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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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A Manifesto for Trans Healthcare in the UK

Sunday, July 24, 2005

This is interesting. As they've previously indicated, PFC are now piling on the pressure about the state and ethos of medical treatment for transpeople in the UK.

Certainly, if my own experiences are anything to go by, change is well and truly overdue. I've lost count of the number of people I've heard from who've been treated badly by some unsympathetic and out of touch so called "health professionals".

Posted by Anna at 21:43 | Get Link

There are no words strong enough to describe this

Saturday, July 23, 2005

I received this from a Christian group this morning. Words fail me that any society could be so barbaric and cruel.

Iran has had some positive press recently for its tolerance of transpeople. This story just illustrates the darker side of their society.

We have much to be thankful for in Western Europe in particular. Sadly, our brothers and sisters elseware aren't so fortunate.

Posted by Anna at 22:14 | Get Link

GRP Standard-Track application forms now available

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A quick update from Press For Change containing some news we've been waiting for for a long time.

What this means is that anyone who has been transitioned for two years or more is now eligible to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate and a new Birth Certificate.

That includes me.

Posted by Anna at 22:44 | Get Link

A Bourne Free Weekend

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Beth at Alum Chine before the march startedThis weekend is one we've been looking forward to for some time - the weekend of the second Bourne Free Festival - quite literally a riot of colour and laughter celebrating the diversity that is so part of life in the town.

A bit of background first. Bourne Free started last October, when the LGBT community in Bournemouth discovered that Christian Voice - probably the most extreme "Christian" group in the country - were planning to mount an anti-homosexuality demonstration in Bournemouth town centre. Not surprisingly, this wasn't something either the local LGBT community or the council (which strongly supports the community in the town) were particularly happy about.

With only two weeks notice, the local LGBT groups and the North London and Bournemouth branches of the Metropolitan Community Church organised a counter demonstration and diversity celebration named "Bourne Free". Beth and I attended that march - our first - and a great deal of fun it was!

The good news is that the march went so well that the organisers decided to make it an annual event. With no fundamentalists to contend with this year (not that that adds up to much, as events at Pride last weekend proved) this year's celebration (organised with a lot more notice!) was bigger, more visible and generally higher profile.

Rather than march from the Branksome as last year, the organisers decided to start the parade at Alum Chine and march along the seafront to the Lower Gardens in the centre of town. With the weather being as good as it was the beaches were busy so we had no shortage of spectators - a sure way to guarantee we would be noticed!

We arrived early and had time to relax for a while before everyone else started congretating. It was a perfect day for the march - not too hot, but sunny and bright, without a cloud in the sky.

As we waited, more and more people arrived - including a very vocal contingent in a double decker bus! Members of the local Metropolitan Community Church took the opportunity to circulate around the crowd distributing their familiar "God Made Me Gay" stickers.

Everyone was full of smiles and optimism. You could just feel it was going to be a great day.

One nice touch we hadn't expected was two absolutely huge rainbow banners, which were certainly a fun way to attract attention:

The march assembling at Alum Chine

Before too long it was time for us to set off, led by a jeep emblazoned with a rainbow flag and towing a trailer carrying drummers. As if that wasn't loud enough, it was followed by a rolls royce - complete with chauffeur (very Lady Penelope. Pity it wasn't pink!) ahead of the MCC with their banner.

A roving whistle seller ensured that we made even more noise as we marched towards Bournemouth Pier. The Branksome brought along two very exotic looking characters (I believe they are partners), who added a real touch of the exotic to the march.

The parade begins!

The parade begins!

The rainbow flags were a fun and colourful way to make the parade more noticeable

The rainbow flags were a fun and colourful way to make the parade more noticeable

Two dancers from the Branksome lent a touch of the exotic to the parade

Two dancers from the Branksome lent a touch of the exotic to the parade

Amnesty may have had a pink tank at London Pride, but we had a roller!

Amnesty may have had a pink tank at London Pride, but we had a roller!

It was interesting to watch the reaction of people on the beach and seafront as we passed noisily by. A few looked unimpressed or bemused, but I'm happy to say that the vast majority seemed happy to see us, with a few even waving at us! I even spotted quite a few people filming us with camcorders as we passed...I imagine we made quite an unexpectedly colourful addition to their day out.

The march eventually arrived at Bournemouth pier and made its way under the seafront road and into the Lower Gardens. That area is an extremely busy one - containing not only a mini-funfair but also several busy bars/cafes and a Harry Ramsden's chippie - so we had quite an audience there too! I can't imagine many people expecting to see such a colourful procession come working its way up from the seafront, but that's exactly what happened.

When we finally arrived at the Bandstand in the Lower Gardens, it was time to pack away the flags and prepare for an afternoon of chilled out music. Although the lineup mostly consisted mostly of local acts, David Bedella put in a (very) enthusastic appearance too. Of course, although the event started with just those taking part in the parade involved, by now our numbers were swelled by many people in the gardens themselves, just enjoying the sunshine and entertainment. That's what inclusion is all about, after all.

