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Welcome to my blog, which I started way back in December 2002 - long before social media was a thing! With the advent of Facebook, Twitter etc. I don't write that often here now, but you never know when I might feel the urge to do so.

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PFC: Something Rotten in the State of the Profession

Friday, November 19, 2004

With the Gender Recognition Act and Civil Partnerships Act now both Law, Press For Change now seem to be focusing on the rather unsatisfactory (and that's putting it mildly) state of medical treatment available to trans people in the UK.

To many transpeople in the UK, I imagine that's no surprise given the known inconsistent availability of treatment across this country. Certainly, there is a widely held perception that the "old guard" at Charing Cross GIC (Prof. Richard Green, Don Montgomery and James Barrett) are out to "get" Dr Russell Reid (the consultant who oversaw my treatment and referred me for surgery).

This spilt is partially caused by their very different views of the treatment regime which should be available to trans patients. While Russell Reid's approach encourages patients to take responsibility for their own treatment, Charing Cross are well known for insisting patients must follow a strict and inflexible treatment regime. Those who refuse have to fight hard to make progress.

The most common manifestation of this is the Charing Cross refusal to allow patients access to hormones before transition, a practice I consider to be at best misguided and at worst barbaric and dangerous. By the time I transitioned on Christmas Day 2002, hormones had feminised my appearance to the extent that I had no problems integrating into society.

Personally, I don't think I could have transitioned without the feminisation that hormone therapy gave me. Had I been a Charing Cross patient, that fact alone could have been used by them to prevent me from receiving treatment unless I "co-operated". I shudder to think what could have happened to me in those circumstances.

Judge for yourself. I suspect this is going to be a prolonged and bitter debate.

Posted by Anna at 10:52 | Get Link

The Civil Partnerships Bill is now set to become Law in the UK

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The passing of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 earlier this year left a huge uncertainty over the position of married couples where one partner has transitioned. For those people (whom the UK Government repeatedly refused to grant full legal recognition under the Act, despite the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights) the Civil Partnerships Bill is key.

Unfortunately, it was also much more controversial, with the rather vocal "anti-gay marriage" lobby potentially threatening it far more than they did the Gender Recognition Bill.

Fortunately, it now looks like that danger has passed. As of today, the Civil Partnerships Bill now looks like it's about to become Law in the UK!

A little background.

Having passing it's Second Reading in the Commons, the Bill's progress in this parliamentary session (the last before the next general election) rested with the House of Lords. Unfortunately, the last time the Bill was read in the Lords a wrecking amendment was added to the Bill by peers (notably O'Cathain and Tebbbit, who also opposed the Gender Recognition Bill).

This time however the Bill has gone through, paving the way for all gay couples (and those where one partner was trans) to claim full legal recognition:

For Beth and I, this Bill is particularly important as it promises to ultimately give us most of the rights we would have as a married couple. For us, our commitment to each other is every bit that strong.

Posted by Anna at 22:38 | Get Link

Can it be one year already?

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Just one year ago, this was me recovering from 5 hours of reassignment surgery with Dr. Suporn in Chonburi, Thailand.I can scarcely believe it! A year ago today I was lying unconscious in Operating Room 2 in Aikchol Hospital, awaiting my rebirth at the caring hands of Dr Suporn and his staff.

One year post-op already? Wow!

It's been quite a year. Since that day I've come a long way - both physically (I returned to Thailand for Facial Feminisation Surgery in January this year) and emotionally (after surgery the body and mind continues to adjust, which takes some getting ued to, particularly when you're getting back into day to day life).

It's a time of celebration for me. Appropriately, I've spend this weekend in the company of special friends, though not in circumstances I could have anticipated a year ago! Yesterday I had a (much postponed) appointment to have my bikini area and armpits lasered at Lasercare in Shaftesbury Avenue. Although I was expecting the worst it didn't materialise - having my armpits done were slightly painful (but not unduly) and even having my labia and perennium cleared was nowhere near as bad as I expected.

Given that I'd spent the previous 20 minutes rushing across London (including sprints down Oxford St and Charing Cross Road!) and had forgotten to take any painkillers until 15 minutes beforehand as a result, I was pleasantly surprised. The bottle of white wine I shared with Claire and Alex at Fiori in Leiceiester Square afterwards was certainly welcome though...

