Friday, 29 February 2008

I don’t understand what gender dysphoria is and I have no intention of finding out! Being transgender is not a mental illness.

That was Trevor Phillips Head of the UK Equality Human Rights Commission in response to my question at my Unions recent Women & Equalities conference.

I introduced my question by saying my name is Maggie Fox and that I am a transsexual woman and had attended the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender part of the conference but that I was different to my Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual (LGB) comrades as HM Government considered me mentally ill and that I was subject to the new Mental Health Act that meant I could be arrested and sectioned to a mental hospital at any time.

My question was:

Can transsexual people count on the Equality Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to remove the mental illness classification?

Will EHRC see that “gender dysphoria” is confined to the dustbin of history and that laws are amended to bring transsexual people the same human rights as the rest of the LGB community?


So fine words from Trevor Phillips but it’s important to make sure everyone knows this quote and please help me to make certain the necessary legal changes are implemented.

This was I suppose the culmination of the conference from my perspective. I make no apology for being a gender activist or for exposing this blatant abuse of the human rights of all transgender & transsexual people.

I am parking my cynicism on Trevor Phillips not using “and transsexual” as throughout the conference transgender was taken to mean those who transition & permanently change their sex. The “Trans Agenda” is not recognised by my fellow Union delegates. Cross-dressing males are seen as what they are - temporary cross-dressers who may or may not do it because of their sexual orientation.

So I’m prepared to go along (for now) with the word transgender if we all agree it means a permanent change of sex. What I can’t buy is gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder and some bunch of unaccountable psychiatrists telling me I am mentally ill.

I won’t accept that I am subject to the mental health act and I’ll never submit to the whims & prejudices of the charlatan psychiatrists that masquerade as gender specialists in the NHS.

I want to see the Mental Health Act, The Gender Recognition Act and the Sex Discrimination Act amended to remove any direct or implied reference to mental illness.

I accept the state needs a declaration of a permanent change to sustain its binary sex system and I do not want a third gender that people can drop in and out of at whim. I’m happy with male or female providing the State recognises:

Gender Identity is determined before birth

Gender “expression” can be altered, gender identity can not

Transsexual people have a neuro-developmental condition of the brain; a neurological inter-sexed condition

People born transsexual do NOT change gender, they alter their physical sexual characteristics to match their innate gender

Typically, transsexual people realise their difference at three to five years of age but are sometimes repressed due to extreme societal/parental pressure to conform to their outward physical characteristics

The drive for most transsexual people to bring their physical sexual characteristics into congruence with their gender identity is intense

Transsexual people do NOT have a mental or psychological condition, just a birth anomaly

Transsexual people recognize their gender at an early age but may, in fact, suffer from depression and other psychopathology due to the stress of their incongruence.

Being a transsexual person has no connection with sexual orientation, as transsexual people can be heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual.

Acknowledgement here to my friends who campaign for the recognition of Harry Benjamin Syndrome (Nature not Nurture). We are after the same objectives I just don’t care about the label we use.

OK I’ve got on to my campaign something that I will live or die for as whilst I abhor all abuses of human rights this is the one on which I’m expert and I believe I can influence.

Back to my Union Conference:

The key points I picked up from Trevor Phillips speech were 4 out of 5 employers thought won’t get caught in terms of discrimination and only 1 in 8 employees complain about discrimination.

I can easily agree with that one!

Trevor Phillips promised “modern effective law” to change that and most importantly that NO religious group gets exemption. Amen to that LOL

For those wondering who my Union is? My Union is now called UNITE and this was the last Women & Equalities Conference under the Transport & General Workers Union banner.

The Conference is sub split down into All Women Event, Black& Asian Ethnic Minorities Members Conference, Disabled Members Conference, Young Members Conference and the one I was a delegate at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Members Conference.

There were just three of us out as Transgender but given the small number of us in the UK population that was about right.

Note all three were transsexual (that is have made a permanent change) but for the conference we are called transgender OK?

There were lots of joint sessions that were great as it allowed us to mingle and for example me to both lobby and dispel some myths about transsexual people. Destroying stereotypes is a vital part of Equalities for example telling the Asian Conference leader that my ancestors were immigrants who fled from France to England to escape religious persecution – nothing is new is it?

I also unashamedly button holed Yvonne Strachan Head of Scottish Executive Government Equality Unit so she now understands the mental health issue and how UK Law compromises transsexual people’s human rights.

