Tag Archive | Misconceptions

I May Not Be A Person Of Interest But I Do Have An Interesting Life

As a blogger of over five years I would like to say there are few if any issues which have caused me concern since starting tartan tights in March 2012 .

I have put a lot of effort in to what I hope is now a site worth reading and strive to create quality content on a number of diverse topics in which I could be said to have an interest. This has not been an easy journey but it has in the main been an enjoyable and rewarding one . However at this stage of my blogging history I am perhaps for the first time experiencing a very slight unease and if you’ll allow me the privilege I’ll explain the reason why 

It started at the beginning of this month when I suddenly noticed a spike in my stats. Now normally this would be a good thing which would leave me feeling pretty positive but to me at least it was a problem, you see though the views were substantially up the only real increase was in my home page. When added to the fact that this increase was coming not from the UK (my site doesn’t give separate figures for Scotland) but from the United States I was shall we say ever so slighty puzzled .

As a political activist I worried that since I hold views which would lead to the alt right calling me a snowflake that I may have become a person of interest but even for a Celtic fan that may be taking paranoia to a whole new level. I mean I know I have been a vocal critic of President Trump and his friends in the UK Conservative Party but person of interest surely not.  

After putting my paranoia to bed I thought about other potential reasons for this sudden spike in my stats, and the only reason I can possibly think of is that unlike my genuine American readership they don’t actually know what my blog is about and perhaps because of the name they believe it to be focused on one of the following areas. 

(1) Tartan 

(2) Tights

(3) Both 

When they discover it is about neither the tartans of the clans of Scotland or the latest fashion hoisery I can only begin to imagine the horror in their faces, no doubt this will be made even worse when they realise that the blogger concerned is a spoken word poet who is also a transsexual woman and an ardent supporter of both Scottish independence and environmental issues such as climate change. Yes I am really what some would a liberal minded progressive which in Scotland we call normal. I guess this is why most of them don’t make it past the home page. To me the fact they don’t read my posts is their loss rather than mine and message to them is clear if you don’t want to read my content then don’t re-visit my site in the hope it will change,  because it wont and neither will I. Anyway as you should know the definition of insanity is repeating the same action and hoping for a different result. 

So having made all the points I wanted to make,  I will conclude by saying this is my blog. It is my space on the information super highway that is the internet . It a place where I’ll share my thoughts in my way and I’ll try to produce the kind of content I know my regular readers enjoy reading and after five and a half years of tartan tights I think I know what that might be. Why do I say this you may ask, well I’ll tell you why and it all comes down this simple fact, I may not be a person of interest, but I do have an interesting life. 

Till next time

Gayle X

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A Trans Woman Answers Her Most Common Questions 

​As you know I live my life permanently in my acquired gender in other words I’m a transsexual  woman.  Now I’m not going to lie and say  everything is a bed of roses but I will say that it is a  hell of a lot better than it was before I made the decision to transition. 

Despite this improvement in my quality of life I do still get the odd negative comment and from time to time I  am asked some very challenging  questions. These questions can come in every situation from all demographics from children to pensioners. It is  with these  questions in my mind,  I have  decided to take  what I hope  will be a lighthearted look at some of the most commonly asked questions in the hope it may raise awareness the issues faced by trans women in 21st century Scotland/ UK. So  fasten your seat belt and get ready for what I think will be an interesting journey.

(1) Why Do You Dress As A Women?

 This is by far the most common question and it’s usually though not exclusively asked by men most of whom are and I want to be kind here not the brightest stars in the sky. I try to be both polite and firm when answering this question informing the questioner that I am not dressing as a women I am living as a woman because that is what I believe myself to be.

(2) When Did You Know You Were Trans?

Unlike the last question, this one is usually asked by women the vast majority of whom want to understand your issue and see how they can support you. 

When replying to this question I tell the questioner that I’ve known since my primary school years when I was about six or seven and that was back in the  late 1960’s when all I really wanted was barbie dolls , party dresses , and to get my nails painted. So you could say that I knew I was trans long before I ever knew the term for it.