It wasn't all music though. After the appalling events in London on Thursday, the celebration was of course tinged with sadness. As a mark of respect, one of the pastors of the local Metropolitan Community Church (Revd. Dwayne Morgan) led the crowd in a minute of silence, following which balloons were released in tribute to the fallen. It was a beautiful and sensitive touch.

In memory of those who fell victim to the appalling act of terrorism in London on Thursday, MCC's pastor Revd. Dwayne Morgan led the crowd in a minutes silence, at the end of which balloons were released in tribute to the fallen. It was a beautiful and sensitive touch.

Balloons released in memory to those who fell in the appalling attacks on London last Thursday

Bournemouth Remembers

We stayed in the vicinity of the bandstand for an hour or so before heading off to Legends for a light lunch. On returning we found our friends (aren't mobiles useful?) and spent a relaxing couple of hours chilling out on the grass. With the days staying warm and bright it's just as well we had suntan lotion with us!

Today has been an equally chilled (though less colourful day). After a relaxed lunch with Emma, Billie, Carol and Kira we drove back into town so that Carol could buy a bikini, then headed down to the breach - again at Alum Chine. We took a frisbee with us too.

Believe it or not, although I've been spending a lot of time down on the coast since Beth and I met, until today we've never actually gone sunbathing on the beach! It was wonderfully relaxed, and a great deal of fun. As well as a little sunbathing we also went swimming in the sea...nice except for the taste of salt in the mouth!

To pass the time we alternated between sunbathing, swimming and frisbeeing on the beach - which soon migrated into the water. Ever tried catching a frisbee which was just out of reach while standing in three feet of water?

Lets just say that I've now got some interesting aching muscles from all the running (and splashing) around. No sunburn for this kitten this weekend though.

Posted by Anna at 22:02 | Get Link

From Manchester with Fun

Monday, July 04, 2005

Beth and I have just spent an absolutely fantastic weekend visiting our friends Jo and Gabs up in Manchester for a party. This is an event that's been planned for quite some time, and we've been looking forward to it immensely. Although at times it didn't look like we'd make it (it's a long, long way, after all), We're so glad we did.

Jo was expecting 40 people, and with so many of us coming from quite a distance it looked like accommodation would be a bit of a problem. To add to that all of the local hotels were booked up because of some big conference, so that option was out. To cut the travel costs we'd arranged to travel up with a friend, and we thought we'd got our sleeping arrangements sorted out when she managed to arrange for us to stay with a friend of hers in Oldham, of all places (quite possibly one of the most transphobic areas in the UK. Not surprisingly we were a little nervous! It's also on the opposite side of the city from Salford, where the party was being held).

The arrangements seemed pretty straightforward. After dropping off our bags and getting changed the four of us caught a cab in mid afternoon from Oldham to the party in Salford. We always enjoy walking into a new place and meeting new people, so Beth and I were in our element. In particular, although I know Jo's partner Gabs from a couple of years back (another party, this time in Stevenage) it's the first time Beth and I have met Jo in person, although we've been chatting by phone and IM for ages. Sometimes distance really is a pain.

The party was a chilled out affair, and as the weather was good we spent most of our time in the garden. As well as the BBQ (of course!) and obligatory plastic garden charis Jo and Gabs had erected a large gazebo with a couple of sun loungers underneath, which I certainly appreciated after that long drive!

Unfortunately (as so often happens) a lot of people called off at the last moment. Jo was a little dissapointed, but to her credit it didn't dent her enthusiam and sense of fun one bit.

We had a huge selection of drinks to choose from. Between the afternoon, evening and early hours of the morning, I must have sampled white and red wine, beer, baileys, malibu, bourbon, ti-maria (my favourite!) and a few more I just can't remember. Amazingly enough, I never felt in any way drunk, and the following morning none of us had a hangover.

The music was varied and fun. Saturday was of course the day of the Live 8 concerts (I hope they can make a difference, I really do), so we also had that on in the background. For most of the day the volume was muted though, which led to some rather entertaining lip sync spectacles.

Later in the evening as the party wound down we turned the sound up and watched it. I have to say that some of the performances were incredible...I was particularly awed by Pink Floyd's performance (who'd have thought Roger Waters would ever rejoin them?).

With the smaller number of people who turned up, crash space wasn't the problem we all thought it would be, so Beth and I were able to sleep on the lounge floor. Of course, with our bags being back in Oldham we had no change of clothes for the morning. We can laugh about it now, but at the time it was a real pain!!! Never mind...

When we finally said our goodbyes on Sunday afternoon it was with the knowledge that we had a long, long drive ahead of us. When we finally crossed the border from Berkshire into Hampshire several hours later it was with a sense of relief that the long drive was nearly over.

Finally, for those who've been asking what I've had done to my hair (just a subtle change really), here's a pic of Beth and I chilling out at the party on Saturday evening. I hope you like it.

Beth and I at Jo and Gabs' party

A big hi to everyone who was there!

Posted by Anna at 12:45 | Get Link