We spent that evening partying in Bar One in Leicester Square, followed by the nearby Pizza Express in St. Martin in the Fields. Where else can you see Scooby Doo and Sleeping Beauty hanging around at the bar?

Once again, this girl is one happy kitten! Friends make all the difference.

Posted by Anna at 23:34 | Get Link

...but the postman made me get out of the envelope!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

My Dad's birthday card this year.

It's my Dad's birthday today, and once again I've sent a card without the expectation of a response. This time I also included a picture of Beth and I taken recently. Just looking at it you can see the happiness in our faces, and I wanted my family to see that the stereotype they (or rather, my mum) feared I would become after transition are about as far from the truth as they could be. I'm certainly no stereotype, and neither is Beth.

On the back of the picture I wrote a short message saying how much I love them regardless, and that we'd love to see them sometime. That, of course, depends on them.

With the anniversary of my rebirth approaching on the 14th even the smallest sign from them would be welcome, but I'm not waiting up for them to come around. As the saying goes, you can choose your friends, but not your family.

As far as I'm concerned, it seems my friends are my family now.

Posted by Anna at 17:51 | Get Link

Everywhere I go I find Faith - and wonderful people

Monday, November 08, 2004

It's been a long but fun weekend.

On Saturday Beth and I were in London for a meetup with Friends from AVEN - the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. Asexuality seems to be a very topical subject for the media at the moment (as the recent covereage shows) and it seems that society is slowly waking up to the fact that people are an incredibly diverse bunch. Personally, I believe it's all the richer for it.

Although I'm not strictly asexual myself, for me sex is just a way of expressing love, and its absence in a relationship really doesn't bother me. I honestly don't know why I didn't realise that until relatively recently...I imagine the testosterone which was poisoning my body until my transition has something to do with it!

On to the day itself. Once we arrived in London we caught a tube to Covent Garden where everyone was meeting up (outside M&S, no less!) before wandering off in search of a friendly place to chat and have lunch. We found that place in a nearby pub, and once settled in the downstairs bar we gradually got to know each other over a relaxed lunch.

One thing that did strike me was how diverse we all were. No two people shared the same story or outlook on life, but all had a common thread - they just didn't "fit" the expectations of others in society that they should be sexual beings. Several had only discovered they weren't alone in feeling the way they did through the recent media coverage!

I can see real parallels here with my own experience, and that of those I've met in the trans community. Increased awareness of diversity in society can only help all of us.

After a long and leisurely lunch we wandered into Leicester Square before descending on the Haagan Dazs Cafe ("table for 10, please!") for a rare taste of indulgence. It was wonderful, although we did feel a little guilty afterwards!

Afterwards we walked across Waterloo Bridge where Beth and I said our goodbyes for the journey back. It was a wonderful day, and I hope we'll all meet up again sometime soon.

We'd actually arranged to stay with our friend Claire in Redhill on Saturday night, and had a fun evening chatting and sharing a few glasses of wine before crashing much earlier than any of us planned.

The following day I went with Claire to Redhill Baptist Church.

As soon as I walked into the Church I was struck by familiarity. The atmosphere was very similar to that at Buckskin Evangelical Church - the Church where I found my Faith, but which ultimately couldn't cope with my transition. Although both Churches are members of the Evangelical Alliance (an organisation which is well known for its condemnation of transpeople), Redhill welcomed me unconditionally in a way BEC ultimately proved unable to.

The service was truly wonderful. Not only did they seem to have read my personal hymnbook (the one I carry in my heart), but the service as a whole was interesting, enlightening and thought provoking. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I felt that I'd come home. It was that special.

After the service we stayed for tea and I chatted to some of the Church members for quite some time. By the time we left, the Church was all but empty.

Thank you Lord. You've opened my eyes just that little bit further.

In the afternoon we all went for a late lunch to a local carvery. That's not the sort of diet we normally eat, believe me! It was very though, and as it's probably only the second or third roast dinner I've eaten this year I'm sure my waistline will forgive me this time!

Posted by Anna at 19:43 | Get Link