Saturday, 10 November 2012


Tonight, I have to go out with some old friends -- friends from before I began my Journey. So I thought it would be simplest all around if I just sucked it up and presented male for the evening.

As it turns out, I think I've already forgotten how to dress like a bloke. And I'm not entirely sure I'll necessarily remember to respond to my boyname.

Oh well. I'm at the foot of the escalator now. Wish me luck .....


When I met them, it was an all-male party. They made some terrible sexist remarks. Even including "Simon, stop being such a girl!" Yes. Really. As though that was the biggest insult he could come up with. (Funny thing is, I have never considered being called a girl an insult.) I did ask him in a slightly hurt tone what he thought was wrong with being a girl, but I didn't dare admit that my presentation tonight was the exception. Then the women of the party arrived, the sexist conversation mysteriously stopped and we headed to the restaurant.

I cut and run after the meal. At least I made the right decision to go boymode. There's a small chance that maybe they would have been entirely understanding if I had been myself; they might even have held off on the sexist remarks in the presence of someone they knew would be offended.

Anyway, I think I'll decide tomorrow how well I think I thought I handled it.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Vale Zyra

It is with great sadness that we learned today of the passing of an Internet legend: Zyra is no more.

I never knew Zyra the person, for which I am no doubt the poorer; but found Zyra the site highly inspirational. Not because it was slick and polished and full of bells and whistles (it isn't). Not because it was a mine of more or less useful or useless information, in which it was possible to while away many an hour without really minding about being lost, just because the scenery was so interesting (although it is).

No, I fell in love with the site because this evidently belonged to somebody who wasn't going to put up with that s#!t. And a unilateral declaration of independence is something to be admired.

If you haven't seen the site, I recommend you take a look before it disappears from the Internet forever. Make sure you have quick and easy food and your favourite pharmaceutical products handy, you aren't expecting visitors and the recorder is programmed for your favourite TV shows; then jump feet-first down the rabbit hole, click on a link and get exploring.

If my hat wasn't already doffed, I'd have to tip it to Twitter user @sophiabotha.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Paramol is back! :)

Paramol -- the one over-the-counter opiate to rule them all -- is finally back on shelves behind UK pharmacy counters, after a prolonged hiatus due to licensing issues.

Packs of 32 pills, still bearing the familiar "pinned-out eye" logo, were seen in a major high street chemist today.

And lo, there was much rejoicing in the heart of Julie.

Unfortunately, I have a good reason to be very careful what I buy from that particular branch; but there are other stores in other towns.

I is a happy antelope!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Drew-Ashlyn's Seven Top Make-up Tips

There is an article here, in the Gay Star News, by the gorgeous Drew-Ashlyn Cunningham: Drew-Ashlyn’s seven top make-up tips | Gay Star News

Drew was one of the stars of the 2011 Channel 4 TV series, My Transsexual Summer. But what is so great, so refreshing about the article is that it makes only scant mention of this.

And this, of course, is exactly how it should be. It is an article is about make-up, not about anyone's gender or sexuality. Just a beautiful woman, passing on some of her best advice about cosmetics. The fact of her being trans is neither here nor there.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Why We Must Resist Calls for Armed Police

Some people are going to use the tragic shooting of two police officers in Manchester as an excuse to call for police to be routinely armed.

This is an extremely bad idea.

Even among criminals, there is still a strong feeling that shooting an unarmed person is an extremely cowardly act. Never mind the threat of an automatic custodial sentence for carrying firearms – people going out intending to commit a crime don't think they are going to get caught anyway. The reason why most criminals don't carry guns, is because the police don't carry guns. You don't shoot first. You just don't. Well, not unless you're the worst kind of sociopath. Or by accident.

Arming police would change all that in an instant. There would now be a very real threat of escalation. And it would legitimise the carrying of guns by criminals – you don't shoot first, but there's nothing wrong with returning fire. More armed police will mean more armed criminals. More armed people will mean more gunfighting. More gunfighting means more police officers – and more innocent bystanders – getting shot.

The ability to put real names and faces to real victims distorts things. It's much easier to lump together nameless, hypothetical victims that might or might not be as just so much "collateral damage" than it is to think of Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes as anything but individual human beings. Yet to do so would be to commit a kind of reverse stereotyping fallacy.

Two actual victims seems much worse than some unknown number of hypothetical victims. Until they stop being hypothetical and you start having to count them.

