Transgender Character in TV

About a week ago, I came across a new British TV series called Hit & Miss. The first season of six episodes was aired on Sky Atlantic a couple of months ago, but since I live in Canada, I knew nothing about it until now. It’s the story about Mia, a pre-op transsexual. In the first episode, she receives a letter from Wendy, an ex-girlfriend dying of cancer, informing Mia that before she transitioned, she fathered a child, and that Mia has been named the legal guardian of this (now 11 year old) child as well as Wendy’s other children. Mia now has to learn to cope with being a parent to children that don’t trust her.

Oh yeah, and Mia is also a contract killer.

The series stars American actress Chloë Sevigny as Mia, and she’s not portrayed as a particularly sexy woman.  But interesting aspect is that while Sevigny is (of course) a terrific actress, she is every bit a woman, and not a pre-op transsexual, so for some of the nude scenes in the movie, she had to wear a prosthetic penis. According to an interview, that made her uncomfortable, and Sevigny was quoted as saying, “I cried every time they put it on me. I’ve always been very comfortable being a girl, so it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that someone could feel so uncomfortable in their own skin.” Well, that summed up how a lot of us feel every morning when we look into the mirror…

Reboot

A few weeks ago, I took down this website.  I didn’t actually delete anything, but I did switch the site into “maintenance mode”, during which time, no one could see my posts.  But unlike last year when I deleted a few postings because of some harassment I have received via e-mail, this time it’s even more personal.  In short, a few months ago, I was confronted with the urgent need to reflect on my life’s priorities.  I know that some of the small number of readers out in cyberspace who know that I am a transwoman are already saying, “Ah! Katie must have decided to go through with transition!”

Well, you’re wrong.

I am what people commonly refers to as a geek.  And since I am proud of being geek, let me write like one for awhile.  As a researcher in numerical methods, I rely on my computers to crunch numbers.  Because of that, I take care of them.  But every now and then, I’d need to reboot my machines, even my very-reliable Linux boxes.  It’s not difficult to imagine that over time, memory leaks, program errors, and plain stupidity on the parts of the programmers and users make their way to the system.  And while this is rather annoying, it is inevitable, and the solution is straightforward.

Human interaction, on the other hand, is much more complicated than computers.

Over the years, I have grown comfortable with the idea of writing a blog.  My blog has allowed me to grow as a transgender person, and to connect me with other people who deal with similar issues as myself.  And while I still struggle linguistically, “writing things down” no longer seems like the chore that it was back in 2006.  Through writing the blog, and the encouragement that I received, I gained much confidence as a transwoman.  However, like my computers, undesirable things began to creep into my writings.  What inspires to one person puts down another; what builds up one and can hurt another; what seems like an exciting adventure for one, is a nightmare for another; what one considers “artistic licence” of good taste, another person will consider it a lie.  As I was blissfully wrote on my blog, I became completely oblivious to the validity of other points of view, and the fact that I was hurting people that I cared about the most.  It eventually got to a point where I had to ask myself: does having this blog even accomplish anything?  But I before I could answer these questions, the blog had to be taken out of service.

To those I have hurt, I am sorry, and I ask for your forgiveness.  I put myself ahead of you, for purposes that were selfish and vain.

This is my reboot, and hopefully to a better version of myself.  But although the blog is now back in operation, I won’t guarantee that it’ll stay this way forever.  I just hope that at the end of the day, I am indeed a better person than I was when I began this adventure.

God bless all of you!
Katie

Lucky Girl!

Roll Up the Rim

Every year, Tim Hortons (a very well-known Canadian coffee and donut chain) has a big promotion called RRRoll up the Rim to Win, where you can win prizes. This promotion itself is quite explanatory: you roll up the rim of your cup to see if you’ve won anything. For many years, I didn’t win a single prize. Not once. But since last year, I’ve been winning like crazy. Not that I won anything important—I have never won more than a free cup of coffee/tea or a donut.  But almost for every three cups of tea that I’d buy, I’d win twice.

This year, the promotion has only started for a week, and I’ve already won three times.  On three cups of tea.  3 for 3.  That’s not bad at all.  I was tempted to write on my blog, “I wish everything in life was this easy.” Then I remembered that I can win these prizes because I am a reasonably wealthy person lucky enough to live in a wealthy and stable country like Canada, and that life really isn’t that easy for many people, even in my own city of Toronto.   I myself have met many who can’t even afford the first cup of coffee, let alone winning anything.  So instead, I’m going to give away my prizes to the next homeless person in need.  I can’t change their lives, but least for a few minutes in this miserable winter, they can be warm for a few minutes.

