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It’s never too late…..

I am told it is never too late to be yourself…..I struggle with this as I have put off being myself for so many years, some would say procrastinated but hey I guess the time has finally come. Why now, because the pressure has become too much to bear. There have always been good reasons not to put myself first, not to be selfish.

Importantly, I have been empowered by an amazing couple who are supportive and only see me as the woman I am. They have enjoyed my small successes in taking, often only small steps, out of the closet; talked to me about it all, supported me at every turn, listened to my anxieties…and there are plenty of those.

So why a blog? Well as with so many blogs this is intended to be a record of my journey to womanhood. A record of the ups and downs on this journey. I hope that it may encourage other mature ladies to take the plunge, those who say it is too late now. There are blogs that have been really important to my understanding of the challenges I face. To name but a few My Road to Womanhood (My Road Redux), Cassidy’s Quest, Large Blooming Flower, Retrobassgirl and so many others. Lucy Melford, Lynn Jones of YATGB, Rhiannon Rambling, Upside down in a cloud, Paula’s Place, Hannah’s Thinking Again…the list goes on. People who have lives as well as being trans.,

It is not as if i have not known what i needed to do for some years now and in stealth i have worked quietly towards this point for nearly twenty years. I know that I have gender dysphoria, I know that I have to be myself and that I cannot continue to deny myself. For many years I did not know that there was such a thing as gender dysphoria. I grew up pre- internet so, along with many others, I just thought I was different. 

I knew when I was around three, I was a girl just like my best friend at preschool, Tess. As I grew up I was to be blunt quite effeminate looking though not in any way camp. I was an innocent looking choirboy in a cathedral school. I loved everything about girls, their dresses how they looked, make up their whole way of being. I remember vividly watching my mother and her friend refreshing their lipstick after meeting for coffee in town. I was absolutely fascinated. Seeing her in her slip getting dressed, watching her put on gloves before putting on her stockings so as not to ladder them. 

I needed to be part of that world, I hated having to be a boy and do boyish things, I was no good at them. I retreated into my music and books and lived in my own world.

As puberty came I endured years of confusion during which time I would, like so many others, buy my girly clothes and underwear and then purge them all because it was wrong, I was a freak, it wasn’t right. Yet all the time I would be yearning to be a girl. Girlfriends were forever disappointed that I wanted to hang out with them..I was not desperate to have my wicked way with them, affectionate cuddles were lovely.

Fast forward to the late seventies, I came across a book at the library. Conundrum by Jan Morris. She was writing about being transexual/transgender. This was the first time I had come across this. I read the book from cover to cover the first evening and I was stunned…..I understood, the jigsaw came together. I read the book several times, renewed it…..how could this be? She had undergone re-assignment surgery! 

Then the internet came into my life. Good grief, I was not alone. If I was a freak then there were lots of us.

Fast forward again to now, here I am, finally taking real steps towards transition. I have to be aware that I am never going to be that stunning model that I expect we all dream of being, but at the very least I can be me. Hopefully, I will achieve a level where I can pass or at the least blend in and be accepted as the mature woman I am. 

A mixed day

It felt as if the countdown to my moving was getting underway today, ten days and the check out from my tenancy would be done and I would be driving north to start the next chapter of my life.

My brother had come round to go through two storage boxes of old photographs which included photos of our great grandparents, something we had been putting off. The two storage boxes had already been distilled from two further boxes on the first cull! Maybe I should explain I had inherited photographs from my parents who in turn still had photographs from their parents’ collections. There are only so many photographs one can have of the same person!! 

My solution has been to take photographs of those that are of interest on my phone so they can be stored in the ether without taking up any space. My plan is that this is the first move I am going to make where nothing gets stored. There is just one box left now of my own family which needs sorting then job done. So I was feeling positive another step on the way to moving accomplished.