The simple fact is, very few British police officers are shot in the line of duty. That's why this is news in the first place.

And that is why we must resist calls for police to be routinely armed.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Today is not a good day to be homeless

Today is not a good day to be homeless, as new laws criminalising squatting in residential premises come into force.

It was already a criminal offence to squat in a home where there was a Displaced Residential Occupant – someone who had nipped out to Waitrose for more champagne and oysters and on their return, found the house has been occupied in the meantime by someone else – or a Protected Intending Occupant – someone who has a valid purchase or tenancy agreement, but is prevented from moving in by (and only by) the physical presence of an existing occupant. What this law changes is, now there need not be a D.R.O. or P.I.O. to escalate what ought rightfully to be a civil matter between the owner and occupier to criminal status. In cases where a D.R.O. / P.I.O. exists, the legal machinery is unlikely to move any faster in practice as a result of the new law.

(Side question; Why did nobody carry out "practice runs" by issuing fake tenancy agreements to create bogus P.I.O.s in order to evict squatters?)

What the new law will do, is make it easier for rich "investors" who make a business of taking out loans to buy dilapidated buildings and letting them out at extortionate rents far in excess of the interest on the loans, to keep their properties empty in search of even higher rents. And divide communities and tear families apart, as some of the poorest and most vulnerable are turned into criminals by default.

My personal angle: Many years ago, when houses were cheap and mortgages expensive, I – while renting a house – decided to purchase a different house. There followed a nightmare of recalcitrant legal personnel, requiring me to take out an extension on my tenancy until completion on the new house. The house, though advertised as vacant possession, was in fact occupied; though not by squatters in the strictest sense, as they had secured he vendor's permission to remain there rent-free until the sale was completed. In the event, some heavy-duty remedial work (required as a condition of the mortgage) required them to move out. The legal process over-ran the extension, and I was forced into one of two positions: Remain as a squatter in the rented house with a P.I.O. looming (and due to move in the day after I eventually moved out), or enter the house I was buying as both a squatter and (someone with a good claim to be) P.I.O. Needless to say, I chose the latter on account of me being unlikely to attempt to evict myself.

This situation cannot be unique in the history of homebuying. If property conveyancing is still taking a long time, people are going to be at risk of arrest for occupying houses they do not yet legally own. Informal rent-free occupants by licence will also be at risk of arrest, if the police disbelieve their stories; as will tenants with incorrectly-completed paperwork.

And all so a few rich wankers can continue to get richer .....

This reminds me of the first time the Tories tried to pull this shit. So let's have a song.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Bad Testosterone Trip

This week just gone has been a bit of a bummer for me. I've had a bad case of what I've heard described as "boymirror", in conjunction with The Fear.

Sure, I could just go back to being a guy and not have to worry about so much of this shit ..... But could I ever really be happy that way? Which way is "letting the side down" worse?

Still, it looks like I've turned the corner, so I'm going to treat myself to some proper girly stuff. And review it. Watch this space!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Casual Misogyny Begins at an Early Age

This morning's Metro featured a particularly obnoxious advertisement for Sainsburys.

The text reads "I like red lollies and green lollies. But not yellow ones. Girls like yellow ones."

I find this hugely problematic because it is a symptom of the way the gender binary (and hence, sexist attitudes in general) is being instilled into children from birth. The thing is, there really are boys who think that they are not supposed to like things because girls like them.

If this is what five-year-olds think, and it goes unchallenged, what sorts of sexist drivel might they be spouting by the time they are older?

If you also find this offensive, you may wish to contact the following people:

Advertising Standards Authority Ltd,
Mid City Place,
71 High Holborn,

And, as dirty as it makes me feel to have to say this, you may also wish to shop at Tesco.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Germans against Ritual Genital Mutilation

This is sure to ruffle a few feathers among religious types, but I think it's absolutely the right decision from the German courts:

German court rules circumcision is 'bodily harm'

There will doubtless be complaints from those parts of the muslim and jewish communities that have not yet joined the 21st century, and possibly even accusations of anti-semitism. I really hope, however, that the German authorities have the courage of their convictions.

Some -- well, most, I suppose -- boys do actually want to grow up into men, and to deny them the choice of whether to keep everything as Nature intended (you know, so they can actually enjoy a wank or a shag) is just barbaric.

