Thursday, 25 June 2015

Unfair Advantage

So I came across this brilliant piece by Katherine Cross on how writers with Guardian and New York Times columns still claim to be being 'silenced' by trans people who happen to be on Twitter.

Particularly disappointed that Hadley Freeman buys into the nonsense that Fallon Fox has 'unfair advantages' due to having once had testosterone in her system.  Two facts, one born out of doing research (supposedly a key element in the journalist skillset, but what do I know, I don't write for the Grauniad), and one born of personal experience:

Like, check your privilege before criticizing this national newspaper from the leather-armchaired Ivory Tower of your Twitter account, yeah?

1) State boxing and wrestling commissions, the bodies in the US which rule on who gets to compete in MMA bouts, mandate that trans woman competitors must spend TWO YEARS on HRT, which includes taking anti-androgen drugs - testosterone-blockers;

How lifting weights feels after three months on T-blockers.

2) I have, myself, been on testosterone-blockers since April, at the same time as which I've embarked on a get-fit campaign, which has allowed me to observe their effects on my physical strength.  Despite training hard during the process, in a mere three months, I have lost 2kgs of muscle from my torso area. It was actually easier to hoist the backpack in which I carry my gym kit before I started lifting weights about. This put me in the interesting position of watching cis women who attended the circuit training sessions I was going to visibly finding them easier and easier as the weeks passed, while I found them harder and harder. There is an advantage here - and at times it certainly seemed unfair - but it isn't on the trans side of the equation.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

A stain, a gift, a shadow

Hiding in a toilet stall,
I photograph the bruise:
this capillary trace of the way your cupped palms
made their percussive contact with my skin.

I call it bruise: it's really just a hint
of sepia, a watercolour tint,
a stain, a gift, the shadow of your fist.
Impermanent: not tattoo, still less brand,

it aches to be recorded. With inexpert hands,
that I would never think to cup when striking,
I tilt my phone, I shoot the spot and wish
you'd left behind a far more livid kiss.

This loving violence I memorialise
perhaps more than is necessary or true.
This mark, this ghost desire left behind:
I take its photo, and I name it bruise.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015


She sounds like Sidse Knudsen
telling Chiara D'Anna she's late.
She tells me to climb on the couch,
compliments me on my boots,
wears a magnifying lens to better see
the Orion's Belt of follicles
still clinging to my lip.
Admires my work with the razor.
If she sees my tattoo, it's not mentioned.

I close my eyes.
I hear her breathe.
She puts the wand against my skin.
The warm pain comes in waves.

(Btw, in case anyone's wondering about why I mentioned my tattoo here...)


Tuesday, 9 June 2015


This game of chess, this drive to seize and take,
this duel of bluff and countermove and feint,
is what your songs and movies celebrate?

This urge to rob another of their space,
the meet-cutes that seem like intimidation,
this is what your culture venerates?

This fight in which I seem to have no chance,
this slow-quick-quick-slow-lunge assassin's dance:
you call this romance?

I'm not enchanted. I refuse to hymn
this torture that we sanctify with rings.
I will talk about the other things,
and abandon, on this board, my toppled King.

Zugzwang: a situation encountered in chess where any move you make will weaken your position.