Then the phone call. I have been babysitting a dog, Bear…aptly named, for a while. It was going to be seven months to the day when he was returning to his owners. Special transport had been booked, money set aside to cover it. The required professional cleaning required by the landlady following a pet being in residence booked. Council Tax notified of my leaving date, direct debits cancelled. I have never been so organised.

The gentleman transporting Bear called and said that his hand is in plaster following an op and his physio had laid down the law he was not to do any driving that week. The earliest he could do was the 3rd October. Damn, or whatever other expletives come to mind.

Everything was booked for me to be moved by 30th September. I was so disappointed. For all my excitement and anticipation at the move I had been keeping it strictly in check until this morning when it really did seem as if the countdown had started. Life would be getting back to normal following the funeral and the period of mourning following the Queen’s death everything was organised.

Famous last words. So now, I tell myself everything for a reason. The landlady has agreed a week’s extension, messages have been left with the carpet cleaner. It will work itself out. I will continue rearranging everything tomorrow. One of my guiding principles is “don’t push the river”, or simply go with the flow. There is nothing I can do about it. I am sure the gentleman did not find himself in the position of having to cancel deliberately, so the best thing I can do is live with it, accepting what has happened as gracefully as I can.

What a week

A lot has happened since my last post, momentous changes, the Queen died, we have a new King, we have a new Prime Minister all in a week. I feel as if it should be profound somehow and am surprised it really doesn’t feel as if it is. It feels rather the same as, the monarchy continues, the Queen is dead Long live the King. The new Prime Minister is, as far as it can be seen, the continuation candidate.

I am perhaps fortunate that I do not have a TV at present, the last one broke recently and as I am moving I thought I would get the new one after the move, so I am spared the wall to wall coverage dipping in and out on BBC iPlayer or catch up TV whenever I want to. Of course, I also catch the social media snippets which are usually showing an alternative viewpoint, for instance “not my King”, “You are a dirty old pervert” addressed to Prince Andrew as he followed the Queen’s coffin. 

Showing my age,(shh), I have now been alive for three monarchs. Will it make any difference to have a new King? I really don’t know. The fact that the Queen has reigned for 70 years and if you accept the monarchy and its wealth at all her reign has been a positive one in that she has tried and largely succeeded to “serve” her people. Her last act of service it seems to me was to make sure she was able to accept the resignation of our former Prime Minister, hanging in there until it was done! For all I know the Queen may have thought he was wonderful, though I somewhat doubt it. Where I feel the Queen erred in judgment particularly was over her son Andrew, leaving whatever actions which were finally taken far too late and trying to re-integrate him into public opinion and regain his acceptance by the public. In my judgment that will never be the case. However, as a mother trying to protect your favourite child it may be understandable if not acceptable.

As for the future, I am sure those who still wish to retain a monarchy will want to see it being streamlined, modernised. It seems to me quite inappropriate that there are so many homes whether owned by the state or themselves personally. You no longer have to keep moving from Palace to Palace to keep ahead of the poor sanitation, though by the state of the countries sewers it may not be long before this practice is resurrected. For instance, so far as I am aware, the King now has at his disposal, Buckingham Palace, St James Palace, Clarence House in the capitol, Windsor Castle, Sandringham House, Balmoral Castle, Highgrove House, Castle of Mey, his holiday home in Romania, a house in Wales, probably others as well, which all seems a tad excessive. Perhaps some of these will go to Prince William as Prince of Wales or the Duke of Cornwall though he is acquiring a reasonable collection of property of his own.

I know this is a gross simplification and just an element of their lives, yet it seems to me the Royal Family must be seen to change if they are going to maintain any affection. It is a time when change is in the air and the Queen and the constancy of the Queen having being the monarch for such an extensive period is no longer there.

Moving to our new Prime Minister, I have commented about Liz Truss previously and it is probably too soon to make any real comment. However, I was troubled that on her first day in office she reportedly instructed government lawyers to research ways in which Westminster could block or override the Scottish Parliaments intended Gender Reform legislation. I would have thought that on her first day of office with the cost of living crisis, the rising inflation, the war in Ukraine and a myriad other issues to attend to this would not have featured at the top of her to do list or at all! It does not bode well. I suppose it is a question of watch this space.

