Its Friday, and its that time of the week to bring in the section called “Fuck you. Its your turn” Friday. This week, our guest is the wonderful Kai Moore, not only a great person to be around, but also has been my lover for 2 and a half years. He has been a mental health campaigner, and now does volunteering for both the trans alliance and FTMB.
This week a whole heap of stuff happened, and a lot gets discussed so I would like to put a warning on here. There are discussions of transition , surgery, hormones, Nick Clegg (sorry) , Brighton Pride,and brief mentions of self harm. If you feel like you do not want to read it, please skip.
So, before we start, tell us about your blog? Why are you here?
My blog is a bit of everything really. It is things that are on my mind, topics I am interested in and a bit of activism thrown in for good measure. I get passionate about a lot of things and I just needed to put it somewhere.
I love to write and so I have tried to start a blog for a while but my ideas always fell through as I felt limited on what I could post about, trying to fit a certain niche. Now with Kai’s Life in Words I feel a lot better and more free to post anything.
I am here for most of the reasons I’ve already said but I guess I am answering these questions because you posted on Facebook telling everyone I was and as I love you I agreed!
Do you feel that since you got the Deputy Prime Minister’s Mental Health Hero Award that your followers increased?
I am not sure. I definitely got more followers from it, sure, but I also wasn’t regularly posting until that time so part of it could have been that and partly just my activity increasing.
One thing that certainly increased was my twitter followers. Partly because of the fact I was tweeted by the DPM office, and partly due to the fact my name was out there a little for that time.
Do you feel like because of your position and your blog and twitter viewers, you have to censor your posts?
The pair of us at the Deputy Prime Minister's Mental Health Hero Awards
Slightly, yes. There are certain things I wouldn’t say on my blog that I may say to close friends. But I think that is just because of the line of work I would like to go into and am currently in it would be inappropriate for me to say certain things without backlash. For the most part though I am able to get my point across by just rewording things and making my views clear that way.
Talking of censoring, you have been very brutal in your comments towards Brighton and Hove Pride, Do you feel like this is justified? I know I posted a very similar review but I wanted your take on it.
I totally do feel it was justified. What happened at Pride was awful, and the reactions to it equally so. A friend of ours recently stated it was nothing more than a Straight Parade or Straight Festival and I totally agree. The people who feel nothing but comfort there are straight cis people who are just there to get off their face on drink and/or drugs. I have no problem with straight cisgender people being there, but the focus should not be on them. It should be on the diversity. It was great to see a good parade but past that it was awful.
I will say the same thing now as I have many times. I would not pay to go to Pride, I am just glad that I got the free ticket so I could go along, see some friends, and report back on the shit show that it was.
After you very publicly tagged them in the review you did, Do you feel with this feedback that they will actually listen to you, or brush it under the carpet? Do you think they have even read it?
Honestly? I doubt they have read it. When I look back I realise that they probably get tagged in so much after Pride they probably just ignore it. I just wanted more people to see it and realise either that they are not alone in their views or that this is how it is for others. Too many people look and go “oh, but you shouldn’t complain, they tried their best”. Sorry but no.
This was the 25th anniversary. By now they should have sorted out one bi ambassador, they should NEVER have segregated trans people into a shower of their own using the wording they did (perhaps they could ask some trans people the best wording? Personally just accessible shower would have worked! Or just shower!), hell they could have actually put the Trans Tent on the map for the day, instead of ignoring it existed. It was a joke.
On positive prides, a week previously we had gone to Trans pride, and you signed for a huge event, How do you think the weekend went?
Trans Pride was amazing. I loved it so much. Each year it actually gets better. Sure, there were some issues with wording from a couple of people on stage, and not all of the visitors were perfect, but that did not reflect back on the organisers. They did everything in their power to make it a queer friendly event. Even stalls were told they would not get their deposit back if they were found to be transphobic or not-trans aware. They gave training to every stall holder and went around all day making sure it was perfect – and unlike big pride, all of the organisers do it as a voluntary role!
