They say that a writer must write as if his parents are dead. I’ve gone further than that, I’ve written as if mine have been the victims of a Stalinist style airbrushing. They haven’t of course they’re still very much around but when they read what follows they may well ‘go gentle into that’ Lubyanka ‘good night.’
Or at least one ‘haemorrhage apiece.’
I have a friend who thinks he may be a transexual.
I think so… my friend thinks so because his COGIATI score was 200.
His what score?
COGIATI, it’s a series of questions that are sometimes used in an initial assessment of gender dysphoria.
Oh I see.
My…his result was:
“Your COGIATI result value is: 200 Which means that you fall within the following category:
COGIATI classification FOUR, PROBABLE TRANSSEXUAL
What this means is that the Combined Gender Identity And Transsexuality Inventory has classified your internal gender identity to be essentially feminine, but with some masculine or androgynous traits. It is very possible that you are a candidate for a diagnosis of transsexualism. You show a strong degree of gender dysphoria. At the very least, further investigation should be undertaken. Your COGIATI score places you among the majority of those diagnosed as transsexuals, the 'late onset' tanssexual.
SUGGESTIONS FOR ACTION:
Your situation is potentially serious and indicative of a probable inborn gender conflict. It is definitely recommended that you pursue further action.
The suggestions for your circumstance are several.
1. It is recommended that you seek help from a sympathetic counselor or professional about your gender issues. It is very possible that over time they will become increasingly difficult to cope with. Early determination of what you really need and want is vital. You need to determine if you truly are transsexual. Keep in mind, though, that many alternatives exist other than complete sexual transformation. Partial transformation and many other way of existing are available. While you are very possibly a transsexual, COGIATI has determined that this is not absolutely certain. While time is an issue, being certain is more important. Proceed with investigation of your possible transsexuality or transgenderism, but with caution.
2. Some actions may help you to define your needs more clearly. Experimenting with living full time as a woman, taking hormones for a short time under supervision, or taking testosterone suppressers to observe how you feel are all viable options. Keep in mind that while it is very likely that you might be a transsexual, it is not certain. Do not take severe or permanent actions without long thought and the help of counselors and professionals.
3. Your gender issues are real, and should not be ignored. Neither should you rush into acting on them, however powerful they may feel. You do not fit the full criterion for the rarest classification, classic transsexuality, and so should be cautious, and open to possibilities. You may yet end up undergoing transition, and the path of the transsexual may well be your salvation. Be very careful, but do not ignore your issues.
4. If you have not already, consider joining any of the thousands of groups devoted to gender expression of various kinds. There is literally a world of friends to discover who share your interests. There are also publications, vacations, and activities that would expand your gender expression.”
It's always been there so it’s nothing to do with ‘late onset’ it’s more like outlet, late outlet. He’s a late outlet transexual and only now as he approaches forty can he let it out. Only now does he have the financial and mental independence to do what he wants.
‘Late-onset transexual’ what does that mean? Transexuality creeping up on you late in life, lurking in the shadows ready to pounce.
If ‘late onset’ is correct, it was ‘late onset’ by necessity, he had no money and more significantly no confidence to let it out earlier. Also for a time he tried to be normal or what’s considered normal, so he put all those TS thoughts and feelings from his mind. He purged, he over-compensated.
The Cogiati people used the wrong wording and the poor command of the English language by the people who wrote the test makes one dubious about its validity but if you do accept the validity and he does because there have been so many pointers in his life that just screamed tranny.
I’d…He’d always known that he was different.
Even as a very small boy I felt all those things but I couldn’t say them, I had no way of expressing them and no one to express them to if I had. There was no one to listen but if there had been I would have told them that God had made a mistake and put a girl’s brain into a boy’s body.
Now I no longer believe in God I don’t know who made that mistake. Could I tell people ‘Nature has made a mistake’? Can nature make a mistake? That’s an awkward question, you could make a flippant list of nature’s mistakes, Piers Morgan, Margaret Thatcher etc. but identifying true mistakes occurring naturally is tricky.
