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
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
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
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!
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
Topic: Frustration Explaining Legal Documents
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
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
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