Happy New Year
I had a most interesting conversation with a friend (Polly) yesterday when she mentioned that she and her teenage daughters had watched a broadcast of the film ‘Pride’. Pride tells the story of a group ‘Gays and lesbians support the miners’ during the miners strike in 1984. The film is based on true events and is immensely uplifting. Her comment was that her daughters couldn’t believe the way homosexuals were treated then which shows the progress since – some in part due to the support of the National Union of Mineworkers in shaping labour Party policies towards equality legislation. (Learn about the real folk (see photo) on which the film is based here)
On my part I mentioned that I had watched the film Orlando on New Years Eve and been disappointed in that my recollection of having seen it some 20 years ago was rather more colourful than the film seemed to warrant. Sally Powell’s film based on Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando -a biography, starred Tilda Swinton as Orlando, a rather androgynous young nobleman who lives through several centuries up to the present day, changing sex (sometimes overnight). Seeing it in 2016 it was an enjoyable film; when I first saw it in 1992 it was magical. I was entranced by the possibility of changing gender and of becoming a woman. Maybe coloured a bit by the lovely Tilda Swinton but totally wishing I could be a woman (of course, I would be a beautiful woman).
Back in 1992 I had no awareness of being transgender. As I have written before, I grew up in suburbia at a time when almost everyone believed that ‘gender’ was a polite way to mention ‘sex’, that these were one and the same thing. Looking back on my response to this film I recognise this was probably one of my first indications of being trans and of wishing that I could transition (though having absolutely no idea that it might one day be possible).
It is good to recall the progress made in recognising and legislating in support of equality, especially when challenged by the apparent swing towards right-wing and divisive politics. Progress is always vulnerable to a backlash and maybe that is what we will experience in the coming months and years.
I noticed a tweet today which informed me that Denmark had declassified Transexualism as a mental illness. If I were in Denmark, I would no longer have ‘Gender Identity Disorder’. Being in England and with my first appointment at the Gender Identity Clinic next Monday, I have to prove, to them, that I do.
I’d like to end this post with a video of an honest, heartfelt presentation where Ugla talks about their gender journey. My thanks to Fairy JerBear for posting this.