Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

My Office This Week

I have noticed that amongst many of my social circle there is an assumption that we all work in offices.   I often hear it said in Church on a Sunday morning about work "When you are at school or in the office tomorrow" yet of course many of us work in other places, Hospitals, building sites, studios, warehouses etc. etc.

Well, here is my response, I give you photos of my office this week.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Tall Girls

Last night I watched a couple of episodes of I am Cait and several things struck me

  • It was said that any one with all of Caitlin's privilege could not understand how ordinary Trans people feel and what we have to go through.   This is of course very true, but not just of the trans world, any one with that much privilege simple cannot understand how ordinary people function, our relationships with money, work, benefits, education and family are all a mystery to them, I suspect that that explains a lot of what our current Government in the UK is trying to do. Those rich, privileged public school educated men in suits, simply don't understand how it feels to have to choose between being warm and fed or paying the Council Tax.
  • A couple of times I found myself noticing that a lot of the trans girls on screen (Particularly Cait) were quite tall and have broad muscular shoulders and slim bottoms, to only be reminded by myself that so have I, is that how other people see me?
  • There was a lot of talk about the "Trans Community" and who has a right to be a spokesperson for us.   One of the things that this show does highlight is how different we all are.   Very often the only thing we may have in common is a divergent gender identity, for anyone to identify with all of us is too much to ask, for anyone to share all our opinions would be impossible. However if one of us does come under the spot light of publicity and has a platform I think it is reasonable that they should be able to highlight some of the issues that we all face, but please don't expect anyone to speak for the whole trans community on every point. (And that does include me!)
  • At one point the Pink Fog began to descend on our heroine, and she began to side line a friend, I think we all need to remember those who have been important to us through our lives, and not let the pink fog take over, 
  • I have read a lot of things about this show, much of it disparaging, but I found it to be a mostly harmless bit of fluff, that did manage to highlight some of the problems that many of us have to face, while still having the superficial gloss of wealth and glamour of the lifestyle of our eponymous heroine
I gather that I am right at the start of series one, and that "stuff" develops, I look forward to seeing more, after all I am still very much of the opinion that the more visible we are, the more we are perceived as members of the general community at large and not some freaks who put everybody at risk, then the more our new normal will become generally accepted.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Lots going on ~ Just for a change

I can't say I'm entirely sure why, but I'm finding life quite challenging at the moment. Whether it's work, my music or finances, everything seems to be a bit difficult.   I wonder if some of this is because of my treatment, are the hormones making me forgetful and tired, or is it simply that I haven't had a holiday for over 18 months.

Whatever the reasons I find I am forgetting things, not getting round to organizing others, and generally living a bit of a disorganized chaotic life.   I'm hoping that one or two of the things I have managed to do this week might help, but I still have a long mental list of things I need to do to make my life work better, and top of the list is write down the list.

But just now I haven't got time as I need to "do" my nails before traveling down to Rochester where two of my good friends are going to be licensed as Lay Ministers today.

I like Rochester and I love the Cathedral there. It's not one the Great Gothic piles that are scattered across the Country, It's not the Oldest, Tallest, Longest, Widest or any other type of est. It is not a great tourist destination, in consequence it is still primarily a place of prayer and praise, a center of Christian activities in the area.   Today it will be full of happy, frightened, and eager people about to start a new stage in their Christian life.   I will not wish them good luck, I'm not even sure what I should be wishing for them, instead I will just pray that God will fulfill His plan for their lives.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

It just goes to show......

There's an old joke that gets trotted out every so often in the community, "What's the difference between a cross dresser and a transsexual? ~ About three years"  Well for no particular reason I was looking back on some of my old posts and found this from November 2011

I have come to accept that I am a Crossdresser, that this is something I am rather than something I do.   The last year has been easier for me in this respect as I have just accepted this rather than continuing to fight against it.   However I do not want to be a woman, I want to be able to look like a woman, I want to be free to behave as a woman, and better still to be treated like a lady.   But I only get to experience the good bits, and the leisure activities, and none of the more unpleasant physical aspects, or responsibilities.   Paula has no responsibilities, no job, and no ties.   Crossdressing is a bit like taking a holiday from being me, not a realistic representation of what it must be like to be a woman.   For me it is about the clothes, the appearance of being a woman or if you like the fantasy of being a woman.   As Vanessa says being feminine feels good and is exciting.
Then again I am mostly happy being a man.   I enjoy the physicality of my work, I used to enjoy enormously the physicality of my chosen sport (Rugby), I (mostly) enjoy being a husband and a father.   As I get older I find that my sex drive has diminished and that the compulsion to dress has grown stronger, I put this down to lower levels of testosterone, but I know I am a man, and although I may fantasize about being a woman, at heart I know this is a fantasy, and that I will not do anything that would lead to any sort of permanent change.   SO why do I like to wear women's clothes - beats me!

