Tuesday, 15 March 2011


There is something I have grown to accept during the stages of my transition and this was especially highlighted last week when I went to the bank.
This is a classic scenario of someone trying not to offend but makes comment after comment that makes you (and the person) feel as if you are crash test dummies.

I had a personal banker who I genuinely believe was coming from a good place and was trying not to be offensive but ended up having foot-in-mouth syndrome throughout my discussion with her.

I was in the bank to change over my name on my bank account and to have everything changed over to ‘Mr’ too.  At first it seemed straightforward but soon, I felt it became apparent that she wasn’t used to encountering people who have different genders.

Without meaning to sound too rude I think a same sex joint bank account was something she was used to in terms of having an ‘exotic’ demand placed upon her.  Still I don’t feel angry per se, but I feel a little strange.  Well I did, then I felt annoyed then I just feel a weird neutral sort of feeling.

She asked me if I had received counselling, as well as asking how my family were about it and again commented that “I think counselling is important”.  She also asked if my friends still speak to me and then my favourite moment “I haven’t had one like you in a while.”

I could almost smell the expiry date of when she last had diversity training.  It wasn’t as sour as milk gone bad so that was a slight relief. Still there are people like this and to be fair to her people like me aren’t who she encounters regularly and she didn’t know what to do.

I got a new bank card in two days which for me was a result, she changed my gender too on my bank records so that too was what I wanted. I did make her blush at one point though but I felt I had to have some kicks of my own. Also I didn’t feel upset by her as I know that there are people out there who don’t understand.

Many people do comfortably live in the gender they are born with. Or they comply with it.

Then there are people who challenge that and choose to live in the identities that is right for them.  I don’t expect people to understand, and I know there will be times that I have to challenge but a lot of understanding where people are concerned does seem to stem from what is their reality and how can they relate to something.

Present anyone with something unfamiliar and they are sometimes in a position of not knowing how to behave or what is right or wrong for a situation.  I am by no means excusing the behaviour but I think it’s important that I keep a sense of perspective. I don’t understand a lot of things about life and people.

For example, there are those who will deliberately do things to others that they know will hurt and upset them.  As there are people who try and justify their shitty behaviour all the time but never work on it.

These traits baffle me. As how I see it is if you know something is wrong or will cause problems or drama then why do it? Especially if it’s for kicks. I haven’t got a lot of time or patience for people who continually cause the same shit for themselves and others over and over again and never seek to rectify that.

Still such is life.

I don’t expect people to understand me automatically either.  But at the same time I don’t feel that I have to try and ‘prove’ myself to be something that makes them more comfortable either.

I have worked hard on becoming the person I want to be and for that I think it’s important that everything we do is worked on.  Happiness isn’t just something that automatically happens, we have to find ways in ourselves to be positive and to create happiness around us. I say this as I am someone who has had clinical depression for many years.

I have learned that there are ways in which we can do things that make a more positive base not just for ourselves but for people that are around us as well. It does take hard work, but I feel it is worth it.

I would much rather feel a life that is warm and full of love than feeling that life is hopeless and that I wake up every morning wishing I was dead.

I can have very bleak thoughts if I let myself slip into it or if I don’t deal with something effectively. Like everyone I have my triggers and I know what will and won’t set me off but again I seek to manage that.

I’m by no means perfect, but I like to stick to certain principles I hold.

Boundaries are important to me, keeping them and respecting them.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Mistaken Identity

I had a slightly sticky situation on my hands on Wednesday night, and had I missed a performance I was due to see with E then I think I would have had a very original excuse.  "Sorry Darling, I was late because I was accused of molesting someone on a tube platform and had no reception so couldn't call you". It would have been something along those lines.

I was stood on the platform when I had my arm grabbed and a woman was shouting at me telling me to take my hands off her. Within this someone to her other side did scuttle off and it people around me gave me very dirty looks. I was feeling slightly confused and I think a few survival instincts popped in.

To be accused of touching someone inappropriately or even sexually isn't an easy one.  So with my response to her I lied slightly.  I told her that I hadn't touched her and that I was a gay man. She calmed down quite quickly and when someone brought over a station porter who was asking her if she wanted to call the police she said no.  She did apologise too as she realised that the side of her I was stood on meant that it wasn't me and also (this is what she said to the station bloke) "he's gay".

