A #TRANSGENDER POEM

Make Me New

by Tamlyn Ailsa MacPherson

Take my deformity, throw down the clay.

Push me and pinch me, and mould me this way.

Take what was unsightly and cast away;

Turn white to black and night to day.

For I am the living, I am the dead.

I am the spider and the fly.

I am the block and, upon it, the head.

I am the killer and I die.

Cut me up, a traitor’s fate;

so the poison will drain from me.

Guide me here from traitor’s gate

and may your blade fall sharply.

Look upon me this last day,

then banish me from sight.

I am the dawn that finds its way

and chases clear the night.

I am sorrow, and yet joy;

I am pain and I am pleasure.

I am ornament, I am toy,

I am burden, I am treasure.

I am devout and I am heathen,

I will shout and you shall listen.

Potter, throw me upon your wheel

and pinch and push me ’til I’m real.

Cut and shape my fragile frame

then bake me strong with searing flame.

From the little slimy lump you threw,

you make me real;

You make me new.

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Filed under Gender transition, poetry, Trans, trans issues, Transgender, transition, Transsexual, Uncategorized

‘The 12 Days of Tindmas’ by Tamlyn Ailsa MacPherson

On the twelfth day of Christmas, a stranger gifted me;

Twelve crabs a-bitin’,

eleven lice a-crawlin’.

ten rectal fissures,

nine swollen lymph nodes,

eight smelly fingers,

seven ruined bed sheets,

six inserted objects,

FIVE WEEPING SORES!

Four hairy warts

three deep scars,

two broken teeth,

and a long wait in casualty

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Filed under poetry, Uncategorized

#Paris – Why #bigotry, #Xenophobia and #ignorance are just as dangerous as #Terrorism

You know, I spent the first half of my life being told by the media that my life was at risk from terrorists? There were IRA bombings all over the news, yet Unionist actions were played down or just unreported. Rubbish bins were removed from railway stations just in case anyone thought that bombing Knebworth would lead to Irish reunification. Any Ulster accent on the news was always shown to be aggressive and militaristic, yet I knew this was untrue because my Grandfather, my aunts and uncles, all had that same accent and they were gentle, peaceful people.

Now Muslims are the media’s favourite bogeymen. I grew up under the threat of ‘Christian’ Terrorists, now we live under a threat of ‘Islamic’ Terrorists. Terrorism has no borders, no nation and no faith, but it uses faith and fear to recruit. It turns people against their neighbours, sows mistrust and fuels the fire of xenophobia. It turns people against those it would seek to recruit, so that they may see an extreme ideology as an answer to their oppression.

If we turn against those that this small group of extremists want to recruit then we do their job for them. We become the recruiting tools of terrorism. They cease needing to drag people into their clutches because we will push them that way.

If we turn our backs on those fleeing from these people, then we lose our humanity and our sense of human decency. If we cannot look at someone in a different outfit, or with a different skin colour and not feel afraid of them, then that Terror that we are supposed to be fighting against has won.

The goal of terrorism is to sow terror and right now they are winning, with our political right and our media helping the process along.

I have been so proud of all my friends who have reacted to the events in Paris with compassion and decency, with a strong sense of charity and friendship to all who have, and are suffering. I am also proud of how many friends have taken the time to speak out in the perspective of a broader view of the situation and declare their support for the 99.9999% of Muslims who aren’t trying to kill you, but are going to cop a load of shit over this regardless.

Conversely, I have been appalled at the reactions of some, calling for the closing of our borders to those most in need of food and shelter; those who suffer at the same hands of our enemy. If you are urged to draw your curtains, climb under your bed and shit yourself every time there is a loud noise outside, that is down to you, but to try and bargain away the lives of the innocent just so you can sleep a little easier at night makes you the worst kind of coward; a despicable, insidious traitor to all the values that we pride ourselves as possessing. I do not care if you are an acquaintance, friend, family member or stranger, you bring shame upon us all, and you dishonour the innocent dead and wounded by hijacking their suffering to reinforce your prejudices.

Standing defiant defeats terrorism, not caving into its goals.

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Filed under attack, borders, Christian, innocent, IRA, IS, ISIL, ISIS, migrant, Muslim, Paris, refugee, support, Terrorism, terrorist, Xenophobia

#LGBT – NATIONAL ‘COMING OUT’ DAY, AND WHY IT’S NOT ALL FARTING UNICORNS!!!

Yes, that is right. Yesterday (the 11th of October) was ‘National Coming Out Day’.

No, I didn’t see the greetings cards on the shelves in Tesco either. Just like ‘Transgender Day of Remembrance’ and ‘Hug a Stranger Day’, it seems to be lower in people’s perception than days celebrating ‘Steak & Blowjobs’ or just talking like a Pirate.

Thing is, I am not entirely sure what the day is meant to be.