I was honoured to be asked to be one of the volunteers and sign on stage. I am still learning sign language and hope to be an interpreter one day, so being given the chance to do this was phenomenal. I got to work with a fully qualified signer and, for the first time, I got to sign on stage at a live event. It was amazing.
Both of us at Trans Pride, with our friend's baby Grace
Do you feel like there is more to be done for trans equality?
Yes. Certainly there is. Until a trans person can walk down the street without worrying how people perceive them, or walk into a toilet without worrying that they will get yelled at or beaten up or worse, there is always more to be done. That isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to be done, there needs to be more education on trans issues from a young age, include it in both PSHE (Physical Social Health Education) and biology, talk about it in schools. Not only will this help young people who are confused about their gender, it will also help cisgender people understand that trans people are not something to be scared of.
Then you bring about the whole world of non-binary identities, and even a lot of trans people don’t know what that is. There just needs to be more education, for the young and old available. Groups for non-binary persons, for SOFFAs, for trans people in general. These groups should also not be censored. Discuss sex, discuss body parts (with appropriate trigger warnings), get people in to showcase surgery results, talk about the stuff which really matters. Only when all trans people feel safe is the work truly done, and I know for sure that will be a way off yet.
How would you like to see the world in 20 years? Do you have any life goals you want to act on?
I’d like to see it be a little more accepting. It’d be good to still have the National Health Service (NHS), preferably with less waiting times and less hoops to jump through. It’d also be nice to have more advances in surgery. Especially it’d be great to be able to get bottom surgery as a trans masculine person without worrying about loads of infections and inability to use it.
In terms of myself, my hopes are quite simple. I’d like to be in a house, with you, hopefully with a few children, some pets, and in a stable job. It’d be great to be an interpreter, and possibly do other work on the side to keep a stable income. Potentially around something in the theatre.
You previously this year had top surgery, as part of your gender reassignment surgery, how have you found it?
I can’t word how great it is. Having top surgery scared me, you were there for me the whole time, and I know you remember the night before where I was in tears. I was terrified I would regret it (though I knew deep down I wouldn’t and I needed this for my own health). But you just sat there with me and told me that if I did, we’d just get an amazing boob job for me. You didn’t even flinch, telling me you’d love me whatever happened. It truly helped. Thank you.
One thing I am forever grateful for is the need not to wear a chest binder again. I was hoping my ribs would ease up a little (I damaged them through binding with bandages early on in my transition), but as yet that hasn’t happened. I do have quite bad keiloid scaring on the front of the chest where I had a few issues, and one of my nipples is slightly deformed. But I love my chest still. I can walk along the street shirtless and not worry now. I don’t care that it doesn’t look perfect, it is mine and it is not requiring anything to hold it down. I can play sports and cycle without worrying. My friends in quidditch have been amazing, making sure that when I first started playing my chest was looked after. I don’t regret top surgery at all.
Kai's chest 8 months post op with Dr. Yelland in Brighton
Is there any advice you could give someone who’s just about to have top surgery and is worried about it?
Think of it this way. Can you picture yourself 20 years down the line, or even 30 or 40 years, with the chest you currently have? How about without? Which way are you happier? Weigh up the pros and cons, sure, it is an extensive surgery and it does take a while to fully heal, and even after that you have a lot of TLC to give it. Is that something you can deal with? Will it make you happy in the long run?
That is what I went through and at the end of the day I decided yes, this is what will make me happy. I am only 8 months post op now and it is still really red and I am still regaining sensitivity, but I discussed my worries with Dr. Yelland, my surgeon, and he was fantastic with it. Discuss any worries with your surgeon and surgical team, they should be able to give you answers that should help you make your decision.
As with any element of transitioning, I always say, it is the most selfish thing you can do, but it is the best thing you can do for yourself. Sometimes we need to be selfish. Go with how you truly feel on the inside and don’t let anyone else get to you. It is your body, your life, your decision.