Update

You may know that I have taken this blog offline for the past month or so.  It is a rather lengthy story, and I might eventually share with all of you everything that has been happening (or not happening) in Katie-land.  Although mostly it has to do with the not-happening part.  Right now, all of my posts (except for this one) are set to “private”, meaning that I am the only person who can read them.  In time, revised versions of some of those posts may re-appear again, starting with the oldest posts.  For the most part, however, a majority of my thoughts will forever remain private.

In any case, It is good to be back.   Please comment if you have any well wishes or if you want to know anything else.

New-And-Improved Katie
February 14, 2012

Added February 21.  I set the status of my “website update” posts back to “Public”.  They don’t say anything about me, but that’s a start.

Seniors’ Day

At the ripe age of 30, my body has finally run out of the enzymes to digest dairy products. I knew that this was going to happen sooner or later. Nevertheless, I’m not about to give up on enjoying milk, so it’s time to stop by my local drug store to pick up some Lactaid pills.

It must have been “Seniors Day” at my local Shoppers Drug Mart today. It seemed that everyone there was either retired, or near retirement age, including the staff and customer. Since I have never bought any Lactaid before, I didn’t know where to look. So I tried the pharmacist, already in her 60s. She was chatting with another old lady, first information about the medication, then about their families, and grandchildren, and weekend plans. I waited for another 5 minutes before I was able to ask my simple question. The pharmacist didn’t just tell me the answer, she offered to show me where the pills were. But instead of just taking me to the aisle, she proceeded to teach me how to read the signs above the aisles. “So, Lactaid is for your stomach, and if you look up, you’d see the word ‘Stomach’ written on aisle 6. But if you have a headache instead, you would look for ‘pain relief’ and you’ll find that on aisle 7…” The problem was’t that I couldn’t see “Stomach”, it was that the word wasn’t printed on the other side of the sign.  And that was the side that I was looking at. She also told me that my voice was hoarse, and perhaps I should pick up something to sooth it. (If there is a pill that would make my voice instantly feminine, let me know. I want it now!) She then showed me a few products for clearing my throat, and started joking that if I answer the phone, people at the other end might even think that I’m a man. I thought that was pretty funny and I completely stopped paying attention to everything else she was saying.  Little did she know…

Anyway, I got my Lactaid tablets, and headed towards to the only cashier, another older lady. She was trying—along with the store manager old than she was—to figure out why the scanner wouldn’t scan…by repeatedly scanning the same thing over and over again. The line moved slowly. Then I was rudely bumped off the line up by an old and grumpy man pushing his shopping cart through the line. When it got to his turn, he started arguing with the cashier. He had two large packages of toilet paper in the cart, which everyone could see, but he insisted that he had only one, and wouldn’t pay for the second. The manager was there too, and it took a few minutes to sort things out. Finally it was my turn, and I left the store as quickly as I could

So, here I am, typing away my blog at work, wasting even more time!

Back from Vancouver!

I just came back from my trip to Vancouver last weekend. There were a number of things that I needed to take care of while I was there, the most important being that I was attending a friend’s wedding. We have been friends for more than 14 years, since she was 15 and I was 16. It was nice to see that she finally found someone to share her life with, and I was very happy for her. The wedding went without a hitch: the ceremony was moving, and the food was fantastic! (Italians sure know how to throw a party!) In case you’re wondering, I did not attend as Kate, even though the bride is one of very few people in my life who knows about her.

I also rented out the basement suite of my family home to new tenants. The nice things about renting it out are the additional income from the rent, and the ability to write off expenses (taxes, hydro, gas, cable, Internet, repairs) that I have to pay anyway. The new tenants are both young men from Toronto.

Ballgown
My new blue-green ball gown.  What this picture doesn’t show is that the dress has no back.

Then I was also supposed to have dinner last Friday night with my newly-out-of-the-closet gay friend named Paul. As it turns out, Paul wasn’t available on Friday night, but he was free all day, so he offered to accompany me to wherever I had to go, so that we had more time to chat. Well, my plan was run errands around the city, and take pictures of myself when I had free time. Being interested in photography himself, Paul went along happily. He took most of the photographs, although most of them didn’t quite work out (interest doesn’t mean skills), a few did turn out nicely after some editing. We went out again on Sunday morning for another “photo shoot”, and had even better pictures taken.  Paul was very smart, and he learned a lot about photography (and how to operate a DSLR camera) in a very short time.  There is a lot more to say about my get-together with Paul, but I’ll leave that for a future post.

Purple Sweater
My favourite outfit, even though it’s not the least bit sexy.  But I think it is nevertheless feminine.

