Tag Archive | Tartan Tights

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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On Tartan Tights Fifth Birthday It’s Time For Celebration 

​I can’t quite believe how it happened but according to WordPress  tartan tights has reached its fifth birthday. Well it was actually yesterday, but since my post was published in the dark of a Glasgow evening it probably took  till the next day for WordPress to know that a new blogger had arrived on the Scottish blogging scene.

 Yes time passes quickly when your having fun and my wee blog has had it’s own corner of the internet for five whole years. No matter how many times I say this I can’t quite take it in. There is however one thing I do know,  and that is that from first post till now  it’s been one helluva rollercoaster ride. 

 When I started tartan tights I wasn’t even sure if anyone would read my thoughts and musings, now however I have a core of regular readers, not only from my home city of Glasgow but throughout Scotland , the UK , and the world.  

The last year has been a period of change for tartan tights and the changes I’ve made have resulted in more personal posts which have allowed  my readers to get to know me better. I now believe my blog is more diverse than ever before and topics covered in the last 12 months include everything from theatre to fashion shows from bra fittings to the homeless world cup. I even posted 50 random facts about me which you’ll never know if you don’t read the post. 

Of course this has been a challenging time for me with the change of focus which I mentioned in last year’s birthday post  but challenges are something I’ve never shirked and I don’t intend to start now. Well anyone who tackles both NaPoWriMo and Blogmas has to be fond of undertaking the odd challenge or two. Either that or be completely mad and I can list both of them  amongst my accomplishments since my last  blogging birthday.

You know I’ve often been told that women get bolder as we grow older and believe me this also applies to trans women and trust me I speak from experience. Well how else can I in my mid fifties possibly explain my decision to post outfit of the day posts.This is something I would never have considered at this time last year, but you know what I’ve been stunned at the positive reaction I got from them and the confidence that has given me. 

So what or should I say who  encouraged me to take this leap of faith? Well if I’m honest, I could say that Becky Bedbug is a bad influence on me but I won’t, I’ll just say it was a number of bloggers who talked me in to going for it and I have to say I’m really glad they did.

Since I wanted to make my blog more female focused such a gamble was always on the cards and as I said  I’m very happy at the feedback my forays in to fashion have been getting. I was especially pleased when   Laura Doherty, (pictured with me at the Shettleston SNP Burns Supper) who is not only a regular reader of this blog and  but also one of our council candidates for  Shettleston told me how much she was enjoying them at our  branch’s biggest social event of the year . It’s a really good feeling when a risk pays off and to have one my party’s brightest stars giving me this kind of support means a lot to me

Talking of support I don’t know where I’d be without my support network of poets, political activists,  and fellow bloggers.You know who you are and you have inspired me in more ways than you know. Without you tartan tights would never have become the blog it has and I would never have done so many interesting things in the past year, or over the lifetime of this blog. 

So I’ll finish this post by making a promise to you  and that is to make tartan tights the best it can possibly be by producing what I hope will be enjoyable and  interesting  content on a wide range of issues. As I do so I ask you to raise your glasses to my blog, to the next five years and beyond and whatever else you do 

Keep reading tartan tights 

Love And Best Wishes 

Gayle X 

If I Can Be The Best Woman It’s Possible To Be My Mum Can Have A Daughter To Be Proud Of.

Hey Readers

I’ll start this my first post of 2017 by wishing you all a happy, healthy and successful New Year and hope that it brings you whatever you need in the measure you need it.

As for me I am very fortunate that in the these turbulent times I have a home,  a flatmate who is also my best friend and a rich rewarding and varied life filled with friends from all walks of life  who value me for being the woman I am.

When the bells rang in this new year I have no doubt many of you made resolutions some of which were made in  the spur of the moment  whilst others will have been more goal focused and planned for months to be announced just before your first ne’erday drink.

Not having too many vices apart from lustful thoughts on Donny Osmond and I’m not giving them up for anyone I often struggle with resolutions  but I think this year I’ve finally come up with up a good one which may actually be achievable.

