Personal blog and comfy corner of Lyra Rhodes: musician, cake aficionado, whinger...maybe just a place where I can stuff things (words!), rather than them falling down the back of the sofa

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

One of the many (MANY) reasons why I love Caitlin Moran

"Who?", you say? Well, wise up. She's a pretty damn (and pretty) witty broadcaster, author, tv critic... that kind of thing... one of the reasons I used to buy The (UK) Times newspaper. Anyway, that's what Wikipedia is for.
She wrote the following ages ago, and it shows IMHO why she's an all round good egg, and lovely person n that.  One particularly smashing paragraph is:
"One of humanity’s less loveable tropes is an ability to get hurt, self-righteous and huffy about someone else’s problem. It’s amazing that “normal” people would turn on some transgender kid and go, “But what about meeeeee? What about myyyyyyy kids?” It’s a bit like those dads in the maternity wards who complain about being exhausted."


Funny, clever stuff too.

(c) Caitlin Moran, Moranthology 2013
In Wolverhampton in 1991, we had two male-to-female transsexuals, who would unfailingly be in the chip shop at the end of Victoria Street at 2 AM, sobering up on curry sauce and chips after a night out clubbing.
As I went past them on the 512 bus, I would feel a kinship with them—a kinship that I would try to project through the glass.
“I feel as if I were born in the wrong body, too!” I would think, loudly, at them. “You were trapped, unhappily, in the bodies of men. I too am unhappily trapped—in the body of a fat virgin with a bad haircut. I wish I could have an operation to sort things out, like you guys—I mean ladies.”
I was reminded of what a moron I was this September, when a ten-year-old boy returned to school after the summer holidays as a girl. As the media coverage made clear, some parents at the school claimed to be “outraged.”
“We should have been consulted,” one said—presumably imagining a scenario where parents regularly throw open the raising of their children to a school-wide committee of other parents; possibly via a Facebook page called “Penis or Vagina: YOU Choose Which One You Think Suits My Weeping Child Best.”
Then, last week, the Department of Education announced that it was considering that schoolchildren be taught about transgender equality—which was greeted, again, with a predictable series of complaints.
Margaret Morrissey, founder of campaigning group Parents Outloud, said: “We are overloading our children with issues they shouldn’t have to consider.”
This is an interesting stance to take on an issue—mainly because of its unappealing and extreme impoliteness. We have to remember that the descriptor “our children” includes both transgender kids (0.1 percent of the population), and kids who live in a world with transgender kids (the other 99.09 percent)—thus comprising 100 percent of all the world’s children.
With those kinds of stats, it seems to be a good idea to enable children in learning about it nice and early on—before they start getting the kind of weird ideas adults have. We constantly underestimate children in these situations. I recall, when I was a teenager, the suggestion of “lessons” in homosexuality being decried for similar reasons of “complexity.” A generation later, and I watch kids in the playground, arguing over who should play the bisexual Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who—who fancied both Rose and the Doctor. Not only do they seem to have got their heads around it quite easily—but they’re incorporating it into games involving time-travel, wormholes and paradox, too.
And, anyway, as a general rule of thumb, I don’t think we need worry much about overloading kids with interesting philosophical subjects that help them develop both understanding, and tolerance of, other human beings. That’s like worrying that the Beatles might have made Sgt. Pepper “too good.” That’s what’s supposed to happen. Carry on! Everything’s fine!
One of humanity’s less loveable tropes is an ability to get hurt, self-righteous and huffy about someone else’s problem. It’s amazing that “normal” people would turn on some transgender kid and go, “But what about meeeeee? What about myyyyyyy kids?” It’s a bit like those dads in the maternity wards who complain about being exhausted.
And as a strident feminist, I’m always saddened by other feminists who rail against male-to-female transgenders—claiming you can only be born a woman, and not “become” one.
Holy moly, ladies—what exactly do you think is going wrong here? Having your male genitals remodeled as female, then committing to a lifetime of hormone therapy, sounds like a bit more of a commitment to being a woman than just accidentally being born one. And, besides, it’s an incredibly inhospitable stance to take. Personally, anyone who wants to join the Lady Party is welcome as far as I’m concerned. The more the merrier! Anyone who’s been rejected by The Man is a friend of mine!
Anyway. Since I was an ill-shorn sixteen-year-old on the bus, I’ve found out that the word isn’t “normal”—it’s “cis.” In Latin, the opposite of “trans” is “cis”—and so most of humanity is “cisgender.” This opens language up to a subsequent possibility: finally finding the “otherness” in transgender fascinating, and useful. We’ll hurl satellites out into space, in order to find new and enthralling wonders—but we could simply turn to someone next to us, and ask a question about their life, instead. We endlessly debate what it is to be a man, or what it is to be a woman—when there are people who walk the Earth who’ve been both. If transgender people didn’t exist, we’d probably be trying to spend billions of pounds trying to invent them. Instead, we won’t even tell kids they exist.
I think Caitlin was probably talking about a famous schoolgirl case the year before last (Livvy James), and it saddens me to have to link to the disgraceful Daily Mail, but there you go.  The biggest issue in the case was "what the other parents might think".  Exactly.

The whole book is highly recommended (as is her previous one) and can be found at UK Amazon here:

Friday, 23 August 2013

Lipstick for a week

It sounds unbearably vain and prissy for a 44 year old woman to wear lipstick as a challenge, every day, for a week.
Was I serenaded or given gifts by strangers?
Did I garner more respect in meetings?
Neither really.
I probably just felt even more self conscious than usual, and hid it behind the usual veil of snootiness... (I do a good line in this)
Didn't get any "are you going out tonight?" comments either.
Just lipstick on my drinking mug.
I've had a busy week at work. Very busy indeed. Things such as lipstick aren't really that important in my world... but, when you think about it... EVERYTHING is important, isn't it? The little things? Little things that make you feel better, or little changes?
There's nothing wrong with confidence building... or challenging yourself.
Of course, for some people, that's kayaking down the Nile, or Extreme Ironing.
I think I'll continue the experiment.