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Friday, April 29, 2016

A Love Less Ordinary - A Guest Post from Lynn Jones

A few years ago, Laura Newman found herself lost in a relationship. She realized she wasn’t living the life she wanted and found herself a new partner. One, who happens to be transgender.

On a search to find out more, Laura found not many people had written about her situation, so she wrote her own. Her book, A Love Less Ordinary, details her life, that of her partner and the lessons she’s learned along the way.

The book was released in 2012 and we got in touch, to see how things have changed for Laura, since the book was released.


Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I am 5' 11", slim, 39. It is almost impossible for me to do nothing.  I am hardworking, tenacious.  I am always thinking about the next project.  I live life for the experience of it.  I'm not an exciting thrill seeker but see new experiences and opportunities in everyday life.  I am easily pleased by the simple things in life, like noticing the new daffodils in bloom.  I love the people I surround myself with and they are what makes life worthwhile.  I am a half glass full kind of gal.  I believe in healthy eating; but with a little of what you fancy - and that applies to everything not just food.  I work full time in a management position in the NHS for the last 7 years.  After several years study I am about to qualify as a counselor in July this year.  I also volunteer as a bereavement counselor at weekends.

Why did you decide to write your book?

I wanted to read other women's stories in a similar position/relationship to mine. Nothing I read resonated with my positive experience of being the partner of someone transgender, so I decided I should write from the positive side of the fence.

What were the easiest and hardest parts of writing your book?

Easiest was probably interviewing people - who wouldn't find sitting in cafe's and bars chatting to people fun! I am Dyslexic, and so the hardest part of writing the book was writing the book.  Actually dramatics aside it was editing/proofreading etc.  I had three rounds of different independent people proof read it.  At one point it was set aside for six months with me not looking at it, due to my studies.  When I did look at it I often found myself reading a sentence, or section etc and thinking; 'wow I love what the proof reader has done with this bit', then looking back at my original realizing nothing had changed it was all my own work.

There were lots of tears, and many times when I wanted to give up.  Someone asked me at one point in the process, why would you do something that goes against a disability you have? I said "I'm not giving up on a dream, and giving in to dyslexia," Oh and; "Did you watch the Paralympics?" As an example I just had to type that word several times and couldn't figure out why it didn't look right.  Eventually I realized it actually said ‘paraletics’ - I am very able to laugh at myself and my disability too - that's important

Which is your favourite part of the book, and why?

Generally the last chapter, I think there are a lot of life lessons in it - and if you want to know what they are you are simply going to have to read it. The very last sentence is probably my ultimate favourite because every time I read it I remember all the rises and falls, the tears, the tantrums, the laughter and all the celebrations along the way of creating it, and how incredibly proud of myself for achieving such an amazing goal, which has helped others.  I also think that we don't pat ourselves on the back enough when we have done well, as we are too worried about seeming big headed.

Did you learn anything during the process of writing it?

Oh oodles; resilience, perseverance, that I have the stamina to never give up, and that I have the strength to fight through the times when I want to, the true power of getting out there and meeting people and the unexpected journeys pushing yourself can take you on.  How incredibly kind and supportive and selfless people can be.  To be open to things, and the power of saying yes.   

What happened after you finished writing it?

The real excitement began.  I had worked in the book industry and knew how hard it was to get published.  I actually was prepared for the book never getting published.  I didn't want to self-publish.  By putting myself out there, and spotting opportunities, I ended up one day at a event run by PINK - a LGBT counseling organization.  I got chatting in the break to someone who had just published their book and gave me the publisher's details. Overnight I was accepted by a publisher wanting to take the book on.  This does not happen in the book world I can assure you. 

Drumming up interest was great fun.  Amongst the highlights along the journey were a photo-shoot and interview in Marie Claire, a book reading/signing with my book actually on the shelves of a book shop, a public speaking event, and most heart-warming and sometimes heart breaking all the beautiful emails that started coming in from people who said they had read the book and it had helped them - I cried when reading each one positive or negative - I am a big softy.
If you could change anything, or update your book, what, if anything, would you do and why?

