Tag Archives: New Me

Happy New Year – From TwentyTeens to Twenties, a Decade of Change (part II)

This is part two of my last decade’s reflections on self and society, mainly the former, but ‘who I am’ resides in a gender constructed society too, and that has been my journey working out how to be me, whoever that is, in a world that gives me just two boxes, neither of which fit. I’ve written nearly half-a-million words in my diary the last ten years, it’s been a rough but rewarding ride and I’m re-reading them all, selecting what stands out, to see how I feel now. Part One can be read here. This was meant to be the next five years but instead, it’s just 2015, the year of shock Tory election win, the year before Brexit, the year before my op. Terrorism, gender dysphoria, mental health, PIP, CBT, squirrels, dreams, death (not my own), language, poetry, orchids and Doctor Who.

Diary entries – 2015

Katy Jon Went, playing Doctor Who, 2015New Year is marred by the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices massacre. Whatever one’s beliefs about their satirical output, freedom of speech is vital. #JeSuisCharlie rises in response and millions gather in Paris and across France in mourning and protest. Even in Norwich, French nationals and locals numbering some 200 gathered at a vigil

Had a fabulous time, apart from the early start, scriptwriting from scratch under pressure and filming with BBC Voices in the TARDIS and green screen, playing Doctor Who, with Esther as my assistant, encountering a future version of Earth without stigma or discrimination for Time to Change. I took Jelly babies on set as a homage to Tom Baker. My regeneration was more of a transformation!

At One Billion Rising event, chatted to a friend who said “I don’t think I have ever covered so many topics of conversation in the space of about 10 mins in my life before” – try being inside my head!

Great fun being an atypical speaker at a school sixth form during LGBT History Month and doing an alphabet soup sex and gender ed talk. Perhaps my own current label bio might read along these lines: Greysexual, Pomomental, Metasexual, Sapiosexual, Emosexual (I get aroused when people cry!), Agnostigender, Polysensual, Gynephile, Androappreciative, Biflirty! I love how young MOGAI folk are moving beyond LGBT to hundreds of ever-evolving identity reflections. 

Our regular Gender and Sexuality (GAS) group met to discuss Feminist no-platforming, SWERFS, TERFS & biological sex essentialism – a topic that was only going to get more toxic in coming months. So-called ‘TERF’ wars kicking off online – a turf war between sex and gender and their intersection.

We launched non-binary east anglia online as a support and information group. Did not anticipate its growth and how many younger trans people are more inclined to non-binary identities and semi-transitions. I’m certainly drawn to the human (h)interland.

Sleep all over the place and having bonkers dreams that I can’t decipher the origins of. For instance, this one, an odd dream, seemingly in Colchester in a conference centre needing to find a loo, there was a queue and then a girl in front says come in with me and it’s a double loo with heated seats so we co-share. Ending up, in the dream, going back in to get a coat I’d left there, after it was shut, and girl accompanies me, opens up, cries, I get aroused, console, then out of nowhere her kid appears and they both notice my arousal which I apologetically say that never happens on HRT (except when girls cry – now what’s the Greek for tears?) next her estranged boyfriend/child’s father shows up to get kid. I explain to her my current asexuality and sort of fudge description of my existing relationship. Meantime I start tidying stuff, that wasn’t there – tools, clothes, boxes and emerge from loo with not just my left behind coat but boxes of tidied stuff. Come out to my partner in the car park and try to explain I only went in for my coat and why it’s several hours later and I’ve loads more stuff with me! I tell Esther the dream and she says I should have gone for it with her, I said not with the kid and the father in the toilet too! My mind would have a field day with Freud and Jung.

Next day, on the loo, I come up with a dystopian novel plot set in futuristic post-austerity Greece with an opening chapter set at a modern bisexual Socratic dinner party akin to Plato’s Symposium and the ascending ladder of sex, love and beauty. I’ve always been drawn to the aesthetic and sapiosexual side of love rather than the act of sex which I’ve mostly found painful and an anticlimax even with the best partners, contexts and deepest longing and loving. I’m increasingly comfortable with being asexual and suspect it will continue post-op, if I go through with it.