It just goes to show how wrong I can be, especially when it comes to me!  Earlier today I had  one of my regular GIC appointments, where I explained that as far as plans for the future go I am trying not to make any, I am just concentrating on making the next decision, whatever that is! I am determined not to make any positive decision as to where I want to finish up, I think (or hope) I'll know when I get there.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Stop Shouting

Here in the UK we have a referendum coming up. This is about what could well be the single most important question we will face as a nation during any of our lifetimes, whether to stay in the EU or not.

Now personally I have one or two issues with the whole issue of referenda, I rather feel that they are a way of politicians ducking the important, difficult and possibly unpopular questions that we actually appoint them to make. Regardless of that we are having the referendum, and we are well into the campaign.  I will admit I do have an opinion, but that is not important, well not now anyway. I have been musing and wondering how come there are so many people who haven't fully thought out the question, or who are still undecided.

A leading thinker on the EU, and Boris Johnson
On one side of the argument we the OECD, the Bank of England, the IMF, the current and three previous Prime Ministers, the last three Chancellors of the Exchequer, all of the living Presidents and Secretaries of State of the US; on the other side we have Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.

Most of the arguments I have so far heard have revolved around economics, will we be better off in or out, of course nobody knows, all we can know for certain is that the future will be more uncertain out than in, but there has been a lot of assertions on both sides.

Very little of the discussion has revolved around what sort of a world and country we want to live in? where our rights and freedoms come from? how we live in harmony with our neighbours? What there has been is discussion of immigration, and much of that has been tinged with zenophobia.

Yesterday I was listening to the BBC's Women's Hour and they interviewed Harriet Harman and Gisela Stuart, I finally felt that here we were having a serious, sensible discussion on the merits of the arguments.   Harriet Harman put her finger on the why s many women have still to make up their minds, so far the debate has just been men in grey suits shouting at each other.

Please stop shouting, after all this is important.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

We are not own our own

My post a couple of days ago concerning my faith and my transition has generated quite a lot of interest,and a few question. Clearly there are a lot us around the world who have both a Christian faith and occupy a place somewhere within the trans spectrum. What I wrote before was very much about my personal journey, here I am indulging myself with some more general thoughts.

It has always been a matter of great interest to me how we choose which laws we will not follow, we cut our hair and men shave their faces, we wear clothes made out of mixed fibres, we certainly do not marry our brother's widow to ensure an heir, nor indeed,do we force rapists to marry their victims after paying off the family! Clearly some of these laws are cultural and others fundamental, but which are which? Of course the one that concerns us here most is Deuteronomy 22:5 

Of course when I became Christian I was very troubled by this particular verse and how it applied to me, and sometimes I have had to accept the "I don't understand, but if you say so Lord" attitude. However as a Christian I believe I have a responsibility to try to understand God's will for me, to seek his guidance, through his word (the Bible) and prayer.

I am quite certain that this verse is not telling modern women that they may not wear trousers, neither does it ban men from wearing non bifurcated nether garments, after all in much of the biblical times that would have been all that was available. In plenty of other places in the Bible we can find encouragement to dress and act with dignity, decorum and modesty, this verse does appear to be speaking of something else altogether.

I have now come to the conclusion that this particular verse may well be to do with military service as much as Temple ritual, I can understand the strong approbation of a man trying to avoid duty by pretending to be a woman, or indeed a woman trying to join the battle by pretending to be a man. There are certainly examples of both in British history! The Temple service side of it is about the nature of God, and the service He requires, a very different nature and service to the false Gods of the area that the Israelites were to inhabit, we read references to "Temple Prostitutes" I understand that at least some of these will have been crossdressed men, providing "services" to other men, I am sure that God would find this abominable form of worship! The Israelites were to be different, to remain separate from the previous inhabitants.