Nothing.  Not because it's perfect, not by any means, but it's real, it's honest.  It would undermine its first journey.  My second answer is; write another.

How did you find the publishing process?

Anxious, precious, overprotective.  Some authors call their works their 'book babies'.  I can see why; you are giving birth to something you have created.  It is unique and it will be judged and you might get hurt.  There was also a hairy moment over negotiating the cover I wanted.  On this point I was a prima donna and nothing other than the image on the cover you see today would have been good enough. 

You've appeared in magazines and given talks. How was the experience for you?

The Marie Claire photo shoot for the article was unspeakable indulgent.  We were treated like celebrities.  It was in an old listed building and the room we were in had been used for as a set that Darcy Bussell had once danced into a Ginger Rogers’ number.  It oozed 1920's glamour.  A whole range of continental breakfast was laid out for us and we swanned around in plush bathrobes whilst having our hair teased and make up done. However ever the sensible me, the only diva activity was when it came to me discussing what was to be written.  I was very clear and very insistent of it being tasteful and taking the trans story forward.  They did do a good job but I'm not sure I would do it again, as there was still an underlying current to the before and after sensationalism of what trans women look like transformed.  I have had many conversations with several publications and journalist since, and sadly none of them wanted the angle I was offering; of the partner's story - without photographs of the trans person.  To this day I have still not seen any publication do this and it remains an uncovered story, which is a shame.

One journalist said to me that if I wasn't willing to involve my partner then I wouldn't sell any books.  I replied that I would still be in a happy relationship and I wouldn't have sold our souls.

The speaking events were terrifying.  The most terrifying thing I have ever done, honestly. Also one of the most rewarding and exhilarating.  Would I do them again?  Yes, but wouldn't eat beforehand again.  I'm happy to do one if someone reads this and makes me an offer. 

There is only one word to describe speaking to an audience of transgender women; humbling. 

Do you think your situation has changed since you wrote your book?

Ultimately no, in terms of we are still very happy in our relationship.  Life has generally got better as I have continued to live with my heart on my sleeve.  The ultimate answer though is you will have to wait for me to write another book one day. 

There's been a growing media awareness around trans issues. Do you feel these have impacted on you?

I hope it has impacted on everyone, in a positive way.  Personally no, because we couldn't be more out and open about my partner being trans.

As a partner of someone openly trans, how do you feel society treats you?

With respect.  Sometimes with admiration (not that it is deserved).  Sometimes with curiosity, and I welcome questions. But I generally find it very humbling.  I have never had a negative experience or reaction (to my face at least).  On a very few occasions people who I suspect are uncomfortable with it have referred to my partner as "your friend".

Do you have any advice for people in similar situations?

Everything I have described above about my experience I realise that I have been very, very, lucky.  Living in London affords a huge freedom of people not caring.  I have open minded friends and family. I can't give anyone any advice as everyone had different circumstances.  But I would say this, the only person in this life who you have to live with is you.  You need to go through life being happy with who you are, accepting yourself, and not pretending to be someone you are not, because you spend a long time in your skin and in your own head, and ultimately life is too short.  

If you could change something about the world, what would you change and why?

Less intolerance - do I need to give a reason for that?

What do you think is next for you, in terms of writing?

I have had lots of ideas over the years, for lots of different books, on lots of different subjects, from elephants to lesbianism - hey maybe that is the next title. Actually I have really enjoyed writing this, and would like to thank you for the opportunity of rekindling the flame.

The next few years the priority is trying to build a career in counseling - then maybe one day the next book could be about that.


A Love Less Ordinary by Laura Newman can be bought from Amazon:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Meditations on Transition

I’d already been living my life as myself outside of work, and sending around the emails didn’t really change anything on my end except how people perceived me. For me, sending the email was almost anticlimactic; just a task to do. I hit a button and – pop! in people’s eyes on the other end, I transition.

Transition was all the work I’d done prior to hitting that button.

