In an attempt to better understand the lived experiences of transgender (in the broadest sense) people from around the world I have been doing a series of interviews with people from around the world, asking them a common set of questions to understand who they are, what they experience on a daily basis and how they interact with the wider world. I hope that the following set of profiles will illuminate our shared experiences and also expose us all to new and different world views.
Anna Blair (no relation of the less well known and much less well liked Tony*) is a crossdresser, with a wicked sense of humour, who lives as a man just outside the Scottish City of Glasgow in the United Kingdom. She has no plans to transition. Her female persona is expressed ‘part-time’. Anna usually expresses her feminine side in private and behind closed doors but she has recently started venturing out into the wider ‘vanilla’ world. She therefore lacks a lot of ‘real world’ experience and also is not all that au fait with the broader trans community in Glasgow. she is however aware of a few transgender friendly bars and night clubs in Glasgow. She thinks this is a very good thing.
Being somewhat new to the ‘out and about’ crowd she does not feel qualified to express opinions regarding how good or bad life is for the transgender person in Glasgow. She has however not had any negative experiences herself. Something for which she is very grateful. In fact it seems that things are so good for the transgender community in Glasgow that she has no major concerns for the community. She hopes that the rest of the community is happy, has companionship and not ashamed of who they are.
It is only in the last year or so that Anna has started venturing out into the world. Anna chose to go out for dinner and drinks with a work colleague. They visited a ‘normal’ mainstream (that is not a specifically LGBT friendly) restaurant. They were treated well and Anna was treated like the lady that she is which made her immensely happy.
Anna has not herself gone shopping, attended social events etc dressed as Anna, but she has seen other transgender people doing so in Glasgow.
Anna prefers her privacy and whilst friends and some work colleagues know of her existence the only family that know of Anna are Anna’s wife and her sister. Anna does not think that living in Glasgow makes ‘being out’ any harder or easier than anywhere else. She does however believe that knowing a number of creative and open-minded people means that she has developed the confidence and courage to be open about who she really is. Anna has been steadily expanding the number of people who know of her existence and has had no negative responses. She says knowing who not to tell is probably more important than deciding who to tell (a subtle but important distinction).
Anna has not herself experienced any problems in her workplace as a result of being a crossdresser, but this may be more because of the fact that this is a mostly private affair and her crossdressing is not widely known. She suspects that a number of her colleagues may be relatively hostile if they did know as she is friends with a male to female transgender colleague from another department, who is in the process of transitioning. Sadly this person has been ridiculed and subjected to snide comments in the past. Anna has stood up to the people making these comments.
Anna is married to a very supportive woman. They have been married for five years but have been together for 16 years. Crossdressing does cause some difficulties in their relationship from time to time but Anna does her best to keep the crossdressing in check and not to allow it to dominate the relationship. She does this by not referring to it too much, reassuring her wife that the crossdressing will not get out of hand, that she will not transition and that she will not leave her. Anna believes that the root issue here may be some insecurities that her wife has rather than the crossdressing per se. Her wife’s expressed concerns regarding crossdressing are the outward manifestation of insecurity.
Anna is fortunate in that she has never required any governmental or other support with respect to her crossdressing and she has never had to ask the police for help either. She is therefore unable to assess whether these services are good bad or indifferent in Glasgow. In general, Anna feels mostly safe and protected as a transgender person living in Glasgow.
The recent media interest (the Caitlynn Jenner phenomenon, various movies and other celebrity transitioners) in all things transgender has raised the profile of transgender people in Glasgow. Anna thinks this is a very good thing but believes that the broader public are still quite confused by crossdressing and find the need to transition easier to comprehend. She hopes that as the media covers more transgender news and culture, these issues will permeate into society and become more widely accepted and tolerated. She says that the wider Glaswegian community perceive crossdressers with a combination of confusion and glee depending on the specific area you may be in at any time.
Anna is part of a vibrant online community of transgender people. She is active on Facebook as well as other social media platforms. She enjoys being part of this community and believes that it plays an important part in her self actualisation. She hopes to meet some of the people on these platforms, who are local to Glasgow, in the near future. She says that it was very easy to become part of this virtual community and that she was readily accepted. She thinks that making the transition from digital to real world community acceptance will be very easy. This suggests a very supportive and accepting local community.
After many years, Anna has has made her peace with her crossdressing. She loves the variety of shoes and clothes she gets to wear as a crossdresser. On a more serious note she believes that being a crossdresser has made her significantly more empathetic and understanding. She is comfortable exploring the more feminine components of her psyche. Her only complaint regarding her crossdressing is that she does not get to do it often enough. Something I am sure many of us can relate to!
Anna is a writer and writes poetry and prose. She has decided that it would be a good idea to perform some of her poetry in a cabaret type act as Anna. This is a big and brave step as she is opening herself up on two fronts. Not only is she exposing her inner sole through her poetry but she is also exposing her feminine identity to the world in a very public way. I wish her all the best with this and I am sure it will be a success.
*Anna says she would admit to being his relation, if she were, but only to those people she could really trust. So much like her crossdressing then!
If you are interested, you can read Anna’s blog here.
This profile has also been published on the Frock Magazine website, where I also publish some of my blog posts.