A new audience

I am feeling a little humbled.

I was asked last week at my college to talk about transgender issues, to my college group of counsellors in training. I started by reading a section of my book ‘in the mirror;’ where I asked my fellow students to think what it would feel like for them to wake up in the body of a gender they didn’t identify with.

I encouraged a very interesting discussion of what they thought of the pathway for transgender people.  I think we have a lot to learn from teaching others about trans issues, it’s amazing how many questions they asked that I didn’t know the answer to. My tutor, in jest, introduced me as an expert speaker for the session.  I started by contradicting him that I am far from an expert.

I included the clip from the person who recently came out to Barack Obama as non binary and not identifying as one gender.  It made me realise how far the transgender cause has come since I first published my book and was doing book events – its been a long time.

I also found it humbling how interested and insightful people could be who are new to the subject.  Some in the group were happily open about being ignorant of the issues.  Yet they showed such compassion.  I guess this is not a surprise given that they are all at the end of 4 years study to become counsellors;  they are an amazingly empathetic bunch.  But perhaps it gives us hope that counsellors of the future seeing transgender clients can be more open to thinking outside the binary box.  That not all transgender people are on a one way path.  Some are trying to carve a place in the world where they can just be themselves, and how that can be living to varying degrees within and across all genders.

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To be or not to be – gay?

After a nudge from my most patient follower, I thought I’d pen something I have been thinking about posting for a while.

Nicci has been on a long journey and back since I last wrote; tried the living full time thing, and realised its maybe not for her right now.  Unless you try new things you won’t know whether they are for you or not.  However as always I have remained referring to her in the female pronoun.

I started a new job at the beginning of this year.  In meeting my new colleagues; completely new people, who know nothing about me, I made a conscious decision to try something new too.  Three months in I have only ever referred to Nicci in female pronoun, I have not explained to anyone that she is transgender, simply referred to her as my partner using the female pronoun only.

If it had come up in conversation, naturally , – without me shoe horning it in with a sledge hammer – I would have, and still would explain.  Funny enough it isn’t something that has naturally come up in conversation; can you believe it!

So there is no doubt in my mind that everyone has assumed that I am gay.  Why would they not?  I am trying the label on for a while and seeing how I feel about it.

One of my weaknesses is buying clothes, I love fashion, what can I say.  I am thrifty, I don’t spend a fortune, I might spend a bit more if I know I will get a lot of  wear out of it.  It is certainly not Gucci that stays in my wardrobe unworn with the tag still attached – I wish!

When internet shopping, when it arrives at my home and I try it on, I have a golden rule; if I was trying it on in a shop changing room would I take it to the till and buy it.  If not, it gets returned.

I have tried the label of ‘gay’ on now for 3 months and I don’t want to take it to the till and buy it.  But I am also not sure of the rules of returning it at this point, 3 months in feels a bit like deceiving people.  One colleague has sent me a link to the last employee LGBT meeting minutes, I have had an invite to a place on this years London Pride float….and accepted!!

Nicci gave it two years , I am wondering if 3 months is still too soon to decide how I feel about it, but I don’t feel gay , there it is.  Oh My God – I just realised in writing this I might have to come out at work as straight.  I wonder if I am the first person in this position?

In all seriousness it is an issue that I feel I would like to delve into with some professional therapy, but preferably someone specially trained in transgender issues.  But this would be a luxurious indulgence.  If I had the time I would love to explore the subject more  thoroughly, personally, but also researching, interviewing etc, etc and maybe produce another book; this one on other women in my position exploring their sexual identity, but that might have to wait for another life time…or certainly something to park for the long distant future.

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What’s in a tick box?

Looking back I appear to be averaging a post every 6 months – a very poor performance I know.

I am moved to write as I am starting to dip a tentative toe into the waters of personal therapy to explore my sexuality.  Yes that’s right with Nicci transitioning it seems it might finally be time to delve into what tick box I now fit in.  Except that is my problem; I don’t like tick boxes, and don’t want to be put into one.  However I recognise that we all use them and our society is based on them to some extent.