How was it growing up trans? How did you cope with the issues it faced?
When I was a child I didn’t really realise I was trans, I just knew I was different. I loved playing with my barbies and my polly pocket toys. I was never described as a girly girl, but I was not a tomboy either. I remember once being described as a ‘middly’ by a girl my mum babysat. She was a tomboy, I was a middly and her sister was a girly girl. I just didn’t fit with the female attitudes.
I remember having dreams of having a penis, of being taught how to stand to pee in my potty, but I just assumed all girls felt like that. I knew I was different somehow but I figured I was just a strange kid.
I was bullied all through school for being different, I had a massive overbite, I had spots, I didn’t act like a lady enough when it came to secondary school. It was all similar things. It wasn’t until I was in year 11, that I started to question my sexuality and by extension my gender. I found myself sitting next to someone in class one day who was female and having this overwhelming urge to kiss her. I didn’t do it, because it shook me up.
I had always had the opinion that being gay or bi or whatever else was fine, it just didn’t happen to me. I was a straight girl. That was all I knew. I had had crushes on boys before, I had ‘dated’ boys before (mostly primary school style but you know what I mean) and I had kissed a boy before. It was only in class that day that I really started to question it. I didn’t pay attention for most of the lesson after that and when I got home I went on google.
I started to talk to friends online about different sexualities. I was 16 at the time and I was on a Harry Potter roleplay site where my friends were from and it was a very accepting place. I spoke to them about it for months, and soon found the term Pansexual.
I hadn’t even considered the concept of not being female before. It was a fact that I was, I couldn’t be a boy as I wasn’t born one. I had never heard of people going from female to male, the idea never crossed my mind. But when I started to look into it and I found the term genderqueer I felt like I found something that fit me best. I wasn’t female, I wasn’t entirely male, I was in between. And to an extent I do still feel that way. It was certainly an “ah-ha!” moment for me, and while I identify more on the male scale, I still have a part of me that is ‘other’ and I would say that is on an 90:20 split male to other, sometimes more male but normally around there. Never normally below 80:20.
In terms of issues faced, I wasn’t really happy growing up, mentally that is. I was a happy enough child, but I often hid the side of me that wasn’t so happy. I didn’t want to upset anyone so took it out on myself. It is still something I am trying to work out through counselling but I blame most things on myself, I feel guilt for things that I have no control over, and beat myself up – sometimes literally – for it.
Have you felt that going through transition has been harder or easier, going through it with a partner who is also openly trans?
A bit of both really. I mean, you would admit too that it isn’t always easy having two testosterone fueled boys in the same flat together, but at the same time, I don’t have to worry about explaining how I feel about some things because you feel it too. Or have experienced it. Like, if there are no go areas one night, it isn’t questioned, it is just a thing that is the case. You get that terminology for body parts can change depending on how my gender is presenting that day. You also get why I am ratty the week before my shot, as I do with you.
I think it helps, having that shared experience, and I think it has made us stronger as a couple, going through it together. We both met around the same point in our transition, and so it is like we have done all bar the coming out step together, and even then we have both had to come out in some circles since. It is good to have someone to turn to at the end of the day who gets me. Sure we fight, but what couple doesn’t? We are realistic and I think that helps a lot.
It can make things harder though too. I felt guilty when I got top surgery before you, as I feel like you need it more than I did. I was jealous when you got hormones before me, just because it was something I also wanted. It also means we are both involved in a lot of the same stuff which is great in theory, but in practice we both need our space!
Do you feel like your relationship with me, has made people assume that you are just gay? Like your bisexual identity has been erased?
Yes I do. Not that that is your fault, it is just a fact of society. People see a bisexual person as needing to settle down and choose, and when they are in a ‘straight’ or ‘gay’ relationship, that is what they are, regardless of who else they may find attractive. It is frustrating, as I am not a gay person, I am bisexual, I am queer and I don’t want that part of me to be erased. Just because I find myself more attracted to masculine people, doesn’t make me gay,. I am just more attracted to them, that doesn’t mean I am not attracted to feminine people, far from it! Or even people who present neither masculine nor feminine.
