Incredible and moving … a must-read for anyone wanting to inform themselves about the issue of sexual and domestic violence on the left!

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When I grow up …

I was a 13 year old blue-belt judoka and a confident fighter

If I thought it was hard enough getting through puberty first time round then bang, crash, wallop, here it comes a second time at 43 instead of 13. I’ve had a lot going on in these umpteen months I’ve been quiet here but, as those of you who’ve followed the ups and downs on Facebook know too well, I’ve had a lot to learn along the way about how my transition has impacted on my life. I felt, to be mindful of my own and my loved ones’ privacy, that I needed this ‘downtime’ to gather myself in my new emerging skin.

It’s a long winding road, and now I am trying to earn some desperate cash *open to offers!!* and am writing applications and getting back into business. At the same time I am trying to find somewhere to live so my poor parents can get their life back and I can get my desperately needed independence back again.
I can’t believe it is days away from my first manniversary, a year since I started T. The changes have been profound and life-changing for me and, apart from my deformed fatty pecs/ex-breasts aka The Beasts, I am man-shaped, man-voiced and, yep, pretty much like any other bloke you might bump into.
Coming up to this milestone has been an emotional journey in itself. I have been collaborating with a young transman in producing a short film. The film, along with other work will be part of an exhibition at The Cube in Corby 3-5 June 2011.
Too much has happened to be able to do it justice in one post but I am working on a book/film now to fill in some gaps and explore more of the issues that have emerged for me in my own transition. If you are a part of my life then I would always ask your express permission before naming you but I am finding ways to explore my own experiences without breaking trust. This has been a powerful lesson to me in this last year. That my own caution-to-the-wind approach about sharing my transition journey in such a public way has meant that people from all aspects of my life might identify themselves in my telling of a personal story. I just want you folks to know that if you feel uncomfortable with what I write then please let me know. I won’t use names unless you want me to!
Finally, thanks to everyone for being so patient with me. I am going to revamp and re-organise this blog and get my shit together with my professional site. The online counselling skills course I started has had to be put on hold temporarily while I get my housing and work sorted. Desperate for a venue to work from as a counsellor but am also getting back into some voluntary counselling work again soon once applications are processed and interviews, CRB etc done.
Still, at least things are moving in a forward direction again. I might get easily distracted at times still, but I am also strongly focused and motivated mostly, bar the few bad days. My social anxiety is just not there now. It’s good but, having been a bit of a recluse for most of this last year, I am now missing the day-to-day social relationships I used to enjoy hugely when I worked in my last job, as with other jobs in my life too. I enjoy working as much as I can. There’s always a shit side as a wage slave but if I am being paid something approaching what I feel I am worth then there’s a great deal of satisfaction and personal esteem that I find in ‘doing a good job’. If I’m paid shit and/or treated like a turd on a shoe then I find it so very easy to say a big F U in my own way.
That’s all for now folks … will post again when I have more details about the coming exhibition. I’ll also be doing a live interactive session(s) as part of the project. Looking forward to that … and to the launch event on 3 June. An occasion for the suit again😉
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Vagina dialogues

Matt Kailey, whose blog Tranifesto just won the TransGuys Community Award for Best Blog 2010,is completely right in his article here when he pulls Ke$ha to task for her “I just can’t date a dude with a vag” line in her latest song ‘Grow a Pear’. I posted on my Facebook about this the other day.

“I am PROUD to be a dude with a vag and my own wee cock lol!!! Like every single human being has genitalia that are diverse and different – everyone should proudly celebrate that because, as everyone knows, children and young people can grow… up with immense shame around their bodies and particularly genitals – its by no means just a trans issue!! Young guys born with penises face immense pressure to be hung like the porn stars they see online when they are curiously exploring their sexuality. Young girls too are now at an early age deciding their breasts, their labia, their everything, when they compare themselves with the airbrushed standardised corporate stamp that defines ‘beauty’. Most of us have had issues with this one way or another in our lives, as kids, teens and adults. The revolution many of us want to build in this world is just as much about fighting this all-pervasive body fascism as it is about jobs, ending war and racism and the rest of it.”