(3) Have You Changed Your Name Yet ?

 Sometimes I am genuinely shocked that  over eight years in to my transition I am still asked this question. It also surprises me that people think that it’s done by deed poll and assume that it must be expensive when neither of these ‘facts’ are actually true. They may be true for trans people in England and the other nations of the United Kingdom, in Scotland however the situation is somewhat different and dare I say it easier for our trans population. Many of those who ask this question are generally supportive of my transition and just curious to what I’ve been through and what I’ve still to go through.

(4)  What’s Your Real Name ?  

As soon as I hear this I tell the person that  Gayle is my real name and if they insist on asking the question again I call them out as a transphobic  bigot and tell them to get over themselves.  I try where possible to  be polite in  doing this but if they still refuse to back off I have a two word Glaswegian reply and the second word is off 

(5) Is It Not All About Glamour? 

This is usually asked by one very particular demographic and that is gay men who believe they are far better looking than they actually are.However when I tell them there is nothing remotely glamorous about the sexism, prejudice , and discrimination women face on a daily basis or the fact and that we are still paid less than men for doing the same job almost 50 years after the first Equal Pay Act it tends to shut them up. 

Picture (1) This picture taken on Edinburgh’s North Bridge as I leave the capital to return home to Baillieston after a great day at the fringe shows that no woman does the glamour thing every day and to think trans women are any different from other women in this respect is to be completely and totally deluded. 


(6) What Toilets Do You Use ?

I have to  say if anyone is actually stupid enough to ask this question they should still be in primary 1. To me the fact I’m living as a woman makes it obvious I should use the  Ladies Room.  I am however mistified as to why people are so bothered as where I should go for a comfort break or to check my make up. 

(7) Do You Still Like Football ?

 Yes, unbelievable as it sounds, I have actually been asked this question usually by men of certain age who have still to visit the 19th century let alone live in the 21st.  On  hearing this I gently but firmly  inform my inquisitor that it’s my gender that’s changed not my lifelong loyalties. 

(8) Are Your Boobs Real ?

This is amongst the rudest and most offensive questions you could ever ask a trans woman 90 percent of the time this question is asked by drunk men at bus stops , of the other 10 percent of inquisitors are  99.9 young guys trying to be wide when the only thing that’s wide about them are their ever expanding waistlines. 

(9) Do You Fancy Men Or Women ? 

To me my sexuality is a private matter and when I am asked this question I respond by patronising the crap out of the questioner by very carefully and laboriously explaining why Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation are not biologically linked in any way. Since this question is usually asked by men who are neither bright nor eye candy, I inform them that my primary sexual attraction is towards men but they can relax because like any other woman I happen to have standards and they come nowhere near to meeting them. 

 (10) How Did Your Family/Friends/ Colleges Take The News When You Told Them You Were Going To Be Living As A Woman ? 

To be fair most of my friends just ran with it and got used to the idea pretty quickly and I’m not really in touch with any family members so I didn’t lose sleep over opinions of people I don’t see. It was at work that I faced my biggest challenge as many of my colleges had known me for years by the time  of my transition and whilst most of them  were supportive there were a few whose attitudes belonged in the dark ages and who went out of their way to make it as difficult as possible often imposing standards on me that they wouldn’t have dared to put on any other female members of staff.  

(11) What Changes Have The Hormones Made To Your Body ? 

Well apart from giving me a bust and a lovely apple shaped figure I now have a bum which may look big in certain things and hips which a friend of mine described as powerful. There  is also the added bonus, that my face now looks  more feminine and I have no hair on my arms or legs and this look has been achieved without the need for any surgery. 

(12) Have You Ever Had /Do  You Ever Get Transphobic Abuse In Public Spaces ?

Much as I would love to say  everything has been perfect and I’ve never had any abuse I have had to deal with some unpleasant attitudes and though the transphobic comments have become less frequent over time they are no less hurtful when I get them.

