Saturday, August 29, 2009

Every day while I am here in France I go cycling in the afternoon.

I take a pen and notebook and generally sit for a while in the forest. There is something about the quality of the silence under the trees that helps me write.

On the way back, I always go through one of the beautiful villages that exist on the fringes of the forest.

Each one has an ancient church: and each one of these churches is locked and barred.

There is no-one to say mass there or look after them. Mass is said on a rota basis which is explained in a tiny notice pinned to the door.

I am surprised to find this so sad. It'sas if a building that could be at the very heart of the community is locked up and disused.

There would be such scope for such places, staffed by people of love and imagination. They could be centres of creativity as well as of the spiritual life.

For the people's spiritual needs have not gone away; they are simply not being met by a church which has lost touch with its own compassion, open-heartedness, creativity and imagination.

Largely through an utterly misplaced obsession with misogyny and sexual conduct.

What an opportunity here: this could, truly, be the most amazing time for reform.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Most days now I go for a bike ride in the afternoon.
There's a particularly beautiful road into the forest that goes past an isolated railway cottage by a level crossing. On the way back I met the lady who lives there on the way to her garden.
Our greetings crossed each other, and we smiled. "Bonjour madame"...
Earlier today I had been reading a diary entry for November 2005, which was when I first started taking female hormones. And found it still very frightening to go out in the street dressed as a woman. But did it anyway, because I absolutely needed to.
Reflecting on that extraordinary journey puts that little incident in context, and allows me to reflect upon it.
Because normally I would not need to.
And that adds to my present sense of gratitude.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I read today of a Rumanian production of FAUST about to open in Edinburgh.

After I got past the irritation of seing my FAUST not being mentioned in all other recent productions - that old sense of being airbrushed out of history - I saw something else:

Mephistopheles is represented as a hermaphrodite: with breasts and a codpiece.

I thought: that's me. Have I turned myself into some cultural representation of the alien, evil, and strange?

And thought again of the stushie that's been caused by some cheap pornographer taking upskirt photos of a singer which, allegedly, "prove" she has a penis.

What kind of cultural place are we in?

Well, this afternoon at least, I was in the peace of a deep magical wood.

And the peace stayed with me as I cycled back to this place where I'm staying, reflecting on the power of surgery.

Of the fact that I took a decision, as consciously as I was able, which means I am no longer at the mercy of whatever quirk of fate gave me a man's body but a woman's sense of my identity.

But have chosen who I am. And feel at peace with that.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

There's no question about it: we eunuchs have had a bad press.
We are a byword for frustration and helplessness.
Because we have lost our masculinity: and masculinity, as we all know, stands for everything valuable in the world.
It's strange, really, to have had to go through the process of castration to discover what crap this all is.
I suspect that, for all the discomfort and pain, I feel better than I've felt for years.
And aware of so much that has been hidden from me for years.
In the room of this writer's centre I am staying in I found an old iPod. Actually a very impressive iPod, 30 gigabytes, much bigger than my 8 gigabyte effort. Even if she is in the most elegant pink.
And He , this left behind iPod, contains one thousand eight hundred and twenty six songs, which I am listening to with the randomising music thingmi provided by Apple Incorporated, and I have to say they are utterly excellent.
Jimi Hendrix, U2, INXS, Beatles, Stones, Van Morrison, Bob Marley, Ali Farka Toure, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton... in a very real sense all the rock greats are here.
I am most seriously impressed. And they all sing of the most amazing and profound and impressive dramas they are living through. And then suddenly, in the midst of this extraordinary outpouring of masculinity, it's Joss Stone. Who I hadn't heard of before, but unmistakenly female, and she's singing utterly and totally in relation to some man, presumably one of these, who is utterly and totally in the centre of her world.
“I've fallen in love in love with you. Please tell me what else is there to do.”
Well actually quite a lot, dear heart...
“My beating heart wants you
And my open arms need you
Please stay. Don't you please ever try to send me away..”
And I feel so shocked.. I've always known this with my head, that the music business is irredemiably male centered, but I've never felt it before quite so shockingly and directly and unmistakably in my body.
I go out for a walk.
I write a lot each day, that matters a lot to me, but also I have to walk, and I can walk, free from pain in a way I never could when I had these massive and heavy balls clanking between my legs...
I walk along a forest path after passing some beautiful isolated houses and remembering how years ago I had these crazy fantasies of being taken in and somehow having to wear female clothes.. all that dreadful forced feminisation stuff, as if there was no other way of overcoming the utterly unbearable and intolerable guilt...
And how absurd, how difficult to feel the fear of leaving behind being the centre of the universe.
And surviving. Of course.
A skirt is a delightful thing to wear in the heat, but perhaps not so wonderful on an overgrown country path, as it picks up every burr and thorn that seems to be going.
But I'm not complaining. What a journey this is.. what a story of discovery.


