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I am absolutely speechless, and in protest, I sat outside with my wife (also a full Labour Party member who joined after January 12th 2016).  We wore gags over our  mouths in protest. Thanks to the people who came along and protested with us.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS WAS A SILENT, PEACEFUL, DEMONSTRATION, WEARING A GAG OVER MOUTH IN PROTEST TO SHOW LABOUR PARTY FULL MEMBERS WHO JOINED AFTER 12TH JANUARY ARE BEING GAGGED AND CAN’T SPEAK OR VOTE IN THEIR OWN CLP’s ‘SUPPORTING NOMINATION MEETING’ – SEE BELOW.

If you  are a Labour Party Registered Supporter, or full member after Jan. 12th and can’t get in to your CLP’s ‘Supporting Nomination’ meeting, MEET OUTSIDE as we did.

 7:15, Friday 5th August 2016, St John with St Mark Church Hall, Parkinson Street Bury BL9 6NY – PEACEFUL & SILENT Demonstration, no intimidation, no abuse, ‘like Gandhi’. WEAR A GAG over mouth.

Our Labour Bury North CLP had a meeting as above, which they said we were ineligible to attend although we are full members and we paid the extra £25 ‘voting surcharge’ in the two-day window.

We are allowed to vote in the actual Leadership election (we think) but can’t attend our own CLP’s ‘Supporting Nomination Meeting’.

In my case this despite having paid £3 registered voter fee last year + full membership subscription + £15 subscription to LGBT Labour (an official ‘Affiliated Group’) + this £25 ‘new member voter surcharge’ – but because I was not a member before 12th January 2016 I am unable to attend or vote in the CLP’s ‘Supporting Nomination Meeting’ to nominate the Labour Leader!

The draconian and undemocratic eligibility criteria were as follows, as stated in emails from our Labour North West Region and our Bury North CLP Secretary:

From: Andy Smith <andy_smith@labour.org.uk>
Date: 28  July 2016 at 12:13:50 BST
Subject:  Supporting Nomination for the Leader of the Labour Party

Dear Colleague,

                   CLP Supporting Nomination for the Leader of the Labour Party

Bury North CLP will be holding a meeting to give local members an opportunity to discuss the candidates and give consideration as to whether the CLP might wish to make a Nomination in favour of a Leadership candidate.

This letter is to advise you that this meeting will take place:

On  Friday 5th August 2016 commencing at 7.30 p.m. the venue will be :

St John with St Mark Church Hall, Parkinson Street Bury BL9 6NY

According to our records you are eligible to take part in the meeting.

To take part in the Supporting Nomination meeting you will need to have been a member of the Labour Party on or before 12th January 2016 and not be in arrears.

Eligible members – Freeze Date (as per NEC decision):

Only those members who have been Party members on or before 12 January 2016 and are therefore eligible to vote in the ballot will be eligible to participate in the meeting.

Those members who are showing as being in arrears from after the Freeze Date, will be able to participate in the meeting provided they pay the arrears at the commencement of the meeting, or provide proof that they have since paid the arrears to the national Party.

No registered or affiliated supporters or non-eligible members can attend or be allowed entry to the meeting, unless they are also an eligible party member.

If you have any questions in regard to your eligibility to take part in the meeting you will need to contact John Smith 0161 761 3597

John Smith

Labour Party Bury North CLP Executive Secretary
(no email address?)

(I emailed Labour General Secretary Iain McNichol about the NEC’s recent decisions – but no reply so far – Kate.)

BURY NORTH  CONSTITUENCY LABOUR PARTY

CLP SUPPORTING NOMINATION LABOUR LEADERSHIP 2016 – ELECTIONS FOR LEADER

  • The Meeting will check the eligibility of all members attending.
  • A discussion will take place on the qualities of the Nominees.
  • No Member will be allowed to speak more than once and no contribution will exceed 3 minutes.
  • This discussion period will not exceed 45 minutes.
  • Following the discussion of Candidate qualities, the Meeting will move to a Ballot if such is agreed.
  • If the Meeting decides not to make Supporting Nominations, then the Meeting will be closed.
  • If a Ballot is agreed Tellers will be elected to undertake the Count.
  • The Ballot, if one takes place will use a single round preferred voting system (as used in the final Ballot for a parliamentary candidate).
  • The Count will be witnessed by the CLP Secretary and Chair.
  • The Ballot result will be announced to the Meeting and the CLP Secretary will be instructed to fill out the Supporting Nomination Form and make arrangements for it to be returned to the Compliance Unit ahead of the deadline of 12 noon on Monday 15 August 2016.

This email has been sent out from Labour North West at the bequest of Bury North CLP.

Sent by email from the Labour Party, promoted by Iain McNicol on behalf of The Labour Party, both at Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QT Website: www.labour.org.uk to join or renew call 0345 092 2299.

My advice – HOLD A SILENT, PEACEFUL PROTEST. WEAR A GAG OUTSIDE ANY CLP MEETINGS THAT YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ENTER. IF NOT ALREADY A MEMBER, JOIN LABOUR, AND HELP STOP THESE UNDEMOCRATIC PRACTICES.

(Copy of email to Bury North Labour Party CLP Members 17/07/16)

Please excuse my passion and please, please, do read all this (below).

RE: Affiliated Labour Party organisations, £25 voting surcharge for new members, & *possible* Fundraising Dog Walk

On reading this again it sounds a bit like a kind of ‘suicide note’ or ‘resignation letter’ to the Labour Party, but as most of you won’t read it at all or at least won’t read all of it – or respond – who cares?