Picture (2) Shows the shocking statistics on transphobic abuse. Since  beginning my journey in the run up to Christmas 2008 I have received a number of transphobic comments though the majority with the exception of the ones on my breasts happened before the hormones began to take effect. Most of the time the attempted insults are from fat ugly blokes or wee neds in shell suits who couldn’t get a date from a shop window dummy so I tend to leave them to their delusions of relevance by remembering the  words from former  American first lady  Eleanor Roosevelt who said ‘ Noboby  can make you feel inferior without you consent’.These are words that trans women need to hold close to our heart if we are ever to reduce the statistics in this picture.

(13) Would You Ever Change Back To Your Birth Gender ?

This question is usually asked by people who knew in my pre transitioned days and is always given a one word answer and that answer is no. Trust me I would never consider this in a million years. I waited too long before starting this journey and the last eight years have been the most rewarding of my life so when I say I won’t ever look back and regret the decision I’ve taken.Don’t get me wrong , living as a woman isn’t an easy life any woman will tell you that. Women face far  more challenges than men and the patriarchal system we have in place in western democracies means we are often seen as lesser than men  when  nothing could be further from the truth but to me being a woman isn’t about power or even glamour it’s about being myself. 

(14) Do You Try On Clothes Before You Them  Or Do You Shop Online ?

This question is usually asked by girls and women who want to understand what it’s like to be in my shoes and in answering I always explain why I always try clothes on before making my purchase as I want to make sure what I’m buying actually fits me. Well as we girls know size really does matter when it comes to fashion and there is no exact science to getting it right. This means me that trying it on is essential especially as our lovely hormones give us all the lumps and bumps that nature forgot and no matter how good something might look on hanger or a mannequin we have to make sure it looks good on us before we part with cash and in that respect a trans woman is no different from any other woman.

(15) Have You Ever Been Chatted Up Since Your Transition?

Yes I have and not just  by  men I have also much to  my surprise attracted occasional interest from women and though I am as a rule  more attracted to men I have to say that when it comes to chat up lines women do it better. 

 (16) Have You Ever Been Wolfe Whistled In The Street ? 

Yes I have and I find it  extremely annoying.  How anyone can take this a compliment when in reality it is men attempting to tell us they own us is absolutely ludicrous. This kind of behaviour is not flattering  it’s insulting  and offensive to women.

(17 ) Do You Know Any Other  Trans Women ?

Ths tends to be asked by those who have a low awareness of trans issues. When faced with a question of this nature I gently inform my inquisitor that  I attend trans support groups and I  know a number of trans women and trans men and like anyone who is part of any community of interest I get  on better with some than with others 

(18)Are Your Best Female Friends Other Trans Women ? 

This, like the last question,  is usually asked by those with awkwardness around trans and more  general equality issues and they are very often genuinely surprised when I tell  them my best  female friends are not trans just women I happen to get on with. 

(19) Do  You Ever Go To Straight Bars ?

This question is usually asked by males who have made a false connection between gender identity and sexuality. When I inform them that I am as likely if not more likely to be seen in a straight  bar than a gay one many seem genuinely shocked at this news though for the life  of me I can’t understand why.I mean to paraphrase Burns  A bar’s, a bar for a’ that.


Picture (3) In this shot I’m in what some people would see as the very straight surroundings of the Pollok Ex-Servicemens Club where I host the monthly Southside Words And Music night which relocated to make this our new home after our  former home (Sammy Dow’s) was taken over by new owners and we lost our original venue after 25  years. 

(20) How  Has Transitioning Changed Your Life ? 

I think transitioning has changed me in more ways than I ever thought possible.I am happier ,  more confident and more relaxed than ever and I am far more tolerant of people who had I met them in my pre transitioned state I would barely have given the day. I am also a lot open to expressing my emotions and showing feelings which I would previously felt that I to keep hidden. As a friend I  have known since childhood said to me becoming the woman you should always have been has given you the chance to be yourself and I’ve never heard anyone sum it up so accurately. 

