Yesterday it was the Transsexual Day of Remembrance worldwide, and in Brighton there was a vigil from 7.00pm in the Old Steyne to remember the murdered victims of transphobic hate crime during the last few years, and especially the last twelve months. The total killed for being trans has started to increase again lately, and while the reported numbers are 'small' - 265 during the last year seems to be the official figure - this total is (as before) mostly from Latin America, and does not include victims from large areas of the world where statistics are lacking or not made available, such as Africa and China. So the real total of people killed through prejudice and misunderstanding, sometimes regime-sponsored, might be a thousand or two - or really anyone's guess. It should of course be nil.
I didn't go to the outdoor vigil last night, but I will be going to the service in the Dorset Gardens Methodist Church in Brighton this coming Sunday afternoon. And wherever I am in future years, I will somehow mark the occasion. Meanwhile I'm inclined to be very negative about holidaying abroad, because I don't want to be a casual victim of someone's irrational hatred. That may mean never leaving the British Isles again. A prisoner of potential foreign violence. Not good, but I do take this special risk of a cruel and heartless death very seriously. After all, whatever the good effect of hormones, and cultivating the right social skills, I still don't have a perfect look; and I'm vulnerable to being spotted by people with a problem, and being pursued to destruction.
But young Jackie Green on BBC3's documentary Transsexual Teen, Beauty Queen last night (which I watched a bit of this morning on iPlayer) had no such problem with her looks (pretty, slim and willowy, absolutely the right shape), or voice (perfect), or demeanour (perfect), or her grasp of what and who she really is.
She was the youngest person so far to have genital surgery in this country (at 16). I imagine it could not come too soon for her, because she was one of those transsexuals who felt very young (in her case, when only 5) that she'd been placed in the wrong Gender Box, and she has never deviated from that conviction. Eleven years of waiting! I'd say that here is a shining example of why children should be taken seriously, and listened to, and believed. Now she wants to become Miss World. To do that she must first complete with 10,000 other girls in the selection of Miss England. Her initial motive is to raise awareness of trans people: to show that an ordinary girl from Guiseley, who just happens to be trans, can make it.
But beyond that, to become a top model. This is looking rather beyond the horizons of the girls on last year's My Transsexual Summer. If it's difficult to get chosen for a top beauty contest, it's notoriously hard to be rated good enough for the fashion show catwalk. So I admire her ambition.
When asked by the narrator early in the documentary about her origins as a 'boy', she was quick
to correct him, saying firmly that she had 'always been a girl' with 'a
girl's brain and a boy's bottom part', and she added that the average trans girl would
assert exactly the same, rejecting any notion that they had ever been
male - whatever their outward appearance. And that he should take care
with questions of that sort, in case he got slapped on the face by an
indignant woman! Absolutely right. That's what I'll do next time some daft man blunders with a question to me like that.
Back to the auditions. She quickly found that all successful contestants need something extra about them, a certain poise, a flair for movement, some special way of walking and twirling around, some eye-catching spark, that will mark them out from the rest. I saw her first attempts at demonstrating this. Hmmmm. I didn't watch anything after that, wanting to get on with other things this morning, but tonight I will catch up with how she got on. I do hope she ultimately did well, and if not, that she gained valuable insight into what the knack was, and hasn't had her confidence shaken. She deserves much better than a waitress's job in Wakefield.