Fighting Back

orlando

Cal returned from the GIC last Tuesday, and the news was all good: like me, he has been granted a second appointment in February, at which point all going well he will be approved for HRT. The clinician seemed absolutely charmed with him (only naturally), and they had a good conversation. The fact that we both have had such positive experiences with the London side of things is certainly something to be very grateful for. It touched upon a subject of grave concern to us both right now, though: the UK’s impending referendum on whether to remain within or leave the European Union. The clinician was pessimistic, and when we consider the implications of leaving (which now seems the likely outcome) it is hard to feel too blithe about our future. For one thing, if it throws the UK back into recession, the NHS will suffer more cutbacks, so our transitions could be stopped by simple market forces. For another, it is liable to make the UK more isolated and right-wing, which rarely goes well for LGBT+ people (no more than one might expect of a Trump presidency…). Even if neither of those scenarios develop, we are bound to be affected as Cal is French, and will thus have to change nationality (at high expense) or risk losing his job, his right to stay without a visa, and his rights to NHS treatment. If Cal has to leave the UK to transition, I will of course leave with him, which will thus stop or at least hugely delay my own transition. Thus, if you are one of my Brexit-supporting work colleagues and you wonder why I am less than friendly with you these days, you can probably work out why now…

Furthermore, though, it has been next to impossible for anyone in the LGBT+ community to be particularly happy and easygoing this week, in the wake of the Orlando massacre. Cal and I attended a memorial vigil in Cardiff Bay (image above) and were moved to see so many of us and so many allies come out in support and recognition. The priest at my very LGBT-friendly church also gave a sermon and prayers on the shooting (acknowledging that it was an anti-LGBT hate crime, unlike a certain prelate). Still, it is hard to get away from the sense that the world is still not exactly on our side, whatever the mansplaining, cisplaining voices at work would have me believe: “Of course it won’t make any difference to you if we leave the EU. You people have full rights now. We’re a tolerant society.” And so forth, while I bite my tongue.

Cal thinks we may have spent too long biting our tongues, and now is the time to speak out, fight back, and be uncompromisingly courageous and visible. He has determined to make this year his first Pride appearance, and thus our first Pride as a couple. We have also initiated complaints proceedings against our GP, whose non-response to our progress at the GIC continues to infuriate us. Such combative behaviour does not come naturally to either of us, but it helps to remember that we have, in such a short time, gained many friends within our community who are also affected by these issues. God willing, this will be the year when we cease to be the timid little trans couple living almost like recluses for fear of offending, and not before time. Perhaps the world could use a little offending…

keepkissing

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15 thoughts on “Fighting Back

  1. Hey, a second bit of fantastic news; so glad Cal got a positive hearing at the GIC. And you are right it is time we all started fighting back. NHS GP’s have a duty of care to their patients and are expected to follow NHS guidelines. I only know about NHS England but the official view there is that gender issues are due to hormones and should be treated with such by the GP. Even a referral to the GIC is a cop out if the patient is not seeking srs.

    Lastly I share your pessimism about brexit; it will be a disaster for all of us. It has been hard to fight against the lies and jingoism of the exiters. Tough days ahead.

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  2. I pretty much love everything about this post – I am thrilled for Cal, and can’t really talk about the portrayal of Orland in the media without upsetting myself (those who are not acknowledging the LBGTQ-phobia or diluting that part). Thank you for everything you said here. It is healing to hear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am healed and honoured to have your love and support. πŸ™‚ It is so curious: I feel I am making so many wonderful friends (more than I have ever had at any time in my former misspent life) even though the world itself seems to be rushing to Hell in a handcart… 😦

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  3. I do hope the forces of reason prevail and you remain part of the EU. Perhaps the tragic shooting of the Labor MP will give people second thoughts. As for Orlando I have shared others thoughts and offered glimpses at how I am feeling but I have yet to really address it. When I do in the next few days it’ll be on how the horror at the Pulse was an attack on a place the community thought of as safe. I will talk about my experiences and that of friends with LGBTQ spaces and our encounters with bigots hurling hate fueled slurs, threats of violence and actual violence. The non-LGBTQIA folks don’t get how jarring it was to have this happen in a place our community frequented to feel safe. There is areal disconnect between the reactions of LGBTQIA people and straight and/or cis people. As for becoming more of an activist, I hope you do, when you feel comfortable. I find it very empowering and liberating and it can be a very cathartic experience. I’m going to Pride next Saturday here in Santa Fe and I participated in a Trans March in Albuquerque a little over a week ago. There is something special about a shared, public declaration of your pride and demand for equality and respect that is unlike anything else. If you do step out I’ll be there in spirit and when I step out I’ll be carrying some of your spirit with me.

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    • Funnily, I ended up talking about that at work today with one of the very few colleagues I actually connect with (owing to the fact her sister was trans). She and her sister once went to a bar in Newport frequented by policemen, who could literally only be themselves (i.e. gay and / or queer) within its confines, because of how institutionally alpha-male their colleagues are. That really brings home how many of us still only feel able to be ourselves within so-called “safe spaces”, and thus how threatened things like this make us feel. Fighting back seems the only conscientious option. xxx

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