Emotions

Mixed emotions, I suppose they are a positive though sometimes I wonder. I tell my children they are are a really positive thing, how life would be without colour, bland without emotions. I do actually believe that is so.

Today I have had mixed emotions. I have been facing a potentially catastrophic financial crisis because the local “mafia” has been blocking a small development I have been working on for nearly six years to the point that the company financing the development for me has reached the end of their tether and want to repossess the site and sue me for a some of money I do not have. I hd become resigned to the fact that the monthly interest I was being charged was not sustainable and in all probability I would end up going bankrupt. I have been trying for the last few weeks to negotiate an exit route which would prevent my bankruptcy and which the lenders could live with. It was not going well!

Today the local “mafia” make me an offer which is not what the land is worth but is good enough to be able to sort out my lender. I will still be significantly short but the shortfall is manageable. He has blocked progress for two years and caused unquantifiable grief let alone very, very significant financial loss. How have I reacted emotionally? Relief, there is a way out of this. I have accepted, subject to contract, lets get this done. There is the other side to the coin, total anger that he has managed to get what he wants at significant cost to me. It is a long time since I felt such anger.

Emotions are the colour of life. Almost a year ago my close friends eloped to Scotland and married at Fairy Glen. I had no idea, despite being close, and when they called me, I was babysitting their dog while they were on “holiday”, I was so happy I cried and cried every time I thought about it I cried I was so happy for them.

I tell my children that not feeling is a living death, bland a grey existence I saw friends I grew up with going through life as if they were automatons. I have spent periods of my life existing, everything shut down, unable to feel. I have been reminded today that emotions give colour to my existence.

50 Years

Fifty years ago, I was coming to the end of a six month spell in Vancouver, working and staying with friends. It had been an eye opening time and I found the People’s University, came across the new West Coast psychology groups, attended my first ever encounter group. It was the start of a journey that in theory has continued ever since with “life” getting in the way, though of course life is not meant to get in the way in that sense. Everything is an experience.

Now fifty years later, I am moving to a house share and for once I am going to move without boxes left behind in storage. So I am going through boxes and boxes of my life, pictures, stuff (possessions) and this includes culling the vast majority of my books. Books have been difficult to do though I am now becoming ruthless about it. Roughly four weeks to go and what goes with me has to fit into a small hatchback car.

Fifty years ago my then wife gave me a book for my birthday. Man and his symbols, Conceived and edited by Carl Jung. It is inscribed by my wife “to remember Vancouver and all that happened here”. Certainly a lot happened there, including the beginning of the end of our marriage with hindsight. It is inscribed to my deadname. That has been a factor in deciding that books are not coming with me. Fifty years ago I was lost confused I had not yet put a name to my gender dysphoria. Ever since I had been shut down at a tender age when I had informed everyone I was a girl and why couldn’t people understand, only to be made to feel ashamed and guilty. I used my journey in Psychotherapy initially to get rid of any such notions, I must be deluded etc, etc with very little success. What’s in will out and the penny finally dropped I am transgender, I am a transwoman.

It feels as if life is taking me back full circle to that point 50 years ago. 50 years ago I was just embarking on my career as a lawyer. I bought into convention and chased the worldly things everyone else wanted, what you were supposed to have to be viewed a success. I developed an acceptable persona ignoring my inner self. It wasn’t until I transitioned that I started the journey of reconnecting with my authentic self, dropping the persona bit by bit and now here I am with very little other than life experience to my name, worldly possessions and achievements largely gone ready to reconnect with who I am.

It really feels as if I am coming to an end of a cycle, time to go back to connect fully with myself, sharing life with new friends together, a collective, time to let the past go. I will take the book with me as part of this journey, a reminder, to grow and re-connect with my inner, authentic self.