Spend the week draining most of emo-psych energy worrying about forthcoming car MOT and how I’ll afford it, expending huge effort not to spend, to save enough for any car bills. In the end, my reliable 8yo Zafira passes with no costs – the two broken tail-lights held together with sellotape passed. The whole process and worry exhausted me, so I spent the afternoon and early evening sleeping to recover! People without mood disorders don’t realise the energy required sometimes just to hold it together – like my sellotaped lights, exercise self-restraint and save for bills like this. And by people I mean my psychiatrist!

Next, it was my turn for an MOT, with my lovely GP surgery which feels more like an audience for my bipolar comedy routines. Apparently, I do entertain them, brighten up their day, especially after other patients show up late, or complain a lot. So lovely phlebo-nurse says I’ve shrunk, put on weight, and my bad cholesterol has been very naughty, but my daily drinking habits are fine – something with which my psychiatrist would strongly disagree, and did! 20 units of rioja and 10 of whisky on bad sleep weeks. So I am now 12 stone 1, but 11 stone 11 with my boots off, less once I’d stripped more layers off, anyway we compromised and agreed to put 11 stone 7 in the notes, after all, breasts must weigh something!

Amnesty Campaign Against Torture UEAGetting busy on the talks front speaking at UEA for Amnesty on human rights and torture and at Aviva on gender and mental health this week. Who would have thought that this scared of public speaking kid would ever be talking or teaching in front of others.

Bipolar moods mean that when I’m up I’m on top of the world and also in a world of my own where little affects me. When I’m down, I’m like a flat balloon where every comment punctures and deflates me further, I feel everything, with the world that I’m usually on top of, instead, weighing me down, sitting on my shoulders, like a weary muscle-worn Atlas.

Had tea with my ex-vicar of 5 years ago, and we discussed how I felt about trans op possibility (he was also a psych nurse). He ended up saying I should write a book.

Financial stress, internal politics at a work project making me feel like no longer being involved – wrote an angry email but did not send. I’m anxious about my op too and appropriately taking cats in for neutering, stressful in itself. Not feeling like waking up tomorrow. Outside vicious 50mph winds ripped the felt off the shed roof. 

Did 4 hours DIY and clearing today. It has taken me 5 years to get round to rebuilding some shelves, only this time with estrogen I swear they took twice as long, I screwed in all the wrong places, assembled them upside down, and ended up one leg short!

Katy Jon Went, 2015To op or not to op? Part of me wants to just get it out the way, I’m 48 and still have persistent dysphoria, so not a passing fad, Over 40 years of feeling this way, nearly 10 years of living as Katy but avoiding the more drastic physical options. I’m quite happy some of the time as genderqueer non-binary and am quite realistic that an operation won’t make me fully female, yet society makes being in between even harder than being traditionally binary transgender, so it feels like having to opt for one or the other and meantime juggling the endocrinology-bipolar-energy issues.

It’s 70 years today since the liberation of Bergen Belsen, another example of man’s inhumanity to man and what happens when you scapegoat an entire – or rather several – people groups, dehumanise, persecute, incarcerate and attempt to wipe them out. It is 33 years since I visited Belsen as a 15-year-old, the same age as Anne Frank who died there just months before its liberation. It left indelible memories on me and a life-long belief in human rights for all people.

Reflecting that it’s 1095 days since my last suicide attempt, feels like Suicides Anonymous Recognising that one is only a dashed moment away from mental health relapse gives my wellbeing a dose of respect and regular reality check. 

In May, Esther finds a new place to live and moves out. Initially, a shock and many including my mum think that we’ve broken up. Instead, it actually feels fine and liberating to have my space back and to still be in a relationship yet each of us able to express ourselves and our environment the way we like.

Election day and apparently, you can vote in your pyjamas, whilst drunk, or high – mental incapacity of any kind does not lose you your right to vote, being in prison does. 

As usual, I stay up all night to follow the results. 

Tory majority of 10. How? All three other male leaders resign. Women leaders of minority parties all stay – after all they improved their vote share. LibDems lost 15% and Scottish Labour was reduced to a single seat, losing 40 of its 41 seats to the SNP, Labour gained in London but not enough to balance losses elsewhere. I suspect we will have a Tory government for some time to come and the LibDems will be tarnished by being in coalition, also for years to come.

Katy Jon Went, Some People Are Trans Get Over It, 2015Charing Cross GIC appointment and endocrine with Dr Leighton Seal, breast exam, genital exam including rather oddly a testicle sizing with a cross between what looked like prayer beads or anal beads, like a ring sizer! Was told breasts were well above average development and C going on D. Not sure what letter size my soon to be ex-balls were!

