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.

Graduation 2021

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 The idea of life as a transit point has never felt more relevant. I attended my PhD graduation at Edinburgh Castle with my partner in crime, Valentina, last week (see picture, on our front lawn before the taxi arrives to sweep us off to the ball). You probably can’t tell from the photograph but the dress I’m wearing is so tightly bound to my body that on trying to remove it one time in London as I attempted to go to bed in my hotel room, I nearly died of suffocation. I’m glad it didn’t happen last weekend too, after getting a PhD and then walking through the streets of Edinburgh with dreams of a glittering career, it would have been quite the anti-climax to that career. I imagine the gravestone: Dr Gina Gwenffrewi: died of auto-asphyxiation while getting stuck in versatile officewear.

They say the PhD is an achievement, but there’s always the immediate aftermath of finding the job that fits your new skill-set and qualifications. You’re more than you were, but also, materially, just the same as before, which in my case can be characterized by the words 'temporary contract,' 'minimum wage,' and 'Amazon.' That gap can lead to sleepless nights, and I'm not talking about the nightshift work I recently ended at Amazon. I was thinking today about how I once thought coming out as trans would make me happy. But I realize now that coming out was just a piece in a jigsaw puzzle in which happiness is about being the best version of yourself. Will the transitioning never end?

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Faded Routes - On Street Harassment

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Today I went for a walk while altering my route, to avoid a man whose attentions have become a little too close for comfort.

I've been vaguely aware of him for a year or more, as he watches the world go by outside his apartment window. There was only ever a face in the gloom of his apartment. Then last week a man stopped me alongside a canal to give me some kind of compliment, and I realized it was him. He told me he'd fallen in love with me from afar, from his window.

He seemed under the influence of alcohol. I smiled politely at his words, and kept walking in the opposite direction. I felt sorry for him for being drunk in the early afternoon.

I told my flatmates. They described it as harassment and asked me if I was okay. I shrugged. Was it harassment? Wasn't it just some drunk guy trying to be nice? And again, I felt sorry for him. He might be an alcoholic, an illness that turns people into something terrible, not least for themselves. Who was the real victim here?

But then the other day, I was returning from my graduation ceremony in a black dress, black tights and boots, a little more eye-liner and mascara than usual. I entered a particular street and recognized the mix of 1980s and 1990s music booming from a certain window. I looked up, inadvertently, and there he was, staring at me. Eye contact made. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Keep walking Gina, like it never happened. Keep walking, like you're not aware his eyes are lasered in on your back and every step you take as you walking down the street away from him. But the flurry of thoughts came anyway: what if he thinks the outfit and extra niceness is for him? What if he takes this as flirting, as a signal?

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Retreating from gender-critical feminism: my reflections

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Retreating from gender-critical feminism: my reflections Some months back, I reached out to the people who were meant to be my enemies: gender-critical feminists. I was worn down and had had enough of the media attacks and the hate, the JK Rowling furore and GRA reform, the weekly articles questioning our intentions and validity. I was worn down by...
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Lacanian Icarus: when Gina flew too close to the sun?

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On the recent experience of nearly being no-platformed There are two identities in one when it comes to being part of a disempowered minority. The first is for yourself: all your failings, your insecurities, your doubts, and connected to this, your curiosity and quirks. Let's be Lacanian analysts for a moment: what we're talking about is the transg...
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Trans Hell-thcare

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The picture accompanying this post is important to me. I took it yesterday, 16 November 2020, unsure what I'd find. It's been nearly eleven months since I came off oestrogen for reasons I'll get into in a moment. Undoubtedly this has had an effect on me, bodily and therefore psychologically, but the accompanying selfie gives me a reassura...
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Silenced by The Scotsman

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On 11 June 2020, The Scotsman published a deeply hostile article against transgender rights and activism in an opinion piece about the JK Rowling furore by its deputy political editor Gina Davidson. After much distress, I wrote a counter article which The Scotsman quietly ignored, after they had offered to pass it on to their Comment Editor. I expe...
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My 2020 Vision

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My 2020 Vision I've been away for so long from these postings, don't be offended. I used to write three times a week, because I needed to, in the maelstrom of early transitioning. Now, things are calmer, my gender feels more normal, we've reached the point where it's all about finishing my PhD in Trans Female Representations in the Americas this su...
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Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