Now before you ask I should explain that it’s not poetry or blog related though I have resolved to myself at least to promote them both as relentlessly as I can without driving the rest of the world to distraction. This one however is far simpler than those related to poetry , or indeed to this blog.

So you may be wondering what it is I want to do which should be both easy and life affirming ? Well it’s simple really during the coming year I want to be the best woman I can be and be a role model for women not only for other trans woman but for girls and younger women more generally.

I aim to do this not only by living as the woman I know myself to be, but by the way I live in all areas of my life be it in the spoken word and cultural scene, in my  political life, or in my local community.
To be honest I believe I am already doing this and have been for a number of years however I know that sometimes trans woman are judged cruelly and unfairly by those who are shall we say of a less accepting nature.

Thankfully this kind of prejudice is declining in Scottish society and the last Scottish Social Attitudes Survey illustrated the positive change in attitudes which has occurred in the last few years.

That said , there are what one leading Scottish politicians
referred to as  wee things which I can do as an individual trans woman which though small may matter a lot more than you think.

For example if I can listen to that teenager who thinks the world’s against her and let’s face it all did at that time , or make time for that older woman who chats to me as I hurry home from the shops and never sees anyone else for the rest of the day then then I’m doing what my mother would have done. You see I’ve always known what my mother told me when I was 12 and fancied Donny Osmond was true. There is as she said I a lot to be being a woman than mini skirts and make up. God knows I haven’t worn a mini skirt for 20 years but what my mum was trying to explain was that we live a different life from men and what she didn’t get at the time was that was the life I wanted

Eventually of course the life I wanted became the life I live and though I know I’ll still face challenges on this journey I’ve decided to take I know that if I can do the wee things that I’ve said I’ll try to do I may yet have a resolution I can stick to and honour my mother’s memory by giving her  a daughter she can been proud of

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

A Day For Tartan Rainbows And Stepping Out In Style 

Hey Readers

As you know or perhaps I should say as you are beginning to know I love my fashion. Well just because I’m a fifty something trans women doesn’t mean I’m in to twin sets and pearls. This would be so not me it isn’t even worth contemplating. No even at my age I like my outfits to be comfortable to wear but bold enough to make a statement and I think the one shown here which I’ve chosen for this outfit the day post, does exactly that.

I decided to wear the outfit shown here to Tommy Sheppard’s campaign launch as Depute Leader of the Scottish National Party. As it was a lovely sunny August day I decided that my top should reflect the seasonal weather and selected my best summer bargain my £5.00 rainbow coloured top from Logo to give me some much needed colour.

As it was Tommy’s launch there was a mildly political message to this top and indeed to whole outfit. What’s that I hear you cry politics can influence your fashion choices? Well yes, at least they can to a certain extent and I’ll explain why.

My rainbow top was chosen to illustrate my personal commitment and indeed that of my party to a fairer more inclusive Scotland. It I hope shows that I support a Scotland of diversity where everyone who wants a home here can feel free to do so regardless of the colour of their skin or indeed their political belief. Indeed as our former Justice Secretary Kenny McAskill so memorably said it takes many shades to make the tartan. 

Talking of tartan lets shift the focus of the post to my tights which are of the Henderson tartan and cost £10.00 from Tartan House in Argyle Street. Yes I know some people were their political colours on their sleeve as for me I prefer to wear mine on my legs as it helps to give my blog a wee bit of free advertising.  

As for my what’s covering my modesty I can reveal it’s a black pencil skirt from River Island with an ever so slight slit. Yes I know,it could be considered a wee bit daring but to put a feminine slant on a phrase from one of my favourite comedy characters,  she who dares wins and this skirt is certainly a winner for me when it comes to the style stakes. 

Yes I know that combining rainbows with tartan is an outlandish some would say risky combination but I think it works as the are threads of yellow in both my top and my tights. Indeed when you look at my black jacket from Top Shop with matching  shoes which cost £7.99 from Shoe Zone at The Parkhead Forge and my wonderful bag from River Island (where this picture was taken) and then shift the focus to the badges on the lapel of my jacket you may be forgiven for thinking there is a definite yellow and black theme going on with this outfit and if you did think that you would probably be right to do so. Well it’s fair to say that the SNP play a significant part in my life and so do tartan rainbows.Believe me when I say that I’m a woman for all seasons who dares to wear what she likes and I love nothing better than stepping out in style. 