Cooked a rather extravagant and fabulous 5-course Italian “Mum Dine With Me” meal for my mum’s 80th birthday. An age that I doubt I’ll ever make or want to.

Collected and kicked out over a hundred slugs during late-night slug and snail patrol around the raised veg beds. Aided and abetted by cats clambering on my back as I bent down to scoop up the slimy invaders and other kittens trying to knock over my collecting jar!

Got involved in mediating a mental health intervention and advocating for a friend in trouble at local Uni. Exhausting but a revelation to support and witness another bipolar/BPD sufferer and realise how I sometimes come across to people, ie space invading, intense, hyper, racing, loud, forceful. It’s tough being me or around me sometimes and I appreciate those that understand me.

Dreamt I woke up in bed with a topless Barack Obama! Now, what’s that about?

GKaty Jon Went, NHS magazine photoshoot, 2015et interviewed in NHS magazine about my transition.

Begin regular Wellbeing support meetings with excellent mental health staff helping to ground me. Also, start CBT sessions – shame you only get 6. 

Go to the dentist for the first time in fifteen years – terrifying and lucky I didn’t leave it any longer as gums were beginning to get seriously damaged. Hadn’t been able to afford it but now I’m on part benefits I can get free NHS dentist. Fortunately, the dentist is female, friendly and foreign, my favourite trio. 

Life is and has been hard for 10 years and despite the downs and dark days, I am simultaneously at my happiest…But need to end this chapter of indecision and move forward…Because I’m stuck. In no man’s land … literally… Neither one thing or the other…Can’t swim or beach as still a half-and-half entity that doesn’t feel a whole…My bits don’t function have always been anorgasmic and get aroused by touch, empathy, intelligence during dinner and not in bed, lol…So just want rid really of something that’s non-functional. Surgery probably won’t correct the feelings in my head but it will stop the debate in my head and end a chapter that I really want to be closed so that I can live my 50s rather than be on constant pause as my 40s have been.

I’ve taken up drawing again and find guitar, music, reading, gardening, cooking, photography and writing settle and calm my mood better than any pills I’ve ever been prescribed.

Hosted a party at mine but then crashed mentally, a friend took over the food, Esther introvertly hid, and my only calm point was playing the guitar on weed.

Did a Human Library for dozens of 15yo pupils at a school in Acle and it topped the day. Their questions, and reflections on us as books and how honest and open we were without taking offence, was, well, how ‘light touch’ rather than ‘over-examined’ education should be.

Few people go out to dinner and end up discussing Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Malay, Nabatean, Linear B, Dutch, Italian, Cuneiform and Hieroglyph! But thanks to Esther, Alison, Ng and his family – we did.

Transgender talk at Norwich Pride, photo by Matt DartfordPride again and thousands attend. Also, did a trans diversity and growth talk with Christian opposition in attendance and a politics panel, sharing the stage with Lady Phyll and Clive Lewis MP.

My series of CBT sessions is ending and I’m trying to work out how I will self-manage going forward. Write myself a SANITY acrostic:

S – Self-acceptance/self-love
A – Authenticity, being yourself
N – Natural/your ‘normal’ state/neurodiverse/nurturing self
I – Integrated & intact/holistic wholeness
T – Treasuring your voyage, travelling YOUR journey
Y – You-nique, enjoy being one-of-a-kind, not one-of-a-crowd

I can be MAD, BAD and SAD (a trio of affective disorders) but I can also be glad but rarely trad and who I am is no fad!

My neighbour and friend, CJ, and partner of Linda Bellos dies of cancer after years of pain and survival. For all Linda’s criticism of gender and our fiery but friendly discussions, they have both respected and supported me through my transition and I will miss CJ’s kindness, humour and big Irish heart immensely.

I’m in a good place right now but I’m continually reflective on the times when I’m not. I’m also acutely aware of how I can be overwhelming, or lack a filter, and how hard that is to self-control. Yet the same energy also makes me hyper-productive and creative, it just comes with a side effect of inappropriate! I’m not dissing the meds I could be on, I just found they numbed me, and I was more at risk on them than off them. I’ve battled 3 years off them and have been the better for it. But getting human health support has been a struggle all the psychs want to give out is pills for my ills, not talk for my walk!

