With Edinburgh University still in Fresher-Week mode yesterday, I participated in an LGBT info event, with myriad groups manning stalls. I met with organisers and took their literature as they took from mine – I have a feeling that my event-organizing this year is going to be a much more collaborative effort. This means bigger audiences and greater reach, as well as the fun of a shared workload and many ideas from organizers of different generations and backgrounds.
The stall that moved me most, for personal reasons, was Scot-Pep, who organise to represent sex worker rights, including those in the trans community. It doesn't surprise me that many trans people would get involved in prostitution to get by. Over this past year, especially after the University rejected my application as a teaching assistant (after a lot of other rejections), and the city's private agencies gave me nothing, I began to re-consider my own options. It hadn't yet got to the idea of prostitution as something plausible; I was preparing instead to go from bar to bar in the gay/trans district, begging for part-time work with the hope of sympathy as one of their own.
Would I have turned to prostitution if I'd got nothing over the summer? Answer: I don't know. I did reflect on it, and my own viability. I don't think I'm so unattractive, if the 6ft trans woman is your thing. But you, dear reader, can see my photos on this site, so perhaps you're better placed to make a judgement call on my possibly deluded potential. Whatever; given my anger and desperation around April-May, I was beginning to see myself as an outsider, without access to what I considered normal, or legal, opportunities. I also had my breakdown in a colleague's office, after the hardest and cruellest job rejection. In short, I no longer felt I had a stake in polite society.It's a funny thing, though, as someone who feels uncomfortable around Gay Pride, but I felt happy and at ease in that hall yesterday, exchanging emails and literature with people whom I can organize with, and with people who I took to more than I thought I would. Community can be an overrated thing, but it can also be the safety net and springboard when you're ready to return to the action as your re-invented self. It was also a reminder to me yesterday, of avenues I hadn't quite gone down, partly - I think - because the stars aligned for me at the right moment.