Make no mistake gender transitioning is a very big decision and  nobody who undertakes  it will be prepared for all the challenges it can and will  bring them. There are even in  these enlightened times a lot of myths  and misconceptions around trans issues so it was with this in mind that I decided to write this post and give honest replies to some of the most common questions  I’m asked as a trans woman I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my answers to them.  

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X

Passion Power And Periods Made A Jewel Of A Show For The Girls (A Review Of Adventures In Menstruating By Chella Quint

Hey Readers

There are some shows at every Edinburgh fringe which are so inspiring you simply have to see them twice. Last year it was Permission by Hannah Chutzpah and in previous years, Becoming Wonder Woman by Sophia Blackwell and That’s Not How You Spell Pedantic By Jim Higo were worth a second view. This year however the winner of this accolade was not only highly entertaining it was challenging, funny, and thought provoking tackled a subject which somehow even in these enlightened times remains among the last of the sexual taboos.

The show was Adventures In Menstruating by the gabby and highly likeable American comedian Chella Quint. Chella though originally a New Yorker from Brooklyn is now living in Sheffield so I ask myself does that mean she’s a native of New Yorkshire. Well to be honest I don’t know, what I do know however is that she had one of the funniest, most challenging, most thought provoking shows I saw in the whole of Edinburgh 2016.

This show wasn’t just entertaining it was also enlightening and educational with a significant degree of audience participation in an action packed 50 minutes. During this period (sorry I don’t usually do period puns), Chella who is a sex educator by profession exposed some of the more bizarre myths around the topic and tried to remove the stain of shame from what is a natural if painful part of being female.

As she introduced the show Chella (pictured below) told us that it was bloody funny and that it starts off heavy but it gets light. With her puns done and dusted Chella then reassured us that no real or fake blood was used in the snow but she said a had a plushy which anyone could hold for a few minutes if they felt in any way squeamish.

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Having completed her preliminaries Chella started the entertainment with a game of twister. Yes you did read that right, we started the show in full interactive mode which means that this must be the only show I’ve ever seen which starts with a game which has the potential to end in carnage.

There was however a very good reason for this and that was to test out how much we knew about the topic. The idea was that we would put our right foot on one of three colours which coincidentally the colours of traffic lights depending on what we know about periods. If we know nothing we would put our foot on red, if we something about them but not as much as we should we put our foot on amber and if we knew everything we needed to know we would put our foot on green.

As a trans woman I put my foot on Amber because I did have some knowledge of the topic. This knowledge however didn’t flow gently in to my mind like a nice wee stream, it came like a flood in the night because it didn’t come from books or magazine articles it came from my mother one November night when as a young trans girl of about 13 when I was dressed in my beige top navy skirt and tan tights, (Having to rely to on my mother’s cast offs was never easy for a fashion conscious trans girl in the 70’s ) she gave me what she called the full horror story of what I was lucky not to get. So I think I knew I enough to go amber rather than red.

Having avoided potential catastrophy and gained at least some knowledge from her audience as to where we were at with regards to the topic, Chella waited till we were all safely back in our seats before setting about educating us by tackling some of the most commonly held myths and misconceptions on what is seen by far too many in our so-called polite, civilised society as something to be swept under the carpet at the fastest possible speed.

This list of myths included the ‘fact’ that period cycles are an exact science and therefore the same for every woman and girl. This is not true and as Chella pointed out the cycle can vary between 21-35 days depending on the individual. Chella also said that the biggest fear faced by many girls on getting their first period was that of leaking in class. This I have to say is very understandable and had I born biologically female as I would have wished it would certainly have been my number one fear when mother nature called for her monthly visit. This was an issue Chella dealt with later in the show with her brilliant and sensitively written poem Leaking Girl in which she showed empathy and compassion to every girl who has ever had one of those moments.

One of the more unbelievable but true misconceptions Chella revealed during the show was the fact that some girls thought periods were blue and not red. Yes, I know this surprised me too and to any rational, mind would seem ridiculous. However when you take a closer look at it, you will see that right from the beginning of time which was 1926 in the case of female hygiene products, they have always used varying shades of light blue for advertising purposes.