Leaving cod-philosophy to one side, I knew I was different even before I started school. I didn’t go in for boy’s toys, I never had a toy car or a train set. I had an Action Man but in my hands he was never a soldier, he was a deep-sea diver, a doctor or a spaceman.
I remember that I didn’t want to keep on growing, my feet kept on getting bigger and so did the rest of me, I was just getting more manly daily, maybe not more manly, more boyish and I didn’t like it. I remember looking at the boys in my class who were smaller than me and envying them their small builds, girl’s clothes would have fitted them and that was what I wanted to wear, girl’s clothes. I would have loved to have been a schoolgirl in straw boater, grey gabardine pinafore and grey woolly tights. I wanted to join the Brownies and most of all I wanted to look like Debbie Harry on the 1979 Top of the Pops Christmas Special in sailor dress, Raybans, heels and red tights.
Even at that age I knew I wanted to grow up like Mom, I didn’t want to be like Dad. For a start I was sure I didn’t want a job, I watched Dad go to work and Mom stay at home, I wanted to be a housewife, I didn’t want the responsibility of being a man. I watched Dad go to the pub surrounded by his baying, sweaty, boozy friends and I watched Mom stay at home and I was pretty certain which form of leisure I would prefer.
I continued to think I’d rather like to be a housewife. It looked quite pleasant, nothing to do and no responsibility. I suppose it just shows how naïve I was and how wrong, on two counts. Number one, Mom had the more stressful job, the house, us kids to look after and Dad and his large, encroaching, ever visiting family to forever appease. Dad had all the fun, a couple of hours work and then the pub and his mistress all afternoon and number two, I rather like responsibility, thrive on it even.
The hotels and restaurants my parents took me to just made me want to be a girl. There was a pretty rigid dress code back then, jacket, shirt and tie for Dad. I remember on holiday, even on the far from sweltering English Riviera, every evening would see him hot and sweaty in a shirt and tie. Jacketed and blotchy, spotty and red-necked, quite literally hot under the collar. Mom on the other hand was cool and elegant in something floaty and strappy, sleeveless, backless. Although having to wear something backless or strapless would terrify me today.
It was always the same with school events such as sports day, Dad in a dark suit, proper shoes and woolly socks, clowning in the Dad’s race with stains under his armpits. Mom was cool and serious, she didn’t clown, set out to win and frequently did. Her feet were cool and elegant in strappy sandals, painted toes.
Women’s clothing just seemed so much more comfortable.
I realise now that it’s not quite so clear cut, heels are uncomfortable, pencil skirts are restrictive and tights get sweaty and cause fungal growth. I’m a martyr to anal thrush and I’ve tried and failed to run from a crowd of homophobic louts in four-inch heels.
I’m just not a tough puff.
You must have come across ‘the myth of the tough puff.’ He couldn’t be more camp, sews on a buttons, cooks a cordon blue meal, minces around like there’s no tomorrow but he when confronted by a gang of skinheads spitting homophobic hatred and intent on doing him damage he clinically kicks their teeth in without even breaking an immaculately polished nail.
The first time I dressed as a girl, I put on a pair of dreadful American tan control top tights which must have been miles too long for me, Mom had an inside leg to die for. Over the tights I put on a girdle, one of those very Seventies instruments of torture with panels of harsh, stiff fabric pulling in every direction and miles of razor sharp nylon stitching. Mom’s skirts and dresses were also far too big for me so I put on an old black negligee made of diaphanous semi-transparent nylon with satin ruffs and frills. I strutted around the bathroom looking at myself in the cheval mirror looking like a pre-pubescent ‘Allo Allo’ girl. I looked awful but that didn’t seem crushingly important. It was more about how I felt. Standing there dressed as a girl I just felt right.
