Welcome to my online journal, which I started in December 2002 after several very persuasive hints from friends. Although I obviously don't write about everything that happens in my life here, I hope it'll provide an insight into who I am and what's happening in my life - whether good, bad, happy or sad.

Gender Recognition Act Survey from the Department of Constitutional Affairs

Posted by Anna at 09:45 on Friday, September 17, 2004
I've just received the following message from the Gender Trust and Press For Change regarding the implementation of the Gender Recognition Act 2004. The Government is asking for feedback from transpeople as to if and when they are likely to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate so they can ensure that applications are processed as quickly as possible when the Act is implemented next year.

If you have transitioned, please take the time to read the following message and fill in the survey. The more information the Department for Constitutional Affairs has on projected demand the smoother things are likely to go.

    Important Survey Form:

    (wherever you are based in the world)

    Dear All,

    Over the past few months, since the Gender Recognition Act was given Royal Assent, Gender Trust, Press for Change and FtM Network have been in close discussions with The Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) about implementation of The Act.

    The DCA are assessing the Gender Recognition process to ensure that it works as efficiently as possible. In particular, they have been mapping out how the applications are processed to see where potential delays in the system may occur due to a backlog of applications building up at any stage in the process.

    One of the key decisions which need to be taken is how many staff will be needed to deal with applications and how long the anticipated early surge will last and what type of applications are likely to be received.

    For example 3000 applications in the first month of which half are from overseas applicants would cause serious delays if the expected rate was only 1000 UK applicants.

    We need your help to ensure that DCA can match the resources of the Panels and supporting Secretariat to the demand. We as community groups in conjunction with DCA have put together a simple online form which we request that as many of you as possible complete. THE FORM WILL REMAIN ONLINE UNTIL 10 OCTOBER.

    The first page of the form explains the background to the survey. Let me reassure you that no personal information will be collected or passed on to DCA - only the basic statistical summary of the eight questions asked will be provided to them.

    You can access the form by clicking on the weblink:

    Please pass this link to as many trans people worldwide as possible in the next week.

    Thank you,
    Angela Clayton, Gender Trust
    Claire McNab, Press for Change
    Stephen Whittle, FtM Network

Batman at the Palace

Posted by Anna at 19:03 on Monday, September 13, 2004
On some days the news can be not only topical but also surreal.

    Campaign staged on Palace balcony

    A Fathers 4 Justice campaigner dressed as Batman is staging a protest on the Buckingham Palace balcony.

    Jason Hatch, 33, entered the grounds and scaled a wall at 1420 BST.
    . is the latest in a series of high-profile stunts by Fathers 4 Justice costumed campaigners who have protested on the London Eye and the Church of England General Synod in York.

    A police helicopter circled overhead as scores of people, including some protesters, gathered to watch from behind a police cordon.

    Mr Hatch, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, stood on a ledge to the right hand side of the main balcony and unfurled a banner which read "Super dads of fathers 4 justice". He is believed to have two children, aged four and five, who he has not seen for several years and is thought to have taken part in the York protest.

    Also on the banner are the words: "Fighting for your right to your kids".

    A group of Fathers 4 Justice campaigners are believed to have distracted police by climbing the front gate, while Mr Hatch climbed over the outer fence.

    Fellow protester Dave Pyke, 48, dressed as Batman's sidekick Robin but was stopped by armed police as he tried to scale the fence. He told BBC News Online: "We are totally untrained, just ordinary guys and if we can get in there, anybody can get in there."
It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who's aware of my situation when I say that I'm totally in favour of the Fathers 4 Justice campaign, if not their rather unconventional methods. Although I would never advocate breaking the Law, you have to admire their audacity - and the effectiveness of the campaign they're mounting in raising public awareness of the sheer inadequacy of the current system in maintaining contact between non-resident parents and their children.

It's also no surprise that politicians are expressing sheer outrage about protests like this - they show how bad so-called security often really is in a very public way. However, I also wouldn't be at all surprised if privately some are expressing their gratitude that this laxness was exposed by such a harmless group.

Maybe they should be thanking Fathers 4 Justice for pointing that out. But that wouldn't be the done thing now, would it?

"Series for Discovery Health- can you help me?"

Posted by Anna at 22:15 on Friday, September 10, 2004
Every so often I receive emails from TV producers asking me to assist them with TV programmes about gender issues (the last one was a programme about the Reassignment Surgery I had last November, and before that it was This Morning, who wanted me to appear on a programme about Facial Feminisation Surgery). Although it's very flattering I always refuse, as I'm wary about having my profile raised quite that much!

Well...another one has arrived, and for a change it's not asking me to appear on television - rather it's a request for me to publish a general appeal for people to do so:

    Hi there,

    I am from a television company based in York and we have been commissioned to make a series on gender dysphoria and gender reassignment for Discovery Health.

    I was wondering if it would be possible to post on your website to ask if anybody would be interested in helping us make this new series? I have briefly outlined below what the series is about for your own information.

    This informative series will be aimed at Discovery Health's niche audience who are interested in personal health and wellbeing issues. It is not aimed at a primetime general audience.We are currently looking for people who are prepared to take part in the series and share any aspects of their experiences of this subject with our viewers.

