Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Transsexual Summer 

Last night was the last of four programmes on Channel 4 television in a series called My Transsexual Summer . It featured 7 people who are transsexuals, 4 were born as boys and 3 were born as girls. Some were starting their journey of gender reassignment and one had completed the change within the series. My Transsexual Summer made a great television programme as it gave the issues of transsexuals good exposure to a sometimes ignorant public. The 7 transsexuals were treated with respect by the production company and were always referred to by their chosen new gender and names.

As a viewer watching this series, as the weeks went by I did not think of them as a man turned into a woman or a woman becoming a bloke but just accepted them as always being their chosen gender. I warmed very quickly to these people and at the end I did not view them as transsexuals but ordinary individuals in a reality television programme having lovely weekends away in a country house.

This programme was sympathetic to the medical and social problems encountered by transsexuals. Gender identity is a real issue for transsexuals and they take great care in getting their look just right. Being very happy as a man, I do not give much thought to clothes, grooming or the way I walk. I stroll out our door without a thought of strangers wondering if I am a man. I am just Stephen going out for a walk with his dog. I never have to establish or prove my gender. I am very happy with my gender and have never questioned it.

Watching this programme has opened my eyes a little because some people have been born into the wrong gender. I did notice that male to female transsexuals do tend to over do it with fancy clothes and make-up. The girl next door will march out of her house in ordinary clothes with no make up and not think about appearing as a girl. However many transsexuals really glam up like drag queens and this draws attention to them. They do not look like ordinary women shopping in Farmfoods but trannies on a night out. These transsexuals are very different from cross dressing transvestites because they want to live as women rather than dress like them. As the series went on the women appeared to apply less make up and dressed more ordinarily. This change of image made them more believable as women.

The character I most liked was Donna . Her attitude was great, she appeared very happy and was proud to stand up and be counted. Donna was prescribed female hormones two years ago, and they are irreversibly changing her body. Her hair and skin are softer and her breasts have grown. But there have been changes to her personality as well. Donna describes being more emotional, more in touch with her feelings and more able to cry. She has little interest in surgery at this point in her life. Donna was an inspiration and was very happy to be the chick with a dick.

It was a confusing issue for both the viewer and the transsexuals about their future sexuality. Would the transsexual turn gay or straight? That made me smile because so many people have hang ups about sexuality and these transsexuals were no different from the general public. I believe that people should fall in love with another person and their gender, whether born or adopted, should not come into the relationship. I think Donna understood this but that the other transsexuals had difficulty coming to terms with it.

We live in a very diverse society but there is still a lot of ignorance around. This programme highlighted the problems faced by transsexuals and showed the viewer that although they had been born into the wrong body, they were no different to the boy or girl next door. I have had many transsexuals on my coach going up to London for treatment and I treat them just the same as any other passenger. It is their own personal gender issue and if they want gender reassignment then I feel they should go for it and enjoy all that life has to offer rather than be trapped in a gender they do not want.  I wish them all the very best for the years to come in their new genders.
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