Omens and Eclipses

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Written at some point on the night of 27 September 2015

Travelling down to Hastings was event free, the conversation easy and nicely distracting from what was going to happen the next day. We stopped at Cobham Services for coffee and sinful donuts. Donuts are a very rare treat for me so they always taste awesome.

It was getting dark by the time we were driving through Kent to East Sussex with the aroma of hops teasing our noses. I had forgotten the utter deliciousness of that. I must have drifted into my memories a bit, as the next thing I know was a glorious reflection of the full moon shimmering on the English Channel and we were nearing the end of the journey.

My friend dropped me off with the friend I was staying with. Again easy conversation and a chilled out atmosphere and I am too calm, I know I am too calm. Tomorrow I am having surgery and I’m not even feeling a slight sense of nervousness, just an amazing sense of calm that life is beginning to go the way it should be.

We watched the lunar eclipse. Light pollution in Hastings is so much less than in Swindon. The darkness of the sky made so many more stars visible and the colour of the moon was a deep blood red. A truly blood moon and prophetic to a Pagan like me. Blood moons are omens of an end and a change in life. I wasn’t going to watch it as I knew it would set my mind into thinking.

Thinking, oh yes, the thoughts started coming thick and fast. Back in bed for another nap before leaving for the hospital – sleep wasn’t going to happen quickly. So I let the thoughts come. Not once was it ‘am I making a mistake’. I never have had that thinking really. I have known my male identity too long to think it is a mistake or doubt myself on it.

Omens are not all doom and gloom and, when you think about it, what does the end mean. It just means something stops. The pretence of being content in a female body has come to end. For a new beginning, something must end and for the man I know to exist that pretence must end and tomorrow it ends, there is no going back.
©JG Farmer 2015

TransPagan

loki

When I reflect upon the Divine it is impossible for me to exclude gender. In the modern goddess movement within Neo-Paganism women have reclaimed their place and the feminine aspect of divinity. For me it is time to take that a step further and reclaim the non-binary of genders within the Divine.

Gender and gender identity is diverse and not binary. The gender binary system is ultimately flawed with so many individuals being born intersex and transgender. Therefore in my mind it is also impossible to believe that the Divine has no aspects that are transgender and do not fit the gender binary.

In fact I do not have to look far to validate my awareness here. Here is Loki, a Nordic god but also he is transgender. As I write my bro Mo has shared the following link

http://getrealcambridge.com/2015/03/07/an-examination-of-gender-in-viking-age-scandinavia/

so I will not expand any further on Loki as it has been done here.

As a Pagan transman living in the Pagan LGBT community has not been a pleasant experience and I no longer really take part in either. By following my own spiritual and gender specific path I have reclaimed my own space within the Divine. For me that has been a relatively easy thing to do but I am aware for others it will be anything but easy. Is it not about time the Pagan LGBT took a look at itself and the level of discrimination going on in its midst?

 

© JG Farmer 2015

Update March 5 2015

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I saw Dr Jan at the Laurels today.

Now I am stood on a station and I feel like I am in a dream, the nightmare of living in the wrong body is coming to its conclusion. Words are failing me as I cannot say how awesome I feel just knowing it is going to be over.

Since that first bra I have detested my chest that refused me my manhood. Their days are numbered, the referral to Brighton is happening. Now I must wait! Meh I can wait now, no sweat.

Wait how long? A few months – it is nothing, no time at all. How can it be? My chest has been a thorn in my guts since my teens. Yeah it is not going to be a fond farewell.

Still cannot really believe it – WOW!

Breaking Point

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Coming out as a transgender man has been one of the toughest periods of my life, if not the toughest. Not to friends, family, medical professionals or random strangers but to myself. I knew I was at breaking point and could not carry on much longer living a half-life pretending everything was okay and as it should be. It was a million miles from being okay and nowhere near as it should be.

I was born into a female body and from the moment I recognised that it felt wrong. I would look in a mirror and hate what I saw. So began a vicious circle of self-hate, self-harming, suicidal depressions and denial. All that hurt hidden behind a mask of femininity, of long hair, make-up and fashion, so that my secret would not be discovered. I lived in abject fear of discovery.

Fear and hate are not good to live with as they feed each other. As a teenager I grasped on to feminist ideology as a barrier against my masculinity. Ultimately it only led to a deeper sense of self-hatred and an even deeper fear of being found out. I am not going to debate the wrongs and rights of radical feminism here but I am certain it will be understood that ideology made accepting me as a man a hell of a nightmare.