I reject the principle that says we are all sinners alike, I prefer to consider myself a chosen and beloved adopted child of God, a co-heir of the Father with Christ,,,,,,who sometimes sins. Because we are human and we live in a fallen world we will sin, now I know that when I have willfully indulged my sinful nature that I will feel estranged from God, it feels as though His Grace has been withdrawn from me, until I once again turn back to him (confess my sins and repent). Paul tells us that we have The Law so that we know is sin, without the Law we would not know, I incline to think that we know when we have sinned by how it affects our relationship with God. In many ways I believe that God is as much concerned about our attitudes and motivations as He is about our actions (Matthew 5:21-30).

I think that the two questions I would encourage all Christians to ask themselves about their activities would be; Does this affect my relationship with God? and, Does my activity impact on anyone else, harming them or bringing them into temptation? Paul writes a lot about this in 1 Corinthians, but I think the bit that sums it up is 10:21 where he says "Do it all for the Glory of God"

Monday, 9 May 2016


When I eventually got round to looking through all my social media earlier today I was slightly perturbed by all the Mothers Day stuff I saw my friends posting. Being slightly dull it took me a while to realise that much of the World fail to celebrate this event on the right day (6th March this year) preferring to wait a couple of months, presumably for better weather.

Still seeing all this put me in mind of my own family and our relationships.   Becoming a parent changed everything for me, I have already observed that it was becoming a parent that made me a feminist, it changed my attitude to work (I changed job simply so that I could be at home every evening), amongst all the other things I think it also changed the way I thought about my own parents, appreciating what they went through with us.   My relationship with my Mother is now so clouded by her illness that I sometimes have to make an effort to remember her as the woman she was, but I was also conscious that I did not want to repeat the mistakes that my parents made.

Like most parents I failed! I failed to avid the mistakes of previous generations, I failed to be perfect, but then so do we all, I think the trick is in how we come to terms with our imperfection.   In the end I realised that my daughter is an intelligent, talented and beautiful person in her own right and I need to treat her as such, with honesty and consideration and love. I cherish the time we spend together, I love to get her text messages, and feel privileged to be her facebook friend.

While I am sure that I allow her to win any "Who's got the weirdest Dad" competitions with her friends I feel so pleased that she still wants to spend time with me and calls me Dad.

Even though (or maybe because) I have engaged in this weird process of transition I am more than aware that the roles of Mum and Dad are not interchangeable.   I am not talking about the actual process of pregnancy and giving birth, although that must be special, as I know of many wonderful Mothers who have been denied that privilege. For most of us Mother is the person who nurtures and cares for us, who is around when needed, who gives us food and provides clean clothing, the person we go to for hugs and comfort. Dads are different, Dads provide, Dads protect, Dads tell bad jokes and are allowed to be silly, often they also have to be the bad guy who says no, Both Mums and Dads provide role models.

This is very simplistic approach, and not based entirely on my own experience, my Dad taught me how to be a man, I think he did a pretty good job since I fooled a lot of people, including me, for a long time. I can't say my Mother taught me how to be a woman, after all I am still learning.

Whatever, I am proud when my Daughter calls me Dad.

Friday, 6 May 2016

We're not going Back!

Like so many of us in our little community I am much saddened by the way some American States appear to be trying to legislate us away.   I am sure that this is based on the idea that by attacking a mostly quite secretive group they are in effect attacking the entire liberal side of the US. Through these hate filled laws they think they are promoting Christian, conservative, American values, that can of course only be true if they are thinking of the American values that gave them the Klu Klux Klan, Slavery, Racial Segregation, and armed vigilantes, there is certainly nothing Christian about promoting hate and fear.   To me those who promote these laws are no more Christian than I.S. is Islamic.

I am glad to see that the bigots are not getting it all their own way and that corporate America as well as natural liberal allies are fighting back. I particularly liked Hannah's reaction, reproduced here!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Not on my own

On occasion I find that I am challenged as to how I can maintain my Christian Faith, while also identifying as transgender, well, I will admit that over the years I have had quite a struggle with this one. I know that for many people the two simply do not seem compatible and I fully expect that people will continue to be challenge me on this, and I do not have a problem with that.

I believe in a God who is transformational, a God who heals, a God who cares passionately for each and every one of us, a God who knows my name, and has chosen me as his adopted child, A God who is developing and molding me into a closer likeness to himself; now why would he care what I wear?   But of course it is much more complicated than that!

We often confuse what we hear from the pulpit, or indeed read in our newspapers and pick up from society with what is actually in scripture, there is only one verse (Deuteronomy 22:5) in the whole of the Bible that appears to concern crossdressing, but it is very specifically about crossdressing, even if the Rabbinic writings suggest that it is primarily concerned with either religious practise and / or military service, however there is a popular view that having a divergent gender identity is unchristian.