I always bookmark really good blog posts that should be featured.  This one, from Heather, dates back to early April, but really deserves to get some attention.  If you haven't read Meditations on Transition, you should.  It's a post from a woman who is taking her transition in stride, with a positive attitude about herself and the people she works with.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

On the Importance of Familial Acceptance

On my way back home it hit me - this is what it feels like to have your family (of origin) accept you.  It may not happen next time, with my family it is probably going to be somewhat random, but it will slowly shift over time until it's consistent.

It was a good day for our blog author. In this post, she discusses the Importance of Familial Acceptance.

Monday, April 25, 2016

On Being A Transwoman in a Bathroom

I know a lot of trans women and some trans men and they almost all have a similar kind of experience, whether pre or post or non-op. Little panics born of what some people fear we are doing and all this legislation based on the fear of what we don’t do and are not doing ends up increasing my paranoia that someone will think that I, with all my proper documentation and body configuration, have simply undergone massive life changes for a perverse desire to occasionally hear another woman pee. And they will attack me. Or attempt to kill me. Or kill me.

I really can't add any more to what Tasha has to say On Being A Transwoman in a Bathroom .....and it's well said.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Happy Places

Because of this I love the american version of Dark Water, I love the gloomy atmosphere, the always rainy cloudy sky, dry trees, dreary and gritty hallways and rooms that have a charm of their own. I can imagine myself and a woman as beautiful as Jennifer Connelly living in a place like that, working in a boring office job only to come to my boring-cozy apartment  to go online while looking at the window. Something about cold, dreary, monotonous, boring places like that attract me.

She says it's a depressing post.  Perhaps....but I'm sure others can relate.  If you do, and even if you don't, consider taking a moment to leave a comment on Siul's Happy Places post.  I bet she would love to hear from you.  She's in Brazil, just trying to capture a dream.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Battling the Regret of Having Transitioned

I chose to make this new life for myself. I chose to risk everything I had to live a life more true to who I was. I chose, as my therapist put it today, to live as Emma instead of dying as Robert (via suicide) because I wasn’t ready to die. I chose this path and in many ways it has led to the destruction of the life I once had. I cannot go back. I burned the bridge behind me and there is no way to go back to what once was.

Battling the Regret of Having Transitioned, is a brutally honest post, but it's not necessarily what the title suggests.  This is a post about regrets, but it's also a post about consuming huge amounts of alcohol and what it can do to youI want to note that this is definitely NOT a de-transitioning post.  It is, rather, a beautifully written post involving the regrets, but also the joys of transitioning, along with the complications of excessive alcohol consumption.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

To Vagina or not to Vagina? That is the question. Or one of the questions.

I have choices.  I could have surgery to gain that vagina.  There are pluses to this.  And a lot of discomfort and inconvenience too!  Or to have surgery that would give me all the outward appearance of "female" genitalia but no vagina.  Or to not bother with surgery at all and lay claim to my own body in acceptance - a woman's body, my body, that happens to have a penis.

The question is: Does take a sex change to make Clare a woman?   Read Clare's thoughts in To Vagina or not to Vagina? That is the question. Or one of the questions.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Playing Hockey is the Weirdest Thing

I used to play all the time, but as my feminine life took over, anything that required me to assume a male role kinda fell by the wayside. 

Hockey was a big part of Janie's old life....both the game and the friendships.  Does she still play hockey?  Read, Playing Hockey is the Weirdest Thing, to find out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Changing people’s minds about transgender rights

It can happen, and the most effective way it can happen is through personal anecdotes and connecting emotionally with someone (one reason I write this blog!).  It’s going to happen through one-on-one conversations, as opposed to  on a mass scale (although you never know… things do tend to snowball after a certain point!), and (unfortunately) it’s most likely not going to happen by pointing out facts and statistics to someone.

Changing people’s minds about transgender rights, is an optimistic post from Janitorqueer.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Some of My Personal Trans History

Now I had no language to describe how I felt. I didn’t identify as a girl because I was constantly reminded that I was a boy, but it didn’t feel right. By the time I was 9 years old, I’d begun wearing some of my mother’s clothing whenever I could get away with it.