“Hey Mum, you… errr… you got any plans for ‘Coming Out Day’?

“No, why?”

“Oh, no reason…”

Was there to be a synchronised ‘I’m…’ around the country? Are we meant to bake cakes? What is the overall theme other than just the vague ‘coming out’ aspect?

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s never an inappropriate time for cake… maybe we could play with stereotypes a bit… make jokes about how much fudge you packed into it, or how you think it’s a Victoria Sponge, but when you cut into it you realise it’s a chocolate gateau.

Also, where is the line on coming out? Gay, obviously. Lesbian, well yeah. Trans… TA DAH!!!!! Bi… well we get everywhere… but then there is this new scale of sexuality that is being pushed as we realise how much more fluid and varied sexuality and gender identity can be. Now, rather than picking one of a few well known labels, we will be listing our sexual preferences as grid references.

“Dad, I’m… E5!”

“erm… YOU SUNK MY BATTLESHIP!!!! HAHAHAH… seriously though, whuh?”

The communication barrier is something that is generational. We hip youngsters (Oi! Don’t you roll your eyes at me) are embracing sexuality’s great fluidity and the diversity of gender identity in our stride, whilst we still have to explain to large chunks of previous generations that there is a world of difference between Transsexuals and Transvestites. Don’t get me wrong, some of the greatest allies and most informed people I have encountered are older, but they tend to be in a minority. And ignorance, as loathsome as it is, and as great an obstacle as it presents, is down to being raised in a society where general consensus was that it was something abnormal. When something gets put out there and becomes received ‘wisdom’, people as a whole don’t even really think about it until directly confronted with it. I have often been in situations where people have used highly offensive terms around me without realising that there is anything wrong with them. That then creates an awkward situation where you start to wonder how many times you can correct someone before they start to feel insulted or frustrated at being constantly corrected. How self-righteous is TOO self-righteous? Is it worth holding your tongue for the time being in order to not alienate an ally?

But the real point of this blog was not to criticise the idea of dedicating a day to ‘coming out’. It is, I suppose, a nice idea to celebrate those who have come out in the preceding year, and it provides a focal point for those who wish to ‘come out’ themselves.

But I have a problem with the expression ‘coming out’. There is this permeating idea that it is a single moment of (sadly sometimes literally) death or glory; that our great announcement will blow a hole in the continuum through which fly glitter, sparkles and fireworks as we ride across the sky on a unicorn with rainbows flying out of its arse and all will see, and know what it means.

“Did you see Pete go past on a rainbow-farting unicorn?”

“Yeah… not really a surprise. He’s been telling us to keep October 11th free for weeks now.”

No, coming out is not like that. The default expectation in society is that we are all strictly binary, cisgender, heterosexual and monogamous. I mean, who on Earth can possibly fit into all of those categories AND still be fun at parties?

But because that is the default expectation and anything different presents a metaphorical minefield of misconceptions, toxic propaganda and absurd stereotypes, it becomes a much bigger thing than it should be… and it goes on forever!

I think the first time I ever ‘came out’ to anyone was in 1998, when I finally felt able to tell some very close friends that I was Bisexual and Transgender. However, that support group fell apart and I was left with very few people that I could be open with. This was also a time when I had no knowledge of where to even look for help or support as it was deliberately kept underground and away from anyone under the age of 18, whilst mainstream society was still wary, if not openly hostile in the wake of the HIV/AIDS outbreak of the 1980s that the Conservative government milked to great effect in pushing a septic, homophobic agenda. But I have covered that in numerous other articles.

My point is that ‘coming out’ isn’t one step; it is a marathon… in all weather… with oncoming traffic.

I have been telling people since 1998. I did not tell my immediate family until I had been in transition for nearly two years and already had my referrals to the GIC sent off and an appointment given to me by that point. Since then, I have ‘come out’ dozens more times to old friends, other relatives, colleagues and acquaintances, each time feeling like a big deal. Half of my extended family still do not know about me because it is feared it might cause upset if they were told, which annoys the living shit out of me because, once again, it shouldn’t be a big deal.

Each time feels like a time warp. For me personally, it is a new person tripping over names and pronouns, knocking my confidence right back, as if my transition was only just starting again. For others too it is knowing that there’s the gossiping as your ‘old news’ becomes their ‘breaking news’, and people trying to talk you round to being ‘normal’ by trying to reassure you that you are ‘just confused’.

Perhaps this is my issues with a ‘Coming out’ day… I have been coming out for seventeen years without an end in sight. When we make ‘coming out’ into such a momentous event in our minds, the reality makes it very hard to get on with your life… that constant nudging to explain yourself for the umpteenth time when all you want to do is go for a coffee or get the shopping in.

To make a REAL difference, we need to tackle society’s presumptions and encourage a less artificially narrow view of what, or who is, or isn’t normal.