I almost got caught, more than once, I can remember standing on the rim of the bath with stockinged feet slipping on the roll-top and my back pressed against the door as Dad tried to get in. I don’t know what he’d have done if he’d got in and discovered me dressed as a little girl. I’m sure it would have been quite violent and humiliating and worse, a part of me suspects something darker could have happened, punishment involving something sexual.
Funny how things change, when every thing came out and I finally and told them, it was him who was more okay with it than Mom.
But that isn’t surprising really, Mom was always the tougher one. For years I’ve been her daughter without the perks, a male version of a daughter doing all the things a daughter does but never getting any of the usual daughter things in return.
I can’t share her lippy, a spare tampon, enjoy our regular trips to the hairdressers or the manicurist.
I have to wait outside, bored, a real daughter would be in there with her and in return for the lift and putting up with all the hassle she would get her beautician’s bill paid.
To go with all those alleged perks though a daughter would have been on the receiving end of a fair amount of hostility from her mother. My mother was, is, always will be one of those women who doesn’t go a bundle on other women, perhaps she sees them as competition and she just would not have taken to another woman in the house that well at all. She never took to a single one of her daughters in law and there were a lot of them, my brother couldn’t keep his dick in his trousers. I shared her feelings for one or two of them but most were perfectly pleasant girls, it was Mom who was being unreasonable. I’m fairly sure she would have been the same with a daughter, unreasonably hostile. Hostility is necessary to get the perks, that unspoken hostility that exists between every mother and her daughter. She would have done things with her daughter and she would have expected that all the daughterly dues be paid, all the chores, the favours, the caring and she would have accepted them with bad grace. The problems a son has with his mother are different.
Same with dad, I was his daughter without the benefits, I did all the chores, helped out, but I couldn’t wrap him around my little finger like a daughter could. I couldn’t flutter my eyelids, put my head slightly on one side, a lock of my bob in the corner of my mouth and do what I liked with him, work on his wallet, his tolerance.
My brother managed to do all that without using any feminine wiles. He used blackmail pure and simple. He threatened to spill the beans about Dad’s many messy affairs. And my dad allowed it to happen, perhaps as a boost for his faltering ego, his flagging member? Or was it because of their shagger’s understanding?
I couldn’t have done it. He’d have humiliated me.
So I got no benefits from Mom or Dad.
I was the daughter they didn’t know they had, the sister I hadn’t got.
YOU FOOL, you’ve slipped into using ‘I’ not ‘He’.
Rip it up and start again.
A side room in a drab community centre, busy with corporate chairs, chipped brown formica tables, an over flowing second hand book trolley, dusty plastic plants and nondescript posters for crushingly boring community events.
“OAP’S Tea Dance.”
“Local History Society – Book Signing – The Local Canal Embankment by A Boring Old Git.”
“CIS Women’s Group.
Guest Speaker Julie Burchill.”
“TS/Transgender Writing Group!”
Call Fiona for details.”
If the Writer’s Group meeting is really cancelled shall we go somewhere else, somewhere less municipal, the pub. I know the one on the corner, it’s okay, everyone minds their own business and we’ll be left alone.
I don’t think we should give up so soon, we should wait and see if anyone else turns up. One of the organisers perhaps.
Also I’m not sure if that pub is as TV friendly as you think.
Why, have you had a bad experience there?
Nothing specific, I just think it would be best to wait around.
Alright then we’ll wait here.
If we’re going to wait around, can I put something to you both?
How serious are you about writing?
What do you mean?
Do we want this to be more than a transexual memoir club? Do we want to produce something more challenging than stories about being bullied at school because you showed a few too many feminine traits?
Or stories about how you over compensated and became the bully to disguise your true feelings. They’re almost as hackneyed.
The other members can write about whatever they feel comfortable with, it’s not for us to dictate what they get from the group but we’ll form a breakaway group and try to do something a little different, break a few rules, push the odd boundary or two.
The Jemima Joyces.
