Over the last year there have been several high profile examples of famous people coming out and transitioning, including Chaz Bono and Lana Warchowski, and each has had their own tale to tell of how they reached this point in their lives. Many more low key examples have been printed, usually with plenty of positive reactions. Oft I have been finding myself looking deep into a mirror of self realisation when I read them, wondering how I came to this place where I am now, though strangely usually I feel intrinsically voyeuristic. Its an odd sort of feeling, reading about their lives, hopes, fears, and dreams, actualised as they now are into the skin which they feel most at peace in. For me it smacks of the most intensely private moment plastered across the pages of a magazine or the internet, shared in the hope that they will be understood.
I have been there, done the interviews, got the clippings, and know how it feels to be on television. I did it for many reasons, and may yet still do it again if the occasion arises, but the one overriding thing that sticks in my mind is that it forced me to actually see myself through the lens that others wish to portray me. Transitioning is never the most straight forward of things, indeed it is a path that while other have trod, you have to blaze your own trail, and when you face the scrutiny of the media it makes you see certain things about yourself that you may have wished you had not. Even in its most benign form the media will always seek to find an angle to see copy, and with transgendered issues they usually find something which you may not wish to divulge as the angle, be it past partners, old photos, or something juicy their readers will find interesting.
With the internet age there is always the need to catch the readers attention, and while programs like ‘My Transsexual Summer’ do much to break the barriers down, personally I feel they too get hung up on more voyeuristic elements, which makes me uncomfortable as a viewer. Maybe it is too much to hope, but I would love to see more Hayley Croppers on TV (trans character on Coronation Street), as she is just living her life without all the huppla that the media craves. Being transsexual should never be about gender, rather it should be about your life and how you live it, as there is so much more to being human than simply one’s gender. If you read through the trans success stories on Lynn Conway’s page you will find women who have accomplished so much, with their gender as a secondary element in their lives. This is why find myself shying away from the salacious stories, and always feel glad of heart when I read of success in areas away from the obvious. For me, the looking glass is a place of reflection, and I would would much rather it reflect the totality of life than one specific element of it.