One thing launched at the Conference was the Sexual Orientation and Religion or Belief toolkit. It’s excellent well aside from the slight implication that Transgender has something to do with sexual orientation when it hasn’t. Still despite that it is much better than nothing!

Contact your Unite Regional Officer for a copy and use it in your work place!

I was very pleased with the Age Discrimination Factsheet but I have some reservations about the Transgender Equality Factsheet for Union Reps.

At the risk of being accused of being picky? LOL We use the psycho-babble terms of “gender dysphoria” and real life test” but at least the guide says “It is NOT a mental illness”.

Quick aside here I can’t describe how much I hate the term real life test! I mean everyone passes the real life test everyday until they die whatever and whoever they are. Do you wonder why I have no time for psychiatrists?

This is not meant to be a full conference report but I’ll pick out my personal highlights of the LBGT event.

LGBT Conference Highlights

We had a great session on Abuse of L&G Most vulnerable Groups in Society that allowed me the opportunity to feed back my workshop views including a minority report LOL

There was universal agreement to pushing for statutory recognition of equality reps in the workplace. This does imply some sort of accreditation scheme, as they need to be first line legal rights advisors.

Naturally I got in Human Rights issues for Transsexual & Transgender people see above LOL

Our group felt HM Government should make Aid to developing counties conditional on an equivalent to the European Convention on Human Rights, especially LGBT rights, being incorporated into their domestic law plus the removal of the death penalty for all crimes.

We wanted a pan-European approach to human rights with NO opt outs.

We wanted to see affiliation of LGBT Groups on a Global Basis regardless of state of Union mergers.

Essentially we wanted to reverse the cascade with policy flowing upwards from the members not downwards from the centre of power.

Oh and the minority report?

The disestablishment of the Church of England as a secular state would end the religious opt outs that are an excuse for blatant discrimination. The state must have zero tolerance of religious bigotry.

I can say that as a committed Christian but as I didn’t have unanimous support I called it a minority report though I had a 3 votes to 2 majority!

That was workshop 1 whist workshop 2 was Domestic Violence on LBGT people.

Now some of us thought this not the best choice, as reducing suicide in the LBGT community is a bigger issue. We all accept domestic violence is terrible but I don’t believe it is worse in our community.

Anyway we discussed and reported back.

Now elsewhere in our conference we agreed that discrimination is a form of control and bullying is now endemic and seen as an intrinsic management tool.

Employment Tribunals are budgeted costs for management and Unions need counter measures.

We debated a persecution law that would take as read psychological harm removing the personal injury element of the Harassment Act and making it specific to the work place.

We have a Government that does the minimum necessary to placate the employers so as trade unionists we need robust laws to counter the excesses of global capitalism. Whatever happened to socialism? Oh yes it died with John Smith when New Labour was born!

We are most concerned that the new Incitement to Hatred Laws exclude transsexual people but never mind we can go back to the European Human Rights Courts and win again against this institutionally transphobic government.

One thing we know is that we need more LGBT education & training in the workplace and in our schools and that LGBT must never be subordinated by religion.

We agreed Gender Identity must never be part of a Government Census.

Finally we need to be proactive not reactive in the work place. For example as soon as someone announces their intention to transition in the work place our “flying squad” needs to brief the local branch officials and members and offer any additional support the transsexual person wants.

Well that’s my take on my first LBGT conference it was great to be there and I got to meet “R” over lunch on the first day. She is one of my heroines a former transsexual woman she did the women’s conference and not LBGT and quite right too as she’s a woman full stop.

Oh I came up with this Union that’s gone from National to International that Treasures Everyone.

That spells UNITE to me…

Thursday, 28 February 2008

The day the conifers died…

I live near the centre of Uttoxeter and what was an entry point to the old cattle market (now a residential development) has had two enormous conifers guarding its entrance but no more…

I’ve enjoyed the bit of greenery along with some other mature deciduous trees as a view amongst the rooftops but today I awoke to the sound of chain saws and the sight of men on hydraulic platforms ending the life of these two leviathans.

OK they were a tad large LOL, but they were part of an area identity providing shelter from the elements for JCB workers enjoying a lunchtime spliff, various town drunks & junkies and even the occasional courting couple. I suppose their death was sealed when they became seagull roosts that deposited more than their fair share of shit on the pavement rivalling the dog muck that plagues the town streets.