Why this colour was chosen when everyone’s blood is red I can only guess. My hunch is that I think it had more to with polite society not wanting to deal with what it saw and still sees as women’s issues and that men should not be troubled by the sight of women’s blood.

This to me seems ever so slightly strange but I have no doubt that it was society’s rather middle class of telling women to calm down. Now I don’t know about you but I have never met a woman whose calmed down because she’s been told to calm down.

As Chella showed us some of the adverts and took us on a guided tour of periods through the generations she highlighted the fact that when it comes to language and imagery used talk about periods nothing much has really changed in the years since tampons were invented.

In the first advert in our historical tour which is from 1926 words like fear and embarrassment were used to describe what the ruling classes thought was obviously a very messy business. Now you may think that was fair enough and probably chimed well with the attitudes of early 20th century Britain.

However as the adverts progressed through the decades and generations the language used was still as negative as it had ever been and words like shame, and secret were and still are commonly used or at least implied to describe a woman’s time of the month. This it has be to said, does nothing to enhance positive body images for women and instead leaves us and yes as a trans woman I do say us, with negative stereotypes of what periods can mean rather than the reassurance needed that nature will run its course.

As she mused on this issue Chella performed her poem Leaking Girl and came up with a revolutionary idea that we could reclaim the stain with unique period style jewellery or as she called it leak chic which of course would go national and eventually global but it’s headquarters would be in the Kent town of Staines. Well it seems logical to me.

At this, it was time for some more audience interaction as Chella invited us to reclaim the stain and be proud of our right to be women. After talking us period jewellery she invited us embrace the stain and pass it round the audience. This, she said was our chance to a get a selfie and as you can see from the picture below I took full advantage of the situation.

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This, was a brilliant piece of interaction as it got you however briefly to be involved in a common experience of sharing a moment with the girl or women next to you and just like twister it worked to perfection. I think there may be a lot of Instagram photographs of this.

Chella ended the show with The Crimson Tide a song which emphasised the need for women and girls to be period positive and left us more aware of why made women feel the way we do about such a female issue .
During a fast paced well crafted show Chella made the crowd feel as if we were all going on a shared journey and the interactive nature of the show was enjoyed by all who saw it. You see this wasn’t just entertaining it was educational and groundbreaking in the way it tackled the issue.

As I left the show I chatted to my fellow audience members and I have to say the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Believe me when I say this show was the talk of the ladies room where most of had gone to reapply our make up and for me at least the aftermath of the show led to some pretty life affirming conversations

Like for example the one I had with a young woman of 19 who told me how scared she was when she got her first period and then without pausing for breath told me that it must have been even more scary for me because I was about ages with her mum and sex education wasn’t as good in her day as it was now. As a trans woman this was a double result for me as not had seen me as just another woman but when I found out her mum’s age she had knocked about 14 to 15 years off me.

Nice though this compliment was and no matter how it was to get it , I had to tell the girl the truth about my trans identity. On doing this, the girl who seemed completely unfazed by my revelation said, well since you must be on hormones to have gained such a female shape you must experience some of the symptoms we get so if anyone tries to give you grief about being a woman just tell them to bolt. Trust me this is good advice and I will remember to use as and when required.

Other comments on the show were that any man who attended, will have a new respect for women. No girl should ever be ashamed to leak ever again, and that starting the show could have halved the audience before we had taken our seats. However I conclude my review by quoting Felicity from Edinburgh, the audience member who sat beside me on the Friday night show. As we made our way up the stairs she said that this was one of the most important shows she had seen in very long time and it was both educational and inspiring and should be touring the UK so as many women and girls as possible get the chance to see it. I have to say I agree with her on this It was a brilliant way to spend 50 minutes. It was packed with with passion, power and period pain though it did have some moments of light relief. To me this was intelligent comedy which left no stain on our character and that more than anything made this adventure a jewel of a show for the girls.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X