Despair

I have been watching the leadership contest for this country’s new Prime Minister with ever increasing despondency. It already seems ludicrous or perhaps undemocratic as well as ludicrous, that the Prime Minister is elected by such a small group of party members. Party members I suspect who do not reflect a wide social sphere but are largely older white males and not a reflection of the wider community or a wider socio-economic spectrum of society. With the first past the post voting system the governing party always wins with less than 50% of the electorate voting for them, often substantially less, and then from the minority winning vote what feels like a handful of party members selects the Prime Minister.

If that was not bad enough once we have a new Prime Minister there is no requirement for a general election to endorse or give credence, authority for the government under the new leadership. The cry from the candidates is that they are simply going to continue with the mandate which the party received at the last general election and continue with the same policies.

This is the system and until the political parties have the will to change it by the opposition parties working together it will continue. So the country is set to have one of the two remaining candidates as the new Prime Minister. Neither fills me with any hope and the front runner, Liz Truss, fills me with horror hence my feeling of despair. There seems to be nothing about her that would make me feel she was fit to be Prime Minister and able to deliver a new start from the previous incumbent. In fact she does very little to distance herself from Boris Johnson’s premiership. 

I do not think that those who worked hard and tirelessly to oust Boris Johnson from No 10 Downing Street contemplated the possibility of a new incumbent cut from the same cloth, that things could get even worse. I am afraid it is too late. The right wing of the party, much favoured by Party Members who have the vote, have put their weight behind her. I am not sure why unless they feel she can be manipulated to adopt their agenda as they pull the strings of their favoured puppet. I fear that her ambition will allow her to do whatever is necessary to become Prime Minister.

Senior Tory Party members are coming out desperately tying to support Rishi Sunak to stop the Liz Truss bandwagon basically admitting that she is not up to the job. Michael Gove describes Liz Truss’ campaign as “a holiday from reality”. 

Matthew Paris has described her “as an empty vessel there is no more to Truss than than meets the eye”, also, “There’s nothing there… nothing beyond a leaping self-confidence that’s almost endearing in its wide-eyed disregard for the forces of political gravity… Liz Truss is a planet-sized mass of overconfidence and ambition teetering upon a pinhead of a political brain.”

Former Prime Minister, John Major, has demolished the record of the present government over the last three years and how it is challenging the very basis of our democracy. He lays the blame firmly on our Present Prime minister and those around him in the cabinet which includes both of the candidates for Prime Minister.

Everything in the country is a mess, nothing, really nothing is working as it should. When Jacob Rees-Mogg was asked recently what was working well, after a pause he replied with “we are doing quite well in the Test Matches”! Cost of living crisis, energy crisis, water crisis, sewage in the sea and on our beaches polluting our rivers, NHS in crisis, strikes on the railways and tubes with more strike action to come. Corruption on an industrial scale with contracts for mates, efforts to limit the scope of leftie lawyers who try to hold the government to account, limit the use of judicial reviews. On and on it goes……

This will appear as an anti Tory political rant. In fact it isn’t particularly. It is a plea for some common sense, some gravitas beyond politics. For politicians of whatever political persuasion to act for the benefit of the people, for the electorate who put them there and not act for their own best interests. I feel that this is a time when the best politicians of whatever political party should work together, restore faith in the political system and to get to grips with the overwhelming problems the country faces. Of course this will not happen. It seems to me that the best hope for change is that the new Prime Minister is so dire that there is a general election within months to put an end to this awful state of affairs. 

Change

I am finding it quite interesting, challenging maybe as I am on the cusp of a major change in the next few weeks. I am really looking forward to the changes and the prospect and opportunities of doing things and living differently.

As I have written before I am troubled about the political agenda which is anti woke and anti trans, so that I am moving north of the border to Scotland feels really positive. Coincidentally returning to the country of my birth. Despite some strident voices anti trans north of the border, the general climate and the statements from their First Minister are positive and confirming. 