Still I hate to see any tree felled. The developer cleared six or more mature trees in my direct view to build their high-density housing and there seems to be no requirement on them to plant new trees. Still on the other hand a nice piece of tarmac well who could ask for more…

Spoke at length to “L” today as I’ve started the process to rationalise and move on. Me leaving Gravesend after just 24 hours of visit was a joint decision and the right one.

It achieves nothing to allocate blame. I’m at fault, as I can’t cope with the demons “L” carries from treatment as a child. When someone is denied love & affection as a child the affects can take many years to clear. I speak here, as an observer as I had plenty of love shown to me as a child.

My own mild clinical depression doesn’t help but it’s up to me to sort that out by moving and starting over.

I found this, which aptly describes my condition: -

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7268496.stm

At the end of the day though a relationship between “L” & I can’t work.

“L” can’t change and I can’t handle aspects of “L”’s personality.

I tried a last chance option of coming here for a few days but the evasion told me everything I ever needed to know.

Today two conifers fell and today two people fell out of love.

It would have been so much nicer, in my view, if neither had happened but then life is not always nice…

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

24 hours of hurt...

Went to Gravesend to see “L” after my trip to my Union LBGT Conference at Eastbourne.

It was meant to be 4 days (well four and two halves) to see if we could get on well enough face-to-face to plan some sort of future. As we’d spent a few months building up to this and sorting out numerous issues I had an expectation of a few days “holiday”. Well some rest & relaxation anyway!

The reality was 24 hours of hurt that I was glad to see come to an end even though I walked away in tears.

Let me make it clear I love “L” but that’s not enough. I can’t cope with the mental health issues of someone with borderline personality disorder I can sum up the experience as there being no normal minutes in the 1440 that I spent with “L”.

It really is over this time and I’ve learnt some hard lessons like you can’t build a real relationship with someone you meet on an Internet TV/TS dating site and I have to stay away from people with mental health issues of any kind.

I’m back in Uttoxeter facing up to the reality of my world. One where underage drinkers smoking outside The Academy, Smith & Jones Pub welcome you back with abuse and intimidation. Oh and a weekly rent increase from £63.28 to £69.29 that just adds to my view that questions not the cost of living but is living worth the cost.

I’m ruling out London as an option now for moving. OK I suffered no abuse or threats from the various hoodies etc. I encountered but the overcrowding and brashness was very unpleasant. People barging into you and the lack of regard for anyone else is not something I want in my life.

I’m sticking with my Manchester plan where everything is a size and scale I can cope with. I suppose the positive side of this experience is I now know where I don’t belong.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Waiting for a third?

Couple of situations moved onwards today.

I had a meeting in Derby with my solicitor and Union authorised additional resources to progress my three cases. The intention is to list 3 cases in the High Court Harassment, Sex Discrimination & Disability Discrimination and ask Judge to hear all three together as the evidence is interlinked. Also put in first stage of Personal Injury claim so that we move things forward. My employer is ignoring me again maybe hoping against hope that I’m going to give up. I won’t!

Spoke to Pam my new Housing Officer now that Bernadette has left and sorted out that my rent arrears will be clear by March and that should satisfy Manchester Housing so I get on to their register and then bid on flats as they come up.

So that was two good things and the third?

Well I suppose I have a permanent third as “L” and I are sorting ourselves out bit by bit. Well it’s pretty much sorted. We know how we feel about each other and are pragmatic about our future.

I’m filling in Housing Applications for Redbridge & Islington, as I need more options to move my life on though first one that I can get I’m off to!

Should get my Gender Recognition Certificate approved on 29 February – exciting times eh!

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Legal Rights of English transsexual people at work...

I’ve finished the Transgender & Transsexual Guide for my Union to do with as it chooses. I would like to believe it would help avoid the sort of abuse & discrimination I suffered from my employers but is today’s society capable of handling the truth?

The guide I’ve produced runs to 26 pages so I’ve done a two-page summary of the key points. See below.

If anyone would like a full copy then just email me. I’m easy to find simply Google “Maggie Fiona Fox” or add a comment in here with your email addy.

On the personal side I got a valentine card and some Thornton chocolates. My first for 5 years, that’s the card silly! Of course “L” who sent and I managed to trade insults before the day was out. So what started as tears of happiness ended in tears of despair. Sort of sums up my world really.

I’ve got my rail travel warrant and confirmation of my delegate status at my union’s LBGT conference so it’s off to Eastbourne at end of month.

I got an email from the solicitor paid for by my Union and I’ve concluded there is no real coordinated case management at solicitor level in Legal Firms but we have a meeting next week and that will be sorted then.

