For anyone my age, regardless of gender, gender identification, or indeed anything else much, there are increasingly few new experiences to be had. Almost by definition the more things we do the fewer things there are left to do for the first time. I can no longer travel abroad for the first time; I first played at the Albert Hall around 40 years ago; and the boat for most sports left a long time ago. Yet it is still a joy when I do experience something new, and it is even better if the company is good.
On Friday evening I enjoyed one of those wonderful occasions. I went swimming. Now I have been swimming before, indeed at one point I was quite an enthusiastic swimmer. My technique was never exemplary, neither was I particularly fast, indeed I only remember winning one final in a school inter-house butterfly race (and that was because all the other competitors got disqualified for breaking their stroke). What was new on Friday was that I could go swimming as myself.
The wonderful TAGS have organised a regular Friday night swim for trans people. We have exclusive use of a pool that is not open to public view, separate changing facilities and fully briefed and sympathetic staff. This means that there is none of the trauma of deciding which changing facilities to use, or the worry of adverse reactions from “civilians” once the decision has been made. We can swim freely and enjoy ourselves without having to worry if people are inspecting us or wondering about that strange scar on the bloke’s chest, or why we have chosen to wear that particular style of costume.
As well as the freedom and joy of getting in the water again I was able to give my new costume a through “road test” which I am pleased to be able to report it passed. I also made some new friends, who I hope to meet again (and again, and again), all in all a very good evening.