I love to hear the personal stories from others who are trans.  In this one, Cara describes her childhood.  The story is unique, yet will also be very familiar to many of you.  Some of My Personal Trans History, is from Cara's blog, Liz - Day By Day..

Friday, April 15, 2016

My Local Trans Group - Guest Post From Leslie Ann

No matter what flavor of trans you may be, it helps to have like-minded friends. While on-line or email friends can be a blessing for many, nothing compares with having local friends you can get together with over coffee, lunch, dinner, etc.

I have found that there are many, many out there who have simply never met, in person, someone else who shares their sense of being transgender. Keeping it inside of you without any way to talk about it can be a lonely and even unhealthy existence.

T-Central will be featuring a series of Friday guest posts about local transgender groups. Today's guest post is from Leslie Ann, who writes about a group she visits regularly, the TransKentucky. Long time bloggers may remember Leslie's Out Of My Mind blog, which has been on hiatus from public view for several years. Well, guess what? She's back!!!

We'd like to have more guest posts like these.  If you belong to a local group, please tell us about it.  Email me: calietg at yahoo.

In the fall and winter of my 43rd year, I finally hit the wall.

I had wanted to be female since I really understood the difference, but my coping strategies were no longer sufficient. The realization that occasional crossdressing might not be enough to feed the beast anymore scared the bejeezus out of me. I felt like a zombie (pre)tending to my routine, but even outwardly I carried a sad, blank countenance. I tried to discuss the issue with my wife, but received little compassion. I had to figure this out on my own.

I eventually came up with three bandages. I made an appointment with a therapist that had a good reputation in the transgender community. I felt compelled to write about my experience, and decided to start a blog. And I stepped way out of my comfort zone and joined a local transgender support group that popped up on Google.

It took everything in me to fight my chronic social anxiety and just show up at a meeting of TransKentucky, and this was in boy mode. They met in a small office space near the university.  I nearly left without entering, but finally realized that I had to take a few risks if I was going to climb out of my hole. I was greeted by the director, and we went back outside and talked privately for a few minutes in the cold.  She calmed me enough to stay. 

Inside, after a very dry meeting, brainstorming about possible future events for the group, we ended the event with some time for socializing. I felt so out of my element, small talk being a terrible weakness for me, but a couple of ladies bailed me out and did the heavy conversational lifting. I remain grateful to them, as that is when I concluded that I could fit in here.

The next meeting, a month later, was the real test. For this one, I would dress as my preferred self. I had only ever dressed fully, hair to heels with makeup, two or three times across a lifetime. Plus, I had to transform on site, as I could not come and go from home in girl mode. I am so happy that there is no photographic record of my efforts, but after turning the doorknob of the restroom and entering the meeting, I felt right for the first time.

Amazingly, the lifelong wallflower became a comparitive social butterfly. Turns out there were three of us there who were dressing in front of others for the first time. I actually sought them out and engaged them, something I would never have done in my male life. Being able to speak without self-conscious editing, not worried that clues to my secrets might be spilled, was beyond liberating. I could be open with my terrible truth, and my world would not collapse. Just nods of comprehension, and words of understanding and recognition.

I was home.

TransKentucky is pretty simple. We have an email message board and a monthly meeting. Sometimes we bring in guests, like therapists or police officers or electrologists, or maybe a makeup demo. We do a couple of potluck dinners each year, including our Transgiving celebration. Nearly every meeting includes a newcomer or two, and I do my best to replicate what was done for me at my first meetings. I want to make sure they have a positive, welcoming experience, because this condition we share can be so very isolating.

I have served as a moderator for the group for six years now. I mostly look over the online requests for membership, and approve folks that seem to be a good fit. No creepers or admirers, as we are not here to be a meat market. Our first priority is to provide a safe place for transfolk to be themselves, without judgment.