I was going to organise a fundraising dog walk (but please note: you don’t have to have a dog) for all Bury North CLP members and ‘registered supporters’, (other local CLPs also welcome) – for both new Labour Party members and the ‘experienced’ members (I didn’t want to say ‘old lags’) from whom we new ‘pups’ (however old) can learn so much  – but I don’t see any point, as probably no-one will respond – or come – given the almost total lack of response to my previous email about the £25 ‘new member voter surcharge’ and ban on meetings until October.

Maybe some of you could at least let me know whether you would come on a fundraising dog walk (with or without a dog) – probably will be in October now – say £1 for unwaged /pensioners  and £2 or £3 per dog or ‘hooman’ for rest  – starting off at a country location or Bury centre pub / & also non-alcohol café, and ending there?  Another idea for fundraising would be to do a cask ale pub crawl (also with choice of soft drinks) or something along the lines of a Rail Ale combined with the East Lancs. Railway, again, soft drinks also available (with apologies to teetotal members or those who for faith reasons are against alcohol – but you would still be very welcome to come – I’ll make sure there is a café alternative for meeting up and finishing).

At the moment, however, I am wondering, why should I bother, when I can’t even vote in the Leader Election for this Party?

I would like to thank the only two members in the whole Labour Bury North CLP on the emailing list who were not too apathetic? angry with me? perplexed? or whatever to reply or discuss my previous email about these ridiculous NEC rulings disenfranchising Labour Party full members who joined after 12th January unless they make a payment of an extra £25, and for forbidding all CLPs from meeting until October.

Thank you, the only two members who replied, for your replies and support. I am beginning to see it does indeed seem to be the case that the vast majority of new members (who may or may not have voted for Corbyn) DO NOT get involved and leave it to the long-standing experienced activists to do all the work – who may, some of them, not be fans of Corbyn – but at least attend meetings, fundraising events, go out on the doorstep and get involved – I applaud your efforts and thank you for your hard work for our CLP, (well, YOUR CLP, as how can I be a part of it if I can’t even vote?)

I reiterate, I am a FULL MEMBER and an AFFILIATED MEMBER and I have just been to this page http://support.labour.org.uk/  (which is STILL there on Labour Party website and I registered for the second time to become a ‘registered supporter’ as well (sic) – I am waiting to hear response to my  online application as member of LGBT Labour, which IS an affiliated group –  so why is this still ‘live’ on the Labour website if it ‘doesn’t apply’?

How long will it be before you change the rules again, so even if you pay the £25 you won’t be able to vote?  How can we trust you?  I don’t trust the Labour Party anymore, you seem to be making it up as you go along.

Yes, this is getting ridiculous!  I would end up having paid £3 as a previous registered supporter last year + full Labour Party membership + £15 to join LGBT Labour + this extra £25 ‘voting surcharge for new members’ (which I am not paying).  This surely cannot be allowed to stand?  I watched JC on Sunday Politics this morning, and he also doesn’t seem to think the ‘£25 extra’ is fair, or the ban on CLP meetings; ditto most ‘Soft-Left and even some Blairite MPs think it’s unfair.  If I compare our ‘yet another new’ Labour Shadow Education Secretary talking to Andrew Neil with how the rather impressive new Tory Education Secretary did  – well, watch the footage for yourselves.  The Tories are running rings round Labour at the moment, and we are providing NO sort of opposition or proper policy statements about helping the N. of England – just pathetic examples of in-fighting and a seemly supine acceptance of NEC lunacy.

Surely these NEC rulings MUST be overturned or there must be an appeal or challenge against them, whether you are pro- or anti- Corbyn, for sake of fair play? I am new to politics and to the Labour Party, but (and apologies if you think this is rude): are all of you so docile and cowed by the NEC and PLP or even possibly your local CLP that you don’t have minds and opinions of your own?  (*Effort to provoke response*) We are just sent out this two or three line email from the Secretary saying ‘you can’t meet’, with no further explanation or discussion.

I would like to know, on behalf of ALL Bury North CLP members and past Labour Party voters in Bury (many of whom voted Brexit and have probably already gone to UKIP or Tories) – what is the position of our CLP on this, what is the position of our Executive Committee, what is the position of our Bury North councillors, and above all what are any of you going to do about it, if anything

I am wondering if I am in a DEMOCRATIC party at all?

Probably not for long, some of you are thinking…well, feel free to expel me for asking ‘awkward’ questions, but freedom of speech is one of my most cherished illusions – that we still have it in this country, this Old Blighty, this Sceptered Isle – but do we even have it in this Party? Do we have anything even approaching real democracy in this county or this Party?

See my Twitter Profile:  https://twitter.com/ambergoth  This is the 21st century – why can’t we use secure online digital technology to add REGULAR DIRECT VOTING by the electorate to our representational democracy, on the most important issues affecting this country? Most people have ‘smartphones’, even in the most deprived areas where folk are not registered to vote or don’t vote in General Elections, and they are cheap enough to GIVE to anybody who doesn’t have one.  To see how easy this would be – try out the ‘Note My Vote’ app  https://www.notemyvote.co.uk/   (I am not connected in any way with this, but it’s a bit of fun and shows you how it might work).

I’ll tell you why  they will never reform our democracy willingly – the ‘Powers That Be’, The ‘Establishment Great & Good’ – AND the PLPs of both major parties as presently constituted would be against this – as it would mean giving more power and a regular say to ‘ordinary people’, us plebs and peasants, to decide what happens in matters that affect us all.  And we can’t be trusted can we? Look what happened in the EU Referendum…!  Oh dear me no, we can whistle for that!