Nothing was as it should be when I turned 40. I had nothing left to fight against the depressive feelings apart from facing the truth of my identity. At that point I had no concept or vision of where I would end up and I do not suppose I have worked it all out in my head yet, perhaps I never will and that is okay. However I am fully aware of my masculinity now and embrace it.

I have no doubt whatsoever if I had not taken that step at 40 I would not be here now writing this or anything else. I have no doubts just total certainty that I am a man, and a gay man at that (sure did not see that coming!), and that has liberated me to live and to live my life.

 

 

© JG Farmer 2014

Your Name Can’t Be That

Topic: Frustration Explaining Legal Documents

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Officialdom is a pain in the butt for most people, However when I am asked for proof of identity I know the invasive questions are coming. Do I know I have a man’s name? Why do you want to be a man? And so on and on. Before that I had to change my name on my legal docs. That was the easy part really. One or two questioned it but nothing too horrific.

However being asked invasive questions normally means I have been read as trans. When the questions start I shrivel up inside. I answer what is necessary and refuse point blank to answer more than that. This is my personal life and not really anyone else’s concern. A trans person’s life is put out there for scrutiny and that really is more than frustrating it is downright annoying. I do not offer opinions or judgements on other people’s personal matters why is it okay for them to do it to me?

I do not think it is okay. It is totally not okay. In fact it hurts like hell when someone who has no business questioning my private matters thinks they can demand to know every intimate detail because they see me as a freak. It is bigotry, it is prejudice and it is degrading. These people are random strangers and have no reason to know what is and what isn’t.

There are people I talk openly and freely with, these people are close friends and know they can ask anything and I will not be offended by it because I know they are not being offensive but supportive. To support me they need to understand me so sometimes they need to ask questions that coming from random strangers would be at best offensive.

There have been times I have gone to the supermarket and handed my card to the checkout and they have looked at me saying this is not your card it belongs to a man. I then have to get out my evidence that says I am Mr. One time the checkout operator asked to see evidence I was receiving GRS therapies. At that point I asked to see her manager and it got dealt with in a more appropriate manner. Yes that is good managers know what to do but it should never have got to that point, staff should be trained to deal with customers appropriately.

I understand someone questioning a man’s name on my card and it may be a pain to show them a deed poll but there are many people out their using stolen cards – I appreciate that. However when proof is given to demand for proof of trans status is not acceptable.

 

Love and light

Jez

Transphobic Terror

Transphobic terror

 

The next topic of the project is Fears of Violence and Prejudice when read as transgender.

This is a fear every transgender person has to live and deal with. No matter how much we gain equality there will always be someone who thinks they can show hate. So what is transphobia?

The short answer it is intolerance towards people who do not fit the social dictate of the gender binary.

In the UK gender is considered to be binary, that is one is born either male or female and should fit into the roles given by birth gender. So everyone born with a penis should be and fit the social equation of man and everyone born without one should be and fit the female role. That means all boys should wear blue and be aggressive and all girls should wear pink and passive.

The pressure on each of us to conform to that narrow ideology is immense. If we dare to be different society will often penalise us. That is transphobia and it is the sharper end of sexism.

As long as society conforms to the analogy that there is only two genders – male and female – and we are born to that gender and cannot change it there will be the opinion that those who conform to stereotype are somehow better than those who do not.

The transsexual person can also be faced with homophobia as intolerant people rarely equate a difference between sexual and gender identity – the two are entirely different.

Gender identity is diverse and rather fragile by nature. The reality is that men and women live very similar lives and some people identify as the gender opposite to that which they are born with. Men and women are genetically almost the same and their bodies are not so different. Transphobia is the fear and/or anger at this fragility that is gender identity.

 

love and light

Jez

Hey Boss, I’m a Dude

 

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Another issue that can be problematic for the Trans person is work life. How does living out impact on work and working relationships.

As a self-employed person it could be said I never had to come out at work and yes that is somewhat true as I have never had to go through the anxiety of telling my boss or work mates. However I do have an agent, a publisher and people who read my work. Being openly gay as a writer was in fact more of a hindrance and it certainly did not make the process a palatable one.

My agent was none too happy to say the least as he had focused on the ‘lesbian writer’ label. Not something I ever wanted as I feel sexuality, gender and what we do to make a living are all separate things and he knew this. This was my first real encounter with another member of the LGBT being bigoted towards transgender. Needless to say I found another agent who is open-minded and supportive. He is not perfect but then nobody is.

