About Me – Katy Jon Went
I am a bibliophile, logophile, xenoglossophile, cibophile, oenophile, porphyrophile, asexual erotophile (not an oxymoron), and more besides, obviously including a philhellene philophile! I’ve studied at University and after: economics, statistics, computing, theology, archaeology, Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, Spanish and more, but really I’d say I just study anything of interest, excessively and passionately, totally believing in auto-erudition and education, an autodidaskalos.
I grew up barely sleeping and devouring a book a night, but due to not feeling like I fitted into any of life’s stereotyped options around gender, social behaviour or sexuality, I repressed my non-conformity until it burst out with a vengeance mid-life.
My upbringing was Christian – CofE, then evangelical, then charismatic fundamentalist (quite tame by American and African standards!). After University I did courses in Hebrew, theology, Arabic, archaeology to study the Bible in its cultural context, archaeological background, and original Hebrew and Greek languages and idioms. In the process, I dumped the selective literalism of evangelical fundamentalism and subsequently became agnostic though retained the healthy ethics of Christian love and Jewish joie de vivre – lechayim “to life in all its fullness”!
I have worked as a photographer, taught theology, written a Hebrew course, run a software company, worked in PR, do web/SEO/Social Media consultancy, and am very involved in the LGBTIQA+ activism world, educating and training on gender, sexuality, mental health awareness, and against all forms of stigma and prejudice, hate and human rights abuse.
I came to terms with both my sexuality and gender variance over recent years. When I was 21 some Christians tried to deliver me of being trans, and to repent of pan/bisexuality – which I now regard as the highest form of non-prejudiced gender-blind love. Neither prayer nor therapy could heal me, but coming out did, even if I was part-outed! If the truth is meant to set us free, then being true to my authentic self has freed me.
I was married to a psychiatrist and had a habit of subsequently dating therapists of all kinds! I have a lovely Dutch partner now and we raise a family of half-a-dozen cats.
I am writing about a dozen books, one may perhaps get finished! Subjects are as diverse as I am, e.g., Fifty Shades of Gender/Trans/Intersex; Hebrew Words and Philosophy; Manifesting & Marketing; Courage & Self-confidence, Not another Trans Autobiography; a guide to the Alphabet Soup of Gender and Sexual Diversity, and a bisexual dystopian futuristic novel with roots in the Greek past and present.
I love words, and when I say love, I mean I am addicted to long ones, old ones, new ones, filthy ones and I use way too many in every article, talk, gig and general conversation. What people don’t realise is that my racing mind means the very full output they hear or read is already me slowed down, 80% of what I think or want to say is already restrained, edited, held back.
I do quieten down briefly for my love of fine food, vintage Rioja, cooking, entertaining and pampering friends and house-guests. I do believe in a bit of benign decadent sybaritism – especially when shared with friends.
I spend my days mostly writing, reading several daily papers from across the political spectrum and international news websites, supporting gender non-conforming people, liaising with Police and public sector over LGBTIQ, invisible disabilities and other issues, and from Spring to Autumn – gardening and cooking. Like a rescued hedgehog I looked after, I spend most winters in hibernation.
I often speak at events and conferences usually on LGBTIQ, mental health and human rights topics, but I also do stand-up comedy, sometimes described as educational, dark and intelligent with lots of long words and innuendo.
I love foreign movies especially Pedro Almodovar Spanish ones, Scandinavian dramas like Borgen and The Bridge, films about gender non-conformity or ones that pass the Bechdel test and contain real female roles, or future dystopias, vampires (True Blood etc), fantasy (e.g., Game of Thrones) and Sci-Fi (Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, Blakes 7…).
In 2012 I had a 25 minute film documentary made about me by two wonderful visual anthropologists. Called “What Katy Did” (15) it was shown at World Pride Film Festival, Cardiff Iris Prize Festival, Zürich Regard Bleu Festival and Norwich Cinema City. It can be seen online here, along with a short Doctor Who based film made in a morning.
I speak half a dozen languages to basic levels, Spanish reasonably well – having lived there for 2 years and have studied even more besides from Hieroglyphs to Swahili, although about all I can remember in the latter is jambo, hakuna matata, and panya kubwa “big rat”.
I’ve travelled extensively in the Middle East, Egypt & Kenya, as well as Europe and the US – I’d still love to visit India, Japan, China, Cambodia, Scandinavia and Ireland – mainly the library at Trinity College, Dublin!
I garden, eat ethically and healthily but omnivorously, much home grown in the large Victorian vegetable garden, fruit orchard and surrounding woods full of wild mushrooms where I live in semi-rural Norfolk, UK.
I play guitar and piano (Bach, Beethoven and Scott Joplin mainly), once played the violin rather badly, and studied music theory, harmony and composition to Grade 8.
I love life and being who I am – it is the only route to happiness, and believe me I’ve tried the alternatives – denial, repression, depression, suicide. I still suffer from insomnia at times, bipolar mood swings, eclectic OCD house, cluttered thoughts and speech, but I’ve learned to celebrate and enjoy the highs and be self-aware and mindful during the lows.