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Filed under asexual, Bi, Bisexual, cisgender, coming out, farting, Gay, Lesbian, LGBT, pansexual, poly, Transgender, Transsexual, unicorns

#Transgender – The story of how I died

First off, many apologies for the long absence. I have had some pretty nasty health issues these past few weeks that have kept me free of the blogosphere, for want of a better buzzword (If you have ever prolapsed a disc in your back you will know my pain). I sit here, Handel’s Sarabande Suite playing, its melancholy tones fitting the reflective mood I am in. Of all the times to return to my blog, this seemed the most fitting.

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There was someone many people knew; someone who knew such sadness wiithin themselves and could never see their future. They had a name but tomorrow begins their final journey. They are about to be erased.

Tomorrow begins the legal process of getting my GRC (Gender Recognition Certificate). It is a majorly positive thing and a huge milestone, but there is that tinge of sadness to the thought of erasing the person I used to be… It was that person that met many of you, became your friend and, for some strange reason, was even loved by some of you. There are also those that hated who I was too, those who couldn’t handle the unpredictability, the self-destructiveness…and there were those that I loved who walked away from me, and those I had to let go.

I need it to be known that every time I held your hand, gave you a sympathetic ear, or my shoulder to cry on was real. Every hug, kiss and friendship was utterly me. The face may have not been me, the name didn’t truly belong to me, the voice didn’t sound like mine, but the place all that love came from is the same as where it comes from now. I did good things, and I did bad things; I said ‘I love you’ and meant it in absolute earnestness, and I have said it and not meant a word of it. I am not looking to offload my mistakes onto a construct of someone else.

Tomorrow I will start the process to officially erase that identity. There are those who have told me that the person I was felt dead to them and had been replaced with a stranger. I have looked into the eyes of people grieving my death, and suffered their resentment for it. I have been mourned in vilified in the same moment, but what you have instead of a mask, is the truth of me. The name, the face, the voice… they have had their time. My face was the lie, but my heart was the truth.

I grieve for those whom I loved, but who never got to see the real me. From beloved relatives, to friends taken too soon. I am wracked with guilt that whilst I got the best of them, I never felt I could be honest enough to give them the best of me.

In my darkest days there was one friend who was always there, and without him I would not have made it this far. To be given the news he had been killed in accident before getting to know the real me was like being shot in the heart. I firmly believe that when you love a person, it is unique; you never love someone the same way as you love anyone else, and I deeply loved him. His absence from this world leaves a gaping hole that nothing could ever fill.

This process I am going through is not optional for me, but I do not want to forget the good things that old version of me had, and not just the things I have lost. On the days when the Dysphoria is bad, when the brain turns on itself and torments me, it is hard to remain positive, which is why it is all the more important to fight. Many friendships have ended, but others have grown these past years. The best lesson I have learned is, perhaps, to know who to embrace and who needs to be let go, however close.

As for that name, that face, that voice… although they are dead to me, the beautiful times and the love that was shared in that time has not gone anywhere… and some of them were truly, truly beautiful.

I called this piece ‘The Story of How I Died’. As a writer, I feel that there are many forms of death… the kind that fundamentally change you, the ones that grow new life, and the ones that just end everything. I have never been so full of life as I am now. So many deaths in our community are of the kind that just end, but if we all tell our stories, we may help towards making that number go down.

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Filed under Gender, GRC, LGBT, Transgender, transition, Transsexual

#Immigration – Is it just easier to hate than to change attitude?

So Migrants seeking a better life in the EU (It isn’t just the UK that these people are aiming for) are being treated appallingly by authority figures and the press… what a shock. Katie ‘rent-a-gob’ Hopkins thinks we should be sending gunboats to obliterate them at sea, David Cameron, the Prime Minister, refers to them as a ‘swarm’;until recently, a term more associated with locusts than desperate refugees.

They are so desperate to reach somewhere safe that they will run through thirty mile, high-speed rail tunnels to try and get here, yet Phillp Hammond, our Foreign Secretary has today said that these people pose a threat our standard of living? What are they going to do? Cook funny smelling food? Speak to each other in a language you don’t understand? Maybe when he is in a retirement home and can’t find a British-born person willing to wipe his arse for minimum wage he might change his mind about immigration. Until then though it appears he’ll be shitting his pants every time he sees a brown person in Waitrose not wearing a tie.

Maybe I’m odd. Maybe I am used to people of different skin tones and different clothing, speaking different languages and eating different food. I have met and made friends with wonderful people of many different origins, and I feel richer as a person because of the experiences I have shared with them. Maybe I have been spoilt by the rich diversity of Leicester and Nottingham, with their veritable Dulux colour chart of cultures, that I just can’t get behind some good old fashioned British racism whenever it rears its head.