Meanwhile, my self-comforting OCDs get crazier. I now order my books by colour and size and have recently taken to only reading books that match my outfit or room colour!

Get community mental health help filling in a PIP application, an exhausting process I couldn’t do on my own.

I know I’m ever so slightly nuts but I think I am a metahuman hybrid – crossed with a red squirrel, yes red not grey – I am an endangered scarce breed, indeed I am unique – the human squirrel. I have just beaten Bonnie and Clyde, the resident garden grey squirrels, to the walnut tree harvest this year, they started on it yesterday. Today, I crawled along branches, climbed ladders, and harvested 480 walnuts (I counted them) – and there’s still the same number left in the tree. Over the next week, I collected another 1900 more, also hand-counted. Found that I can make walnut ink from the husks, garden paths from the broken shells, and could actually eat the walnuts, if only I liked them!

National Poetry Day and I attempt only my second poem in 30 years, it is pretentious and certainly doesn’t scan, called ‘First Light’ I enjoyed the creative distraction and process of writing, even if not the resulting form:

Night’s obsidian obscurity
draped in its sable cloak
As a necromancer’s nefarious
theft of yesterday’s sun

The dark Cimmerian conspiracy
Inconsistently lunar lit
Stolen illustrious illumination
Swift to flight, slow to return

Just as Stygian stealth enveloped
Sun’s setting the night before
Swirling caliginous clouds obfuscate
And bury its subdued disc

Sleep inconveniently intervenes
Sending all to slumber
Except the stars that puncture
Night’s indistinct ink

Yet dawn’s crepuscular creep
First blush of orange and pink
Painting pastel perimeters
Drawing forth pre-dawn

Light leaks, dispels darkness
Night’s mourning veil withdraws
Dawn declares its intent
A new canvas is prepared

Twilight tweets its birth
Nature’s nests peep forth
Panes of windows warm
Rivulets of moisture drip

Aurora invokes sleepy sunrise
Calls to creation’s creatures
Awake, shake off the night
Day’s divine design awaits

Speak at and attend a demo with local Muslims and Quakers among others including a veteran Labour MP opposing the bombing of Syria

Wow, NHS Charing Cross GIC rang me offering a transfer to Mr Bellringer at Parkside for private surgery. The surgery would be in a couple of months, not a couple of years. The offer is being made to only longest-standing/waiting patients. Shocked, pleased, petrified now. What do I say/do? I asked what the difference would be, apart from the timescale, they said better food! That’s enough for me.

SHIT Trans Op date is 6 Feb 2016!!!!
Crumbs, cripes, Holy crap Batman, Parkside ring up with my health roadmap for the next few weeks and months mapped out and all on dates I can make – no excuses! No turning back.

Psych appointment with a quiet unassuming Doctor who, after 75 mins, had me down as bipolar II with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – so now I’m MAD, BAD, SAD, and GAD!

Pre-op GIC appointment with Mr Bellringer and the wonderful nurse Iffy, they totally relaxed me with their own humour and hugs. Esther offered herself as a model upon which to make my post-penectomy and orchidectomy labia, Mr Bellringer said with wicked seriousness and humour “I have to work with the available material”. Thanks mate!

Always found it odd that the most beautiful of flowers – the orchid with four times as many varieties as mammals on the earth, is so called because of its ugly testicular root tuber! Greek ὄρχις orchis means “testicle”. Happy to go ahead with a conversion from testicles to flower though! I’m always rescuing forlorn garden centre orchids and nursing them back to beauty on my bedroom windowsill.

Now onto the 6 weeks of pre-op HRT withdrawal.

Diary entries – 2009-14, 2016-19

Part I is here. Obviously, a part III is needed as 2015 was full-on and 2016 was significant. I write some 25,000-75,000 words a year in my diary and this was a thin year word-count wise but I hope the selections above offer an insight into the madness, melancholia,  mayhem and musings that are me.

Happy New Year – From Teens to Twenties, a Decade of Change (part I)

Everyone from Spotify to the Trainline is wrapping up our year or decade in music or travel. The biggest gifts to myself that I unwrapped over the last decade were my transition(s) and life purpose/career reboot(s). All the while managing mental health which included suicide attempts, eviction notices, near death-by-debt, and ever-growing physical back pain and arthritis. So as we go from the twenty-teens to twenties I’m reflecting on a decade of change – mine and society’s. (Skip the social commentary and jump to my personal diary entries if you prefer)

Nine Faces of Me 2010-2019
Nine Faces of Me 2010-2019

Politically, nothing seems to have changed – indeed, Change UK a new political party lasted all of 10 months. 2010 brought us a Tory coalition and 2020 brings us a Tory landslide – or rather mudslide as it seems as if we’ll sadly slip more into the mire of a Dickensian depression (socio-economic and/or mental health) for many and little England populist nationalism for others.