This, of course, highlights another issue – that of bigotry within the LGBT community and also that between the different aspects of transgenderism. Oddly enough that is not covered in the project so I have added it to the list as I think it should be.

My publisher has been wonderful. However she had already read me as Trans when we first met but never said anything. I totally admire her for that as it shows such a good attitude to other human beings. My agent at the time really could not accept my publisher was not backing his argument.

The argument being I would lose readers who were anti transgender. Seriously I have gained more readers than I have lost but a few voiced their opinions of disgust before swearing never to buy my work or read it again. As many of my writings are on the subject of bigotry and human equality it should have surprised me. However, it came as no surprise that some could be that hypocritical demanding for their own rights but willing to deny others theirs. That has been happening since humans started to fight for their rights – some people will give lip-service and say they believe in equal rights but they still need someone to hate on. We see it all the time in the news – if it is not one social group being victimised by the media then it is another and pretty much it is what they think will sell a story. The fact inciting hate can sell a news story is concerning, very concerning. As a journalist myself I would not want to write to feed that animalistic behaviour and refuse to do so. It may cost me the more lucrative opportunities but I would never fail my own principles and stoop that low.

Love and light

Jez

I Don’t Think I am Man Enough

I Don't Think I Am Man Enoug

 

This is the first in a short series of writes on some of the emotional and/or psychological issues that can face a transgender person. As this is a personal blog I can only write from my own experiences so have left stuff I have not had to deal with until a later date if ever.

Finding a Partner.

Why this is the first issue I do not know but it is so I will go with it. There is someone out there who has heard me say the words I have chosen for the title of this piece, not once but several times. Their answer is I am more than man enough so I cannot and do not argue with that.

If I look back over life before transition I have had a few relationships and all but one of them would not have worked out as I was not connecting fully with the people involved as a significant part of me was deeply buried within my psyche. I regret the fact I have hurt people because I could not be myself, but equally they would not have been part of my life if I had been. I am in no doubt those I did get involved with took what they wanted from me so I do not feel guilt or shame about it anymore. The end of love hurts and we move on.

So what good does looking back actually do? It tells me what I do not want in a partner. In the past I subconsciously or consciously sought out people who did not push too deep into me or try to invade my space. I did not look for someone who wanted me as I did not want me. Love with that sense of self-perspective is somewhat lacking at best. To know love, to give it and receive it one must first love self and I did not love myself, quite the opposite. I am not saying I did not love the people I was with in the past, I did in my own way, the only way I could but it was not enough because I was not man enough to accept myself and value myself.

Now I accept myself for whom and what I am. The fear of rejection is always a problem not just for transgender, but being transgender makes that fear all the more acute. The person I mentioned earlier knows and has known from the beginning of my Trans status and just where I am at in my transitional journey. I am accepted for whom I am and although I still doubt myself at times I know I am man enough.

 

Love and light

Jez

That Question!

From The Guardian

 

It seems a lot of people want to know how FtM make out in the bedroom. It is wonderful to have such privacy even your sex life comes under scrutiny and really what goes on is between the Transguy and whoever he is making out with. How would a cisgendered person feel if they were asked within minutes of meeting someone how they do it? Folks, just don’t ask ok it really is not a good idea.

However my editor asked me to cover the subject of the FtM and Sex and writing that article has left me thinking. From the questions I was asked to answer one thing is standing out as vital. It is something that is vital in any relationship too. It is the act of communication. Talking about the issues we face with those we are close to is vital and more so when it comes to sex. Intimate conversation has to be tackled carefully as even using female terms can trigger dysphoria.

By choice I have refrained from intimacy since my transition began. In the beginning I was very aware of what I see as my short-comings and how they can cause upset with a partner. I was also very aware how transition could send my sexuality and awareness of it into disarray. It didn’t mean my sex drive died, I still got horny with nothing I could do about it. Even a hand-job doesn’t work when you reach down to grab your dick and there’s nothing there. I don’t regret that choice. I needed the time out to sort me out and adjust to living as me.

There are other options available and it isn’t rocket science to work them out so I am not going to go into detail. I’ve always been the top or giver in a relationship for a reason beyond the kink of doing that there is the ability to keep to a minimum the bits I don’t want touched from being touched. Keeping my chest covered in a t shirt or binder made it more comfortable to relax. How a binder can make anything more comfortable is bizarre but it does. In essence I got my kicks in other ways.