Perhaps the most unexpected turn of event in Vancouver was me telling two married friends that I was transgender. I had not planned for this, but after spending a day with Paul, and then a long discussion with my godparents on “how Christians should confront the troubles in our own lives”, I blurted out that I had been struggling with not being able to be the woman that I always wanted to be. My friends came from very conservative fundamentalist Christian families, so they were naturally quite shocked and uncomfortable at first.  But after talking with them over dinner for another hour, and answering (at least acknowledging) many of their concerns, their lights were switched on, and they (quite instantly) became very supportive of me. The night before returning to Toronto, they called me up and asked if Kate could join them for dinner. I reluctantly agreed. I hadn’t expected them to be so…enthusiastic, but I was also glad that there are two more very thoughtful people in this world to be my sounding board.  Anyway, for dinner, I wore my favourite outfit that has appeared in many of my pictures before.

Yup. My favourite purple sweater and my favourite brown pants. I wanted to reaffirm to them that while being transgender, I am still a modest woman. I arrived at the restaurant first, and when my friends arrived, they looked around the entire restaurant for a few minutes before realizing that I was right in front of them. The wife said—and this made my day, “I never thought you would grow up to be such a beautiful woman…you look so much more confident this way.” We had a lovely chat and I went home, and back to Toronto, feeling much more confident about myself.

Meeting With a Gay Friend This Week

I am going to Vancouver later this week to attend a friend’s wedding.  While I am there, I will also meet up with another high-school friend whom I have not seen for over a decade.  He had just recently (i.e. last month) announced to me that he is gay.  And over the last few days we have been e-mailing each other back and forth to catch up on the going-ons in life.  But e-mail never beats meeting face to face, so I will be having dinner with him on Friday night, at a restaurant on Davie Street in downtown Vancouver.

And I will be going as Kate.

Yup. I told him about me being transgender too.  It didn’t seem fair that he spills his deepest struggles with me, and then pretend that everything is perfect in mine.  So wish us luck; it’s going to be an interesting evening.

First Gig as a Photographer

Kate the Photographer

I think I have just landed my first gig as a photographer for transgender people. Last week, I was contacted by a local trans-woman who responded to a Flickr group post from a few months ago. We traded e-mails for a few days, finally agreeing to meet this morning to plan this out further.  We met up at the Starbucks downtown, and chatted for about an hour. Hopefully we’ll get this little project off the ground over the next couple pf weeks. Being my first real “customer”, naturally I don’t plan on charging her.

On a side note, today is the first day I have gone out en femme since my Hawaii conference trip. That’s almost 3 months ago!  This is a far cry from a few years ago, when I would spend most of my time as a girl, 5 to 6 days every week. I have no regrets about my situation now, and I’m learning to be at ease with being a man.  Nevertheless, it’s nice to be out again.

Another Website Update

This website of mine is getting more sophisticated by the minute, now that I have updated my gallery outside of this blog.  But sooner or later, I’m going to need better content–and more content altogether–to match.  Anyway, I had been corresponding with a number of transgender women in Hong Kong, who told me that a lot of them browse the web on their iPhones regularly, and that’s how they usually read my blog.  I do feel honoured that someone halfway around the world is reading my blog, but when I tried doing that myself, I realized that it’s a bit of a pain.  For one thing, Safari tries to squeeze everything into one little screen, and the text doesn’t show up very well.

So I searched on Google for ways to get around this, and it only took me a few minutes to find a popular plugin called “WPTouch” that does exactly what I want.  If you read my blog from an iPhone, iPod Touch or an Android-powered smartphone, the plugin will automatically the browser type, and format the blog to match.  This format takes up less bandwidth, and (in my opinion) quite easy to read.  Of course, there is still an option on the bottom of the page to switch back to the standard theme, which you’ll still see if you use your browser on a computer and quite possibly your tablet too.  I must say that I am quite happy with this plugin so far.

I Couldn’t Resist

My wife, a friend of hers and I were biking with a friend along the Waterfront Trail on the east end of Toronto, and we stopped by a foot bridge to take some pictures.  I had just finished with the last training ride for my trip to Montreal (in two weeks) with a 132km ride from Finch Station north to Keswick, and despite my best effort to keep up with the women, I was just too tired.  So the stop was very much a welcomed one.  The bridge overlooks the Rouge Beach, and it’s absolutely gorgeous out there in the summer. While the women were taking pictures of themselves,  I saw this written on the bridge, and I thought, I better take a picture of it! It’s good to know that I’m not the only person out there who feels this way.  I wish she has some support too.