Internationally, though we are leaving the EU at a time when more of our European neighbours than a decade ago are living and working here, propping up our NHS, social care, agriculture, and hospitality sectors. Many have made their lives, relationships, and families here. Over the last decade, I have gained a Dutch partner having begun the decade with an American one. 

But, always look on the bright side, I can now Netflix and chill (in the asexual sense) since it launched in the UK in 2012, stream music via Spotify, take photos on a phone to rival a camera and yet my average internet speed is barely better than 10 years ago! Some things have stood still in the countryside creating a digital divide between city and county. In 2010, BT Openreach launched ADSL2+ with up to 20Mbps speeds, I managed 2.4Mbps back then rising to 9Mbps with fibre in 2015 but now averaging 3-5Mbps as the service has deteriorated and I’m part of the unreachable left behind 2% rather than the 10% who can now get 1000Mbps+.

Human rights wise, we gained the Equality Act in 2010, same-sex marriage in 2014 and civil partnership equality on the last day of 2019! The fear among many is that LGBT+ rights may go backwards if the UK under a more right wing pro-Brexit Conservative government emulates US Republican reversals of liberal social diversity.

Technology, society and politics aside, I’m more interested in my personal and psychological changes or dramas, my partner calls me a “drama queer”! I’ve been in therapy at least twice in the last decade and stopped dating therapists (those I wasn’t seeing professionally)! In terms of the dating game, I’ve gone from doubtful male heterosexual divorcee to confirmed trans non-binary asexual open relationship. 

Looking over my diary for the last decade has been illuminating and encouraging, having navigated its more depressing chapters. I’m closing in on 53 but my 40s and 50s have been more frightening and fulfilling than any other decade of my life. I now live a life that I’m happy to still be living and not a suicide statistic, though I must have exhausted and exasperated my partners and therapists!

Diary entries – 2009

Katy Jon Went, 2009, Orr, CaliforniaNever been more tired, in debt, sleepless, inundated, buried, yet happy to be myself – who am I? The question at the nub of spirituality, philosophy & therapy.

Joined the Norwich Pride collective ahead of our city’s first Pride.

Delivery man called me Mr Went then said his wife would die for my nails, all the time I was standing there in a pink robe. 

Decree Nisi came through. Fifteen years marriage to a Christian psychiatrist over. 

Started seeing transgender GP specialist Dr Richard Curtis at Transhealth.

Changed my name by deed poll to Katy Jon Went. Felt right and that including ‘Jon’ was transparently genuine and historically accurate.

Got dumped by email. First girlfriend post-divorce. Feel like a teenager! Taught me to risk again though. 

My dad thinks I should get testosterone injections not oestrogen patches. To “man up”.

Someone asked me what I was more afraid of, the gender change surgery or scuba diving … I said scuba, the answer is telling!

Went to San Francisco to do a sex and relationships workshop. Met a girl. Fell in love. First time at 42 years of age I ever made the first move on a girl after spending the whole weekend being afraid of her beauty and aura.

Previous partner becomes abusive and malicious creating false criminal accusations. Police get involved. Scary stuff. Traumatic. Mum backs me but dad says no smoke without fire.

Proposed to American girlfriend in a heart-shaped pool at a hot spring, got a yes!

So tired on the way home from delivering a foreign nationals diversity and language training at a Yorkshire prison that I slept for an hour in the car (in a layby) and nearly veered into the path of a lorry – which got me thinking as after I wished I’d just died…I still wish for the burden of the gender dilemma to disappear, to take away the pain of never being one or the other, of never being happy, without removing the happiness I do get from my increased genderfree expression. Even hormones seem an irreversible decision that would affect not only me but my relationship. I need to talk, to find the ever elusive answers, the people that open me when discussing how I feel are my US girlfriend and a trans man I met over there. How to have these conversations and not burden them with my thoughts and true internal despair. I feel I have to choose between love and gender and cannot have both.