And less with the bogus health and hygiene arguments. It might have made sense in the desert in Biblical times, but not in modern Europe. A foreskin is self-cleansing if you drink enough. And if you don't want to contribute to the spread of AIDS -- in fact, every time you ever have sex at all unless you plan to get pregnant -- you should be wearing a condom.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Framing the problem correctly

Adapted from a post by me elsewhere

It's as though I have been asking for lozenges to try to treat a sore throat, all the while overlooking the fact that my throat is sore from screaming in pain because there is a nail through my foot.

My way of dealing with my transgender situation was to throw myself into the maleness assigned to me at birth, in the hope that I would somehow outgrow the thoughts I had that I wanted to be a woman.

The problem is not my own reaction to my assigned-at-birth gender; but actually my assigned-at-birth gender itself.

Monday, 9 April 2012

My New Laptop!

Having recently come into a sum of money, I needed to get it spent before anyone could ask for it back. My first thought was to buy a tablet; but then I decided that it would be nice to have a proper keyboard -- touchscreen keyboards are tiring to type on. Of course it would be possible to have a Bluetooth keyboard, but then that means extra stuff to carry (and roll-up keyboards are no better than touchscreens). So in the end, I decided to treat myself to a nice new Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 15.

The first thing I did, of course, was to get rid of Windows! Though I generally use Debian, for this machine I wanted to get a desktop environment up and running as quickly as possible and so I have installed Ubuntu. Version 12.04 ("Precise Pangolin") is going to be a long term support release, but this is still in beta at the time of writing. The newest 64-bit release the installer offered me was 11.10 ("Oneiric Ocelot") and so I chose this (I've upgraded Debian enough times; and on my main home desktop I use Sid, which you have to upgrade every so often as packages update their dependencies).

"Oneiric Ocelot" is based on the Unity desktop. I have always used KDE in the past, but this laptop has a widescreen display and the default configuration of KDE, with its bottom bar, would leave precious little "real estate". The default here is to have a sort of application dock down the left hand side, and a status bar at the top which gets replaced by an application's main menu bar when you mouse over it. This makes sense -- after all, you don't need to have the menu bar there except when you need it, and it saves on vertical space.

The machine itself has a comfortable keyboard, and features both a trackpad and the usual ThinkPad "nipple". The keyboard does not have a number pad, but all the extra functions that used to be shared with the number pad -- home, end, insert and so forth -- are present as dedicated keys, and I don't actually miss it. It's lightweight, it holds its charge for nearly 4 hours, and it charges up quickly. Networking is wireless B / G / N or wired (up to 1 GB). Ports include VGA, HDMI, headphones (no audio in, but USB adaptors are available), three USB and one combination USB / SATA port which will accept either a USB or a SATA connector.

I'm as pleased with this as I was with my first proper cleavage :)

************************* ..... More stars than in the whole universe in fact!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


Sometimes, it's hard enough to present convincingly as your identified species, never mind your identified gender.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Bad Journalism

Today's Metro carries a badly-written story about a young trans-girl -- one of the youngest patients to be diagnosed with GID by the NHS. Not, as they called her, "a boy living as a girl": It even says in the article that she prefers to be called a girl, yet they still managed to deny her even that courtesy.

We explained to the other kids at the school that [still using boy name]'s body was that of a boy but in his brain he was a girl. We said _____ was just happier being a girl than a boy. But the other kids haven't batted an eyelid.

Well, that's good at least. Primary-school age kids are still learning about the world, and seeing someone who does not fit the stereotypical gender binary model can only be a good thing for them. But anyone who consistently uses the wrong pronouns is part of the problem, not part of the solution. And revealing the child's name (unconfirmed reports suggest that another paper has revealed her location) is potentially exposing her and her family to trouble.

This could, and should, all have been done so much better. The article in the Metro as it stands is just fodder for transphobes and misogynists (someone out there is going to take from it the message that Dora the Explorer turns healthy young boys into disgusting perverts and it's all the fault of uppity women not knowing their place). In fact, in some ways, it might have been better for it to be a full-on, frothing-at-the-mouth anti-trans rant; because at least them there would have been something immediately, obviously wrong with it that reasonable people could have latched onto.

Come on, journalists. You can do better than this. Please try to remember that there are human beings behind stories, and afford them the dignity that they deserve.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year

..... groan ..... What was I doing last night?

I must have had fun, anyway. Forgotten how good JD and Coke can taste .....