To conclude: it’s just £25 to join the Tory Party and I don’t think there would have been any newly introduced gerrymandering measures re. who could vote for their leader (if they’d had an election that went to the membership, which of course it didn’t), but I can’t check because a copy of the Constitution of the Tory Party costs £10 apparently, and many of us can’t afford that any more than we can afford the extra bloody £25 to vote in the Labour Leadership Election! (No, I’m not thinking of joining the Tories at the moment.)

**Don’t suppose many of you read to this point – but if you did – well done.  You are a literate Labour Party supporter in the North of England, contrary to what the media think!**

PLEASE REPLY – PLEASE SAY ANYTHING!  IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE? (…..Tumbleweed rolls across Bury…..) DO YOU WANT TO COME ON A DOG WALK (WITH OR WITHOUT A DOG) or shall I just ‘call the whole thing off’, together with my Labour Party membership?

Is this Party even worth raising funds for?

‘No offence’, as the late great Mrs. Merton used to say,

Best wishes & love to y’all, be ye Corbynites or Blairites or something in between…

Kate Mason

P.S. Please, please, please sign petition re: discrimination of RNLI against LGBT people:

https://www.causes.com/campaigns/96412-end-discrimination-at-the-rnli-against-transgender-people

https://twitter.com/ambergoth

https://twitter.com/de_Bury

https://twitter.com/BuryBT

https://www.facebook.com/ambergoth

https://www.facebook.com/GothicKate

https://ambergoth.wordpress.com/

 

Policies of the New Libertarian Independent Secular Party (L.I.S.P.)

Like the Libertarian Party in the U.S., the New Libertarian Independent Secular Party – launched here today, 22nd October 2012 – reflects the ideas of libertarianism, favouring a secular, humanist society, a less powerful state (except for the re-nationalisation of essential public utilities), strong civil liberties (including support for same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights), minimum restrictions on freedom of speech and expression, the legalization of cannabis, separation of church and state, non-interventionism and neutrality in diplomatic relations (i.e., avoiding foreign military entanglements with other nations), freedom of trade and travel to all foreign countries, and a more responsive and direct democracy using modern digital technology to enable citizens to vote directly on important issues.

We would:

1)      Re-nationalise all public utilities and industries which were nationalised by the Attlee government in 1945 and privatised by the Thatcher government after 1979, to include gas, electricity, water, raillways, telecoms, coal and steel.

2)      Provide free residential and nursing support for the elderly in care and nursing homes without means testing or requiring the sale of the elderly person’s house and free home help care for the elderly still living in their own homes.

3)      Impose heavy penalties on bankers and all financial traders, managers, executives, stock brokers, commodity and derivatives traders, hedge fund managers etc. found guilty of negligence, fraud, financial malfeasance, misconduct or impropriety – penalties to include large fines, confiscation of personal assets and property,  and imprisonment.

4)      Abolish prescription charges and make all hospital car parks free.

5)      Withdraw all U.K. troops and military personal immediately from Afghanistan, Iraq and all other foreign interventions; no Prime Minister or U.K. government EVER to take the nation to war again without a national referendum.

6)      Abolish university fees and re-introduce full grants for all students from low income families and proportional grants combined with a moderate parental financial contribution for students from middle income families; high income families to pay full costs of children’s university education.

7)      Abolish religious denomination schools and re-introduce technical and vocational colleges alongside grammar and academy schools, but none of them to be under local authority or central government control.

8)      Abolish Ofsted, SATs, school league tables and the National Curriculum*.  Allow schools to determine their own curriculums and educational priorities, financed by a voucher system like the one in Sweden.

9)      Revert ‘new’ universities back to polytechnic status or re-designate as technical universities and require them to run high quality technology, engineering and I.C.T. courses together with overseeing a large expansion in apprenticeship schemes.

10)  Require the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and other ‘top 20’  universities to take at least 70% of students from U.K. state secondary schools and no more than 10% from U.K. private schools and no more than 20% intake of overseas students.

11)  Use the Internet and digital technology to reform democracy in the 21st century and give power back to the people.  We have social networking on the World Wide Web – why not electronic voter networking using the Internet, mobile phones, chip and pin systems etc. to enable ordinary citizens to vote on important political issues?**

12)  Legalise cannabis and allow sale of cannabis through licensed distribution (eg. through public houses, which would help to reinvigorate the licensed trade and traditional pub sector).

13)  Reduce excise duty on cask conditioned beers and remove it completely on beers brewed by micro-breweries. Lower excise duty on single malt whiskies and blended whiskies but increase excise duty on ‘alcopops’.  Break up monopolies of large pub ownership companies which charge landlords and pub managers extortionate rents.

14)  De-criminalise prostitution and make provision for regular health checks and contraception for sex workers.

*Politicians should let teachers get on with their jobs instead of always interfering in education and using it as a political football (this also applies to the health service).  They should recognise what teachers and other educational professionals have always known: that educational achievement is largely influenced by social, familial, economic and class factors.  

Why do politicians fail to acknowledge what is so obvious to anyone who actually works in education?  Educational achievement is adversely affected for children living in areas of social and economic deprivation, where there is high unemployment, family breakdown and multiple social problems. Children in such areas will inevitably perform poorly in standardised educational tests compared with children living in affluent areas where parents are themselves likely to have achieved higher educational levels and are predominantly in well-paid professional and managerial employment. 

