previous. And I think that is totally awesome.

 

 

 

Posted by on 28th March 2014 in Diary, Opinion, Transgender

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Gender roles

A little while ago I discovered The Advocate, with some of the articles really making me think and some of them blowing my mind, such as the one that suggested that the fundamental flaw in being transgendered and trying to pass as a women is that it is a game where the only time you are succeeding is when people do not realise you are succeeding. And If they become aware that you are succeeding, then you have just failed.

However, I’m not full time and moreover have no intention of becoming so. I’m not interested in transitioning from one society-approved binary state to the other. I think both genders have their advantages and disadvantages, and I’m greedy enough to want to pick and choose the best from both, just like I do my sexuality. An unpopular choice from the people who think I should “make my bloody mind up”, I guess. But why should I?
(Edit: Although, yes, when I am out in girl mode I most definitely do want to pass convincingly as such, so I guess that in some ways it does apply).

So when I read this article, I can kind of understand where the author is coming from. I can understand that a completely gay man could find that upsetting or annoying, but to me it sounds like heaven!

Funny old world. isn’t it?

 

Posted by on 15th September 2013 in Diary, Opinion, Transgender

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More than a woman

The BBC published a very good article on transgenderism on the News Magazine area of their website entitled Richard O’Brien: ‘I’m 70% man’

Credit: BBC / Tommy Candler

The article, written by Jo Fidgen, quotes Richard O’Brien (of Rocky Horror fame) as talking about the gender spectrum, and how he sees himself as maybe 70% male and 30% female.

However, one part of the article really surprised and struck me. It said:
“O’Brien’s idea of a gender spectrum may sound far-fetched to many, but there is scientific research that backs up his position.”

I’m really surprised that in this day and age, where people readily acknowledge the concept of bisexuality, that the idea of a gender spectrum could be considered ‘far-fetched’. Certainly the idea of a sexuality spectrum is well established, encompassing gay, straight and bisexual. And even then, bisexual doesn’t automatically mean you fancy men and women equally. Surely then, the idea of a gender spectrum can come as no real surprise and is equally logical? One only has to look at the concept of a girl being a tomboy, or describing herself as “not a girly girl”, to see that it is so. And, despite being less socially acceptable to say it, the same is true of men too. However, men have far more pressure (in Western society at least) to conform to a gender stereotype.

Having said that, I read on the news today of Maria Toorpakai; The Pakistani squash star who had to pretend to be a boy. In the area of Pakistan that she lives, it is completely socially unacceptable for a girl to play such sports, or wear shorts, or be a tomboy. She was forced to pretend to be a boy (with her father’s consent and support) and won several tournaments before being ‘outed’. Since then she and her father have had death threats and persecution, just because she doesn’t conform to a gender expectation. I’m both heartened by her and her father’s courage, and dismayed by the actions of their persecutors.


(Please note that the links in this article are to the BBC website and may not be available to you if you are outside of the UK)

 

Posted by on 20th March 2013 in Opinion, Transgender

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