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It's never too late


The other day, the question got asked on Twitter: "Did anyone else find the Monty Python's Lumberjack song..... problematic?" The question got me thinking about media, trans representation, and what it was like as a child of the 70s and being trans.

So, to answer the question, yes I did find the song problematic on a number of fronts. As a Canadian, just the general stereotype was a bit ugh, but couple that with the notion of trans dressing up, hanging in bars, luring the unwary... Yeah, not a good feeling.

The thing is, when you're really struggling to get a handle on what is going on inside, there are very few places to turn. In the 70s and 80s, there was nothing except what we had in front of us, TV and movies where the portrayal of trans people was for the purpose of a laugh. We were a joke, fodder for the comedy shows. That's what I grew up seeing and internalizing for so long.  

This notion that we were, at best, a source of humour was very damaging to my sense of self then. I was generally introverted, had a very small group of friends. I read a lot, escaping into the worlds of fantasy and science fiction, had a special fondness for authors that used gender change and didn't make it a joke. I played RPGs, especially Dungeons & Dragons, and often ended up with female characters (rarely started that way, but I tended to grab a lot of belts in the loot for a reason). I nestled into worlds that were not ours, where I could imagine something different and be happy about it.

During that period, I did experiment in secret. I tried to make myself look more feminine, but I had no guide, and I went by what I thought worked. I wasn't very good at it, but I tried. My most favourite experience was Halloween, I think it was grade 12, when my cousin did the work. She was living with us, studying hairdressing and beautician, and she did a great job (80's makeup, but hey, that was then). My only regret is not shaving my legs, she really tried to convince me.

I went into more active suppression of myself after high school. I didn't really explore again until my late 20's and, by then, the Internet was becoming the thing. I was fortunate, I was in the business of ISPs in the early days and I got great opportunities to be at the dawn of the commercial Internet explosion. Back then, information was weak, but it was there, and it opened doors. I experimented, but allowed myself to be convinced that I wasn't really a woman, that I just enjoyed feminine things, but that was distinctly not true.

My egg truly broke in 2020 and just before turning 52, I started HRT. Media, TV and movies, still have a long way to go and bigots are emboldened, enabled on by media with an agenda, and yet we have made strides and there is more information and more interconnectedness in our community than ever before.

We'll continue to make strides. It's scary making this move, sure, but I'm here to tell you that it's never too late.


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