STOP castigating, criticizing, punishing and micro-managing teachers in schools located in deprived neighbourhoods.  Let them get on with their job and stop interfering.  DO NOT introduce more and more pointless bureaucratic assessment and tick-lists. DO NOT pay attention to educational consultants, local authority bureaucrats, Ofsted inspectors, or government ministers and their officials. Instead, ask the teachers ‘at the chalk face’ what they actually need and provide them with the extra resources required to make a difference.  Introduce social and economic policies which really address problems of multiple deprivation. 

Much of this was known as far back as 1967 when the Plowden Report was written, stressing that ‘at the heart of the educational process lies the child’ (not Ofsted, not SATS, not league tables, not local government educational advisers, not ministers of education).

It is pitiful that so little progress has been made since Plowden, which included the following recommendations:

  • A national policy of ‘positive discrimination’ should favour schools in deprived neighbourhoods (Ch. 5)
  • Nursery education should be available to children at any time after they reach the age of three (Ch. 9)
  • Authorities maintaining selection should not rely on intelligence and attainment tests. (Ch. 11)
  • The maximum size of primary school classes should be reduced (Ch. 20)
  • More men teachers are needed in primary schools (Ch. 25)

————————————–

** Our current parliamentary system of so-called democracy means that voters only get a say once every five years and governments can do what they like in between elections.  This system grew out of medieval kingship and the patronage of the ruling classes, and is hundreds of years out of date. 

We now have the technology (the Internet, secure websites, smart phones, pin & chip cards, etc.) to enable ordinary people to vote on major issues which affect them in everyday life.  So why don’t we harness this technology to make a quantum leap towards real democracy and thereby reduce the power of parliament and the executive to decide everything?  A few privileged people – mainly rich, mainly white and mainly men – who went to the same schools and universities and belong to the same clubs – currently rule us and make all the decisions on our behalf.  Why can’t we vote on important issues ourselves through new voter networking technology?  It is easily within our technical abilities as a society to introduce such a system to enable people to vote on important issues – perhaps once a week or once a month – but our rulers don’t want to cede that sort of power to ordinary voters; witness how many times we have been promised a vote on European Union treaties and successive governments have wriggled out of it.

We deserve a better system of democracy than the current antiquated system, where a load of privileged middle-aged and elderly men meet in two plush chambers in a vast 19th century Victorian Gothic edifice on the side of the Thames to ‘hear hear’ and ‘jeer jeer’ each other, while sleek bureaucrats in Whitehall write elephantine piles of ‘minutes’ and reports detailing all the reasons why nothing of a commonsense nature can ever be done.

 

It is five months since I transitioned from male to female and became Kate full-time.  It is just over a month since I had my Facial Feminisation Surgery (FFS).

I have been moved by the number of people who have been supportive during and after my transition.  Strangers and acquaintances online who I have never met in the flesh have also wished me well.

To quote Blanche DuBois in A Street car Named Desire, the great play by Tennessee Williams:  ‘Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.’

Thanks to you all, for your kindness and friendship.

In fact, I am fine.  Just feeling a little bit tired and emotional, on the day that I uploaded to YouTube my most personal video to date:

http://youtu.be/0iegp8AYt0o

Today is Tuesday 8th November, so it’s six days since I had my facial feminisation surgery (FFS) last Wednesday.

We are in Marbella, Spain.

I am sitting in bed writing this; Rosie has gone out shopping for Christmas pressies round the old part of Marbella town.

Marbella is a really lovely place, now a classy resort on the southern coast of Spain, formerly an old fishing village of Andalucia, up to the 1960s. It is certainly the classiest and best resort we have ever had a holiday in; not at all what I imagine Benidorm or Ibiza are like.

We are in a lovely apartment hotel (four star), The Princesa Playa, right on the sea front, the best place we have ever stayed in, as we usually rough it. We are on the 7th floor, and have a view of both the sea and the mountains from our balcony.

The apartment is very well appointed, with electric hob, microwave, fridge, and plenty of pans and crockery and cutlery, so Rose-Marie has been able to prepare us some really nice meals with fresh produce from the local shops. We have a small supermarket just round the corner, and there are many lovely bars and restaurants within easy walking distance along the front, which is swathed with palm trees and fig trees. The weather is cool and comfortable, but still with blue skies and sea. We like it so much maybe we will come and live here! I am remembering my Spanish more every day.

There are plenty of really fresh seafood restaurants and everywhere serves tapas for a Euro or two. It is not too dear to eat out compared with Switzerland – about the same as the UK or a bit cheaper, if anything. You could certainly stay and eat here cheaply. We like Marbella so much we certainly intend to come back next Spring – I have to anyway, to complete my treatment, as they couldn’t do the lip lift at the same time as the rhinoplasty (nose job). I may also have a hair transplant so I have an even thicker head of hair at the front!

I haven’t seen my new nose yet, but it looks promising – smaller and neater, with smaller nostrils rather than the Mersey tunnel entrances I used to have. I haven’t got a big, splodgy, ugly nose any longer! I will see it properly on Friday, when the nose plaster comes off.

We are going back to see the plastic surgeon (a German guy, Dr. Kai) who did the nose job and to the hospital to see the maxillo-facial surgeons (Brazilian Dr. Daniel Simon and Spanish Dr. Luis Capitan, both of the Facial Team clinic, here in Marebella, Spain) tomorrow. I may be able to have the scalp stitches out. My forehead is a lot flatter and more feminine, and the top of my new nose just continues straight up to my forehead, without the indentation that used to be there.