The sun is out and it feels like the darkest day of my life, with suicidal yet manageable feelings twice in a week, absolute unremitting sadness about unsolvable gender and unrealisable relationship and financial/legal pressures…it is too much but I won’t kill myself, but what will I do, I don’t know…

I’m a jumper, diving in and examining myself from within a relationship or situation rather than deliberating at the edge and never doing anything. Yet on gender, I’m always on the cliffedge too afraid to jump and overexamining my options.

A US trans man friend of my partner said they felt like I had the energy, essence and mind of another FTM ie a woman becoming a man,  it’s like there’s a man inside my girl inside my guy. A Russian doll of a guylemma. 

Many of my new friends have only known me as Katy and they are 100% convinced I am fully female stuck in a male body … I am not … there lies the dilemma. When they call me woman, female, I close up, when they call me girl, feminine, or female essenced/energied I open up, but I still find guy and male energied also true though words like man and masculine not, I find male a neutral term. I guess I feel majority female essenced with a significant residue of male energy and mixed mind, something that I want to honour and be honest with, it doesn’t make me male or female, man or woman, it makes me me with no box to live in and a discomfort for me in conforming and that may lead to embarrassment for others but like Spike Milligan said I can only be myself all the others are taken.

Feeling my loneliness, crying wanting to dial back the clock and start over as a child and just be more honest about my loneliness and gender stuff rather than just being brave. I want to wrestle, argue, be tickled, smile, anything to force my face and body out of gloom since being depressed is perversely and paradoxically an effort and an emotional muscle held taught that needs to relax and break out into a smile.

I have both been male to suppress my female feelings and been female to avoid being the male I hate, or the hatred of men and their hardness, their unfeeling, their bullying, their insensitivity. If gender is a construct, what am I? A freemale or female?

I’ve had a strange 3 days: gay Wednesday, guy Thursday, girlie Friday!

My and Norwich’s first Pride was awesome, free, diverse and 5x bigger than anyone expected. Went to 3 after parties, had people come on to me, and nobody gave a fuck about where I was at with my gender, I was just Katy to them. 

Went to my first Human Library, took out a Transgender Book.

Diary entries – 2010

Katy Jon Went, 2010, Forum, NorwichExploring bisexuality whilst dithering over gender. Not sure about either!

Broke up amiably after a year with US fiancee realising despite our love our lives had different directions and my gender decisions were still an unknown dimension. She taught and challenged me loads on authenticity and knowing what I want. (In 2019 I got to revisit her)

Starting doing guest slots on Future Radio.

Became a book at a Human Library – title “Ex-Missionary”!

A year of open relationships and cuddle buddies. 

Started taking hormones. Felt like finally having the right fuel in the tank! Wonder if I can get away with hormones only to defeat my gender dysphoria?

Dumped the makeup and heels and fell in love with Dr Martens. Get regularly told by other trans people that I’m letting the side down, not making enough effort to be feminine! I prefer the company of trans men, drag kings and butch lesbians. Not sure who I’m attracted to or who I identify as.

Diary entries – 2011

Katy Jon Went, 2011, Pride, NorwichExplored BDSM from the other side of the equation (having done submission in 2009). Psychologically interesting. 

Fell in love with someone. Complex and complicated situation. Continued loving others too. Love isn’t always logical nor exclusive. Can’t decide whether I’m polyamorous or monogamous, needy or giver, a dreamer or a realist in relationships.

Tried stand-up comedy. Scarier than coming out!

Joined the Muff Scouts – not just full of butches but for women of all types and origins!

Winter exacerbating low mood and prescribed Tamezepan which I add to my Valerian solutions to sleep deprivation.

Christmas is the focal point for family/trans/marriage stress memories and repeats, not to mention financial anxiety and present pressure, mixed up misgendering from the extended family. Mum is a valiant supporter who although finds it difficult is determined to learn and be loyal and loving.

Diary entries – 2012

Katy Jon Went, 2012Paradoxically under all the financial stress, depression, insomnia, dysphoria I am actually content and happy, just can’t change some things so trying to learn the grace to accept those I can’t and those I refuse to accept to remain stubbornly optimistic in the face of overwhelming odds! 2012 resolution is to write, read and laugh more.

Falling months behind on rent.

Get documentary made about me and my transition including go-ahead from Dr Curtis to join surgery waiting list – despite being not entirely sure I wanted it. 

