Monday, January 15, 2018

Saying thank you to Dil

When we began to research our EVE, me and Chris good made a time line. A time line of my life.

We stuck a big roll of paper to the rehearsal room wall, and began to make a timeline.

Or rather several timelines. We used post it notes in different colours to represent:

the external events in my life
the internal events that were decisive
the titles of the plays or stories I had written
the titles of plays or books or films or anything that wrote or spoke about being trans.

This last one was very sparse. In fact after panto, and two horrible films that portrayed me as evil or ridiculous or grotesque, there was nothing for years and years until I was in my forties and THE CRYING GAME came along.

We stuck the sticker on the wall and looked at the enormous empty spaces each side of it.

And I realised it really was the first time I had seen a representation of myself as a rounded and recognisable human being. Someone who was out to her lover and her friends and who was respected and loved.

And I realised I had never questioned that fact. It had never struck me as unusual or strange or wrong.

And it was, and is, certainly wrong. Everyone needs to see themself portrayed in literature or drama or art. Because otherwise it is very hard to reach a proper understanding of who we are.

That is something I seem to have dedicated my art to.

I wonder when I see the film tonight what I will make of the character of Dil. I expect there will be things I disagree with.

But I'm still grateful to her. As an artist she started me off on an important path; and she was the first to teach me that it was possible for me to live openly as a human being.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Being a trans pillar of respectability

I was reading the lesson in church today. It's something I love doing; I treat the bible passage as a script and perform it as if it were a part I was playing.

The role also involves doing the collection and standing at the door to greet people as they come in. I love doing this too. The people who come to my church - Augustine United on George IV Bridge [] are so varied and so fascinating and so lovely it's the hugest pleasure to greet them.

And there is something incredibly liberating about being openly trans in a church. Because when I was forced to live as a boy, and then a man, I had to hide myself very firmly away. Because a church was somewhere where you were supposed to be good. And I knew I was terribly bad.

But this church is about becoming yourself.

I used to do the door in my first boarding school.

I certainly wasn't supposed to greet anybody. I had to stand in my school uniform with my hands behind my back and look solemn when everyone filed in. Then close the doors when the service began, and open them again when the service ended. And then stand in my grey shorts and blazer and shirt and tie, which I so hated wearing, while everyone filed out the door.

Services used to be such a torment when I was a child. You had to sit still and not fidget. Which was so hard, because everything was so unbearably dull.

And I couldn't join in the hymns, because I'd been told I couldn't sing, and was so profoundly ashamed of the sound of my voice.

And me not joining in while everyone else sang was somehow part of the profound isolation I felt in those days, me with my secret wish to be a girl that no-one must ever know about, and that made me, in my eyes, the most despicable creature ever to walk the earth.

Sometimes the vicar would tell us that God could see into our secret hearts and see all the sinfulness there, and that felt like a terrible threat.

We sang a psalm a bit like that this morning. But it was completely different. It was one of those passages that occur quite frequently even in the Old Testament that say it doesn't matter who we are, we are still known and accepted and loved.

And I joined in, because I could, and because this is somewhere I now belong.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Two ducks dancing

Two ducks were dancing outside my window this morning.

They bobbed their heads up and down in a rather lovely manner.

Then the male duck got all excited and did an aquatis pirouette, and the female laid herself down a little lower in the water.

As soon as she gave her consent, the male got on top of her, she disappeared under water, and the male jerked up and down for something less than a minute.

And that's how, on this grey and sad looking morning, new life began.

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