Oh, let’s not forget to throw in a good old swipe at the French from time to time, for old time’s sake.

Britain isn’t full, we just don’t invest in our infrastructure. The South-East is pretty crowded, but that’s because all the industry elsewhere got ripped to shreds and sold off meaning it was the only place in the country back in the 80s where you could earn a decent living (that wasn’t the actions of migrants by the way). Immigration creates a large net contribution to the British treasury, yet all people can do is complain about the concept of health tourism or benefit claims. The fact that migrants contribute more than they take out shows that they pay their way and then some. Immigration is good for our economy whilst treating the desperate and displaced like vermin is a stain on the soul of the nation.

But if we want to stop the ‘swarm’ of migrants into this country, perhaps we should stop doing things to make where they live so shitty that they want to leave… things like destabilising the middle east and north Africa, supporting oppressive regimes, bombing infrastructure during uprisings etc. Maybe if we cancelled third-world debt and instead sought to become equal trading partners with those countries that adopted a progressive stance on social issues, it would encourage progress and democratic reforms. We, the west, have our boot on the throat of the developing world. Why are they still the ‘developing world’? Because we would rather hold them to ransom for their resources than do right by their people. We can put a man on the moon, send probes out of our Solar System, order pizza from our mobile phones without even speaking to anyone, yet we’re happy to leave millions at the mercy of warlords and let thousands die each day from diseases that we don’t even see in the west any more.

You can’t pillage a continent of its resources, support tyrannical dictatorships and help kill civilians whilst the whole time espousing how wonderful the western world is, yet be surprised when the people we fucked over want a piece of the pie. It is, after all, a pie that was made, in a large part, from their suffering.

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Filed under Africa, bigotry, channel tunnel, david cameron, EU, Immigration, katie hopkins, Migrants, phillip hammond, Racism

#LGBT #sexeducation – Why LGBT inclusive Sex and Relationship education is a no brainer.

Now, the wonderful Caroline Lucas MP has put forward a bill that will, among other things bring about the inclusion of LGBT specific Sex and Relationship education into schools.

What a surprise, some Tory pillock has weighed in on the debate with a view straight out of the 1950s (otherwise known as where UKIPpers go to wet-dream)

The honourable ‘Member’ for Shipley’s comments are available here.

Now, If parents had a strong dislike of another race, is that grounds to not teach their children that the races are equal? Should schools be able to segregate children by race since some parents don’t like different races mixing? I have certainly encountered many people personally who find the idea disgusting. Should we pander to them?

If their parents hated a certain religious group, would it then be acceptable for them to request their children be excused from learning about that faith in R.E classes? “Sorry I can’t come to the class about Ramadan Miss, but my parents think ‘that lot’ should all be put on an island and nuked’.

Should a child be exempt from foreign language classes if their parents choose to hate all foreigners?  Should boys be exempt from learning how to cook because their parents think that’s ‘girls’ stuff’?

Just because some parents don’t like the idea that their children will be taught about LGBT people, does that qualify as a justifiable cause for exemption from inclusive sex and relationship education?

Thing is, for certain people, especially, but not exclusively on the back benches of the Tory government, and in UKIP, it IS perfect justification. This justification stems from the utterly absurd belief that one’s religious choices exempt one from accusations of bigotry, so long as it is against LGBT people. The idea that certain groups of people are exempt from criticism for persecuting people from other groups is an absolutely insane concept, especially when the elements of faith that people use to justify said discrimination are cherry picked from parts of their scripture that are otherwise ignored.

Not to go all Nanny state here, but when you leave parents as the sole source of a child’s exposure to morality and relationships, and we will just be reproducing generations of the same narrow world views. I have never known anyone with racist views to have come from a family that did not also precipitate those views. However, exposing children to different ideas, beliefs and lifestyles teaches them to think critically and challenge preconceptions. To teach all children about the validity of LGBT people as human beings will not only help those who will develop to be on the spectrum, but will also help the majority who grow up to be hetero-normative to understand and better accept a large part of our population that isn’t going anywhere.

But sadly Mr Davies thinks differently, and his voting record on LGBT rights shows this. He speaks for a very vocal minority that want the right to discriminate and to encourage others to do the same. He is perfectly fine with the proliferation of intolerance and miseducation, and by association with those facts, the prejudice, hate, bullying and violence those things propagate. When an LGBT person is harassed, abused or murdered, it is just as important to assign responsibility to the men and women like Mr Davies who put themselves up as a barrier to the education we need to stop this happening in the first place.

EDIT: Looks like a victory for Ms Lucas.

Here is the link to Ms Lucas’ victory

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Filed under bigotry, Caroline Lucas MP, education, homophobia, LGBT, lgbt abuses, LGBT issues, LGBT politics, LGBT rights, Phillip Davies MP, segregation, ses