As I have now reached studying counselling at diploma level I am obliged to experience personal therapy.  As you may know if you have read my blog before I am blissfully happy – and so have been struggling with what to take to said obligatory therapy.

As a responsible practicing therapist I need to have explored all aspects of myself and so this feels like the last unopened Pandora’s box that I have left at the back of the closet, (if you’ll pardon the pun).   So wish me luck as I am not sure what I am going to find back there.


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Hello all you lovely strangers

Every now and again I get an email pop into my in-box, telling me someone new has joined my blog.  I think to myself, ‘they’ll be disappointed!’ 

Yes it has been a very, very long time my amigos.  No excuses really just that little matter of a full time job, studying to re-train to be a counsellor, etc etc – other that that I have all the time in the world!! 

However I am prompted to write thanks to a reader of my book, who sent me a beautiful, heartfelt email.  Apparently my book gets better on a second reading – so could you all please buy a second copy! : ) 

I have been really been tested of late, in a very difficult situation involving many parties, and one paramount person whose  care needed to be taken into account above all others..disagreements shall we say.  Many may have walked away leaving a mess behind them. I have had cause to dig deep and remind myself who I am and what is important to me, such has my confidence been shaken by this experience.  I have had to remind myself that I do always try and act with integrity, honourability, and professionalism.  The thought of others thinking of me in a way that does not reflect who I am and how I want to be perceived is uncomfortable….

…and then I get an email, a beautiful and heartfelt email, from someone who had re-read my book, and said the second reading had helped them.  I received the email a while ago actually and didn’t have time to reply.  Then today, ironically, I re-read their email, and it helped me.  It put the above into context, my situation is easier to resolve than many of yours.

I will end this post with the message I gave them.  The person who you spend every minute, of every day, of every year of your life, is you.  – so you had better damb well get on with yourself, and not be someone anyone else expects you to be.

I hope not to leave it so long again – someone else email me, be my muse!



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Welcome to 2014

Dear all,

I know it has been a very long time since my last blog, but I wanted to say Happy New Year to you all.

2013 was an amazing year for me.  Of course I had the usual temporary disasters, and minor inconveniences most of us in life experience.  However it would be churlish to dwell on these when considering the highs I had were phenomenal.

My highlights include two book related events; my book reading at ‘Gays the word’ bookshop in Bloomsbury, and my talk at ALLEARS (a video of which you can see on my ‘events’ page).  My trip to South Africa was the cherry on the cake to end the year, in November.

The end and beginning of New Years are an opportunity to look back and reflect, but also to look forward.  What I am currently, rather excitedly, looking forward to, is the announcement of the Stonewall book prize winner – obviously keeping everything crossed that it may be me.

The winner will be decided at the end of the month.  In honor of this I have placed 5 copies of my book up for grabs at goodreads website.  You register your interest for a free copy and at the end of February the website choose 5 winners.  If you are one of the lucky ones I will personally post a copy of my book to you.

Its been good to talk again after a while.  I will let you all know as soon as I do, if I am an award winning author! Everybody please keep everything crossed for me x





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Honestly speaking

I know its been ages since I posted last.  You may remember me telling you that I had been asked to be a speaker at an evening event of inspirational speakers.

After much preparation and nerves I gave a performance that I am proud of.   It was an amazing experience.  I wasn’t expecting to but I actually really enjoyed it in the end.  The response I got was incredible.  Everyone gave me really heartfelt compliments which were really inspiring.  I was walking on air for days after.

So get your self a cup of tea and settle in and watch my talk.  Its about 12 minutes followed by questions and answers.

Enjoy and let me know what you think…



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Upcoming events

I have not one, but two, book events.  They are like buses, you wait for ages and two come a long at once.  Not only that but they are on consecutive nights.

I am doing a book reading at an independent bookshop in Bloomsbury; ‘Gay’s the word’, on Tuesday 20th August.

The following day, Wednesday 21 August, I’ve been asked to speak at an event.  A summer evening BBQ & drinks with inspirational speakers throughout the night, on a rooftop venue in the East End of London. Tickets are selling fast.