B00mBoomboy sums it up brilliantly in his parting shot at the end of his YouTube vid (below) “I’m a man and I love my cunt!” Good for you dude … more of us should try to be loud and proud of our bodies, even if THAT is a personal and intensely challenging thing to try and say when you are massively struggling with dysphoric thoughts yourself. I know that deeply from my own journey or surviving these issues so far. If we can’t love our selves as fully as we possibly can then it gets hard to fight back when we need to, in ways that empower us and don’t add to our battered self-esteem.

Don't Worry, Ke$ha. I Don't Want to Date You, Either And neither do any of the trans guys I know. In fact, for someone who tries soooo hard to be hip, you are making yourself less cool every day. I first wrote about Ke$ha’s questionable notion of the transgender community when I was writing for At that time, in an interview with The Advocate, Ms. Dollar Sign claimed to be a “huge fan” of the “transgender community” (you’d have to be a pretty huge fan if you liked the whole community – … Read More

via Matt Kailey

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It Gets Better – even when it feels really bad

Bosch’s ‘Hell’ (from The Garden of Earthly Delights)

I have been rather quiet these last couple of months, except for on Facebook where I have been wittering my moods, thoughts and ideas, crazy and not-so-crazy, masking a period of turmoil and pain in my life. All this STUFF has been hard to even imagine writing about and I am acutely aware these days of the risk of self-disclosure – even though I am an ‘out’ trans man there are plenty of reasons to go stealth about many personal aspects. It is not just hard on me but it is also incredibly challenging for those I am around at times. My loved ones in many ways have their own self-identities themselves challenged by my gender transition. But it has been hard at times, for reasons that I will not go into detail about because I respect every single one of you and the process you yourselves are going through.