I am going to be house sharing again with the same couple I have previously shared a house. It is two years since I moved out to Wiltshire and set up on my own in a rented property, mainly for work reasons. So returning to a shared house means downsizing, streamlining. They already have a furnished house and there is no need or indeed room for any more. I will have my own room and the share the house. 

Today the first collection of furniture for the charity shop happened. Having loaded what they had come for they walked round the house letting me know what would be accept on their next visit. It all feels remarkably freeing.

Loads of files and boxes being sorted through, memories good and bad surface. I used to hang on to “things” to remind me of memories whereas those memories are in actually in my head. There are a few special gifts, tokens that carry meaning and they are treasured and to be kept. One of the hardest selections has been culling my books. I have seen them as “friends”. Some I have had since university, decades ago, and not read since but they were important to me at the time shaping my thoughts. 

I have also noticed that since transitioning I am able to be much more in the present, more able and wanting to live now. In a way those books, my friends, were also a distraction from living now. A way of living through other worlds, other people’s lives.

It feels as if this is the end of a cycle and a new beginning beckons.I am looking forward to the changes.

Another week

It has been a funny old week. In the political world nothing of significance has changed, my concerns are just as they were and there is nothing to suggest matters will improve. In fact while this interminable leadership wrangle goes on they can only get worse in my opinion.

Today I had a long conversation with a business associate who is involved with a couple of projects I am doing. Both of them started several years ago before my transition. We were discussing our respective approaches. The conclusion was that we have complementary skills. He said the trouble is you are a woman. You get too emotionally involved and want to make everything right! A very male point of view.

He talked about nature nurture and his view is we are all what we are born with and that all nature does is develop or hinder what we arrive with. He sees himself as having a 75/25 male female brain. His feminine side facilitates his people skills, how he talks to people. His male side allows him to be structured.

Another significant difference is that I have had a professional background and the essence of the area of law in which I worked was disputes. The essence of the work is mediation. The ability to get two warring parties to compromise and reach a fair solution. Of course there are times when this is not possible and the parties want their day in court. Essentially when that happens the real winners are the lawyers. My feminine traits, the wish to compromise would have been an advantage. I found often that I would intuitively know what the proper resolution of a dispute should be right from the outset. I was fortunate that I had a partner in the firm who was very analytical and would do the research to get us there. My associate who has always worked in business feels the very essence of a professional background can be a problem. Lawyers give advice but the buck never stops with them. In fact lawyers often hinder deals trying to dot and cross every i and t when the downside is minute. In business you need to assess commercial risks and take decisions. 

Of course it is not as simple as that as everyone is different and are at a different place on the spectrum with their male female balance. It seemed an interesting argument.

Interestingly discussing my past ventures what transpired was my most successful ones were when I had control. It was my vision, I put a plan together and executed it, not because I was a control freak, it was because I was not trying to appease any other interests.

The question of appeasing people has also changed through transition. The more I am at home in my skin the more I do not have to hide, be something I am not. This has enabled me to be more straightforward and be able to say how things are. All I want to do is close off these projects from pre transition times and have a go at one more as the real me putting into practice what I have learned.

1984

1984 was a difficult year for me. I moved my new family out of London on 4th April and by the end of the month I was unemployed. It was a hard time.

The fictional 1984 was much worse envisaging a totalitarian state. I did not see it as prophetic. Yet here we are in 2022 living in a world where those that govern us seem to consider themselves more and more above the law. Every day there appears to be new example of what (allegedly) appear to be nepotism, corruption, greed with no concern for ordinary citizens trying to lead their lives.

Having removed the current Prime Minister, because of his unsuitability for public office, I had a faint hope that there could be change. I realise I was being naive, unrealistic. Surely there could be a candidate for the Leadership of the party who would show integrity, compassion, not be in it for themselves? So out of the candidates there were two possible outsiders who seemed less tainted by the government than the rest of them. Needless to say they did not make it to the final selection where the leadership contest ended up being between the former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, hardly new faces.