Even now, I only get to be Leslie one day a month at my support group meeting. TransKentucky gave me a way to keep the dysphoria beast appeased, and I continue to try to give back to my community. I don't want to be one of those that gets raised to a better place, then pulls up the ladder after them. I am holding the ladder for my comrades, so they might go over the wall rather than hitting it.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

late in life transitions

We are so uniquely different aren’t we? Some spouses take the news as a shock but then adjust while others bolt for the nearest divorce lawyer. There are no right answers here and what happens next is rarely in the hands of the transgender person themselves.

Late in life transitions, is a well thought-out post from Joanna.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


As for pit hair... in the words of MSgt. Ernest G. Bilko: “Ugh! Yechh! Ugh! Did you ever see anything so unsanitary?”

Jonathan was inspired, by a recent Lynn Jones post featured on T-Central (The right to bare arms), to write a few words about body hair.   In light of the cute title Lynn gave to her post, Jonathan came up with one too.....Dysphairia.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

On Dating and Transgender People

It seems to me that there are certain members of our community who seem to think that the transgender person has an (almost) inalienable right to a romantic relationship and that regardless of where they are on the spectrum or indeed where they are in the process of transitioning (assuming that they are transitioning), that they deserve to find a date. This gets rather political when a male to female transgender person wants to date a cis-gender woman who identifies as a lesbian, but who refuses to do so, sometimes citing the presence of a penis as a problem for them, or perhaps more problematically believes that the transgender woman is in some way ‘not a woman’ or lacks the shared experiences that are important to her in a romantic partner.

What Daniella discusses in this post is real-life experience for many who have transitioned or are in transition.  I've seen it happen and have written about it in my own blog.  Please go to, On Dating and Transgender People, to read Daniella's thoughts.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The right to bare arms

I remember looking down at my no longer pasty arm and thinking that this felt how things should be. I felt that what was outside, matched how I felt inside. Sure, sometimes I feel a little awkward and fearful even, that someone's going to call me out on it. But, thankfully, that's never happened. 

A post with a name this cute must be featured!  Our friend, Lynn, has been shaving her arms for six or seven years now without any issues.  It seems that Lynn is now having second thoughts.  Why?  Go to, The right to bare arms, to find out.....and let her know what you think.

Friday, April 8, 2016

My Local Trans Group - Guest Post From Laura Ann
No matter what flavor of trans you may be, it helps to have like-minded friends. While on-line or email friends can be a blessing for many, nothing compares with having local friends you can get together with over coffee, lunch, dinner, etc.

I have found that there are many, many out there who have simply never met, in person, someone else who shares their sense of being transgender. Keeping it inside of you without any way to talk about it can be a lonely and even unhealthy existence.

T-Central will be featuring a series of Friday guest posts about local transgender groups. Today's guest post is from long-time T-Blogger, Laura Ann, who writes about a group she visits regularly, the River City Gems.

The River City Gems is a 501(c) non-profit group organized to provide social services and support to the MTF transgender and cross-dressing community in Sacramento, California. Organized eight years ago, it has become so widely known outside Sacramento that we have members attending our events from as far away as Redding, the San Francisco Bay Area, Stanislaus County, and Reno, Nevada. I've heard that someone has even come from Los Angeles, 400 miles away, to one of our events. 

Those are the dry facts that anyone can glean from our website, but what are the Gems really? From my point of view, the Gems are simply my home place. My place where I can be completely authentic, happy, and accepted exactly as I am, and as who I am. Frankly, sometimes I'm not too sure about "who I am", at least in the context of my gender identity, but that's okay. Everyone that I have met and interacted with in the Gems seems to understand that what is important about a person is their character, not their appearance. In other words, to borrow a metaphor (slightly modified) from Forrest Gump, it's the content of the chocolates that matters, not the box they're contained in.

What are the River City Gems about, and what do they actually do? The most visible facet of the Gems is our social calendar, consisting of two to three events per month. These range from "casual" like the once-a-month Drab Gab lunch and Femme Friday evening gatherings, to formal dinner parties like the annual Anniversary Party in March, and "Sparkle", our big Gala banquet in October. In between, there are summer picnics - the July "Luau" - and holiday themed gatherings around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Some of these happen at member's homes, others at local restaurants or hotels, and some at other venues, like Luau, which is at a local church.