In many ways it feels like I have hit rock bottom again. I have not been fit to do my work now for four months or so and the result has been that I came to a mutual agreement with my previous employer that it was in both of our best interests that I leave in order that I could focus on getting back to fitness before returning to my counselling practice somewhere further down the line. It WAS a positive decision and I have no regrets about it at all and I had the full and positive support of my union Unison through negotiations. But the long and short of it is that I am now in the position of claiming benefits in the scary new Big Society of Cameregg & Co and attempting to sledgehammer my way through the NHS Gender Re-assignment funding and commissioning, grunting and venting in my pubescent way at every obstacle, as the entire public service network grinds to an almighty halt.
The process wasn’t made easier when the pharmaceutical supplier to my local chemist completely and untterly messed up my last T prescription and I went more than a week over for my last shot. Just as I had started to feel more stable I was plunged back into a hormonal chaos again (I use Nebido, a slow-release formulation over a three monthly cycle so I don’t have a problem with the usual spikes and dips every 2 or 3 weeks) which has put back my recovery a bit. Still, I have tapped myself into support that my GP has recommended and so far so good with that. It is possible I might also now get some help with housing too – which would also help me move on.
The absolute single biggest thing is that until I can get my chest surgery now I feel I cannot move on fully with my life. I am stuck. My dysphoria about my chest can be hideously bad at times. The more I have masculinised the harder it has become. Taking a bath has become a really painful experience at times and without my healing ritual thing I do with my shaman stone and the water, I think you could smell me from wherever you are reading this now! My back and chest under my binders are wounded and scarred by the worse case of acne/ezcema combo AND my OCD self-harmful picking and scratching.  Maybe this is what purgatory is supposed to feel like? But I’m not a Catholic and have no desire to convert now.
I want to tell you about a dream I had some 14 months ago. I am a bit wary of this, not only because my marxist comrades may think me self-indulgant and everso-slightly mad, but also because I feel it will make me somewhat vulnerable to questions about my mental health. I have noticed that for many other trans men, their transition is also a very personal spiritual journey. There is an ecstatic joy at discovering one’s core self and finally feeling free of shame in expressing it and sharing our new identities as we grow into them. These can be very special moments of interpersonal connection, even if via the internet, and it feels like I am no different to other trans men, or indeed anyone else for that matter, in that my consciousness and awareness can grow exponentially in a fraction of a second when I or someone else touches something new, raw or undiscovered. I love that life is full of surprises like that and it truly gives me hope for the future that human beings are eminently capable of lifting their consciousness and awareness and tapping into how we can cooperate to survive and succeed sustainably in the future. No matter what we have to get through to do it. The Chilean miners reminded the world’s workers of the values of solidarity, support, and faith in each other (and whatever belief structure that helped them personally get through the trauma).
The dream I want to tell you about was actually a nightmare. It freaked the living nightlights out of me as well as the daylights later. I had a fever that night and the dream occured while I was burning up. I actually had suspected swine flu following this fever – it was the early days of the summer 2009 outbreak – and for a while I thought this was what the dream was all about. But it has kept on coming back to me so I guess I just have to let you in on it now.
I was in some sort of school or community hall which had the buzz of an indoor market but no-one was selling anything. There were lots of people there, milling around chaotically, bumping into each other although keeping fairly calm. There were tables around with bags and stuff on them. On reflection it feels like it was some sort of community emergency shelter that I am in but it is not clear at all what is going on or why everyone is inside.
I walk towards a table in front of me. Underneath it in the semi-dark is a slow-worm glistening and writhing  in all its bronze and irridescent glory. Then the slow-worm begins to grow and grow, writhing like a snake on the spot until it grew dog-sized and grew a golden fur and it transformed into a dog. The poor dog was dragging her broken backlegs behind her – she reminded me of my old dog Thai (14 next month). Then the dog transformed into a completely mutilated an unidentifiable corpse which had no limbs, an unrecognisable face and with butchered cuts, wounds and sores all over the reddened carcass.
It was grotesque.
Suddenly everyone began to point and scream at this tormented creature in front of them. It was suddenly a demon, a horror story, a brutalised and bloody focus for everyone’s fear. A freak of anguished pitiful pain.
Then I noticed a tiny quivering over its skin and looked and saw tears in its eyes. I suddenly became aware that it was still alive and felt an overwhelming compassion and empathic connection to this tortured being. Looking into her or his eye I could not tell if this being was human or animal, perhaps a pig. But as I desperately tried to plead with bystanders that s/he was alive, no-one would help me. They just screamed and recoiled in terror. I woke up in a terrible state, stricken with feeling I had been unable to save this poor being, human or non-human, it didn’t matter.
Well there you have it. That’s my dream. It felt like my own personal hell that I dipped my toes into that night. I talked to my therapist about it at the time and she wondered if I had considered the creature as myself. She wasn’t a Gestalt therapist but I had previously done an exercise in Gestalt dream-work at college so it hit me immediately. Yes I had to face looking at the dream seeing me as the shapeshifting tortured creature. I needed to help my self and not rely on others to see what they could not connect to. I have only really been able to face that nightmare now.
The dream was in July/August 2009. I did plunge into a serious depression at that point as my life seemed to cave in around me. But then I had my epiphany moment in October when the transitions that were mirrored in my dream shoved through my unconscious and into my frontal cortex. My body was dying to change and I faced my own death in the eye and turned round towards life. As long as I was quivering and still breathing I was alive and there was hope. I can see that now. How many moments are defined on the twist of a coin? I was lucky – there was someone who entered my moment and connected with that nearly-mortally wounded freak of nature I was in my dream. That honest, genuine acceptance of me, her empathic connection to the enormity of what I was feeling and her unlimited human compassion meant I was seen for the very first time as myself.
It gets better”, a small voice says somewhere. Keep holding on to that. My breathing has calmed now and I’m aware that my neck is on the verge of being frozen. I begin to make slow circular neck stretches and arch my back into un-clicking semi-locked vertebrae down my spine. I have to get my energy moving again so I can rise out of this latest plunge into my inner obsidian hell.