Monday, August 10, 2009

It was exactly a week ago.
I was waiting in the Riverside Wing of the Charing Cross hospital at 7.30 in the morning.
Feeling nervous.
The Riverside wing is nowhere near the river and the Charing Cross hospital is nowhere near Charing Cross and I couldn't help but wonder if this was the right ploace for me to be...
And people's names were called out, and I envied them, and then at eight two more names were numbered, me and another one that turned out to belong to a woman with a bad hair do and a raggedy skirt and as soon as I saw her in my context I thought: Of course. She's a transsexual too.
It's a great sadness I find, among us transsexuals that it is somewhere considered incredibly rude to recognise ourselves as such.
The polite thing is to act as if we're biological women.
And so we stay in isolation.
My companion seemed to know her way around, and she skipped off looking happy. I was uncertain, but shown a single room.
And as soon as I saw it, for some reason I knew I'd be OK.
It was light and it was airy and I loved the way the armchair was placed by the window. I could sit there and feel safe there, somehow, and watch the world outside.
The surgeon came very quickly, and this time I liked him.
I'd found him pretty loathesome at the clinic, unwilling to listen, apparently uninterested in me as a human being.
And very easy to write me down for vaginaplasty and then for what he called the "cosmetic operation" which involves completely removing all external male genitalia and leaving you with a kind of penis as a stub, which is sensate, apparently, and capable of orgasm.
When I'd said no to vaginoplasty he'd put me down for this, utterly taking it for granted, and was half way through giving me directions as to how to take the form to admissions when I'd had to interrupt him very firmly.
No I don't want that either.
I want orchidectomy.
And he looked very put out as he scribbled something else on the form, which I couldn't read, and told me very crossly that he'd have to check it with the psychiatrists.
And when I told him I had already he wouldn't believe me and wished me good day and really I couldn't wait to see the back of him.
When I phoned up to confirm, there was huge consternation in the administrator.
Ethical issues, apparently. I might have to come down and speak to a panel.
And I would have done. I had an excellent speech prepared in my head.
I would have told him, too, if he'd asked.
But he didn't. He just spoke about the possible complications, bleeding into the scrotal area, and so forth.
Just sign here.
But I made a point of turning the page back just to check what it was i was signing, because he had left me a bit paranoid.
I tried to persuade the anaesthetist to do it with a local so I could be aware and watch.
But it was a lost cause, and I was wheeled away with my lovely camp nurse, Lolito, who introduced me to an even camper theatre nurse... and chatting idly I felt a sudden pang.
Maybe I could have developed a camp gay identity and should I really be doing this? Lying here, allowing myself to get mutilated?
Well maybe. If my mum hadn't fed me so much homophobia.
But what's did is done, and they're sticking needles into my veins.
Through the window I can see the last victim being wheeled away, and the orderly mopping something up off the floor.
It's so solemn, this moment of entering the blankness...
and someone is calling my name, and the pain isn't too bad, it never is at first, and I'm being wheeled back down all the long corridors.

I've read accounts of this operation where the patients have just been under a local, chatting to the surgeon, and then have got up afterwards and embarked on one of these crazy US car journeys... no pain at all apparently.
Just a few painkillers and it's done.

Well it must obviously take a real man to live like a woman, that's all I can say, because the pain has been terrible.
And is still bad a week later.

as far as I can see, the surgeon doesn't cut the scrotum. Just makes a wee incision up the side of the pubic triangle, on the tube the wee testicles came down in puberty. And he squeezes the scrotal sac to force them up again until out they pop.
Like soft-boiled eggs.

Or so I imagine, but there's a lot of 'heroic sewing' he told me next morning as he turned up in his cycle gear to inspect his handiwork. "Not a corpuscle out of place" he said proudly.

Deep bruising on the front of the pubic area; and all over the scrotal sac.
A lot of black and blue.

Not that I saw this for a few days. I was scared to look.

Dressing was held in place by a strange garment I didn't really recognise. And when they gave me two more I could tell from the label.
Jock straps.
I have never wworn them before.
And absolutely did not expect to be so grateful for them.

Though they are not altogether the kind of underwear I was expecting...

One reason I went for this op was so i could maintain myself with less hormones. And stop having to take a male hormone blocker which, over a long time, would also cause damage.

And I'm happy as I am, I realised. I didn't need to go through the much deeper and more traumatic agony of being given a vagina.

Something else, too: something to do with the symbolism and the metaphor of undergoing emasculation.

And that is what I now need to think about...


Sunday, August 09, 2009

So much has happened, since I last posted!
I've had surgery, which I must write about, but feel unable to just now.
I'm living in France for 6 weeks.
Writing a book.
Learning lines of JESUS QUEEN OF HEAVEN.
Which the Daily Mail picked up on and published a hostile article about; and then some Christians got outraged; and it's been mentioned on gay blogs almost everywhere.
The surgery; a certain notoriety... all this takes some assimilation.
At least i am in a quiet place where I can begin to do it...


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