Now my reasoning for telling her I was gay?  I wanted to get on a train as quickly as possible, I had a date with E and I didn't want to end up being horribly late for. I also wanted to make it clear to the woman that there was no way that I would be interested in her. 

Being male and getting accused of something like that is potentially tricky. Therefore to make things feel safe again for her I wanted her to feel reassured that I wouldn't be interested.

As for the chap that did touch her, I really hope his hands fall off.  It is possible that he could have also been trying to pick her pocket, but it sounded like he was doing something inappropriate given her reaction.

It really angers me that people will behave like that.  In Lisbon there were slimeballs on the tube there as well. Men really shouldn't behave like this or have it drilled into them that this isn't the way to behave towards women or anyone.

It was also ironic that this happened to me given that I am very respectful towards women and one thing I am borderline obsessed with is boundaries. I cannot stand the ways in which people will try and justify being selfish or acting in a 'free-for-all' manner where certain things are concerned. It is important to always consider how someone else feels or what consequences our actions will entail.

I have found that in some circles where it is all about boundaries and negotiation is where I do see some things getting blurry and in certain cases seeing people acting the most immature. From having various conversations though with people I do admire and do respect it seems that some people like to try and push that, or try and push their own agenda where possible.

Interestingly this is what seems to happen when something has a sexual element. When people feel horny or attracted to someone I think it's about not being able to convey their desire in the way they might have hoped.  I'll admit that I am clumsy and not always the best at trying to convey what I would like sometimes or have done things in ways that has felt like a demand to another.  Ultimately desire works both ways and we can't force or make people 'give' us what we want if they don't feel like it.  Otherwise it is a battle, and the lines around being aggressive and assertive can become a little bit hazy.

Ultimately people do have self control and all this bullshit I see sometimes where people try and pretend that things have happened accidentally is beneath me.

People touching people is a conscious thing. Either it is wanted or it is not wanted.

There has to be consent.

I am a little angry about what happened as I could have been in quite a sticky position because of the actions of someone else who didn't respect the woman or respect boundaries.

It's massively out of line and I am glad that she did make a loud fuss about what was happening.  It's just a shame she got the wrong person. 

Wednesday, 2 March 2011


I am sometimes so gobsmacked as to how life is literally full of many mysteries and how we find ourselves morphing and changing.

In effect it's as if we are all in some state of transition. I've always been happy to see where we end up in life and how we feel about things.  To put it into something that might make sense, we never stop changing.  If you think about where you were at a year ago compared to where you're at now there will always be something different to consider and remember.

A very good friend of mine is due to give birth any second now and I remember this time last year hoping that she would be and she is.  I love it when people are making their own dreams happen and embracing a life that they want to have.

Same applies for being who you want to be.  Just because we might have been born into a biological identity that wasn't our own it doesn't stop us from breaking out of that and making steps to become the people we want to be.

It's not easy, and it's scary but not every path in life will be paved with gold. 

I have been lucky to spend time with someone I know called B. He is amazing. When I met him last year in Athens I found that talking to him was a pleasure (as was taking photographs of him) but what I liked was that he is so bold and upfront about who he is and he doesn't have a fear about giving in to other people's judgements and bullshit.

I find him a delight to converse with and am pleased to have spent time with him whilst he has been here in London. In a strange way, just like last year I found that being around him and speaking with me, seemed to shift something inside of me which made me feel a lot more confident about making steps forward with my transition.

I am happy I am doing everything at the pace I am doing so.  I think last year if I would have changed my name and started intensely wanting to push things forward with regards to Charing Cross I think I would have gone into meltdown.

2010 was a interesting year in terms of how my emotions changed and how much I changed.  I definitely needed time to process everything taking place and even now I am still getting comfortable in the body I am in. I feel a lot stronger and a lot more confident than I did but this is because I feel I have had the time to assess what I really want and also to work through a few things.

I didn't realize how weird I would feel.  But now I do feel a strange almost inner 'zen' like state and I like it. Whatever has shifted in me has made me feel a strong sense of freedom.  I am closer to being the person both outside and inside that is Leng. It's the me I feel I am still getting to know.

I still think it was wise to do it in stages.

I don't have to prove anything to anyone or be at the same stage as others.  This is what I remind myself and suddenly in regard to any changes coming, things haven't felt half as scary. But this is what has worked for me.  Everyone's experience and way of doing things is different and will be different. This is the joy of it all.  Certain experiences will be collectively shared yet will be individually ventured.