My case is incredibly strong and only a legal fool could fail to win it for me!

Anyway here is the summary I’ve produced for my Union. I’m obliged to add a disclaimer:

DISCLAIMER

Maggie Fiona Fox produced this guide in February 2008.

Sections of this guide (such as Pension Rights) are taken from Gender Reassignment - A Guide for Employers

http://www.womenandequalityunit.gov.uk/legislation/factsheets.htm

This Guide has no legal status but covers the main employment provisions of current legislation.

The views & interpretations expressed are those of the authoress alone and may or may not constitute Unite Union Policy.

For clarification of Unite policy please contact your Regional LBGT Officer.

TRANSGENDER & TRANSSEXUAL PEOPLE SUMMARY FACTSHEET 2008

Non-binary gender presentation has always been a feature of society.

A transgender person is defined as someone who does not make a permanent change but can take on the characteristics of the opposite sex whilst a transsexual person is defined as someone who feels a consistent and overwhelming desire to change their sex and live permanently in the gender role that is opposite to the one assigned to them at birth.

One thing is common to all however and that is the need to stay employed so that they can live the life they choose as the person they know they are.

The core issue for Unite is of course to help protect the individual’s human rights regardless of whether the change is permanent or temporary.

For the purpose of the law, people can only be male or female.

It is not against the law to dress as the opposite gender

It is not against the law to use toilets of the opposite gender.

The Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 (Statutory Instrument 1999 No. 1102) has extended the Sex Discrimination Act to make it unlawful to discriminate on grounds of gender reassignment in the area of employment.

Employers must remember that it would constitute unlawful discrimination if they treat a transsexual individual undergoing gender reassignment treatment less favourably than someone who is absent for some other medical reason.

It is unlawful for an employer to dismiss an individual for reasons of impending gender reassignment treatment.

It is unlawful for an employer to instruct someone else to do something discriminatory.

Pressure to discriminate is also unlawful – for example employees threatening not to work unless their employer dismisses a colleague who has decided to undergo gender reassignment.

Harassment of an individual on the ground of gender reassignment - either by their employer or by other employees – is a form of unlawful discrimination.

It is unlawful to victimise someone by treating them less favourably because they have made a complaint about gender reassignment discrimination.

It is unlawful to victimise someone who gives evidence on behalf of a person who has complained of unlawful discrimination.

An employer is liable for any discriminatory act done by an employee in the course of their employment with or without the employer’s knowledge or approval.

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the employee is protected from harassment and they may wish to remind staff of the disciplinary procedures in this area.

Employees remain individually liable for their own discriminatory acts, even where the organisation is potentially liable also.

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 introduced a Gender Recognition process, which enables transsexual people to be legally recognised in their acquired gender.

This includes the issue of a birth certificate in the new gender.

It is an offence for a person to disclose information he has acquired in an official capacity about a person's application for a gender recognition certificate or about the gender history of a successful applicant.

It is never appropriate to inform colleagues, clients and the public that an employee has in the past undergone gender reassignment.

All personnel records must be updated for the transition and even before a formal gender recognition certificate is obtained the employer must update all records and references in agreement with the employee.

A transsexual person has the right to use toilet facilities appropriate to their legal status.

A transsexual employee must not be compelled to use separate, unisex or disabled facilities. If forced to do so this constitutes sex discrimination even if they have not undergone a gender reassignment operation (Croft v Royal Mail Appeal Court judgement 18 July 2003).

Under no circumstances should they be expected, after transitioning, to use the facilities of their former gender.

Interviewees may not necessarily want to disclose their transsexual status at interview, and it is not a question that should be asked.

When an employer is asked for a reference for a transsexual person, he or she must provide it, without hinting that the person has had a change of gender.

It is unlawful for a recruitment agency to discriminate against a transsexual person:

A transsexual person who receives a full gender recognition certificate will be treated according to their acquired gender for state pension purposes.

This means that their state pension age will be the same as for other members of their acquired gender - currently 65 for men and 60 for women.

A transsexual woman without a full gender recognition certificate who is working beyond the age of sixty is able to make separate arrangements for the payment of national insurance contributions so as to retain her privacy in the workplace.

Since May 2004 a potential employer must see an applicant’s proof of identity and right to work in the UK. This includes a UK/EEC passport or a full birth certificate and a P45, P60, National Insurance card or a letter from a Government agency.

Some transsexual people may not have any identification documents in their acquired gender, and may have to disclose their transsexual identity.

Employers must ensure that this information is kept confidential.