The answer to that question then ‘how do we do it?’ – just like anyone else to the mutual satisfaction of all involved. I said I was not going to do details and I am not if someone is that bothered may I suggest they take a trip to a sex shop and look around – some of the answers are there.

 

Love and light

Jez

I am Human

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Anyone who knows me will know I am a huge supporter of the NHS, without it most people in the UK would be screwed. However, this will not stop me kicking up a veritable stink if they get it wrong – and this time they have got it wrong, very wrong.

As a citizen of the UK I have the legal right to change my name and title. As it happens I obviously want to change my name to a male one and I have done. I have also changed my title to that of Mr. and that is my legal right to do so. No organisation has the right to refuse me that not even the NHS.

I informed my doctor, and to be fair she totally and absolutely supports me, my gripe is not with her in anyway. My issue is with the practice pen-pushers who call themselves management. At best I call them uneducated in matters of law, more likely discriminating bastards. They refuse point blank to change my records without a gender recognition certificate – which they are not allowed by law to ask for. By law they have to change my name on the records and accept I am now Mr. Simple as that – it is not rocket science. They still refused.

I have now obtained, in addition to a deed poll which is a legal document, a statutory declaration that my name change is permanent. This was done at my own expense as it matters a great deal to me. Okay that is not a huge amount of money but nonetheless it is inconvenient. This document has been presented to the practice. They still refused to amend their records.

So here is the legalities under the Equality and Human Rights Act.

 

Specific processes for certain agencies

 

Some organisations have specific procedures for processing name changes relating to gender transition. These procedures have often been in place for 30-40 years and are not negatively affected in any way by the Gender Recognition Act.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will alter your name on their records and will issue a new plastic National Insurance Number Card with that name on it. They don’t alter anyone’s National Insurance number under any circumstances. There is no gender indication within the number and therefore no point to do so. A change of name on its’ own does not alter the rest of your national insurance / tax computer records, as you will remain a member of your birth gender until such time as you successfully apply for legal recognition. The Gender Recognition process issues instructions to the DWP and Inland Revenue to make appropriate changes at that time.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will change their records of your name and issue you with an updated driving license on written request. In this case the procedure, which has been used successfully for many years, includes the issue of an amended driver number. Your driver number includes a gender marker. This is updated to show your new social gender so that anyone inspecting your driving license will see a code that concurs with your name and the way you present.

The process with passports has changed slightly over recent years because of a greater need to prevent fraud. However, the policy of the Passport Agency has always been to facilitate issue of a replacement passport when the applicant has changed their name and social gender role, backed by a letter from a medical professional to confirm that the change is for gender reassignment and intended to be permanent. As the process for any change of photo and details involves an interview it is best to enquire with your local passport office about what you should do and the evidence you need to supply.

Processes like these were in place before the Gender Recognition Act and remain unaltered by the introduction of the formal legal recognition process.

Other organisations such as employers, educational establishments, registration bodies, your local NHS GP, hospitals, utility companies, and service suppliers such as banks should likewise be prepared to change your details on request. Some may request evidence in the form of a statutory declaration of your name change, but that is all.

 

Gender Recognition Certificates

Some organisations may mistakenly believe that they are not supposed to change their records to show your new name and appropriate title (Mr, Miss, etc..) until you have obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate. This is incorrect and in most cases would constitute discrimination.

Furthermore, nobody is entitled to see or record the details of a Gender Recognition Certificate if you have one. If someone requires proof of your legal gender then you could show them your birth certificate.

The Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) exists only for the Gender Recognition Panel to instruct the Registrar of Births to make a new entry in their register, from which a birth certificate can be drawn. The document states clearly that it has no other purpose. Recording sight of a GRC would automatically lead to a breach of Section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act, since sight of the record by any other person would constitute an unlawful disclosure of protected information. Officials should therefore be gently advised against making up rules involving GRCs.

 

There you have it in black and white. I am now sending a copy of this act with yet another copy of my documentation to the practice management and also a letter from my lawyer informing them they are breaching my rights, and unless they change my records at once there will be legal proceedings taken against the individuals causing the issue. As I said I have no gripe with my doctor nor should I she is just as unimpressed with this as I am.

No one should be made to feel less for being who they are. Here in the UK we are protected by law from discrimination like this and I will not hesitate to use it. I face enough prejudice every day from walking down the street and I deal with that. I will not put up with it when I do not have to.

Thank you so much for being there to all who read, follow and/or comment. Your support is very precious to me and I love you all dearly

Love and light

Jez