I haven’t written here for some time, too busy trying to earn a crust and survive. Yesterday I girded my loins to put the face on and get out and do what I needed in town. Recently my confidence had hit an all time low ever since an Older Jewish guy in a queue publicly called me ‘simply dirt’ for being transgender. So today as many days I was feeling vulnerable, anxious and I always feel a certain sense of shame for simply being me. All the same I was driven by the knowledge that after many years battling dysphoria, anxiety, depression and drink I had to carry on and make sure I walk tall in life and somehow learn to love myself – or at least keep trying.
Earlier that morning I also learnt that Frank Mal0ney had come out as being transexual after many years of torment, I shrugged and passed it off as another minor tick in the box for the general public to understand that even people in the most macho industries can suffer in so much tormented silence. I also thought how sad it was that people have to suffer because of the transgender condition and how we in turn suffer so much guilt and end up feeling like leppers in society. In short I didn’t need to read the story as I could imagine only too well how Frank had been feeling and how she must now feel being Kellie.
I arrived at Asda and went to get some cigs. Whilst waiting in the queue I noticed the newspaper stand, I rarely buy a newspaper and only watch the news for 20 mins in the morning so I hadn’t really understood the impact of the Kellie Maloney story in the media. I was knocked out to see it was front page on Monday, the headline in MASSIVE letters reading “Secret life as a woman drove me to suicide bid”. I stood in awe, this was big news, even then the cynic in me believed it was Kellie being ripped a new arsehole for being “dirt”. I soon learnt Kellie was receiving support, sympathy and understanding! From all corners of the sporting world plus the story was written with balance – I nearly passed out in the shop.
Then it struck me, slowly the weight of guilt, pain and distress about my own personal transgender condition starting to lift off me, it struck me that this is a significant seismic shift in the world of transgender awareness generally and also a huge seismic shift in how I feel about me. I stood up straight, looked the woman at the cig counter right in the eye smiled and asked for my cigs in my usual voice, no trying to hide me I just simply was me. This was a revelation to me. I walked around Asda and bought the bits and pieces I had come for but this time I felt NORMAL! This time I felt I was a HUMAN BEING, I now longer shuffled with my head down, I walked NORMALLY!
Some people reading this may wonder what on earth the problem is, why haven’t I been able to simply stand up and be me, walk normally and not suffer from crippling anxiety etc etc. It’s simple I felt much the same as Kellie has all my life, unlike her I do not seek SRS but all the same I have suffered badly at the hands of Gender Dysphoria and do take Female Hormones, but I share the – the shame and guilt and the life long battle inside and the desire to feel NORMAL. Like her I simply want to be me and be well.
So much of what Kellie said had a resonance with me and I felt the pain she has been through, one statement particularly hit home it went something like this –
“I have had many hours of counselling over the years, always hoping that one of them would tell me it was all a fantasy and they could cure me”
This is something I’ve always felt, it’s that sense of desperation to take ‘the blue pill’ to make you congruent with how people perceive you and how you know life would be easier. Sadly no matter how much and how hard you look, or how many times you purge the fact remains you are the way you are and you simply have to learn to love yourself enough.
One other profound shift in the way I felt also came about when the news of Kellie’s story hit in such a massive way. For me this was someone who was part of the foundation stones of the macho culture that seemed to pervade throughout life. Frank was a geezer, he worked at the highest level in boxing, were men are men and all that crap, to me when Kelly emerged a stone from that foundation was removed for me. It’s important to me because I’ve played Rugby League at a high enough level and know what men are like, they all whip each other to stay in the tight gender stereotype, or they did and still do in my generation (44 years of age) the pressure to be a ‘bloke’ and not be seen as a ‘woofter’ or a ‘big girls blouse’ has always been threaded through the fabric of my Northern life. This news for me undermined all of those comments, pressures and feelings I’d been brought up with. Kellie emerging from one of the most macho industries gave me a focus in my acceptance of me. In turn it provided a way of pointing out that ‘if it can happen to Frank Maloney it can happen to me – it’s not that bad’.