The CRB has developed a separate application procedure, which allows transsexual applicants to exclude previous names from the Disclosure Application form.

If someone has a full gender recognition certificate under the Gender Recognition Act 2004 it is not lawful to discriminate other than on grounds that would apply to anyone else of their acquired gender.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Make my day...

I’ve had a few good days! Yeah I know I’ve had plenty of crap ones but I believe that the tide has turned in my favour.

Friday was Manchester.

Now anyone who knows me knows I love that city. There’s a definable attitude and collective spirit. It’s tough but compassionate, it’s funny but not sarcastic, it’s friendly but not condescending and there’s that working class edge of not really trusting the capitalists and a healthy cynicism about the corruption of power.

As I walked from Piccadilly Station there was a group of construction workers taking a break smoking & drinking coffee and doing what all construction workers do assessing the women, rating them and maybe making a comment or making a whistle at the sexy pretty ones. I was duly assessed and ignored! Yippee 2 years ago I would have got F**king Tranny but now I blend in.

I got off the bus in Cheetham Hill and went straight into Northwards Housing to see why I hadn’t received any acknowledgement of my application. The receptionist checked and my NI number gave my name & address but no application details so she buzzed Head Office who said they’d lost it!

Now a few months ago I’d have gone to pieces but no I kept my cool used the free phone to Head Office who after first bit of pushing and me saying the application included a confidential medical report concluded it might be found but arranged an interview with a Housing Officer in March.

I went back into reception and saw the girl I had handed my envelope to back in January and she made some calls having assured me it had gone to Head Office in sealed daily secure transfer. She was suspicious that one of the managers had intercepted in but as they were all on a day’s course couldn’t check. Then one of colleagues shouted across they’d found it and it would be in the system on Monday. References should take 2 weeks to clear so I can push hard in March when I see the Housing Officer. After all I’m not taking a council flat out of the system just “moving” it as mine will go back into the system. There is no way I’m going into private rented unless it’s an emergency.

Then it was across the road to Joana and get my hair washed. Straightened and a few tweaks to tighten the volumeiser. Joana and I are back to being good friends again. She had cool weave/extensions/dreadlocks herself and it was great to smile & laugh together again. Venice did the wash & Straighten so we had a good chat too. Venice is a lovely lady great personality & pretty smile and we tease each other a lot.

Joana wants to do a special transgender person’s evening. Hair care, hair services, bespoke wigs and make up advice. We chatted it through and I said I’d be happy to go to the Village with her introduce her to Northern Concord the transgender support group and then tour the main venues. Well that did it! The rest of the staff jumped into the night out aspect. I said I’d take Joana to a lesbian club and that kicked of a lot of smiling banter and teasing. Looks like I’m their guide for a Wednesday trans-night and probably Sparkle as well. Hey ho just as you think you’ve escaped the scene you haven’t still who cares! Joana has done so much for me it’s least I can do to support her. I paid another chunk of my bill off and apologised to Sarah for my December bad day. I hadn’t seen her since but we’re OK now. I’m so much better than I was in December when I was close to despair from the pressure put on me by my employer but they failed and I can fight back now.

I’ve got my confirmation of being a delegate to my Union’s LBGT conference in Eastbourne. It looks dead good staying at Eastbourne Conference Centre all meals and accommodation free plus train fare paid. There’s an evening do on two nights so it’ll be fun too. Better pack my dancing boots and dress!

Now I didn’t get my gender recognition certificate automatically first time in January, as I didn’t know I had to include divorce certificates. Well Now I’ve got official copies from the courts so I’ll get my certificate in early March. I’m really going to enjoy showing a few selected people my new female birth certificate I can tell you.

I’m about a third of the way through rewriting the Transgender & Transsexual Factsheet for my Union. If I say so myself it’s going to be a great in your face document that will blow apart some myths and spell out the employment law rights that we have. Even though it’s a draft I’ll publish it in full here and on my old site until it’s approved and freely available on the Union site. Then I’ll replace the entry with a URL.

Oh finally I got my first wolf whistle LOL It wasn’t a sarcastic one before you think it. After my hair styling I got train and at Stoke station I got the whistle from one of a group of lads heading for Derby. Two years ago it would have been a mouthful of abuse. Hey I enjoy being a woman…

http://www.northernconcord.org.uk

http://www.sparkle.org.uk/

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it. -John Lennon

Monday, 4 February 2008

The birth of a Union Activist...