Unfortunately the wrong date may in the link address.  It is definitely Wednesday 21 AugustIt would be lovely to meet some of you there.  

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Thanks for your messages of support when my blog last week was a bit of a self pity wallow. – good to have one every now and then thought I think, as long as they don’t last too long.

I have a couple glimmers of opportunity in the pipeline, a possible few public events.  Maybe that’s what I need to hold onto; that there is never going to be some big wow come along, but that the smaller opportunities are important.  Maybe I need to be more satisfied with the smaller successes – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a hundred other cliches.

But getting lovely emails and messages are what keep me going, and it only takes one individual to make me want to put a bit of effort in to do one small thing towards some publicity, and that is satisfying and I need to remember that and celebrate it.

Thanks all.


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Knocking on doors

Six months after publishing I still do not seem to have the full energy to do what I know I need to, to get some much needed coverage.  Genuinely I can’t be bothered, which is a difficult and very uncomfortable thing to admit for me.  It seems like such a mammoth task.  I tell people ‘I have achieved what I wanted to and I am happy with it’.  I am not sure if that is really true, or if it is just a line I am spinning as an easy route out.  I know I am not a lazy person.  It took years of plugging away to write the book and continuing determination to get it published.

Of course I would like to see some decent book sales.  Of course I would like to see articles in print talking about my work and getting something moving for the transgender community.  I feel I have possibly let myself be easily beaten.  Because the truth is that I did do some knocking on doors at the beginning of the year.  I have had some really good leads and journalists with promises of several good quality publications interested in a features article.  But there has been a sticking point in discussions.  They seem to lose interest when I say that Nicci is not part of the deal. This is about getting the ‘partners’ story out there.  It is just so bloody short sighted.  They want the glossy and, let’s be honest, sensational pictures.  I know so many gorgeous women in transgender relationships; they can have their glossy photo’s – but we don’t have the sensational genitalia under our dresses that they want.  I hate to allow myself to sound bitter, because it is not me. Have I let myself get disillusioned too soon, have I let myself run out of energy, am I making excuses?

I am sure I am thinking about it too much.  It’s a nice dream to have that my book would have been picked up and become mainstream, to get a good message out about transgender relationships.  My book will always be there, and I hope will always help people.  But I have no energy and feel like just leaving any big success to fate.  However this grates because I don’t believe that the things you want just land in your lap, you have to keep plugging away, and I am not doing this.  I feel like a quitter and a fake? I don’t feel quite so ‘pioneering’ any more.

A good friend of mine has a theory however, that it is about the amount of energy you put out into the world.  That includes thinking about, talking about, discussing what you want, which also has an influence on you getting what you want – not just the hard work you put in.  I like this, and do feel I am getting more spiritual as I get older.  It’s about a believing in you.   Which I think is as good a note as any to end on.

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The gaps between me writing to you seem to keep getting bigger and longer – must try harder.

I keep getting asked by friends and family ‘how’s the book going?’  Sales wise – appallingly.  Achieving the dream – big tick of success.  I have fulfilled the ambition of publishing a book.   As you know, I said all along if it helped just one person it was worth all the hard work.  Well help one person at least it has.  Many more in fact.  I continue to receive emails that make me cry with pride of how my humble book has touched someone’s life.  It is so immensely powerful.

The thought has just occurred to me that I am simply ‘paying it forward’.  When I read Helen Boyds book that is exactly what happened to me – her book was the spark that started me writing mine.  So when I get emails saying ‘you have inspired me to…’ it’s all about making the world continue to spin.

We have been to a few transgender evenings out recently.  Glitzy Girls in Bristol, and we checked out the new venue for the Way Out club – excellent by the way!  These have reminded me what a warm and friendly bunch we are in the transgender scene.  Especially Bristol – my god never met such warm and open people, I should get out of London more often.

Just thought I would dust off the cobwebs and write to you all, share the feel good factor I am feeling on this (finally!) bright and sunny summers day.

Have a great weekend all. xx



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