My eyes are no longer so deep set, and do not now peer out from beneath a Neandethal (or at least masculine) jutting brow! My eye-brows are also higher and in a more feminine arc. It will take a few weeks, and in the case of my nose, a few months or even up to a year, for everything to settle down, but I certainly shouldn’t look too bad by Christmas.

My neck is still looking a bit bruised after the liposuction, in fact this is where the worst bruising was, after the first two or three days.

For the first 2-3 days my eye-lids swelled up and my left eye nearly closed, so I looked as if I had gone several rounds with Mohammad Ali. By Sunday the swelling started to come down, and I looked a bit more human. To begin with, because my cheeks were also puffed up, I looked a bit like the lion from the Wizard of Oz! I made a joke of this to the ladies who work for the surgeons – Lilia and Ana – who have kept in touch with us throughout by a Spanish mobile phone which they gave us when we arrived. I have been really well looked after by them, and of course Rose-Marie, my wife and life partner for 40 years, has been wonderful. She is having a nice restful holiday herself now, which she needed after the months of worry leading up to the surgery and her over-working at the shop, etc. She is also being a good girl and relaxing.

Well, that’s about it from me. I am staring to look more Dorothy, less like the Lion (another Wizard of Oz reference). I have loads of books to read on my Kindle, and I can get three English-speaking radio stations on my HTC mobile and there is BBC 1 and BBC 3 and Sky News on our two TVs, one in the bedroom, so we can watch TV in bed, and one in the living room.

We have been able to keep up with East Enders, but have no idea what has been happening in Corrie – we’ll have to wait until we get back to find out. We fly back to the UK next Saturday, 12th November, but I will be posting again, tweeting and updating my status on FB regularly from now on, so keep watching out for my updates!

We can get onto the Internet in the foyer of the hotel on the ground floor, so I will post this now here and on FB. Please let me know, all you lovely girls who follow this WordPress blog, or are are my friends on FB or Twitter, if it is of any interest! Please reply! I will messge some more about the Facial Team, but so far I have been very impressed with the high standard of care and the kindness of Lilian and Ana and the surgeons, so I would say if you are considering FFS – the Facial Team clinic in Spain should be at the top of your list of clinics to look at. I looked at three others and chose them for a number of reasons, which I will discuss more on my WordPress Transgender blog.

I’ll post again soon, hugs to you all, I love you all, especially Sarah Hardman and Alessandra Bernaroli,  who have been good friends on FB in recent weeks – thank you, Sarah nd Alessandra.

x x x Hugs, Kate Lesley (Amber Goth)

Hi Girls,

I am writing this and future posts about Facial Feminisation Surgery to reassure those of you who are considering it but are understandably worried and a bit scared about what is involved.  I also felt apprehensive about it, as it is major surgery, but I would like to reassure those that are thinking about it that really, you have nothing to worry about.

I can only speak about my own experience of FFS, which was performed by the Facial Teamwww.facialteam.eu.

The Facial Team are based in Marbella, on the south coast of Spain; or you can go to their clinic in Sao Paulo in Brazil, if you prefer.

I had a brow and orbital reduction performed by Dr. Daniel Simon and Dr. Luis Capitan, who are both experienced and very skilful maxillo-facial surgeons.  I also had rhinoplasty on my nose and liposuction under my chin and on my neck performed by the plastic surgeon Dr. Kai, ably assisted by Louise, Dr. Kai’s lovely theatre nurse (who hails originally from South Yorkshire). Dr. Simon is Brazilian; Dr. Capitan is Spanish; and Dr. Kai is German.  They are all professionally qualified to the highest standands.  So my experience is about these procedures; I can’t comment on other procedures which I didn’t have, such as eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) or facelifts, full or partial.  I think Dr. Kai does perform these surgeries as well, if you are interested.

The main focus of surgery with the Facial Team is facial feminisation – and this is what I wanted, because I want my face to reflect my true gender (female), so that I just look like a normal woman.  I did not want to end up looking like a Barbie Doll or Holywood starlet.  There are clinics that will assume that this is what you want, and will try to convince you that additional surgeries are necessary.  They are not, if facial feminisation is your principle objective.  The Facial Team will do enough to give you a convincingly feminine face, and no more – unless you want it.  This honest approach was one of the things that attracted me to the Facial Team.  I did not find this honesty with a couple of the FFS clinics based in the U.S. and one other FFS clinic in Europe, who I also approached for quotations, and all tried to convince me that I needed procedures such as facelifts and eyelid surgery, which I didn’t want and hadn’t budgeted for.  I can’t name these surgeons and clinics, as I don’t want to get into trouble with them legally, but you will be able to work out who they are, and if you can’t and want to know, then contact me privately.

I think that is enough for my first post about this – more in my next post about my recent stay in Spain for the surgery.

Kate Lesley (Amber Goth), Sunday 13th November 2011.

Olivia Foster, a lesbian who wrote a paper on transgender and homosexual individuals for her English class,  recently commented how transgender and homosexual individuals are socially isolated from society. She asked: ‘How do you think we could help people understand transgender individuals? I really want an inside opinion! Thank you so much!’

This was my reply, which I am repeating here as a separate posting:

I think the first thing is that we all need to support and be tolerant of each other in the LGBT community. If we can’t be tolerant of each other, when we are ‘differently gendered’ or ‘differently sexually orientated’ from the so-called ‘norm’, how can we expect so-called ‘normal’ or ‘straight’ people to be tolerant and understanding of us?

As I said in my last blog post, I love lesbians and gay men, and I love socialising with my sisters and brothers in the ‘Gay Village’ in Manchester.