We see the outworking of that attitude in the USA at the moment as more and more laws are being put through legislatures under the guise of religious freedom, that are in fact attacking transgender people, preventing them from going about their daily lives with the protection of law.

For most of my life I bought into the popular idea that crossdressing, transvestism, and transgender were more or less the same thing and all equally evil! So when I became a Christian I very much saw my Crossdressing as something that I needed to be cured of.   I struggled and I prayed, I struggled and endured, and I continued to pray; yet this thing was not taken away from me, maybe like Paul I had to endure this "thorn in my flesh", but God had cured me in other ways so why not this?

I know God wants the best for me, because he told me so. he has plans for me, and those plans are good! I have written elsewhere on this Blog about my own personal journey from cross dresser to Trans Woman, but not so much the part that my faith played in first preventing it, and then in facilitating it.

It was after a series of intensive prayer meetings with a couple of ladies that I came to the conclusion that God loves me, forgives me and wants to heal me.  These two good ladies came to the same conclusion, they just expected God to heal me in a different way, the way I had previously been expecting and the way my prayers had been anticipating. God wanted me to live a full, loving and homogeneous life, free of the gender confusion that I was enduring, I had been expecting God to heal me by making me a normal Cisgendered man,instead he choose that I should become the woman he had always meant me to be. I was born into an imperfect world, and that led to me being born this way, just like any other congenital condition, it was not God's plan that I was born this way, but he does want me to be whole, and healed, I had to embrace who and what I am, and live the life I had been given to the full.

It is only through God's healing power that I am where I am now, it is only through the knowledge of his unconditional love that I have been able to engage in this process of transition.   I wonder how much, and how often we limit God's healing when we try to impose on him how we think he should heal us?

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Not That Interesting, and definitely not interested!

It may just be that being trans is my new normal, it may be that because I have been presenting female full time for well over a year now, it may be because it is over a year since I legally changed my name, or it may be that it really is the case; BUT, I have come to the conclusion that being trans is not the most interesting thing about me!

The other evening after a concert I was in a pub in central London with several score other people, and there were four times as many Trans Women there as Tuba players!   As I was driving around yesterday I saw at least four people that I don't know that I would identify as trans, I meet others when I am out shopping, at the bank, and every other aspect of my day to day life. Statistics vary from 1% to 0.3% of the general population being trans to some extent or another, I wonder how that compares to the proportion of Orchestral Bass Trombones?

I live a very busy life, running my own little gardening business, and as part of a number of musical groups, I am a Church member and part of the RSCM and the RHS. I am a Chartered Waste Manager, I have a Mother who is an artist and a daughter who is a songwriter, I have broken six vertebrae and am still standing, I have ridden motorbikes across Europe and owned classic cars.

I have played Music at the Albert Hall and the Festival hall, I have played Rugby at a half decent level, and taken part in political campaigns, yet people still seem to be more interested in the length of my skirts!

I will admit that it can be nice to be noticed, and that it is rather fun to an object of desire, but, please don't assume that just because I am transgender I want to have a sexual encounter with any bloke who asks, especially if you can't even manage to ask nicely!

I have a wealth of experiences, skills, maybe even some talent. I have a mind, I am a published journalist (though not recently) and have a pretty wide range of interests.

What of all of this makes a man I don't even know, feel entitled to expect that I would want to engage in acts of oral sex with him?

Sunday, 1 May 2016


A typical Sax Player
The other day I was having a conversation with the Sax player with the Jazz Band I play in, he commented something like, "Now that's my idea of what a Bass Player looks like". At the time I didn't really think about it, but it made me wonder how we get our ideas of how different instrumentalists should look.   Sure some will come from people we know, but others may be from early images we take in.

For many of us those images will be from the Muppets band.
Personally I think these characters were inspired, as they capture so much of the stereotypes of the instrumentalists. I am sure that most of will remember Animal on the drums, Rolf the piano playing dog, Zoot the cool dude on sax and of course the band leader Dr Teeth, but who was the bass player?

Well he was Floyd Pepper the cool guy with the whiskers, Janice played Guitar and sang a bit too.


But I can think of other early images of Bass players, and I'm not at all sure where my image fits in

Emma Hughes, brilliant young bass player, I think I may have played with her at WOW last year