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X. 

Since Life Began At 50 I Haven’t Had Time To Get Bored.

Hey Readers

Five years ago today I lost my job. I was made redundant I was told after almost 9 years of work that my services were no longer required.  Of course I was told that it was just the luck of the draw and it was due to the economic recession. Whether I believed that or for that matter ever will believe it is another matter entirely.  

So why am I the mood to celebrate rather than mourn? Why do I smile on this day rather than weep tears of anger, or at very least sorrow ? Well I have always believed that everything happens for a reason, and in this case my redundancy was no different. In a way I believe it needed to happen to allow me to move on to the next stage of my life.

Looking back on what was my final day, I arrived early and  I was given time to make phone calls to colleagues from partner organisations with whom I had built up a close working relationship. Trust me some of those phone calls were not easy to make and some got quite emotional especially with those colleagues I had known for a number of years.

After the phone calls were made I got on with the mundanities of what had been my daily grind such as data input and analysis and preparing packs for training courses I wouldn’t be delivering. This later activity, was especially difficult as delivering training courses had been my bread and butter and what put food on my table for the greater part of my time in the job I was now preparing to leave.

At lunchtime my bosses made the usual presentation you do when people move on and the gifts of gifts of a watches, handbags and jewellery were gratefully received. My manager gave me the opportunity to leave as soon as the presentation was over but I think he was glad when I stayed for the rest of the afternoon and finish what jobs I needed to complete before making my final exit at the end of the day.

So how do I look back my 9 years in what was an enjoyable but also stressful job? Well like any job it had it’s share of up’s and downs but I would like to think I was a good team player who did what needed done to assist my colleagues whenever I could.

Of course like all workplaces there were the odd clashes of personality over the years however I always managed to resolve any differences in a professional manner. Like everyone else it is safe to say I got on better with some people than I did with others, and it is only natural to say that there were colleagues I liked and others I couldn’t stand. Though to be fair, the vast majority of those I worked with were decent people I would always help if I was in the  position to do so.

As my boss said on my first day in post, working as a trainer is a thankless task as many people who attend courses particularly if those are mandatory do not want to be there  and it’s your job to deal with that hostility. Overall I was reasonably successful in this and had a 96-98 percent approval rate when my feedback forms were evaluated. So it’s safe to say this was my favourite part of the job. Well as a spoken word poet who has occasionally dabbled in stand up I have always had good communication skills and made good connections with many participants on the courses I delivered.  Indeed  there were more than a few over the years who have gone on to become valued friends on a personal level and three of them attend or have attended the same church as me.

Of course training wasn’t without its challenges and I had to do a lot of reading to keep up to speed with the latest developments on all forms of equalities. I also faced more than the occasional challenge to my authority in the training room usually from egocentric males who had far too high an opinion of themselves. Believe me this tested my diplomatic skills to the limit but gradually as I learned the job I would find techniques I could use to isolate them from the rest of the group.  Also as I got better known in the field participants who enjoyed the day would often warn me if someone from their work had any previous for trying to annoy or undermine the trainer. Believe me I had more informal informers than her majesty’s secret service and there was always someone in every training room who was ready to cover my back as and when required. 

It was during my time as a trainer that I started gender transition. It has to be said that transitioning at  work was a rewarding if challenging experience and I believe, though they would try to claim otherwise, some of my colleagues just didn’t get it and there were a few who complained about my dress sense even though I was smart and professional at all times.

This made me angry beyond all measure especially when you consider the fact that they received training on the issues around transition from the Scottish Transgender Alliance. However what disappointed me more than anything was that on receiving feedback from the trainer who delivered the sessions some of those who should have got it in terms of the equality agenda were actually amongst the least cooperative and least enthusiastic members of their groups.  Like I said I have my spies. 