This writer has only been a member of the Gems for a couple of months, and has only personally attended a few events, but the important fact is this: from the first moment that I stepped through the door at my first River City Gems event, a complete stranger, I was made to feel welcome, indeed loved, by this group of people, and like I am family member. For the River City Gems is a family in every sense of the word that matters. Families take care of and nurture each other, and that's certainly what the Gems are about. To emphasize how amazing this is, that first event that I attended, the Gems' Holiday Hangover party, was actually the very first time that I ever was "out", meaning dressed enfemme in public. The Gems at that party were so welcoming, I felt not even a single moment of awkwardness, and I have never been a very "social" person.

The Gems are also about freedom to simply be who you are, without many restrictions being placed on how you are expected to travel your path through life, or what destination you should be arriving at. Other than the overall mission statement of the Gems being focused on serving the MTF Transgender community, I haven't heard about or encountered any other rules or restrictions. About 30% of the members are at some point of a process leading to full transition, meaning they have either had or are planning to undergo MTF gender re-assignment surgery and hormone replacement therapy. The other 70% of the members are cross-dressers who may or may not ever transition to full-time female mode. And of course, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that third, and completely vital category, of our membership: the "GG's" (genetic girls) as they are nicknamed. These are the wives, girlfriends, and significant others who are more or less fully involved and supportive of their Gems and this organization. At least two of these ladies are members of the Board of Directors of the River City Gems, including the President and the Activities Director, and I suspect that the organization would simply collapse and fade away without them.

Let me close with this last thought: Having been widowed in 2013, I was facing severe depression, and the prospect of struggling on, alone, with only sadness and regrets for however much time I have left. Finding the River City Gems has placed a new path before me that leads to a future of hope and joy, instead of sorrow and despair, and the possibility of having at least a few days every month to be happy, and socialize with friends who really care about each other.

-Laura Ann
Sacramento, California

Laura Ann is not a blogger but, from the way she writes, she should be!  

I want to add that I've been a member of this group, that numbers into the hundreds, for 8 years now.....the 17th to join, as I recall.  I'm so, so fortunate to live near such an active and loving group of like-minded people.  The group, in addition to the many events it holds, also has a very active Yahoo Group, which allows our members from afar to stay in touch.  

You really must visit the Gems' fabulous website and, when you do, be sure to take a look at the testimonial pages.  Here's a sample of what you'll see:

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Every coming out is a new challenge

People who say “I don’t care what anyone thinks of me” are people who I don’t believe are being honest wtih themselves. I say: It’s OK (and normal!!) to care what people think of you, but not healthy if that controls your life.

Interesting post from Diane, the spouse of a transwoman.  The two of them left North Carolina for The Netherlands, and a much more open and accepting environment, proving that Every coming out is a new challenge.

Please note Diane's comment regarding the reason for moving to The Netherlands (below).

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Concept of Transgender: Making it Stick

When she finished her short dissertation, I finally felt inside that I had had enough.  Between the "red flagging" of my estrogen because I was seen as male and between the list of warnings and the list of conditions for which estrogen might be indicated, none of which included a person who might be transgender, I had had enough.

Christen needed new estrogen patches.  The old ones would not stick on properly.  When she went up to the counter, in boy mode, she got a rather long dissertation on the negative effects of estrogen on woman.  There was no mention of trans-woman.  Christen decided to educate the woman at the counter.  Go to, The Concept of Transgender: Making it Stick, to read about the happy ending to Christen's day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Planning for Transition? Questions

A friend of mine is on the verge of transition. She is married with children and has a good job; living in a well to do suburb of a major eastern city.
I told her to plan it well, and she asked what kind of plans? This is what I sent her. I figured it was something that maybe someone else could use, so here it is.

Sophie's first comment?  

Well, start by assuming the absolute worst. Loss of home and marriage.  

Read more from Sophie's post,  Planning for Transition? Questions.

Monday, April 4, 2016

How do we get to a place of mutual understanding?