I lose myself for a few minutes while I gather together again the fragments of me that just fell off in this latest nocturnal existential crisis. It DOES get better. The worst is over again for now and, shitty as I feel, I know deep inside that I cannot go there. Yet. I don’t want to give up, roll over and show my vulnerable belly to the world in submission like a cowering dog. I do that when I’m playing but when I feel under intense threat now my impulse is to defend myself and without much thinking beforehand. Everything has changed since T-day nearly six months ago in that regard.

This is hard. I mean really HARD.  Some things that happen in one’s life are not suitable for sharing publicly. Naturally I do not want to embarrass, distress or compromise my loved ones and I have been struggling to manage these sort of private/public boundary dilemmas that anyone writing a personal blog must deal with. I hope I am able to maintain a fundamental respect within all my personal relationships while being able to explore some of the deep and complex issues that arise when someone is transitioning gender and you love them. 

I have been really struggling with this overwhelming feeling of STUCKNESS. I feel so powerless in the face of NHS bureaucracy. So insignificant, as one anguished tormented soul in a sea of millions who must also be near-drowning not swimming this side of the dawn of the Condem Big Society. I hate myself for being so pathetic. What sort of man takes this shit without cracking? What man am I if I cannot rise up and demand to be treated with dignity and respect? What man lies his head on his desk and sobs with animal wails when he cannot express just how desperate he feels to those he needs to help him? The sort of man like me who is 6 months into his puberty, with broadening shoulders, a broken voice with a nice deep resonance, hairy legs, arms and needs a facial shave regularly. The sort of man who feels like a man, smells like a man, sounds and looks like a man but who has two enormous breasts that say otherwise.

 What do I have to do to be understood? I have flashes of incredible self-violence at times in the second-to-worst moments. In the worst moments I have flashes of suicidal ideation. I have to keep a faith, no matter how tenuous at times, that IT GETS BETTER.

 It’s a phrase that we know well in the trans community and in the wider LGBT world too. IT GETS BETTER is a mantra we repeat to ourselves as share our stories between us and will each other along knowing full well we are all in our private hells at different points along our journeys. The recent coverage of LGBT youth suicides in the USA has provided a much-needed empathic response from significant people, within and without, the LGBT communities. As an older trans man I feel, as have many hundreds, maybe thousands of others, that I want to show how, despite how hard life gets, that we can live lives with joy and with self-acceptance and respect from others. Sometimes it is moment to moment, but believe me, it really does get better on the turn of a sixpence sometimes.

Just as I finish this for now my dad has, for the first time in over a year, corrected himself about his pronouns with me without being prompted. It’s possible he overheard me earlier today when I was trying to keep it together on the phone so it may just have got through a bit about quite how it makes me feel. That’s one of those sixpence moments, coming out of the blue like the universe bungs you a spark of joy to keep you going when the light is fading fast.

They DO happen …

When I am feeling a little stronger I will post my own It Gets Better YouTube video. In the meantime here is a link to the other wonderful videos and messages of support from the campaign to raise awareness about LGBTQI youth suicides.

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Latin America and the ecosocialist alternative

Many thanks to Liam for posting this: 

Green Left and Socialist Resistance are organising a national tour of Britain with Hugo Blanco, a historic leader of the Peruvian peasant movement, during September and October 2010. Details of events in a dozen towns and cities will be posted shortly.

There are two chances to hear Hugo in London this week.