How do you feel when people tell you that “only pansexual people will ever date trans people”?
It frustrates me no end. I identified as pansexual for a long time, and I think part of me still does, but that was because I didn’t feel that bisexual was right for me. I don’t know why exactly, but largely I think it was due to the stigma attached to the term in society.
I know you use the term bisexual, and you are not only attracted to cisgendered people – I mean if you are, what are we doing? It isn’t only pansexual people who are happy to date trans people!
Talking of relationships, when did you realise I was the one?
Even though you just called me a dickhead while I was writing this, I do love you so much. I don’t know the exact point, I think it may have been when you started to laugh. I fell in love with your eyes straight away, but I didn’t want to seem like some weirdo that just turns up to a group and jumps on the first person they see. But when you laughed when I made a mistake on where I got my name from (I still maintain that Deal or No Deal and the Chase are similar colour schemes!) I was drawn to you. I wanted to know more about you and get to know you a lot better.
I am shy as hell though, so when I awkwardly tried to give you my number it was almost laughable, but I will admit I was quite pleased to find out you had already got it before that point and I did smile to myself a lot when you said that. I hadn’t properly dated anyone before you, so it was a new thing for me. I also didn’t realise your age, but even when I found out, it didn’t make a difference. I was already smitten.
I was so pleased when we started talking, and when we had that first date and things didn’t go perfect and you still didn’t run away I was stuck. I knew you were the one I wanted to be with and I’d do anything to get there. Lucky for me you wanted me too! I still feel like the luckiest guy in the world.
What do you think the hardest choice you have ever had to make?
I think moving out of home was a hard one for me. I love my mum, and I hated the idea of leaving her alone. But at the same time my life had taken a turn and was based here with you now. I still visit my mum and I miss her all of the time, but I did struggle to move out, and I mean, due to the size of our flat, a lot of my stuff ends up still at hers anyway, but that is just due to a lack of space and me being a hoarder!
What do you think has been your greatest personal achievement you have done, either public or privately?
I think speaking in the House of Commons is still my biggest achievement. I had the chance to do that in 2012 when the UK Youth Parliament was debating at the annual sitting. It was a great feeling and I was so nervous, but I did it.
Other than that I think my greatest personal achievement, also related to UKYP, was my work on Free Your Mind, the mental health campaign I set up in 2010/2011 that is still running. It is the reason I received my Deputy Prime Minister’s Mental Health Hero Award and I am very proud of it.
What did you want to become when you are older? What did you aspire to be?
When I was really young I wanted to be an ‘artist explorer’ which meant I wanted to build a flying limo (not just a car, a limo) and build in autopilot so I could fly around the countryside and cities and paint the landscapes and everything I could see. It sounded idilic. But unfortunately painting is not a good skill of mine, nor is art in general on paper, I can make models but nothing on paper easily!
I then wanted to be an architect for a long time, but as much as I would still like to do that, I found other things that got my interest more, and that was the side of acting. I fell in love with it, and also computing. I don’t know why these things in particular but these are still things I would love to do for a living.
Right now I want to do something around youth work and British Sign Language. I would love to be an interpreter, perhaps in a youth work setting with young people who sign? I am not sure for certain. But I would also like to tackle equality and diversity, so perhaps working in d/Deaf youth work focusing on LGBT youth? I am not 100% right now.
Can you twerk?
I can’t say as I have tried it seriously but I think I could do!
Finally – What’s your favourite fruit?
Now this is a hard question. I love fruit in general! I think perhaps grapes, or strawberries! But if I was a fruit I would be a kiwi, hard exterior, soft inside but still with a bit of a kick!
Screenshot of Kai's blog
If you want to read more of Kai’s stuff, head on over to his blog Kai’s Life in Words, check out his facebook page of the same name and follow him on Twitter @MrKaiMoore