That said however annoying as it was, this wasn’t the most annoying issue I had to deal with during my time with this employer that was but a minor detail when compared to the relentless quest for perfection. Being good at your job was never good enough for an organisation where everything had to be excellent.

This to me was madness especially for an organisation whose profile is nowhere near as high as they seem to think. It was this constant striving for perfection which caused me more stress than any member of the awkward squad ever did. I believe it was unrealistic to place such targets on the staff and I know I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Don’t get me wrong , there is nothing wrong with ambition but you have to set that ambition in context. No matter what your mammy might say to sooth your ego you’ll never play for Barcelona if you can’t get a game for Berwick Rangers, and you’ll never be part of the new Spice Girls if the only place you ever sing is with your pals in front of the bedroom mirror with hairbrushes for mics.

It is this attitude of having to be best and be on top form every day which makes me glad I am no longer working in this environment. There is nothing wrong with being good at your job in fact for most people that would be more than enough but the idea of striving for relentless excellence is enough to put people under so much pressure it could have a serious detrimental impact on the person’s mental well being. It is for this reason I’m glad to be out of my former place of employment.

It is ironic that my redundancy came just 15 days after my 50th birthday and hard as it was to take at the time I bear no malice to my former colleagues or the excellent organisation I was lucky enough to work for.

Of course being made redundant meant a few financial issues and at least until I got used to living with more cuts than your average Tory budget. Now I’m not going to lie and say I don’t miss the money of course I do but believe me I don’t miss the stress and when you get to your mid fifties it’s good to be a lady of leisure. Well being able to have woman time has meant I have been able to become more involved in my local community. It means I have been able to devote more time to my poetry and to my political activities be they in the SNP, Women For Independence, or the many other campaigns and causes with which I’m involved. Most of all of course being a lady of leisure has enabled me to start this blog. Yes it’s true being made redundant from my job as a trainer meant I had to look for new ways to occupy my time and that was how 9 months on from redundancy tartantights was born and believe me I’m glad it was.

Indeed it’s true to say there have been times particularly during the independence referendum when having this blog saved my sanity. Well you see I’m a gabby wee madam with opinions on everything and none of my opinions were being represented in the print or visual versions of the mainstream media and me being me I thought to myself if they won’t represent me then I’ll damn well represent myself so that is exactly what I decided to do and I have done ever since.

Now to those of you who may not be aware, I have to inform you that blogging is a very time consuming activity. At least it is if you want to do it to the standard I do and believe me I will never give it anything less than my best. It is therefore safe to say that had I still been working as a trainer this blog which has now become my passion would never have seen the light of day.

Believe me when I say that this has been a difficult post to write, However I would say that for me at least losing my job as a trainer opened other doors in the most unexpected of ways. I discovered that life began at 50 and as I started on the next stage of my journey I realised the real difference between men and women and it’s this. It has been said that a man who loses his job loses part of his identity and given the chance he will complain to the world that he hasn’t much to do.
This is in complete contrast to what happens when a woman who loses her employment you see no woman I know has ever been redundant we have far too much to do for that to happen.

Don’t get me wrong losing our job may impact on a woman in the economic sense and it will impose some financial limitations on her until she adjusts her budget but if there is one thing she will never be or allow herself to be it is bored. Even a lady of leisure will say she hasn’t the time to get bored in fact she may be busier than ever and complain that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything that needs doing done to her satisfaction. Being a trans woman I can speak with authority on this as I’m more active now than I was when I was working and a lot more active than I was before transitioning and you know I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

I’m Finally Wearing Tartan Tights And Living Up To My Name

Hey Readers

It’s official after years of procrastination I finally succumbed and bought myself a pair of tartan tights. Well I thought a girl has to live up to her blog and this seems as good a time as any.

The fact I brought three pairs all different tartans Douglas, Henderson, and Thomson being the clans concerned on the night after Brexit and was assisted in my purchases by articulate intelligent girls from Finland and Venezuela.

This brought an international flavour to a Friday night in which the united kingdom became more disunited than at any time it’s history and the fact that campaign for a second independence referendum was launched in all but name was I  think  an added bonus. At least it was for this Scot who has always believed herself to be a good global citizen who believes in freedom and fairness for all nations and wants to live in an inclusive nation. 

