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Introduction

This article was one I wrote in January 2018 almost as a coming out letter, its strange and interesting looking back there now after coming so far. I am tempted to archive these articles, some bits don't reflect current day me after the journey I've been on but for now I'll leave them as a marker of the path I took.


Bobbi 2021


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Just before Christmas 2017, I made the decision to open up the debate, get people talking and educate people about transgender - what being transgender is; its causes and effects. Personal stories are by far the most powerful way of getting a message across so I decided to be as open as possible about the subject.


I’ve been exploring and investigating what it means to be transgender ever since the internet came along in the early nineties. My best friend is transgender, the drummer in a band I used to be in transitioned about ten years ago but my best qualification for talking about being transgender is that I’m transgender myself.


I’ve always been transgender; my earliest memory, around 4 years old I guess, is sitting on the floor while my mum was ironing wondering why she bought me rubbish clothes while my sister got all the good ones. I remember being frustrated that Barbie’s clothes didn’t fit my Action Man and that I had to wait for my sister to finish playing with her dolls house before I could have a go. I hated the fact that my sister got to go to ballet while I was expected to play football (which I still hate).

I spent most of my childhood on my own – mostly because the main thing about being transgender is that hiding it is exhausting, especially when you’re learning how to. You have to filter everything you do, everything you show interest in, everything you say, laugh at, comment on. You have to observe everyone all the time to see whether they know and how your act is going.


It’s always difficult explaining to non-transgender people what being transgender feels like because I have nothing to compare it to – I don’t know what not being transgender is like to be able to tell you how it’s different.


It’s also difficult to explain how my life has been different by being transgender as I’ve never experienced anything else – I’m so used to the boundaries and restrictions that I tend not to notice them until someone says there’s one there and then it genuinely catches me by surprise.


I, like most transgender people, have trained my mind to compartmentalise – I’m extremely good at it. I have a work Bob that reacts and interacts how “I’m supposed to” at work. I have a home Bob that fits how I’m supposed to be there, a going shopping Bob, a meeting new people Bob, a Bob the bass player in the band – lots of others; I expect in some box or another there’s a real Bob too - pasty from lack of daylight.


The biggest and most obvious impact is socialising – I don’t unless I really have to. Its’s taxing enough being in an environment I can control without being somewhere where people can have conversations about anything and everything.


I tend to go out “dressed” (what a stupid term - I’m always dressed otherwise I’d get arrested for public indecency!) where it’s extremely safe. That may change at some point but it’s a scary world out there. You can hide being gay or just about anything else – you can’t hide being transgender if you’re out. There’ve been a few times where I’ve pushed the boundaries and wandered away from the safe zones– and the reaction is mixed. Most people just stare – you get used to “the look” that happens even in safe places. I’ve had bottles thrown at me , people feeling it’s ok to say anything that comes into their heads, been told to leave a bar because “ we don’t want your sort here” and and once someone tipped a drink down me in a bar.. But for every one bad incident there’ve been so many other positive and wonderful ones.


I don’t stand on ceremony about being transgender. One of the things that lots of people mention that surprised me at first and really made me think is that most people are scared stiff to talk to transgender people as they don’t want to say or ask the wrong thing.


Well here’s your chance; I don’t care about the language or words that people use – there are far more important things to talk about.


What I do care about is educating people and getting people to understand and the only way that will happen is if people feel free to debate and discuss what they’d like to know.


A few of the areas I’ll be exploring in more detail are:


  • The science of being transgender

  • Dysphoria

  • Suicide

  • Transitioning

  • The effect on families, partners and relationships

  • Talking to someone that’s transgender

  • transgender in childhood

  • Going out, transgender in the workplace and social boundaries

  • The difficulties non-transgender people face in accepting transgender people

  • Pronouns, names and labels

  • Gender neutral toilets

  • How other companies succeed in transgender inclusion

  • Non-transgender people championing the transgender message



So feel free to ask me anything, I might not know the answer; may not even have thought about it before. The answer might be my personal view, but I’ll be as honest and open as I possibly can. Feel free to send me a private message or email.



Bobbi Jan 2018

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