Before I came into Charing Cross Hospital this week for surgery, friends kept asking me, what now? Now that you've almost completed your journey, will you settle down, find a boyfriend and go stealth? I thought deeply about it and I feel that I'm coming to the only possible conclusion; I won't.
It is after midnight on the ward in hospital. I have made friends with four other beautiful trans women whose determination to be who they needed to be brought them here at the same time as myself. Don't delude yourself that having SRS is glamorous; it is full of bleeding, pain, anxiety, farts and constipation. Ask any Trans Woman who has been here and they'll tell the same story. We are not dealing with bravery here as you might find on the battlefield but with a deep commitment to what is right for them. You have only to listen to the stories of last racing thoughts before anesthesia kicks in, to realize that these are extraordinary individuals who simply want to be themselves.
If I have learned anything here from Tabitha, Faye and the two lovely Rachels, it is that being Trans is about being respected for who you are and without insulting and intimidating remarks. Whether you 'pass' or not is irrelevant. There will be days for all of us when our lack of makeup, our voices, our large shoes or our choice of clothes, give us away. Passing and Stealth however should not be the criteria by which society judges us, indeed, we should not be judged at all. Going Stealth seems to me like buying in to what society deems to be 'acceptable trans sexuality'.
I don't buy it. I will stand by my sisters whoever they may be and fight for that right to be accepted by EVERYONE without jokes or sniggering, backward glances and knowing winks. I will continue to write, perform and sing and willingly identify myself as who I am, out and proud!
Jane Ward xox