Unfortunately I have come across people, mainly in the trans community, who, in spite of their own transgenderism, appear to have a bi-polar approach to gender, and want to self identify as either a ‘transvestite/crossdresser’, just ‘a bloke in a frock but there’s nowt queer about me’ at one end of the TG spectrum – and what I might call ‘fundamentalist’ transsexuals at the other end, who regard themselves as in some way superior, or ‘more the real thing’ than other transgendered folk.

I think it is crazy to divide ourselves off from each other in this way. To me, if we have ‘gender discomfort’ or ‘dysphoria’ to any extend at all, whether we are occasional crossdressers, regular or full-time transgendered girls or boys, she-males, drag queens or drag kings, or pre- or post-operative transsexuals – we are ALL members of the transgender community, sisters and brothers under the skin, although some but not all of us usually identify ourselves as one gender or the other (not necessarily our birth gender) by our outer clothing, hairstyle, makeup, mannerisms, voice pitch, speech patterns and gender identity.

This is why I prefer the term ‘transgendered’, because it is inclusive and can be taken to cover us all, wherever we are on the gender spectrum or continuum, and I believe most people, including those who are not transgendered – so-called ‘normal’ people, are also somewhere in the middle.

We all, regardless of our biological and chromosomal sex, have feminine and masculine characteristics – but unfortunately many people are frightened or reluctant to fully express all parts of their personalities. So if most people are somewhere in the middle regarding the gender spectrum, transgendered people are just folk who find themselves on the ‘wrong’ side of the mid-point of the spectrum, so they self-identify as the ‘other’ or ‘opposite’ sex – that is, they have, in terms of traditional gender attributes and gender stereotyping, more of the characteristics of the gender on the other side of the gender ‘mid-point’.

This of course is very confusing for them, in a world which persists in the traditional bi-polar attribution of so-called ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ traits. But that is not to say that if this gender bipolarism was reduced to the point where everyone was free to wear what they like, and express their gender identity in any way they like, there wouldn’t still be transgendered people, because obviously there would be those, like me, who feel the need to have surgery to change their bodies as well as their clothing so that they can feel ‘whole’, be fully the person that they feel they are inside, and be perceived as such by others.

I don’t think I have exactly answered your question, Olivia, about how transgender and homosexual individuals can feel less socially isolated, as regards ‘straight society’. I’ll try to address that now:

Within the LGBT community, we can feel less socially isolated by all supporting and learning to understand each other, whether we are transgendered, lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual, or any combination of the aforementioned.

But how do we achieve social and cultural acceptance, and therefore feel less socially isolated, regarding ‘straight’ society? The answer is simple, and it is what the Gay Liberation Movement did in the 1960s and 70s – ‘coming out’ – by NOT staying in the closet, by holding events such as Gay Pride and Sparkle, and by mixing as much as possible in and with ‘straight’ society, so that we seem as ‘normal’ to them as we seem to ourselves – just ‘people’, human beings – like them.

I guess the implication of this is that we shouldn’t just hang out in LGBT bars and clubs, and areas like the Gay Village in Manchester, where we know we are safe – we should also go into and be seen in ‘straight’ places – out shopping, and in ‘straight’ pubs and clubs, or anywhere that any other citizen of the world can go! We should be proud to be who we are, and the more we are ‘out’, the more it will be accepted as ‘normal’ to be LGBT.

Easier said than done, I know! I recently did go into a ‘straight’ fairly working-class ‘blokish pub’ in my home town, as my femme self, naturally, together with my (genetic female) wife/partner and a genetic female friend. The three of us girls were the only females in the bar, and we did get stared at, and I felt decidedly uncomfortable. At least one man, a little, wiry, Yorkshire terrier of a chap who was very ‘blokish’ indeed, looked over in our direction with a scowl on his face, as if there was a bad smell emanating from our corner of the room!

It would be easy to conclude that he had ‘read’ me as transgendered and was prejudiced against me, or that he resented our feminine intrusion into an otherwise male sanctum, or that he was just appalled that two of us ladies were drinking pints! But it could just have been that it was a Friday, the end of the week, he had perhaps had a bad week, and was tired and not in a good mood anyway – and that that was just his characteristic expression – and nothing to do with our presence in the bar!

This brings me to a final point – which is that it is too easy and in fact we can be completely wrong when we try to ‘second-guess’ people’s reactions to us. What did that look mean? Why is that person staring at me or smiling at me? We may think we are attracting unwanted and possibly hostile attention – but it could just be that if someone is looking at us – they might just be thinking how nice we look, or how interesting we are, or how they would like to come up and talk to us!

There are different levels of ‘coming out’ as transgendered.

I have been out on the U.K. transgender scene for over 30 years. I regularly hang out in Manchester’s Gay Village as Kate; I have been to lots of TG groups and events over the years. This is one level of coming out.

But when you come out to your neighbours, friends & family, when you begin to inhabit the real world as a woman, that is a different level of coming out – and it is truly wonderful!

I have tried not to use the expression ‘coming out in the real world’ to describe this, because the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered) world is every bit as real as the ‘real’ world, but in transgender clubs and groups, or in gay bars or night clubs, one feels immediately accepted – you are just yourself. I really like lesbians and gay men, and I love socialising with them.

We in the transgender community owe a great deal to the brave lesbians and gay men who fought for their rights in the 1960s and 70s. The Gay Liberation movement blazed the trail for all folk differently gendered or differently sexually orientated. And I am so grateful that the lesbian, gay and bisexual community have embraced the transgender community in recent years, and I am proud that the ‘T’ on the end of LGBT stands for us!

