On being trans

I’ve been on HRT for two years now, and I feel a need to write. So here’s some small insight into my feelings.
Sometimes I feel great. I put in the effort for appearances. I can almost believe I look good.
Sometimes I feel crap. As though no matter how much effort I put in cannot repair how I was made. Cannot make me appear female.
Sometimes I pass. I get addressed correctly. Whether as a genuine pass, or just a well meaning Stranger.
Sometimes I completely fail. Getting ‘sir’ed. Getting ‘he’ed. Those send me down.
Even the best and worse days can turn on a dime depending on how I get addressed.
And yet I don’t want to draw attention to myself by making a fuss. Especially to people who likely won’t see me again – coffee shop baristas, restaurant waiters etc. Yes I’ve been sir’ed in a Costa before. I don’t blame the workers. But it does cause a dip.
Sometimes I’m ok with how my body appears. Sometimes I really really am not. Some days I wake up and think I can pull an outfit off. Some days I wake up and just want to get rid of certain parts by any means necessary.
Sometimes people are genuinely nice. Smiling or whatever when we pass in the street. Other times they stare. Or kids laugh.
Kids can be the best or the worst. They don’t have the awareness of how to hold their tongues. Divide internal thoughts from external speech. This is very much a double-edged sword.
I need to work on my voice. But doing so solo means listening back to recordings to make sure I’m up in the right range. It’s a rare day that I can stomach doing that. It’s improved after the speech therapy I had a while back… but it’s not quite there yet. It’s still got a fair chunk of resonance even when trying to speak from the mouth.
My body hair is a nightmare. It always has been. My facial hair is better after the funding for some hair removal sessions. But it’s still not great. I need to look in to funding. But that means actually confronting the problem.
A lot of my issues – working on voice, keeping body/facial hair under control stem from what I call the pain of action. Doing something about it is a painful thing – the act of face shaving, the act of voice training – is a constant reminder that if all was right I wouldn’t have to go through this. The pain of inaction, of doing nothing, however is different because by not doing something about it it in some ways makes it easier to ignore… or atleast not actively think about. It’s a defence mechanism, however self-defeating it is. By not taking action you don’t have to actively think about, actively concentrate on the problem. It’s just there as a consistent background noise that to some extent you can tune out.


I’ve been meaning to write a post on the EU Referendum we’re having. But well… we’re now on the eve of the refendum. This time tomorrow the polls will be closed and it will be done, for better or worse. I suspect most people who know me know how I’m going to be voting.
I was going to write a post explaining why I’m voting the way I am…. but it’s… frankly… pointless, and I jsut can’t see the point. I’m not going to change anyones opinion by writing, all it will serve to do is frustrate me. This entire campaign period has been full of negativity, misinformation, half-truths and sometimes outright lies. And that’s not to mention hyperbole.
And that’s…. all I can bring myself to write.

On Passion

I make no secret on my various internet accounts, including this blog, that I’m passionate about various causes. From freedom of speech, to the right to privacy. From the naturalists cause – that the human body is nothing to be ashamed or offended by – to believing that social equality is still decades away. From the need for us to tackle our climate emissions now, to the need for global laws for our global internet age.
But with all those causes I find myself asking why aren’t I doing more. I sit at my computer writing, liking, retweeting, reblogging the occasional articles or petitions. Probably once a week or less if I’m honest. This is so called ‘clicktivism’. But aside from a small donation to Open Rights Group each month, what am I actually doing?
I’m not really contributing to any of those causes. The minuscule amount of online activities I do for these really isn’t reflecting my passion for these areas. Why?
I’m not exactly short of time. My evenings and weekends are my own, and the latter of those certainly provides enough time for me to volunteer for an organisation that deals with one or more of these issues. Yet I find myself…. Devoid of passion when it comes to doing anything about these.
A common criticism of my generation, and even more so the up and coming generations, is that we’re lazy. We aren’t engaged in politics or political causes. We will hit a button to sign a petition, but we don’t actually do anything. And I can’t help but feel that this is true for me. Clicking a button is cheap. But actually syatematically campaigning for an issue. That’s expensive, long, hard and with the same guarantee of success as click-signing an e-petition. That is to say, effectively 0.
I am generation lazy. I am also passionate.
I want to scream from the rooftops about the causes I believe in. I also don’t want to leave the comfort of the Internet.
Passion, for my generation, means expressing ourselves on the Internet. Where our potential reach is very large. But our average reach is in our own little filter bubble.
But then… When our only political choice comes once in five years, between two parties where neither represent the views I hold…. What other choice do we have?

Changes have been made. Welcome back!

Welcome back!
I hope you all like the new domain, please excuse the scaffolding and things whilst we all get settled in here. Hopefully the semi-regular blogs can begin again soon.
And yes, this is my new name. Everywhere. I think I’ve blasted everywhere I can now. It’s nice to finally have it properly public.

Radio Silence and changes

There’s been radio silence on here for quite a while now. There’s a reason for that….
Changes are coming.
If all goes to plan, check back on Tuesday night to meet the new website (that will look very similar to the old one). And hopefully I can resume my semi-regular blogging like I had in 2013

I think my caching problem is fixed

A post will follow shortly (hopefully) outlining the pain I went through to get it working again.
(And yes, this does serve as a test post for the changes I just battled with)
EDIT: Turns out it isn’t yet. Will keep trying.
EDIT 2: Only problem left seems to be invalidating the main page cache on posting / editing posts. It automatically expires fine though.
EDIT 3: Debug might be helpful?