If you like.
I have a friend who is sure he’s a transexual.
Oh hang the pretence, I’m sure I’m a transexual, I got full marks on the Cogiati test. Like Blackadder’s Earl of Doncaster I’ve been riding sidesaddle since I was a boy.
“That steaming left footer.”
Also it’s a bit late to have doubts because the deed has been done, my surgeon has removed certain bits and my pharmacist is supplying drugs that will grow others.
When I was exploring my sexuality, working out if I was truly trans or if I was simply gay I worried about how my mother would react to the very few gay male partners I bought home. She wasn’t openly hostile just quite cool with then.
Later there were the straight male partners of her now trans-woman son. I was terrified that she would be unspeakably unpleasant to the men who were deflowering her newly acquired daughter? I needn’t have worried, she was okay with them. Perhaps some of the latent natural animosity between mother and daughter was beginning to grow between us. If it was it had grown very quickly. Now that I am her daughter there’s a frission between that wasn’t there when I was her son but I rather like it, it’s all part of becoming a woman, having problems of a womanly kind with your mother. Even once the op was done, when I had really become the daughter, I didn’t get the perks, perhaps because we still got on like a mother and son. We needed to be more like a mother and daughter, not really getting on.
Finally came the gay female partners of her trans-woman son, her newly acquired lesbian daughter. She was pretty indifferent to them, possibly worn out by all the changes, possibly shocked.
You will have worked out that my unease with male partners has continued beyond my change of sex, I’m still not comfortable with a man as a sexual partner. I’m more into women. While I was going through the process of transitioning, living as a woman for a couple of years, smoozing the good people at Charing Cross, convincing the NHS that I was worth their investment, I became for that short time at least a lesbian with a penis. A LWAP.
A lesbian with a dick, a LWAD.
A lesbian with a cock, a LWAC.
A Dyke with a dick: a DWD.
DWP: not work and pensions but dyke with prick.
RMWC: Rug muncher with a cock.
RMWC: Royal Mounted wanking Corps.
I was never into the gay scene, finding it all pretty scary, hordes of brutal animalistic men with one thing on their minds. I was put off by the image of homosexuality, two men going together, sleazy dogging areas, cottaging, and unpleasant fumbles in public toilets. Gary Oldman in ‘Prick up your Ears’. It seemed so nasty, brutal. Sex in public conveniences is “nasty brutish and short.” I couldn’t imagine going down on an unwashed, piss smelling cock or having grubby fingers crammed into my ass as a precursor to a brutal penile thrust. And the other way round just seemed even worse, unthinkably horrible to be doing the thrusting, shit, sweat, spots and sleaze.
We need to lighten the mood so I think now is the time for an involuntary Fawlty.
“We haven’t got any this week Major.”
We have got crowds of men rushing to substandard business hotels to parade about in their wife’s underwear. I did just that on many business trips before the op, not the wife’s underwear, my own purchased mail order.
I’d better explain “Involuntary Fawlties.” There’s nothing in life that cannot be accompanied, enhanced and made more interesting or amusing by a quote from the great John Cleese. For instance I recently bumped into my brother as he left the dentist after a particularly long and unpleasant rout canal procedure. He spat blood and mumbled, I went into James Garner in conversation with Robert Graf inside a Silesian POW camp mode.
“I’m not a well man. Our dentist here’s a butcher, only don’t tell anyone I said that.
It’s a soldier’s right to complain.
In your army maybe, in mine…fwwt…the Russian Front.”
He stopped spitting blood and smiled. Only a weak smile but it still goes to show that an apt quote at the right time from Cleese makes conversations funnier, lightens the mood, cheers everyone up.
But it’s more than consciously matching quotes with situations some just come out, without warning.
Mention India in whatever context and I say “At the Oval.”
Say pop-up toaster and I come back with “Pam and Ivor.”
