Transgender Life

I don’t want this site to be solely about being transgender. From my experiences so far, it’s not even something I could write about every week – being in the closet is far more intense and frustrating and writeable. However, there are moments when things happen, unique to trans people. I’d like to share those moments with you, and let you into the mystery.

Learning to Smile

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  Learning to Smile When I smiled, it was always awkward. My tightly closed lips – if you look at the other pictures of me in my Transgender Diary, you'll notice that you never see my teeth. In no photo of me going back to early childhood will you ever see my teeth. But then, in the final years before I came out as trans, you'll stru...
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My World Cup diary (I)

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​ My World Cup diary (I) Saturday Night My flatmate and I hosted a Beatles-themed party a few weeks ago. I chose the simple route for my Beatles-themed outfit, using string to tie lots of paperback novels to my waist, signifying  Paperback Writer.  It wasn't very inspired, but I did also create some mash-up posters for my flatmate (see pi...
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Anxiety Dreams and the Cisgender Label

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Anxiety Dreams and the Cisgender Label I know it's bad form to talk about one's dreams but I'd like to start this post by talking about how I woke up in darkness last night, after an evolving, unpleasant, anxiety dream about being trans. In the first half of the dream, people saw me in a nice apartment, and wanted to take it for themselves because ...
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On loving a film that others hate

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  On loving a film that others hate Instead of going to the cinema yesterday, I stayed in with my flatmate to watch a film I really like, High Fidelity (2000). How to describe the 'oh shit' moment when you realize a film you recommended is going down really badly with the other person? Following the ending, my flatmate spoke of it as if emergi...
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Star Wars Spirituality

Cloud-City
  Star Wars Spirituality I'm sitting on a plane as it's rising; it hits the clouds, breaking through, and the tension in my shoulders gives way to the smile across my face. Sunshine glistening against my window, with fields of cloud below me as far as I can see. I sit back, waiting to sip at the plastic see-through cup of blood-red wine. A hun...
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Transgender Art: Metanoia

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Transgender Art: Metanoia Transgender art comes around rarely, I've found, or perhaps I just haven't felt touched by it before. One of the most famous trans artists, Del LaGrace Volcano , is the kind I don't feel drawn to, images of the artist all gurning and grotesque, seeming to depend on shock and incongruity. Their work for me prompts thes...
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London: Digital Identities Conference

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  London: Digital Identities Conference 18.05.18 Presenting at a conference on deprived sleep is like wandering Peruvian forests on Ayahuasca The last few days have seen me emerging from hypnotic tortures of sleep deprivation, of days blurring into nights blurring into dawns and hotel breakfasts. Train journeys taking me to speak at a conferen...
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What's On (my lips)

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What's On (my lips) With a conference talk in London to prepare for this coming Friday, and with my PowerPoint slides empty in front of me, I did what any self-respecting, prospective academic would do in my position, by going out and buying lipstick. Wait, Gina, I hear you ask – But no. Do not ask for connections. Ask only for the colour. As ...
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Learning Curves

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Learning Curves: speaking at my first conference This post could go one of two ways, narcissistic or focused on the bigger picture. I spoke at Edinburgh Mad Con yesterday – the conference of Madness, Mental Illness and Mind Doctors in 20 th and 21 st Century Popular Culture. I spoke about the moral panic caused by the issue of transgender women usi...
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To have or not have cosmetic surgery

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To have or not have cosmetic surgery It started as I was browsing images of Sarah McBride, the trans activist as girl-next-door, so pretty and passable. Then came Janet Mock, her model-good-looks, and I thought, 'fucking hell' and also, 'oh for fuck's sake.' And these are supposed to be my transgender role models? It's the weird dynamics ...
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My love for GLOW

BeFunky-Collage-GLOW
GLOW (Netflix TV show) I've seldom watched a Netflix show all the way through, season by season. Orange is the New Black , I watched into the third series before the grimness of the prison setting began to wear me down. Brit Marling's intelligent sci-fi, The OA , I did watch, and was sad it covered only one season. Sense8 I could happily watch...
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The Highs and Lows of an Intersectional Easter

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The Highs and Lows of an Intersectional Easter For Christians there's a sense of re-birth in the air, but Easter brings its own reflections for this non-Christian trans woman. I'll be away this coming Easter holiday, to be with people still trying to come to terms with my identity. I read somewhere that to come out as trans is to take the leap of f...
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Saturday Night Party at Valentina's

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Saturday Night Party at Valentina's How is it possible to get lost on the way to Valentina's, of which I've been to twice before? Pulling behind me a suitcase filled with gifts and alcohol, I took a long route up my favourite street, then realized it wouldn't take me to the party. A swirling blizzard soon enveloped me, and I found myself at a motor...
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Please, I don't want to dance

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After the cinema yesterday evening, I entered a gay bar with some friends. I never go to gay bars – or any bars, except in cinemas. I get anxious in crowded rooms of strangers, where alcohol is flowing and the music is slightly deafening. Like Alicia Vikander's cyborg in Ex Machina , I feel vulnerable in my artificiality. In the gay bar we were oka...
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Identity Politics

GinaWarhol
Identity Politics Sunday morning, I dropped £1 into the empty cardboard cup of a homeless person while the snow fell around us. It's the first time I've done such a thing in a while. It didn't make me feel good, it felt like a drop in the ocean. Earlier this week, the staff of my university went on strike. At one point, a picketing staff membe...
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Anamorphosis

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Anamorphosis On Thursday I went to a public speaking contest where I watched my flatmate get first prize. I was late, turning up in the dinner break, with everyone milling around me, chatting excitedly about talks I hadn't witnessed. I drifted wordlessly, in a gentle trauma where I couldn't articulate anything. I found a friend I hadn't talked to i...
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A Shop I Used To Know

LTS
A Shop I Used To Know When you're six foot tall and trans-female, entering a women's clothes shop isn't like entering a cinema or a newsagent's. In M&S, the women seem so small – maybe it's the age of the average customer there? – that you can't help but stand out by comparison, even though it's got easier than it used to, from an emotional poi...
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At the Dentist's

Joker
At the Dentist's The dentist's chair is a place of tension for me. In childhood I never cared about my teeth and saw dentists as my nemesis. Then one day in early adolescence I fell as I was getting off my school bus and smashed a front tooth. It got fixed but I'm permanently insecure about breaking it once more. Then last summer, after nearly...
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In tribute to Laura Jane Grace

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In tribute to Laura Jane Grace Back then, circa 2008, it's Tom Gabel singing to an acoustic set with their band. The song, called The Ocean , twists and turns melodically, the voice is straining passionately. The song is fucking good already, If I could have chosen where God would hide his heaven I'd wish for it to be the salt and swell of the ocea...
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2018 All Shiny and New

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2018 All Shiny and New 12.01.18 I wake up in darkness: too cold and too dark. It's 2018, Edinburgh-style, in a freezing bedroom. Thoughts of studies and part-time work come to me. In my part-time job I am writing a manual, with a page of FAQs relating to work. There's a question I kept to myself for obvious reasons, but it re-appears in the morning...
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