They really have about as much understanding of Transgender persons for the most part as Cis people do.While this isn’t true for all, it tends to be more than not.My peronal dealings with a great many of them,leaves me feeling that they are for the most part a very self centered group of people intrested in moving their own interests forward regardless of what is truly the civil rights movement of our time.

So, who are the "THEY" Shelle is referring to?  Go to, How do we get to a place of mutual understanding?, to find out.

Friday, April 1, 2016

My Local Trans Group - Guest Post from Lynn Jones

No matter what flavor of trans you may be, it helps to have like-minded friends. While on-line or email friends can be a blessing for many, from my own experience, nothing compares with having local friends you can get together with over coffee, lunch, dinner, etc.

I have found that there are many, many out there who have simply never met, in person, someone else who shares their sense of being transgender. Keeping it inside of you without any way to talk about it can be a lonely and even unhealthy existence.

T-Central will be featuring a series of Friday guest posts about local transgender groups. Today's guest post is from long-time T-Blogger, Lynn Jones, who writes about a group she visits regularly, the Nottingham Chameleons.

If you belong to a local group and would like to tell everyone about it, please contact me (calietg at yahoo), Jenny, or Halle. Our contact information is listed near the bottom of this page.

- Calie

A few posts ago, T-Central asked a question around groups for trans people, be they formal, or informal get togethers.

I’m lucky enough to live not too far the Nottingham Chameleons group. The group has been running since the 1980s, and is one of the longest running in the UK. Who knew there was such history on the doorstep?

We meet every second and fourth Thursday, at a community centre, on the outskirts of Nottingham. We’re just off a major motorway, so while some of us have to brave the city roads, for the most part, it’s pretty easy to get to.

In terms of what we get up to, the group is very much a social affair. There’s plenty of chat, tea & biscuits - well, we are British - and the group is very welcoming. Talk is very varied, although understandably conversation around trans topics often pops up. People support each other, in that we share tips, chat about each others lives and, probably most importantly, listen to each other. A few people have said that one of the great things about the group, is that they can talk about anything, to each other. You don’t have to keep that ‘gender guard’ up. You know the one, the one where you can’t talk about the new trends this season with your gaming buddies, or agree with a co-worker about the worthy pain of a great pair of heels. But, it’s not all about that; people mingle and there’s real life too. Talk about families, work, hobbies and everything else. That’s what I’d call a regular night, were folk pop in, have a seat, get a drink and catch up with friends.

We also have a party evenings, every now and again. which is a great reason to bring in good food, pull on your best dress and dance the night away. Luckily, the centre is ours and ours alone, from 8pm, so we’re not going to disturb anyone. Christmas is a given, then there’s a summer do. We may do something for Halloween, or Easter, but that depends on what else is booked in.

Other than regular nights and the occasional party, we have visits from local retailers. Sometimes they approach us, other times, we’ll contact them and ask if they’d like to visit. We’ve had numerous make-up artists come to see us, some clothing retailers and, some wig consultants too. The great thing about bringing businesses in, is there are benefits for our members and the retailer. They get to hear what the trans community need, and build their client base. We get to ask their advice before buying. Plus, it’s not always possible to be out dressed, so to speak, so this is a great way of bridging that gap.

In terms of people who come along, we’ve a regular number of folk who pretty much always visit and we’re always happy to see new people visit. We’re mostly - and I’m afraid I’ll have to play the label game here - the CD MTF aspect of the trans community. We have a number of partners who come along, and we’re seeing a growing number of FTM people come too. A few of our members either are transitioning, or have transitioned. We all get along and we like to think that Chameleons is a group, where you can find your feet, gain confidence and, when you’re ready, fly the nest. Sure, we miss people who move away, or move on; but change is part of life and it’s great to see people grow in confidence and become all they can.

In closing, and if I may speak personally for a moment: joining the group was one of the best things I ever did. I’ve made friends who fully accept who I am. I’ve learned so much as a person and they’ve really been there for me, when times were hard. What’s great, is that now, I can play that back, and help others.

Thanks for reading.

The People - Personal Thoughts

Cobweb Corner - Older Blogs, Not Recently Updated