Suddenly posts from months ago

So you may have noticed that there are suddenly three new posts since March, none of which are from now.
The short answer is caching fail.
For whatever reason the caching plugin I was using didn’t expire its caches when I published posts. So although navigating directly to the post itself worked (if you followed my Twitter or Facebook links to the exact post), it wouldn’t show up on the main feed, nor presumably in RSS.
So to those of you who rely on RSS for keeping up to date, welcome back! At least you only have three posts to catch up on though!
*Will manually verify that caching is working properly when I post this post*

Google+ Names

So, Google have decided to abandon their requirement that you use real names, or (if you’re some kind of celebrity) your stage name, on your Google+ profile.
This is now better than Facebook.
They do at the moment still require a ‘first name’ and a ‘second name’. But unlike facebook they’re policy about how often you can change your name is some what… vague.

Limited number of name changes : After you’ve created or edited your name, you may need to wait for up to three months to change it again. It will depend on how recently you created your profile and when you last changed your name.

Up to three months is a bit longer than facebooks 60 days, but it sounds as though it might be less depending on what Googles Super Secret Inflexible Authoritative Algorithms say. Also the bold section implies that there might be an upper limit beyond which the algorithm will just say no.
Confusingly another place it says

The solution : You can change your name three times every 90 days. If you’ve recently changed your name three times, you may need to wait for up to three months to change it again.

So…. yeah. I think, what it means is that When you change your name, if you’ve had two other names within 90 days you’re stuck with it until the 90 days from the first name change has passed. But I’m honestly not sure.
I’d like the name change restrictions to be much clearer. (Or ideally have no restrictions). They also say that

Some names aren’t allowed. For example, we don’t allow names that are too long, include symbols or numbers,

So… yeah. Apologies to those with hyphenated names. I do wonder what happens if you try putting Katakana in there though.
Still, it’s an improvement, and I think qualitatively they’re now on par, or maybe slightly behind, facebook. Although I haven’t actually done a full review of Googles policies in totality when it comes to names.
(I would apologise for how this blog has turned into ‘bash the name requirements of social networks’, but some can get it right e.g. emoj.li – where your username, and all messages, must be emoji. Names are very very important to me at the moment. So I’m not sorry, and I’m not going to apologise if this kind of stuff bores you.)

Facebook's Real Name Policy — Revisited

So, the post I made about Facebook and their Real Name Policy.
There’s been an update
Where it used to say you could only change it four times
It now says that you can change your name once every 60 days.
(A screenshot from the help center, because I changed my name before taking a screenshot)
Their username policy hasn’t changed though – only one change that should contain your real name. Hopefully they’ll update that policy when they realise how stupid it is to allow multiple real name changes, but only one change of must-contain-real-name-username. They also still seem to be very restrictive on what they consider a ‘real name’.
Still, it’s an improvement.

On dismantling online identities

I’ve written before how I wanted to start killing my unified online identity.
And, just over a year since I posted that, it has begun.
The death knell has been struck for the previous lynch-pin – my Twitter. It was the easiest account of mine to find online (a work colleague found it with a 30 second Google search). It made easy to follow links to numerous other online identities of mine, as I cross posted. It was public.
Well, no more.
Yesterday I took the drastic step of just leaving that account. I’ve made a new Twitter. A protected Twitter, so that my tweets cannot be seen by all and sundry. I’ve added some of those that came first to mind as people who I trust with my new account. Hopefully this will enable me to censor myself less on there. There have been things I’ve wanted to retweet, things I’ve wanted to @ reply to, that I haven’t been able to because my tweets were public. And that was getting uncomfortable for me.
I’ll keep the old account lying around, I’ll use it mostly to tweet links to IRL things, e.g. if I get a new job or promotion; or tweet links to these posts. But my real Twitter is now only for my close friends. Those who have been let past my second level of barriers. It’s a shame. There are those I really do enjoy interacting with on Twitter – people from work, and those I am friends with, but I need to draw the line somewhere on the new account otherwise I will end up back in the same situation as before.
So, with my Twitter now mostly inactive, I’ve taken one of the biggest steps towards splitting up my online identities. Obviously, my ISP and such like will still be able to correlate (I’m not yet using Tor for all accounts – it seems particularly pointless using it for accounts where people know who I am in real life), and there will always be the possibility of my social graphs causing a link. But that kind of seepage is a lot harder for a generally interested person to find, than scrolling down my twitter history to find where I’ve linked to my other accounts.
In addition, as my Twitter was the source for most of my FB posts, that is also going to be going rather quiet. I mostly use FB for messages now anyway, so I guess not much has changed in that regard.
Now I just need to swap out my other accounts for new ones as well. That’s a lot easier when they don’t enforce real name policies. But that can wait until this new Twitter has settled down.
Speaking of which, it’s likely that there are people reading this who aren’t yet following my new Twitter, but could be. Contact me via private means if you’re interested (Twitter DM on my original account, FB message, Email etc). I do reserve the right to not share it though – as I said, I don’t want to start censoring myself on there like I have been before.