On Friday I went to my first Regional LBGT Forum meeting at my Union. I’m so pleased I did!

I’ve had problems with the Trans agenda in the past, as I still believe it has damaged transsexual people’s rights in the name of inclusiveness but it’s time to be pragmatic.

My principal objective remains the abolition of the mental illness classification for both transgender & transsexual people. My secondary objectives being the strengthening of the law to both protect employment and severely punish the discriminators.

Getting the endorsement of Unite the largest union in the United Kingdom, with over two million members in the public and private sectors will advance my campaign for the truth to the heart of Government.

I know it’s going to be tough and I expect to have to withstand public ridicule as the forces against me are not going to give up their nice little earners without a fight but I know in the end the truth will prevail.

The argument is simple in that lesbian, gay and bisexual people are not considered mentally ill but transgender and transsexual are. We have a bad law in the Gender Recognition Act that has perpetuated the mental illness myth and the medical qualification for a new birth certificate must be removed.

In terms of the Department of Health I want the National Health Service Gender Identity Clinics closed and all the psychiatrists dismissed. I want to see the acceptance of non-binary gender presentation without any stigma or discrimination in terms of health care.

Most importantly, for the tiny number of transsexual people who must bring their bodies in line with their brain sex I want to see surgery available without preconditions other than a legal disclaimer. I want to see the acceptance of self-diagnosis and personal responsibility by the transsexual person.

Once the prejudiced accept (or have it forced on them by the Human Rights Act) the fact that brain sex and body sex are not always congruent and call it a syndrome and accept it is genetically pre-coded we can make real progress.

If a transgender person wants to take opposite sex hormones then they should be allowed to do so under medical care. It’s their choice and a completely separate issue to surgical intervention for a transsexual person.

So now I’ve started my mission in earnest to change hearts & minds and drive through change and it feels really good!

This is how my day panned out…

I met “J” in the bar of the White Hart where he was speed reading all the newspapers. “J” is a gay man and global human rights activist. His agenda is mind blowing with trips planned to Australia, Palestine and Israel. He fights on so many fronts it’s incredible. He harangues the discriminators whilst still finding time to deliver Pink Papers to public libraries. He is a Global Champion of Human Rights and from one of the oldest English families in Uttoxeter. The town should be proud of their son.

We chatted over coffee getting some strange looks from the locals whose inner sanctum we had violated but then at least they now have something to gossip about they were witnessing the birth of a Union Activist!

“J” drove through Stafford to the West Midlands. Stafford is the border as beyond Stafford you leave the East Midlands white separatist territory and enter the ethnic diversity of today’s England. OK the East Midlands has large ethnic groups but the culture is that of ghettos whereas the West is just homogenous. We parked outside the T&GWU office and walked to the local pub for lunch.

The pub was a delight with asian, black and caucasians, straight, gay and lesbians all under the same roof enjoying life, as it should be. Great beer, great food and great company that’s what pub culture is all about and to see it without prejudice was a delight. If you wanted to see multicultural ethnically diverse England then this was it. I felt totally at ease & at home.

The LBGT forum was small in numbers but I got to meet “LW” my RIO and “MR” who I’d read about but never met face to face. It’s not the place in this blog to write up the LBGT meeting but lets say I was delighted by the support for my position on the core mental illness issue. I’ve been asked to complete my revision of the Transgender Factsheet that covers transition in the workplace and will once approved form part of the information for Equalities representatives in each workplace. I’m being nominated to attend the Women Race & Equalities Conference, which gives me a chance to start to ratchet up my campaign. I’m also being nominated to attend the Trade Union Congress LBGT conference in the summer so the show as they say is on the road.

After the meeting “J”, “MR” and I adjourned to the local pub and I think she was appalled by the prejudice I’d suffered from other women. We also discussed Press For Change and how they will oppose every move I make as they seek to defend the bogus mental illness classification on behalf of Government. The battle lines are being drawn! “MR” is deputy chair of TUC LBGT committee so she’s a powerful ally on board.

Then “J” & I went to Walsall and ate some great fish & chips from an asian chippy before going into Red Lion the famous West Midlands LBGT club. It was rather ironic as I’d had several invites to go there in my scene days but never went due to transport difficulties. I managed to prise “J” out of there. He was all for staying to 3am to take in all the cabaret. I was tired so we came back to Uttoxeter safely and he dropped me off with the words “I was determined to get you to take up LBGT rights it’s over to you now!”

Yes it is “J” and I won’t let you or the LBGT community down…