Kellie Maloney wasn’t a mega star, a entertainment idol, a politician, a massive public figure, or even that well known in many circles – but to many ‘blokes’ he was part of the ‘macho establishment’, the very establishment that trapped Kellie in so much pain for so long. All of these elements personally helps me, provides me with ability to stand up a little more and learn slowly to love me without hating myself and looking at myself with shear disgust, the worry and the guilt simply starts to fall away slowly.
I may not be articulating this very well but the news just helped change my life for the better, THANK YOU KELLIE MALONEY!
Today reading some of the online stories I picked up on something that Kellie said in a recent interview. “I just hoped that one day I would earn enough money to simply be able to live as me” … this is something I’ve said for many many years. The struggle to earn a crust and be transgender still remains for many, no matter how talented, diligent, hard working or otherwise the struggle will always be there, as sadly even though stories like this make a dent they don’t shatter the hoodoo, the ignorance or prejudice.
Reading online some of the comments left on other newspaper websites, many are supportive. However and as always there are a few who aren’t been, I haven’t personally read anything that’s transphobic but I believe there’s been a tirade of transphobia and hatred on Facebook and Twitter according to some news articles I’ve read (another good reason to stay away from social media). Many people point out that in the past ‘Frank’ was someone associated with UKIP and spoke out against homosexuals, I must point out I do not agree with anyone lambasting homosexuals, but the statement made about homosexuals must be totally unrelated (or so it seems) to Kellie’s gender. In terms of general comments against Kellie’s decision some aren’t so great, specifically in the Independent from people who must have a degree of education given the words they use, these comments are shaped a little like this…
Gender is a biological property and cannot be changed. Frank Maloney was born with male chromosomes (XY) and fathered three children. He was, and is, biologically male.
If he now wants to be female, all he can do is take hormones, undergo surgery and pretend to be a woman, but he is not.
Of course he is still a man. He has finally decided to take the plunge and masquerade as a woman for his own pleasure, but he was born a man and will die a man. All his cells (except the actual gametes) are XY. End of story.
Quite a few ignorant people have made comments a little like this, they are wrong. They cannot understand her personal psycho biological brain chemistry and it’s needs for certain hormones, or indeed her personal congruence in terms of her gender.
To put the record straight, Kellie’s natal sex is male she fathered children, however her gender is her own, her future sex by way of the appearance of her genitalia will be female if she undergoes SRS, but her natal sex will always be male if her chromosomes are indeed Male. However the real truth is Gender and Sex are totally different although can be connected in some ways.
In order to help people understand I always use this method of description.
Imagine someone is born hermaphrodite. They may have two sets of genitalia and reproductive organs. They are born in the middle of biological sex in terms of organs. In some instances people are born with chromosomes that can be XX, XY, XXY, XO, people born with Mosaicism or Chimerism have some of their cells that are XY while some are XX. So if all these variations can occur or a chromosomal level and effect people in the way they do, then it follows that everyone can be born slightly different in every other way too, we are all a variation on a theme. Some people who understand themselves to be transgender are understood to have a brain that is wired to receive hormones at a certain level, some people who suffer from gender dysphoria can be in a constant cycle of emotional stress much like the symptoms of PMT, it is simply the way they were born. They are simply a variation on a theme.
In the same way as we wouldn’t expect someone to be born with a hole on the heart to suffer in silence, or request a person born with one leg to walk like the rest of us, why expect people born with gender variances to try and live a ‘normal life’ … and what is a normal life anyway.
So whilst some people may throw around bit and bobs of science into the mix to support their prejudice, the majority seem to be simply acceptant that this is hard and everyone has the right to live as themselves without fighting and suffering like many transgender people do.
I personally feel lighter knowing someone that was in such a macho arena is living free now and getting on with her life. The story and the splash in the media helped me a lot, I hope it helped many others too. If nothing else it will help us all to be braver, the more people who are brave the more the general public will learn to accept us as a part of society, a simple variation on a theme. The sooner this happens the sooner people will stop suffering and struggling under the weight of carrying such a crushing condition in almost total silence.
With that I wish everyone well, I’m off to crack that nut of how to earn a crust being me – a challenge Kellie doesn’t need to worry about as much I reckon.