Feeling suicidal, mainly money worries and exhaustion re sheer daily survival but also relationships, gender, family acceptance and chronic insomnia. Also losing my faith (in God).

Intelligent stimulation is sometimes the only thing that keeps me going, I wouldn’t be without my emotions either, but my mind – thoughts and feelings, constantly tugging at each other like Plato’s passion and reason paired horses of a chariot and Jung/Klein’s (rather than Freud’s) id/superego trying to manage them. My head is like a constant boardroom meeting during a semi-hostile takeover/merger … it’s vigorous (in its true etymological sense), never boring and sometimes entertaining to watch!

Was told by my psychiatrist that I was the most reluctant transsexual he’d ever met!

Attempted suicide by pills through bawling tears – was interrupted by a friend and neighbour in the early hours and survived. Looked after and fed lasagna comfort food by friends and lovers.

Got referral to community psych team and so begins the journey to mental wellness as well as gender transition.

Realised my faith in religion and possibly God is fully gone.

Adopted a hedgehog orphan.

Break up with unavailable relationship.

Meet Esther at Hostry Festival and begin platonic and then not so platonic relationship.

Take part in massive counter-EDL protest in Norwich.

Diary entries – 2013

Katy Jon Went & Dr Martens, 2013Determine to do more activism, speaking and writing and wind down the software business particularly now Google gives away for free what I used to sell. The world is changing and I can’t keep up.

Esther and I contemplate whether I should have surgery. Esther is content either way but says “do you know a pussy would suit you”! Never sure in my house whether that means a cat on the lap, or pussy between the legs!

Finally, diagnosed with Bipolar (well Cyclothymia at first, later upgraded in 2014 to first persistent MADness and then full type II BADass) after a decade of mixed depression and rapid cycling hypomanic mood swings. Began a mood map daily diary, also charting insomnia, which I’ve kept for 7 years now and has been effective at managing or at least mitigating Bipolar off meds.

With help from the Wellbeing mental health service going above and beyond the call of duty and taking months of paperwork, I actually get on the welfare and benefits system with them expressing surprise that I hadn’t applied years ago. 

Diary entries – 2014

Katy Jon Went & Raven, 2014Began 2014 having been on hormones 3.5 years and have a pre-surgical consult in 3 months. New Year’s was spent having dinner with Linda Bellos, someone who 5 years later would become a leading figure in the gender critical aka ‘TERF’ anti-trans rights movement but who in 2014 was fully supportive of my transition. Rights can be gained and lost, people can change for the better or the worse. 

2014 is the year I begin writing, blogging, commentating in earnest, initially via blogger and bubblenews, then wordpress and my own site. I sit and write each morning to the streaming, currently winter, sun pouring in the windows, through a dangling crystal, casting rainbows on the ceiling and compete with cats demanding cuddles or chasing the rainbows across the room.

My dreams are rarely remembered but when they are, they’re vivid and desperate for analysis. One night it’s a turbulent hour dreaming in Spanish, Hebrew and French with 3ft tall little people arguing over who was the shortest, other people with Tefal ad big eggheads – but looking like Victorian circus freak show exhibits, a random actor generator – where the people in the dream where mixed up halfway in a giant slot machine to confuse the story further, half the dream spent fetching chairs and stools for more people to join the audience in the dream including random friends from up to 28 years ago. Simultaneously exhausting and weird! I think the language elements come from discussing Ladino yesterday. The rest comes from my polyunsettled mind and probably Twin Peaks crossed with an Andalucian game show format run by gypsies.

Foul mood handling comes and goes, feel inexorably dragged backwards into a dark damp deep cave that offers no comfort, hope or solace. Agitated, angry, annoyed with stupid little inconsequential things. Curled up my inner black dog with my real-life gorgeous sensitive black cat, for what little calming I could get by tuning my heart and breath to the cat’s. Been charting on the bipolar mood scale for 6+ months now and can regularly predict the decline and fall of my moods. Still learning whether resisting or yielding is the best approach to them and/or whether to try distraction to break the cycles. The Ups feel authentically me (something not to be pathologised, as a good friend once said to me), the downs feel like something to be endured. Coming off anti-depressants was actually helpful, to feel more real, even if more volatile. Came off sleeping pills too as ineffective and too many side effects.