    We are interested in featuring a wide range of people � from those at the very beginning of their journey to those who have successfully completed gender re-assignment surgery. We�re also interested in our cameras following people through individual stages in the process � from psychological assessments, cosmetic surgery procedures and gender re-assignment surgery itself.

    We will also involve people who simply have interesting stories to tell � particularly if they involve families, friends or other people who have given support.

    This is likely to be the most comprehensive tv project ever undertaken on the subject and we are keen to hear the widest possible range of experiences.

    Our company, Mandrill Television, has a strong track record of producing sensitive, human-interest programming for Discovery health, including series on cosmetic surgery and fertility treatment.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon. Please do not hesitate to contact me on the number below with any questions you may have.

    Kind regards,

    Willow Patrick
    Mandrill Television

    Tel: 01904 788700.

Good news - I'm still writing

Posted by Anna at 21:55 on Tuesday, September 07, 2004
I'm pleased to say that - after a lot of deliberation - I've decided to continue my journal (as you can probably tell by the posts that have just appeared covering the intervening period).

I will however be making some changes as a result of recent events...most noticeably in the subjects I write about. Unfortunately I just can't be as open about my life as I've been in the past.

Enough of the reflection though. Enjoy!

Anyone for a T-Party?

Posted by Anna at 21:28 on Monday, September 06, 2004
This weekend has been a busy and fun one for us.

On Saturday afternoon we both travelled up to London for a picnic organised by Press For Change to celebrate the Gender Recognition Bill becoming Law (it's now the Gender Recognition Act 2004).

The picnic (which was announced in a fairly low key manner on some of the trans support lists in the UK) was to be held near the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park. Quite honestly we didn't know what to expect...for all we knew there could be just 10 or more than 200 people planning to go. Of course, sometimes it's fun to be just a little in the dark...

In the event the day surpassed all expectations. It was beautifully sunny (although not as hot as I now seem to like it after my experience of the Thai climate!) and we really couldn't have asked for a more perfect day for a picnic.

After arriving at shortly after 1pm we walked across the park to the Serpentine Gallery and tried to find everybody. Before too long we bumped into several others doing the same, and after receiving directions by phone from a friend (how did we ever manage without mobiles?) culminating in her standing up and waving madly at us we finally found everybody.

I didn't count how many people were there, but the numbers steadily climbed throughout the afternoon, and the atmosphere was fantastic. What did strike me was the sheer number of trans men really was good to see both sides of the T* community almost equally represented. One of the many memorable moments for me was when a bunch of the guys decided to wander off for a game of football and shouted over an invite of "Anybody want a game of football?". My response of standing up and shouting back "Not any more!" certainly raised a few laughs.

As ever when you're spending time with friends time flies, and as the sun got progressively higher and brighter we retreated further and further under the trees until by late afternoon we were all well and truly in the shade.

We finally said our goodbyes and left the park at 7:45pm - just before it was due to close for the night. We'd been there for nearly 7 hours!

PFC have just issued this press release of the afternoon's events, which I think says it all perfectly:

    It turned out to be the most glorious hot sunny summer day for a picnic.

    As host, I arrived at the Kensington Garden picnic spot, along with my partner, at the advertised start time, with no idea of how many transpicnickers to expect. A high camp collection bucket, food, and a Nadia signed picture laid out on the picnic cloths. Excited expectation outweighing any anxiety. over the possible turnout. At least I was the one person who knew how to find the location!

    In the early stages of the gathering, we were driven to waving enthusiastically at all passers-by. Wondering if we were invisible or rather passing too well, as an initial motley crew of trans men, friends and partners. But soon we grew in numbers with a more wonderful and diverse mix of trans women, and trans men and transboys, and dog. Cheeky Hua, the Chihuahua, rounded us up, running in sheepdog trial tight circles around the edges of our sprawling picnic group. As the warm evening brought the picnic to a close, Cheeky Hua looked quite happy after consuming her own body weight in chicken, as did the host with a belly full of home-made pasties and a collection bucket stuffed full with notes.

    We had the loveliest shared food, and shared company. With so much to talk about: getting to meet each other, the trans rights events of this year, Nadia, the media coverage of trans issues, hearing of new groups starting up, and there was also a lot of enthusiasm for more mixed social events. Plus a comical charade of an attempt at making up trans hand-signals of recognition, as back up to Transdar and waving at strangers, useful for the very beginning of get togethers like this!

    Nadia's signed photo went for a bid of �40, and Jamie McCloud donated one of his photo silkscreen limited edition T-shirts fetching �21, raising the Press For Change collection to over �200.

    I would like to say a big thank you to all the picnickers for being so generous and making the picnic fundraiser a success.

    Many picnickers had travelled from outside of London, and there was talk of holding a Bournemouth picnic next year also.

    It was agreed that the London picnic should be an annual event.

    What a lot of us really liked was the welcome mix - the mix of trans women and trans men getting together, along with friends, partners, and a brother - making a fun, friendly and memorable Trans event.

After spending the night with a friend (hi Claire!) we spent a lazy Sunday visiting Beth's parents and a couple of friends, before eventually heading home late in the evening.

This kitten is now tired out and well and truly brown.