Thank you, sisters and brothers, I love you so much!

Coming out in LGBT places, you will feel safe and respected, and you will find many new friends, and no one will harass you or discriminate against you – that is one level of coming out. And it is real, and wonderful. If you are still entirely in the closet, get out there, young woman, and meet us all in the LGBT community! We don’t bite! (Well only the Goths and Vamps among us, maybe!) – and we are friendly, loving people!

But beyond that, there is coming out to the wider world, to the ‘straight’ world, to the so-called ‘real’ world – and if you can do it, you strike a blow for the advancement of all transgendered people – because the more we do it, the more we will be accepted.

I have passed a few milestones myself this week. I went to the hairdresser’s en femme, and finally had the girly cut I have always wanted. It was great! Thank you, Ellie, you are a star, and you made me feel a million dollars!

After that, we did a bit of shopping in Tescos. No problem. Then we had a drink in the local branch of Wetherspoons. No problem.

This morning, while I was tapping away on my laptop, doing my trans social networking on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (I’m Amber Gothy, Amber Goth or ambergoth on these, so please do ‘friend’ me or follow me!), my son came in and said he had terrrible itching all over his back from sunburn. My son is 24, and he has known about Kate since he was 7.

So we went off into Chesterfield, on a busy Saturday, and got him some Aloe Vera Gel in Boots; then we went into Wilcos so I could buy a Gillette ‘Venus Embrace’ lady razor pack and some Satin Care gel for doing my legs. Couldn’t find either in Wilcos, so we got them in Superdrug. Yes, I did that with my son.

My daughter has known about Kate since she was 9 – and she is 26 now, and has just had a baby boy, making me and my wife both grandmas! My daughter and son have also been very supportive and completely unfazed by my transgenderism right from when I first told them – I am very lucky, and I do know it – thank you, Anne and Henry!

My wife has fortunately known since before we were married – and I think that’s 38 years this year. She has always loved me as Kate (in fact she prefers me as a woman), and she has been wonderfully supportive and just about the most fantastic wife and partner any transgendered girl could ask for! Thank you, Rosie, for always being so accepting and loving!

To finish up about our shopping trip in Chesterfield today, we went into Waterstones, where my wife works, and she introduced me as Kate to one of her fellow booksellers, explaining that I was transgendered, and always had been! The lady in question didn’t bat an eyelid, just said: ‘Well why shouldn’t you do what you want?’

Walking through the crowded shopping streets on the way back to the car, no one gave us a second look. Apparently no one ‘read’ me – or if they did, they didn’t stare. The more of us who do this, the more folk in straight society will regard us as ‘normal’ – because we are normal! We’re just people!

So there you go. A happy, liberating experience. I guess I am fairly lucky in that I have my own long blonde hair, and I am not tall or big-boned and I do not have a very masculine face – although it is still more masculine than I would like, which is why I have decided, finally, to have Facial Feminisation Surgery (FFS) this year. I am so excited about it!

But even if you are over 6 ft, with huge hands, a jutting jaw and a heavy beard shadow – you can still do it – and I know people who do. Some of the girls who come to Sparkle come by train or other public transport, and even if they look a bit masculine, they brazen it out! They don’t care! It is all about confidence. Most ‘genetic’ women (i.e. women born female, with XX chromosomes rather than us poor girls who were born XY) do not go around wondering if strangers in the street or in a shop are thinking they might not be women. They just don’t ever consider it. Even women who are – well – frankly ugly or overly masculine in some way – don’t ever think this (though to me, no woman is ugly, some of us are just differently beautiful, and it is what is inside that is important). So we, as transgendered women, just have to remember when we are out and about – we ARE women. Walk with confidence. Act normal. Don’t slink. Don’t look embarrassed or furtive. You are doing nothing wrong. You are just being yourself, your true self. You are expressing your femininity, as any woman – or for that matter, any man – has the right to do.

Be proud that you are a woman. Be proud that you are transgendered! You are in a state of grace! You are lucky! Not everyone – particularly not ‘straight’ men – can feel and experience what you can feel and experience, if you ‘out’ as a woman. Women know it’s great to be a woman!

(URL for this is: https://ambergoth.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/coming-out-as-transgendered/)

Hello Girls,

I don’t know if any of you are serious about really becoming girls, but if you are, my advice would be to seek medical advice in the first instance. If you do choose to self-medicate, which can be risky, below is a ‘typical’ transsexual MtoF feminizing medication regimen from: http://www.transgendercare.com/medical/resources/tmf_program/tmf_program_regimens.asp.

This is a U.S. site and some people have suggested (see comments) that the doses recommended here are far too high. It is best not to self-medicate at all if you can get hormones through a Gender Identity Clinic or from your GP. If you must self-medicate, start off with a relatively low dosage, like 2 mg of Estrofem or similar a day, and see how you go.

This is how I started, and together with the 5mg Finasteride which I was taking anyway for prostate problems (BHP), was sufficient to cause breast growth.