My first step is always to acknowledge what sort of mood I’m in, be it a high or a low. That little wedge of knowledge means I then have a small little ledge to sit on before I act (most of the time) and can consider what I’m about to say or do. I’ll admit, it doesn’t always work, but by realising that I’m feeling something, then examining what I’m feeling, allowing myself to feel it, it seems to pass a lot faster.

Lots of NHS cock-ups trying to get CBT.

I can’t imagine cognitive decline, yet in 10 years depression and insomnia have reduced my energy, memory, alertness. HRT has changed my body, muscle, stamina. Everything is exhausting.

Went to a UEA lecture and discussion on whether LGBT is exclusively a “born that way” nature and whether literature can convert someone’s sexual or gender identity. Allowing nurture and choice to be components of identity as well as genes, hormones and wiring, means also realising that books *do* have the power to influence identity and life choices, apart from just helping people to self-realise and identify with and through them. As a result I would argue that books *are* dangerous – and for that reason should be placed in *every* library!

Discussing with Linda Bellos and others as to how we could challenge the gender construct, completely, across not just feminist politics but also biological categorisation that is applied to LGBTI & other people, if not all people. Ended up in Audre Lorde territory recognising that we should not be reduced to a single label and that “we don’t live single-issue lives”.

Go to my first WOW Festival courtesy of someone’s generosity. An inclusive women and others celebration and discussion platform. 

In April, I finally make it past the waiting lists to have an appointment at Charing Cross GIC with Dr Penny Lennihan. At this time, I realised that I wanted a simple and sexless labioplasty not a vagina and to be shot off the genitals that barely function physically and not all all mentally. Meantime, she raised my Oestrogen dose as like my teenage male puberty my body was not absorbing or acting on hormones typically. The next step would be a referral to surgeons and to Stuart Lorimer for follow up in December. 

By now, I’ve not had sex for a year despite having a gorgeous girlfriend, and it feels right. Esther is understanding and curious whether that will change post-op and/or whether I’m avoiding sex in case it changes my mind about having the (ch)op. Feeling increasingly non-binary and applied for Mx on my bank card.

Financial struggles lead to arrears and repossession threats.

Getting around 3 hours sleep a night. Around once every three months, I get 7 hours. Back on Temazepan occasionally.

Finally, get CBT course of therapy.

Began having couchsurfers to stay – basic requirement being they must be openminded, foreign – speaking at least 2-3 languages, love cats and food. 

Began a series of speaking tours around Norfolk and Suffolk with the NSFT medical director on gender, sex and mental health.

Ended up meeting Ruth Hunt and involved in Stonewall’s transgender and intersex engagements and whether they should go LGBTI.

Come Dine With Me accept me and do test filming at my home but next day decide my gender presentation will conflict with another person on the show.

First Paint Out Norwich and volunteering at it for my landlord/artist – subsequently becomes a part-time job. Good for my mental and physical health as I ended up walking 8.5 miles in 2 days and engaged with art, artists and got back into photography. JC describes me as “solid gold, bonkers but a genius”!

Involvement in Hostry Festival on literary and play panel discussion.

Annus horribilis losing many cats to awol, accident and illness – four in a week at one point. In so many ways, they are my therapy and grounding. On the valium now.

Delivered an anti-bullying talk during trans awareness week for a local sixth form and got a thank you email saying “the general consensus has been that you’re awesome, a bit mad and a real inspiration to people to be who they want to be…” – only a bit mad?

December appointment at Charing Cross GIC a relief to be progressing. Extraordinary thanks must go to Esther for supporting me and making my trips to CX feel special, booking us a fabulous posh bijou B&B with resident Bengal cat, and fantastic meal at Fino in London. More than this, the unquestioning companionship and support, whatever my decisions and delays, mean not only do I feel special but I know that I am with someone special.

Go on BBC Radio Norfolk to discuss gender, first of many interviews. Apparently a friend of a friend was driving in her car listening to the show and was surprised to hear me say “dildo” on the wireless before midday! I was struggling to remember the word dilator, the medical tool not sex toy used to maintain a neovaginal cavity in a trans woman post-surgery!

Ended the year with a Quetiapine prescription for Bipolar which I’ve no intention of taking.

Another transgender teenager takes their own life, Leelah Alcorn, her Christian parents refused to accept or allow her transition. 2014 has been the transgender tipping point but also increasingly visible giving up point for many. Will I be another statistic?

Diary entries – 2015-2019

Part II (2015) can be found here.