It has taken me several weeks for me to post this. Not because I couldn’t. But in all honesty I have been so fucking exhausted. For those who don’t know and are new (hi), I did a talk for the Trans and Non binary conference in Brighton University in the lecture room. I was originally going to bail out of it. I had become really unwell, to a point where I’m now in and out of a wheel chair and talking about transition with chronic illness broke my heart because it was so close after Finn had died and even now I am still grieving for him. This post does mention him and his suicide. Please be aware of this.
I finally realised that the only way I could actually show people what it’s actually like to be disabled , chronically ill and trans was to physically show everyone what it really was. Not sugar coated. Not painted in a beautiful light, but how it actually is. Raw and fucking terrifying. Oh yeah, and I got a fan sign made for me, which is cute as fuck and I still have it at home.
I am aware that the conference itself got sold out and there was a huge waiting list for tickets to go to it. Unfortunately I havnt seen anything come out of it, such as audio of the lectures or transscripts, and since I’ve been asked a few times now what I actually said. I have decided to write a blog post kind of detailing exactly what I said. It’s not exact because in here there is more that I wanted to say. I unfortunately was so bad, I couldn’t manage the whole 15-20 mins. I barely managed 10 if I am 100% honest. Also, it’s me here, and the swears will still be in here.
Good Afternoon everyone
Before I start this, I would like to point out to those visually impaired or can’t see over to the right of me, there appears to be a fan sign written in black and red glitter on yellow card that says “we love batdad”. Turns out members of my own committee like to embarrass the fuck out of me. Teaches me not to rule with an iron rod. I will talk to all you fuckers later about this.
For those who don’t know me, my name is Tyler, I’m the chair of Navigate, a trans support service for AFAB and intersex folk. I am a blogger who actually specialises in sex and complaints. These are not always together although I am known as the bitter queen of complaints. I’m 30 years old. And I’m disabled. Well I assumed at this point you probably gathered by my partner bringing me on in a wheel chair, but I actually wasn’t in the chair before I submitted my application to do this talk. I have a spine injury from a horse riding accident, I’m hypomobile, I’m osteoarthritic at this point now, I’m pre diabetic, I suffer psychosis, oh and I’m epileptic. If I was told that I could do a power point presentation, I would have shown the clip on the Simpsons where the Dr tells Mr Burns that he doesn’t know how the fuck he’s still alive and that all of his illnesses are just jamming in the door.
At this point in my life being transgender is the wrapping of the rest of the bullshit that I have to contend with. I should at this point state that whilst I present male, and have had top surgery, I take hormones. I do not identify as a binary gender. Infact what the fuck even is gender. The closest I have visually to the gender I identify is Rodger the alien from American Dad. This probably doesn’t help my case now that you are all picturing that now being me since I’m now bald. Basically I’m Agender, gay and really fucking camp.
So why am I here talking to you? Well one, I couldn’t get out of this even if I wanted to and two, someone needs to say how much being disabled and trans sucks.
And it fucking sucks. You think gate keeping for trans folks with no obvious medical issues is tough. Try telling them that you need top surgery and having your diagnosis of bipolar disorder thrown in your face that you got when you were 16. Try getting your hormones signed off when they start picking apart your physical conditions. Fuck sake, try binding when your spine is fucked and your disks are out of place. This is only a tiny proportion of the about of bullshit that we have to contend with on order to be seen as valid by our doctors, peers and society. I’ve got permanent spine damage because I HAD to bind with an injury. They dragged my fucking top surgery out for 4 years. 4 FUCKING YEARS. My funding got dropped twice. To put this into perspective of how big my chest was, when I was perceived as a cis woman, I was entitled to a reduction because the NHS knew that 42 G breasts were not only painful to live with but fucking dangerous. That magically disapeered the moment I came out as trans by the way. Like my medical problem suddenly vanished over night and it was only until February this year I finally received top surgery, and that is only because I chose a surgeon that had 2 months waiting list.
You would say that hormones was easy for me, and yes accessing them was a piece of piss in comparison to the hell that was, but because of being on hormones I am now suffering because of this. I am in pain because of arthritis now and it’s not getting better. I was told that in all honestly this could have been prevented or delayed if a hysto had been done sooner and my body wouldn’t go through the continued menopausal shit it has had to endure. I am STILL awaiting a hysto. And to top it all of recently my medical notes have vanished so my doctor thinks I’m making shit up half the time because there is no record of stuff. He just claims that my pain is because of me being fat. I realised this wasn’t the case, because I went from 114kg to 80kg and felt worse. It was only pointed out that I was in pain all the time because of the bendy problem and that should have been spotted years ago. It was only spotted early 2017 after YEARS of me telling my doctor that I knew I was, but guess what, he didn’t listen and blamed of on either me being trans or my weight. The thing is. I’m not the only person who goes through this systematic bullshit every day. 1000s of trans and non binary people are constantly neglected by the system. We have three routes we can take, we fight super hard to get our basic rights, we don’t transition at all or we end up dying.
I said at the beginning of the day that I didn’t want to do this talk. Loosing Finn, loosing others in the past couple of months, my own chronically ill community siblings has honestly taken out every fight I have had in me. Having someone, someone you fucking work with kill themselves because they had no fucking option shouldn’t happen. We are forever being failed by medical negligence, we are treated like shit because we are trans, we are treated like shit because we are disabled. We are in an endless loop of no hope that our only option is to kill ourselves rather than feel like we are being a fucking burden to our friends and loved ones. Finn should never have been failed by the system. The system was what caused his death. That was what drove him to suicide. He is not the only one. 100s of others are doing it every fucking year and with our government cut backs, a benefit system that disabled people can’t even manage, and the ever rising cost of living. This number is going to increase every fucking year. And does this shit even get reported in the media? No.
Actually whist I have everyone’s attention, is there any trans and disabled people in the media? If you know one please put your hand up because I need some hero’s. (No one did) See. We are surrounded by these ideals that trans people need to be slim, able bodied, articulate, well polished and preferably white middle class. Where the fuck are my poor, working class, disabled trans folk. We are great in numbers and no one wants to show the real fucking lives of actual trans people. How are we even meant to get any rights when we are not even visible ? We need to get some better representation.
At this point I realised I has lost my entire place and couldn’t see my notes because I felt so dizzy.
I am going to have to cut this, but I need to say this first. We need to make trans activism inclusive of everyone that is trans. We need to get better representation of not only disabled trans people, but people of colour, sex workers and working class folk need a voice too. We are not the people you can throw under the bus to get your rights, we need rights too and it’s your job to make sure we have a platform at all stages of our transition regardless of our intersections.
Thank you for listening.