A week or so into their leadership battle low and behold both of the outside candidates are now backing Liz Truss who is positioning herself largely as the continuation candidate (even Boris Johnson endorses her, surely that should be the kiss of death to her chances). Apparently not.

Both candidates are vying with each other to be anti-woke. Of course Liz Truss is the current Equalities Minister, not that should be any impediment in reducing rights for minorities as she says she will dispense with diversity posts in the Civil Service along with many other proposals. Rishi Sunak seems to be suggesting a return to the s.28 mentality as well as suggesting that there are difficulties with implementing policy because of Human Rights. This is he endorses a new Human Rights Bill which will of course not hamper the government in implementing policy. Then the government wants to leave the European Court of Human Rights, a court the UK instigated and helped to set up to protect Human Rights after the Second World War. If the UK does leave the court I believe we will be the only country to have done so apart from Russia.

Also supporting Liz Truss is Sue Bravermann, the Attorney General who has instructed government lawyers not to advise Ministers if a policy is illegal unless there is absolutely no argument that can be made that might support what they wish to do.

They have already managed to control the right to protest with the Policing Bill and on it goes. The outgoing Prime Minister is proposing to rig the House of Lords by creating around fifty new peers, Tory peers who, allegedly, are being required to support government policy to be nominated. The Met Police not holding politicians to account, the government attacking the independence of the judiciary. 

Its the sheer audacity, the taking people for stupid that annoys me. The multi billion contracts given to patently inappropriate companies because of connections, the VIP lane, the Prime Minister having his 81 year old father nominated to be the COP26 Ambassador, thankfully blocked.

This would appear to be an anti Tory rant and I suppose it is. It did not intend to be. More I am sickened by the complete absence of integrity, the greed, the lying, the nothing to see here attitude. It just happens that the present government is Tory and are the party that are acting in this manner. I would feel the same whatever party behaved in this way.

It just seems to me that we are heading towards a totalitarian state, wrapped in this cloak of faux democracy where all the levers of power and control have been and are being subsumed into the hands of the very few for their benefit. Frankly, I find it really scary and can only hope that people will step up at the next general election, let their voices be heard, that the opposition parties will work together to ensure this government, or any government that acts in this way, is shown the door and that by the time the next election arrives it is not too late.

A week

They say a week is a long time in politics, it seems to be a long time in blogging too. So much has happened none of which seems particularly positive. Joanna Cherry Q.C being appointed co- chair of the Equalities Select Committee, really? She is gender critical and has a long track record opposing the trans community. Is she an appropriate guardian of the rights of trans people? Then we have the leadership election for this country’s next prime minister. A choice between right and extreme right both expressing the need to limit the woke culture wars, supporting the Rwanda policy for heavens sake is there no humanity and one of them proudly proclaims he is the son of an immigrant family. 

The anti-woke agenda is being discussed among the candidates. It doesn’t feature in the majority of people’s minds with everything that is going on at present. A poll of Conservative members who are going to vote put it bottom of their issues with just 3% thinking about it. Trans people are approximately 1% of the population yet it is a major talking point along with taxes and the cost of living.

I had my six monthly consultation with my endocrinologist this week. All good. We discussed anxiety and fears and I said that I found I was anxious about the increase in transphobia and that it did have an effect on how I went about my day to day life in that I am now hesitant about using single sex spaces, to be blunt toilets. He said that he had found this was a common tale with his clients, he has over two thousand trans clients and it has been noticeably so in the last twelve months with the rise in gender critical activism. I went on to say that the irony is that in my day to day life I do not experience transphobia. I appreciate I am careful what situations I put myself in but really I can get on with my life without any real hinderance or concern.

I suppose that brings me back to the issue of do I stay off social media, not read the press and carry on regardless in blissful ignorance or do I keep abreast of the rubbish so I am aware and try to keep it in proportion as best as I can.

