Journal

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.

Feeling crap for christmas

Posted by Anna at 09:41 on Monday, December 24, 2007
I've got a cold. Not the usual runny nose irritating kind, but the full fledged "I've barely got out of bed in 3 days and feel like I'm dying" kind. I'm not sure which hurts more - my head or my throat.

Oh well - there go the travel plans for Christmas.

The Wacky Things Friends Get Up To

Posted by Anna at 13:44 on Sunday, December 09, 2007
Beth and I travelled up to Maidenhead on Saturday to join a celebration of my friend Rupert "Don't Point That Moot At Me" Mortiary's 40th birthday at the Stag and Hounds in Pinkneys Green.

The Stag and Hounds is a very familar pub to me, as I used to live in that area and we staggered from it regularly. Although it has changed a bit since then (the bar billiards table is long gone, sadly) it's still recognisably the same place, and the beer is still every bit as good.

Rupert being Rupert decided it would be a fancy dress affair, with the theme "movie stars", so you can probably guess at some of the resulting costumes. I have to admit that Beth and I had a complete imagination failure and just got dressed up for the occasion...when asked I just said I claimed amnesia and said "guess!", athough with hindsight I should have worn my gothic dress and claimed to be Elvira "after she finally found a decent hairdresser".

When we first arrived at the pub and walked into the saloon bar we were greeted by Rups in a full Musketeer regalia. He'd come as Oliver Reed ("if drinking has a name, it's Oliver Reed" as the T-shirt says) which I have to say was totally appropriate given the occasion....and, well it was just the sort of thing Rups does. Shame we forgot to bring the camera, really.

Of course, with most of the group being re-enactors there was bound to be a wacky scheme afoot, and it turned out that Rups' costume was no accident:

The Ollie Reed Appreciation Society


And they say re-enactors are mad. Thinking again, they are quite possibly right...but I'd still rather be associated with them than with the 'danes.

The evening was really fun...it was great to see everybody again and I'm sure it won't be too long before we do it all again.

Acceptance, Rejection and the Family

Posted by Anna at 20:11 on Friday, December 07, 2007
At this time of year our thoughts quite naturally turn to our families.

One of the downsides of being a transperson is that as soon as you seek help (whether medical in nature or just by talking to those you trust) you run the risk of losing absolutely everything.

Even today, in such situations far too many families find themselves unable to cope and - rather than trying to learn about what is happening and why - turn their backs on their own. Even worse, transpeople who are also parents are very likely to find themselves separated from their children - regardless of their children's wishes.

Unfortunately I am one of those people - I've not heard a thing from my family in over five years now, and I don't know where my children are, let alone have any contact with them. The only way I can send cards or presents to them is via my parents, who never acknowledge anything I send.

I am however fortunate in that that reaction has not extended to those outside my immediate family. Quite the opposite - although I am in touch with people going all the way back to my childhood, I've found nothing but acceptance and respect.

The same is true in my professional life. Ex-colleagues from Racal and Sonardyne has been unanimous in their support, and those I've met since (e.g. through the ACCU and the CodeProject community) have shown similar support.

Why then, do families all too often react so badly?

My theory (and it is only that, so don't take it as gospel) is that families are all too often loose knit collections of individuals bound together within an all too fragile web of family expectations and awkward silences. Some things are always left unsaid, and there are always things which "the family" would rather avoid discussing.

Amongst those taboo subjects are - all too often - gender and sexuality. Many transpeople I've heard from relate accounts of being told "But I could have coped with it if you were just gay!" when they came out to their family. In truth, those families are deluding themselves - they probably couldn't cope with that, either.

I can't help thinking that such reactions are a sign of old attitudes, and that society at large evolves far faster than the typical family unit (which makes sense when you think that changes in society come upwards from younger age groups, whereas in a family the older members tend to have much more influence). Why else would I find acceptance everywhere else but in my family?

Look at it another way. Had I been old enough to marry in the 1970s I could probably have provoked a very similar reaction from my immediate family by marrying someone of a different race.

It makes you think, doesn't it?

A few tears, but life goes on

Posted by Anna at 19:43 on Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Yesterday, held a lot of tears, but thankfully they have just about passed now.

I have to admit I have been having a hard time coping with being separated from my kids this weekend - especially with Christmas approaching, and their presents starting to collect on the table. I won't be able to see them open them, nor even likely know whether they will like them - the last I will see will be the parcel going over the counter at the Post Office.

Life deals a tough hand to each of us in our own way. Nevertheless, I cannot help but give thanks for the many amazing people who have supported me unconditionally throughout.

You know who you are.