‘The Rise of The Green Left: Derek Wall Book Launch’

14 September · 19:30 – 22:00
Bolivar Hall,

54 Grafton Way, London

Speakers To include Derek Wall, Jeremy Corbyn and Hugo Blanco. For more info please email

‘Latin America and the ecosocialist alternative’

18 September · 10:30 – 17:30
University of London Union
Malet Street, London WC1H

Buy you ticket online in advance and save £3


  • The struggle of indigenous peoples.
  • The significance of Cochabamba
  • Food sovereignty
  • Water resources in Latin
  • America
  • The struggle of Latin American migrants
  • Women’s struggles in Latin America
  • Marxism, ecology and
  • Latin America
  • Latin America — the politics of oil


Hugo Blanco is a historic leader of the Peruvian peasant movement, who has been active for more than fifty years. In the 1960s he played a central part in the ‘Land or Death’ peasant uprising in the southern highlands of Peru. He was captured, and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The consistent struggles of the indigenous peoples of Latin America against neoliberalism and in defence of the environment are an inspiration to many ecosocialists across the world and this event, and other parts of the tour will give us an opportunity to find out more – including about the struggles in Peru which are less well known.

Today Hugo Blanco is the editor of the Cusco based newspaper Lucha Indigena, and part of the purpose of the tour is to raise funds for that publication

Saturday September 18th

University of London Union,

Malet Street, London WC1. Nearest tube Goodge Street

Doors open (registration) 10.00

Seminar — 11.00 until 5.30.

Speakers to include: Hugo Blanco, Caroline Lucas MP (invited), Diana Raby, Derek Wall, Stuart Piper, Grace Livingstone, Amanda Latimer.

Entrance: In advance £12.00 (£4.00 unwaged). At the door £15.00

(£6.00 unwaged). Send a cheque made out to Lucha Indigena to

PO Box 62732, London SW2 9GQ.

The Green Left and Socialist Resistance are organising the  seminar as a part of a national tour of Britain with Hugo Blanco during September and October.

Go to for booking and further information.

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Feeling good, feeling hope, feeling focussed

It’s three months tomorrow , thirteen weeks today, since I started testosterone. So much has happened to me and it has to be said it has been tough for me so far. But things are beginning to level out for now. I have done a three part vlog update on my Youtube channel MrStubborndog and it definitely feels like I am turning a corner and growing in confidence again finally now. It is quite possible that the internal hormonal battle is easing up now my T levels are taking effect. I haven’t had a bleed now in 5 weeks and my cycle has been 24-5 days for many years now so I KNOW that is a change and a very welcome one at that!!

In these vlogs I talk about some of the physical changes I have seen, the shifts and changes in my mood and patience levels. I speak about leaving my job and the prospect of reinventing the professional me as a now qualified counsellor who is actively seeking to get back emotionally fit to practice. I share my feelings about parenthood and the prospect of seeking a sperm donor in order for us to try and conceive a child where Carmen will be mum and I will be dad, albeit one that fires invisible blanks😉 I talk about the prospect of using new reproductive technologies for trans-fertility. Lastly I give thanks – to everyone out there, transguys and all for sharing our stories; and a very special thanks to my former workmates at the Youth Offending Service I now used to work for.

Many thanks in advance for watching them, feel free to pass them on to others and also to comment here or on the vid itself. It’s really helpful to get feedback.

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Why Passing as Male is Important (via FtM Doctor)

This post by FtM Doctor evoked many different feelings for me and it feels really quite a raw and in-my-face subject for me at this still early stage in my transition. For me right now, it’s incredibly important to me that I am experienced by others as male as this is congruent with what I feel inside. It doesn’t always happen though and sometimes I shrug it off and try and reflect on what it was about me in the moment that gave away I am not an XY male. Other times I get hurt or angry. Occasionally I want to hide away until my body morphs enough and I have had the chest surgery that I really need to feel freedom with my body and fully be myself.

I’ve got more thoughts to add about this in coming weeks as it is such an ongoing thing for me and most transguys I expect, especially early on.

Passing as male is important to me, but it’s not as important to other transsexuals. There’s lots of reasons why many people don’t go to such a great effort to pass. Not everyone wants to be stealth. Being stealth is a trans-term for living in a way where as few people as possible know that you’re trans. Passing means that you can ‘pass’ for a person who was born male.  You can ‘pass’ and not be stealth – it’s quite fun actually, as it involves s … Read More

via FtM Doctor

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