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Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...
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General Election

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General Election 12 December 2019 I spent the last election in an office, alone but for the company of a colleague. We watched the BBC's coverage while I drank wine, downbeat and expecting austerity and the absence of hope to triumph. Then we saw the exit poll and hung around, disbelieving at the sight of the kindled embers and lukewarm glow of a f...
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While transphobes get more hateful, I become more freckly

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While transphobes got more hateful, I became more freckly Written weeks after the conference Transgender: Intersectional/International There's nothing good to say, even the films I enjoyed watching this past week, Midsommar and Apollo 11, I've lost the Sunday will to write. Perhaps Brexit Britain will become like the village cult in Midsommar, burn...
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Personal Reflections on Transgender: Intersectional/International

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Personal reflections on the conference Transgender: Intersectional/International (28-29 May) ​​Note: these reflections do not represent anyone else who contributed to Transgender: Intersectional/International I got involved with Transgender: Intersectional/International in order to create an LGBT/queer space that accommodated discussions on racism,...
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Gina's Moving Castle

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Saturday afternoon 27.04.19 Enough with marking papers. Enough about conferences. Outside is a blue sky. There's a book shop nearby, my temple, its owners are trying to remove stickers of transphobic messages pasted on their door. Yesterday I met a guy who'd been set upon by a group of 17-year-olds. He still had the scars, and the trauma. They saw ...
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A Brexit Feminism That Fears And Excludes

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This article follows a number of events that shook me this week. First of all, the filmed harassment by two Trans-Exclusionary-Radical-Feminists (TERFs) of trans woman Sarah McBride at McBride's workplace. I watched it online and thought: that could be me, caught out, disoriented. How do you respond to the equivalent of door-stepping, as out of the...
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2019 I am ready for you

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2019 I am ready for you After a Christmas of deadnaming, trans-shaming and get-in-the-car-quick confidence-maiming, I am back, like a fist through a million-dollar painting. I am adult enough now to disregard what's not important, as I survey the field before me. I am unlikely to romance or murder anyone. I'm also not planning to die. I will work h...
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Transgender milestone (#5): visiting a foreign country

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It means nothing to me This means nothing to me Oh, Vienna ('Vienna' by Ultravox) It's up there with your first full day as an out trans female, with the admin changes, your first job and that conversation with your family. I went to Vienna this weekend to a conference, my first time out of the country with my passport grasped at my tender bosom, s...
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San Francisco Forty-Something

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San Francisco Forty-Something San Francisco, my city. I have never been there. I met a San Franciscan last Friday in a bar, like a Catholic meeting the Pope; or a younger version of me discovering you've been to Disney World in Florida. We sit there, two forty-something cis and trans. I hang on the person's every snippet of daily existence, ad...
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The Whiteness of LGBT+ Spaces

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The Whiteness of LGBT+ Spaces I'm not writing this in a fit of white self-hate. I've noticed recently that as a transgender white person, I inhabit mainly all-white spaces. I unconsciously select the company of those I'll have things in common with – company that's identifiable to me, company that feels unconsciously familiar. I may not like this p...
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Fragments

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 Fragments Yesterday evening I completed my move across town from one apartment to another. The experience was, and continues to be, disorientating. I guess everyone needs a place to call home. I start from scratch, again. I woke up from an anxiety nightmare early this morning. Soon after, was lying on the floor doing stret...
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Forbidden Androgynies

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Forbidden Androgynies Growing up in the 1980s, I remember particular cartoons that seemed indispensable and which even today seem impressively cool in their inventiveness. In no particular order, these include the disturbingly Satanic Thundercats with female icon Cheetara, as well as the more gently uplifting Dungeons and Dragons – with the wonderf...
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Gruff Rhys: Resist Phony Encores

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Gruff Rhys: Resist Phony Encores Haunting, disarming, his voice trembling then strong and soothing. Gruff Rhys played and talked for an hour, songs sometimes in Welsh, sometimes English, occasionally mixing recorded sounds, adding voice over voice or gentle squeaking bird calls from a tiny machine. This performance was a rare and intimate plea...
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