I also had to confirm I had not been seen by a NHS Gender Identity Clinic. My response was “I was referred four years ago by my then GP and I have never heard from them with any letter, let alone been seen. I do not expect to ever hear from them” prompting the response of “oh my goodness”. 

So along with many, many others it is time to consider living elsewhere, not staying with an ever more right wing government that has no interest in genuine equality, stoking the culture wars against minorities to distract from their policies that increasingly endanger freedoms.

More thoughts

The contest for the Conservative Party leadership and therefore the country’s next MP rambles on and in my view nobody is covering themselves with glory. Clearly, I have an interest in the Trans agenda and it surprises me how much it features in the debate. After all I understand that trans people make up roughly one per cent of the population and yet it is making headlines in this debate. Apart from being trans I am also an ordinary citizen living in the country worrying about how the country is falling apart wherever you look. The cost of living, energy prices, the overstretched, some would say failing, NHS, dentists, public services, inflation are so important to the daily lives of every one of us. These are the issues which the candidates should be concentrating on.

I have for my sins watched both of the candidates debates, that is an overstatement. I have been underwhelmed by what is on offer and the level of “debate”. Are these candidates really the best available to be our next Prime Minister, to tackle the many serious issues facing the country? In the first debate the candidates were asked “yes or no is the Prime Minister honest?” Only one said No, by shaking his head. Even the clean start candidate daren’t say it out loud though the shake of the head got a round of applause. One said “sometimes” other than that it was a real education to see the candidates trying to talk there way round the question, and not answering it. In the second debate the candidates were asked to put their hand up if any of them would give our present Prime Minister a post in their cabinet. None did. 

The toxic nature of the debate came out yesterday, with the result that two candidates, the most senior, Sunack and Truss, have pulled out of the next debate tomorrow because the debates are damaging the Conservative brand. Put another way the toxic debate is making them look awful, showing the party for what they are and giving the opposition party plenty of soundbites, fodder to attack them when the next election comes. It was within this toxic debate that the gender wars came up attacking Penny Morduant’s supposed change of mind over self ID, suggesting she could not be trusted. One candidate says she will wage war on the whole cult of woke.

I find it interesting that more and more people, just the general public, are expressing a sense of frustration about gender issues literally saying let trans people get on with their lives, leave them alone, it really has no effect on their lives deal with the issues that matter. In the last couple of weeks there have been many tweets from cis women saying none of this impacts on their lives.

While I have been writing this Angela Rayner has just stated in a programme on LBC that “Transgender rights are women’s rights” acknowledging that the debate has to be calmed down, the scaremongering called out and the Equalities Act and Gender Recognition Acts explained fully since Trans people already have rights which the gender critical are trying to reduce. 

The critical issue seems to me is self ID. This is already accepted in many countries without causing any difficulties. In England to gain a Gender Recognition Certificate still requires a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Theresa May committed to dispensing with the medical requirement saying gender dysphoria is not a medical condition. This would mean amending the Gender Recognition Act and a consultation was instigated. This is where the gender critical lobby group stepped in on the basis that any man could self ID and become a predator in single sex spaces. The debate has become centred round penises and biological sex. Personally I doubt that a predatory male is really going to bother to go through self ID and get a GRC in order to attack women, there is no evidence that this is a problem in other countries where there is self ID. A predatory male will attack women anyway. 

There needs to be a serious non toxic debate about the issue. I feel it has been exacerbated because a trans woman in the current system cannot get a diagnosis of gender dysphoria to be able apply for a GRC because the system is so broken it takes years to get a first appointment. Whether or not one agrees that a medical diagnosis is appropriate the delays in the system and the totally inadequate healthcare for trans people has made the whole issue much more fraught.

As for these candidates for our next PM, how about just getting on with fixing the country, that would be a novel idea! Sadly I really do not think any of the candidates have shown they have the talent to do that in a convincing manner.