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Keeping up appearances

  • Posted on March 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Today I bought a Daily Mail for the first time in ages. It was because there was a story of how Jane Fae and her daughter Tash came to terms with Dad being transgender. I wish the trauma in our house had been so easily resolved – but envy will get me nowhere.

On the way, I called in at a print shop where I’d been and got a good deal the day before. And the bank to drop some cheques in. Well that was easy: at the bank was the branch manager with whom I’d arranged a business account a couple of months earlier, so she knew the woman presenting the cheques, recognised me, and remembered probably her first openly transgendered client. Yesterday might have been different.

I slid along to the print shop next door, and my first explanation was ‘Sorry: I was dressed as a man yesterday: I know, it can be confusing’, but she was so totally OK about it, I didn’t need to say. Maybe I was hoping she wouldn’t recognise me! But then I wanted her to remember the deal we’d made. We had a lovely chat instead.

That was all after yet another visit from a heating engineer to fix our central heating. Very prompt service, but he met the woman of the house this morning, because yesterday I was expecting to have to crawl around the loft and a sludgy header tank, so I dressed (or didn’t) to do that. The pink blouse and denim skirt didn’t faze him one bit. ’Nah, don’t worry about that, doesn’t bother me!’ He sees all sorts probably, and I didn’t look like I was going to proposition him! We talked about the technical details of heating systems, tuning old cars etc. instead. He was so pleased to talk to someone who actually understood!

What he found today was that the last man in had wrongly diagnosed a faulty pump and replaced it – upside down. I had before and after photos and an invitation form for CheckaTrade. In a couple of hours, the first man was back, humbly giving the pink lady a cheque for £190 reimbursement!

I brought the Daily Mail back home to ‘leave around’, in case it helps break the deadlock. Jane Fae had an interesting blog this morning too, comparing those young trans people we know and love who are sooo young and girly, we just feel a poor second; middle-aged women who, because they look like middle-aged women, look a bit more like middle-aged men than girly-girls. Actually I think Jane looks very creditable. But the comments about her under the Daily Mail online were as awful as ever. People who, in the anonymity of the Internet, find it necessary to be very personal, very derogatory and rude, and feed off each other in showing how utterly ‘normal’ they are. (They don’t do this anywhere else. You won’t catch any of them walking up to a less-than-attractive woman in the high street, just to tell them they look ugly, or to someone with a disfigurement to tell them their plastic surgery has been a waste of NHS money that should have been spent on them instead.)

Well, today I felt more normal than that. I am, after all, just being myself, and keeping up appearances.

It’s just that I have a beautiful grown-up very girly-girl daughter who can’t see me. Here’s another poem from the forthcoming Realisations volume:


Trans parent

  • Posted on March 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm

There is nothing so opaque as being
a trans parent. And yet, in familiarity,
they see right through you. Able only to see

in a distance who you were, without
resting on your heart. It’s hard
to understand whether a father left off

caring, understanding or being strong
when somewhere, inside this not-mother
a voice speaks, vulnerable as they.

I shall never pass here, only be different –
as if swallowed, digested, absorbed
by someone uninvited to their home.

I have become thin – a veil on their whole
lifetime, from first blue-eyed recognition
to this struggle with a strangeness.

So thin, so hard to focus on, that I am
deep as an ocean, clear as water, a sea
through which a seahorse passes unseen.

2012 © Andie Davidson

From the new collection Realisations.