The following full transsexual regimen, which I have been taking more recently (minus the Spironolactone), certainly promotes full feminisation fairly rapidly:

Feminising Medication Regimen

  1.  4 mg Estradiol (Estrofem) (sublingually – under the tongue) daily – one in morning, one in evening
  2.  Two 50ug (mcg) Estradiol (Estrodot) patches applied weekly Saturday morning and Tuesday evening, or any other two days in the week, three and a half days apart – but stick to the same days each week.  Alternatively you can use transdermal gel rather than patches – see the above website.
  3.  5 mg Finsasteride in the morning (in the U.K., you can get this from your G.P. on the NHS, if you have a dodgy prostate – BHP – Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia).
  4. (Optional) 25 mg Spironolactone (Spirotone) in morning, 25 mg Spironolactone in evening – building up to 50 mg Spironolactone in morning, 50 mg Spironolactone in evening after 6 weeks, and thereafter optionally building up to as much as 200 mg per day, according to the transgender care website (http://www.transgendercare.com/medical/resources/tmf_program/tmf_program_regimens.asp)  BUT BEWARE! I don’t actually take this myself, because I had a severe allergic reaction to Spironolactone.
  5.  (Optional) Progestin : 5 mg daily for 10 days at beginning of the month.

From: http://www.transgendercare.com/medical/resources/tmf_program/tmf_program_regimens.asp

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a doctor or medically trained.  You should NOT start taking feminizing hormones unless you are absolutely sure you want to do this. In my case it came from somewhere so deep down in my psyche and subconscious that it was inevitable that I would do it eventually.

It SHOULD be done under medical supervision.  If you don’t want your transition to be medicalised and controlled by an ‘expert’ gender identity clinic, involving psycho-sexual psychiatrists and psychologists, endocrinologists and SRS/GRS surgeons, whether private (or if you are in the U.K., at an NHS clinic such as the one at Charing Cross Hospital), you can obtain the feminising hormones from a reputable Internet supplier such as InHousePharmacy – I can recommend this company without reservation.  They deliver anywhere in the world, it’s the real proprietary medicine, and thay are prompt and reliable on delivery.  In the U.K., you may have to pay 20% V.A.T. plus £8 handling charge to the Post Office when you import the drugs, but this is quite hit and miss.  The last two deliveries from InHouse Pharmacy I had to pay it, but on the most recent one I didn’t, so it seems to depend on the efficiency (or otherwise) of the local Post Office.

It is wonderful and truly liberating that one can control one’s own feminizing drug regimen, and it has only been possible to do this since the advent of the Internet – certainly no one could do it in the 1970s, or 1980s – or I might have started a lot sooner.

BUT, and here is a very important point, you should still at least tell your G.P. what you are taking, in case there is any conflict with other medication. My G.P. (who is female), knows what I am doing, and so far she has been pretty good about it.  She hasn’t commented on the full transsexual drug regimen, as above, as she admits honestly that she is not an expert in this area.

UPDATE: I am about to start sessions with an NHS Gender Identity Clinic (October 2011), and I am guessing they probably won’t be that pleased that I have been self-medicating.  I hope they don’t tell me off too much!  Hopefully I will finally receive some advice from an expert clinician in transgender endocrinology and be able to get the hormones on NHS prescription in future.

Please be warned: it is best NOT to do what I have done.  Taking female hormones has well-known risks associated with it for women or men.  If becoming the woman you have always felt yourself to be is important enough to you, you will no doubt proceed in spite of the risks – but be aware of them.

I was surprised to realise recently, looking back on my invoices from  Inhouse Pharmacy http://www.inhousepharmacy.vu/transgender/transgender.html that I have been taking female hormones for over 5 years, so I guess it’s not surprising that I have boobs and a curvy shape – my hips have broadened, and my fat distribution is pretty female – my arms and legs look feminine, and it has also feminised my face.

I did not begin with the full pre-SRS MtoF transsexual feminising regimen as above, but started with just 2 mg of Estradiol (Estrofem or Progynova) for most of that time, building up to 4 mg per day.  That is enough to promote breast growth and body feminisation- you start to see the difference after 6-9 months.

I was lucky in that I started with a fairly un-masculine body to begin with – I am not that tall, I can wear a normal female size of shoes and clothing, and I have always had broad hips and rather narrow shoulders, and not much musculature – so my body lapped up the female hormones from the beginning.  I am also blonde, which means that body hair has not been a great problem, and it has now reduced to a female level anyway.

I have had quite a lot of laser hair removal treatments to get rid of facial hair, and can now manage with only light foundation or no foundation at all. I will probably also have to have electrolysis eventually to get rid of the remaining facial hair, as I want to look as natural a woman as possible.  I would love also to have Facial Feminisation Surgery (FFS), but I am frightened to do it.  My face is reasonably feminine anyway, and since I went full-time as a woman from July 2011, I haven’t really had any problems so far. (However, see update below about Facial Feminisation Surgery – I have decided to go for FFS.)

I am able to go shopping en femme with my wife, and I don’t get stared at.  I can go into the female changing rooms  – I guess I just look like a woman.  I can hardly believe it myself!  My wife says when we are shopping and she looks round, she just sees another woman – and doesn’t always realise it’s me!

I have my own shoulder length blonde hair, and so don’t have to wear a wig, and my boobs are big enough to give me some cleavage.  I dress sensibly, and wear what other women around my age wear.  It’s great to be able to spend as long as I want looking at lingerie and women’s clothes and shoes without feeling embarrassed!  I have debit and credit cards in my female name, so paying is no problem.  I am working hard on developing a feminine voice – so far without much success – more on this is a future blog.

UPDATE:  I AM having Facial Feminisation Surgery this November 2011 at the Facial Team Clinic in Marbella, Spain – and I am still frightened!  But I am going ahead anyway, as I think it will give me more confidence that I just look like any other woman.  I will post about this nearer the time and after the surgery.

I hope this has been some help to a few of you – please do let me know by commenting.

Hugs and kisses x x x

Amber (Kate)

I have started a new Facebook Group – anyone who likes transgender fiction can join: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_157755277597309