Every time I finish a bit of DIY I step back and say: “It’s done, Mr Moose is up, tell the tyrant queen her cardies are safe forever.”
If I see ‘Prawn Cocktail’ on a restaurant menu I read it out loud as “Prawn Goebbels” and then pretend to order a “Hermann Goering and a Colditz Salad.”
Stand in the pub for ten minutes and I find myself saying: “This is exactly how Nazi Germany started.” Mind you that is not exactly an involuntary statement more a frighteningly valid commentary on the right wing racist claptrap that is spouted in pubs.
If someone gets a little above themselves I comment: “Eating the nuts if you please.”
If a restaurant bill seems large then its: “We’re not putting them through university you know.”
If I’m asked have I got enough of something then there’s only one reply: “We’ve got lumps of it round the back.”
A daunting task always draws the response: “long ways to dig.”
Then there’s a few that just come out:
“Oh you enormous Scotsman.”
“I’m particularly keen on Johnny Matthis.”
“My dear woman a blow on the head like that is worth…two in the bush.”
And the all time favourite:
“Oh I think most of them do down there.”
Its not just Cleese, there are numerous other sources, sitcoms, films, even the odd play from which you can steal an apposite quotation and have everybody rolling in the aisles. Honourable mentions must also go to: -
Norman Stanley Fletcher.
“How’s the diet going? Alright?”
“Oaksie’s Hardy Kruger.”
“Wild I was absolutely livid.
Cut off their goolies.
Nancy Boy Potter.
Has Matron seen those boils?”
And George Cole’s most famous creation.
“Yorkie’s snapdragon’s caning the motorway.
Mustn’t forget The Likely Lads.
“Don’t mention Dierdre Birchwood.”
Just a cup of tea please.”
But most come from Fawlty.
Fussy is he? Poodle?
He’s really gone this time.
I think we got something then.
Yes can I help you?
We have meat here in the building.
We haven’t got any this week, Major.
The fatal accident.”
So if you see an apparently irrelevant and incongruous sentence in this manuscript it won’t be irrelevant or incongruous, it will be an ‘Involuntary Fawlty.’ I will have written something that made me think of a funny quote and I will have been unable to stop myself writing it down.
“Out you get Hooky, you’ve done your bit.”
I will be awarding prizes to anyone who successfully identifies the quotes above but while I’m still in the mood to clarify things.
Do you want to know who it was who said that about writing as if your parents are dead?
The quote is often attributed to Philip Roth, although credit does occasionally get foisted on either of two distinguished English novelists.
One wrote the same book twice and got away with it although it was described as “dismayingly bad” by an equally overrated contemporary and the other is a famous cuckhold although in his case I think cuckhold is a misnomer because I’m sure there is a different word to describe a husband whose wife goes off with another woman.
A lesbold. No. I think he works in accounts.
A cunthold, no nasty word, although it does appropriately hanker back to the Anglo-Saxon.
A sapphold, perhaps, yes that’s better.
Or maybe it would be better to derive a name from one of the many famous cuckolds in history such as Mr Keppel or Lord Harcourt – a keppold perhaps or a harcold? No.
What about Hephaestos, husband of Aphrodite and patron saint of cuckolds.
Hephaestold sounds quite good.
No, No, NO I’m doing what I said I wouldn’t do. I’m doing all that James Joyce stuff, inventing words. I said I wouldn’t, I’d try to write something different, something challenging but no stream of consciousness, no interior monologue and no inventing words.
The cuckold has the devil at his shoulder, a devil at each shoulder so they give him the gift of horns but would someone whose wife had gone off with another woman receive the gift of horns? Should the symbolic gift be feminised to reflect the sex of the person doing the cuckolding? Horns stand for the stag and are a way of saying another stag has got your woman, so we need a means of saying another woman has got your woman. Reindeer horns perhaps, female reindeer have horns. No, we need something more obviously feminine.
Breasts? Milk, the gift of milk.
Blood? The gift of blood.