I wore my new prized Douglas tartan tights (see picture below) to an event in the west end the next day and whereas I may have expected a passing comment in the east end where I now reside or the north of the city where I was born and raised they so much as raised an eyelid in the coffee shops of Byres Road or the pubs of Ashton Lane. Well the west end with its higher than average student population is much more cosmopolitan in outlook in comparison to the rest of Glasgow so to see a middle aged women wearing tartan tights is far less pass remarkable in those circumstances. In fact let’s just say that I wouldn’t be surprised if someone thought that instead of wearing my heart on my sleeve I was wearing my political beliefs on my legs.

image

After giving them a break and a quick wash on Sunday I wore them again on Monday night to an event in Edinburgh. It was whilst I was on the train I noticed that there was a speck of mud on them but as the girls who were seated opposite me said when I pointed out this fashion crime the woman hasn’t left the house with bogging or laddered tights isn’t really one of the girls she’s more like a carbon copy of Barbie.

Being a Glasgow girl I prefer to look a bit more real and though this may not have been my preferred look it was one I could cope with. You see I’ve waited too long to let the little things bother me. I am a happy confident woman who is at ease with myself and comfortable in my skin and it’s that confidence which allowed me to claim my female bragging rights, wear my tartan tights and live up to the title of my blog.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Two Hours

Hey Readers On day 24 of NaPoWriMo my poem deals with an issue faced by many young trans people namely the geography of isolation. The choice of this topic came after a catch up with LGBT activist and 2014  Tartan Tights Woman Of The Year Lisa Tait .During our chat Lisa told me a story of a young trans woman who can only be herself for a couple of hours a week. Now I don’t know the name of this young trans woman nor do I know what part of Scotland she calls home. What I do know however is that she will not be the only young trans person in this position. 
As I looked back to my own teenage years in the 1970’s I realise that I too suffered from this geography of isolation. At a time when there were virtually no LGBT facilities in Glasgow and certainly none for teenagers or younger people even in the big cities I too was restricted to just a couple of hours a week to be my real self so I feel a degree of empathy to those in this position in these  enlightened times. After much due and careful consideration I have given it the title  Two Hours I hope enjoy what I hope will be a challenging and thought provoking read.

Two Hours

For two hours a week
she is allowed
to be confident
proud
say out loud
who she knows herself to be
express her female identity
for the rest of the time
she must hide
what others see as her shame
forbidden to use her name
or say to the world
she’s a girl
she comes from a village
where everyone knows
each other’s business
for him as she is seen
by a society wedded to sobriety
to want to be a lassie
just can’t be right
in the eyes of those
who refuse to see her
for who she really is
skirts and tights hidden
from disapproving eyes
she hates lying to herself
but sees no other way
to survive
the geography of isolation
faced by so many trans teens
outside the big cities 
mean it’s tougher than it should be
to live the life she craves
dreams have to wait
it’s frustrating not being allowed
to be who you are
you can’t go shopping for lipsticks or bras
but she copes hoping one day
the world will understand
and just let her be
I remember when that girl
was me
back in the mid 1970’s
with no trans groups or facilities
I had to rely on my mother’s goodwill
I loved reading Jackie
wearing dresses with frills
I dreamed one of being
one of the girls
but my mother dressed me
like a middle aged wife
claimed woman’s own
was what my life would become
thanks mum I thought
it turned out she was right
tan tights and navy skirts
not my choice
as the uniform for attention
nonetheless
wearing them helped me
to blend in
when I eventually did transition
looking back
I longed for the chance
to go out dancing
with the girls
but my weekends
were spent romancing my dreams
when you lived in the schemes
you had to be content
with your secrets
I kept mine hidden
out of sight of others
for fear being discovered
my reward was in knowing myself
and sharing two hours
of private time with my mother

@ Gayle Smith 2016

NB This poem was written on day 24 but couldn’t be posted till now due the fact I had to deal with ongoing issues and provide assistance to a friend.